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   Re: [xml-dev] Remembering the original XML vision

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Bullard, Claude L (Len)" <clbullar@ingr.com>
> Why is XML important to Office?
> len

I'm the guy many of you guys (and gals!) are writing software for. I've held
creative, art director, and print production positions at various stages of
my career for ad agencies and four color magazines, and now I write books,
and I can say that XML in Office will be a Good Thing.

Just for me, personally, it would be nice to write chapters and post them
online in XML instead of in that awful Word to HMTL export format now
available. And I really detest the way XML Spy imports Word, although that's
the process I tend to use. I simply don't like the structure for it. I'd
like to be able to better control the structure and write an XSLT doc for
it. All the mapping tools I've looked into so far take too long to learn.

Some of us in the graphics business have been hoping for something, in vain
I'm afraid, to tie everything together for a long time. One of the key
ingredients that has been missing in the workflow has been text to graphics.

Let me offer a real world example. I had one client a couple years ago who
ran flyers every two weeks. The only change she made was an address or time
for an open house she would run. I set up a little web-based form to FOP
(yes, FOP has been around that long -- it was back in the James Tauber days)
service that let her input the changes and generate the PDF on the fly. This
way, our graphics people didn't have to keep updating it for her. That saved
her money and us time, letting our graphics people focus on stuff that
really made us money. It would have been nice to get her original documents
in XML format. I had to manually create the XML from her Word document. I
didn't even use XML Spy's Word import for that because it didn't set up the
elements in a way that would be useful to me later on. If she had been able
to udpate the document in Word, it would have been even better, because then
she could update some of the ad copy, too.

A more obvious example is content updates for the Web.  I realize that
content management systems have really taken off, but there is still a ton
of content out there being developed in Word and sent in the old fashioned
way -- as an email attachment. With Word XML it shouldn't be too much of a
stretch to provide content contributors with templates that contain the
stylesheets that manage the mapping process to XML needed for a particular
job (if only we can get them to use them). We wouldn't even need to ask them
to export the file as XML -- that could happen after we receive the email

I've written Word style-based macros for exporting to XML and attempted to
foist them onto unsuspecting users, but for a variety of reasons that hasn't
worked out so well.

I'm really curious to know how the mapping in XML Office, particularly Word,
will take place, and if the user will have any range of options to control
it, either through the interface or through macros. The answer to that will
have an impact on how useful it really is.

Chuck White
Author, Mastering XSLT, Sybex Books


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