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So, to repurpose, reuse, reapply? We've always been
able to do attachments, that is, either embed a reference
to a document or the document itself into the database
using say, varchar longs.
In the case of XML (using say MEMO fields), the costs
weren't that high to embed the document, although
embeddding say a scanned image makes one become very
aware of DPI. Ever see a database where 80% of the
storage is scanned images that are used 20% of the time?
But none of these make it much easier to work with
the document content as you point out. What will
make users happier is easier reuse? However, if this
is at the cost of making it harder to publish the
original document (say, the RFP), that robs Peter
to pay Paul. So the publisher isn't happy.
That brings me back to the notion of fused views.
The requirements for this don't generally exist
outside the enterprise user base. In other words,
someone firing off a letter to the editor of the
local newspaper doesn't need XML. The news editor
might like it though for streamlining his production,
so it isn't unthinkable. But again, when a project
manager has to create a project plan, or an implementation
manager has to create FAT tests, being able to directly
access and compare both the proposal and the contract
texts side by side at a citable paragraph level is
very productive. That is a fused view. One can
do that without XML by frontloading relational databases,
but it is clunky, tedious, very time consuming, and
leaves one with a record of authority problem.
The original document should be a data source in its
original format. Now XML is helping.
From: Gavin Thomas Nicol [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Data capture is one small part. Having Office support XML etc. will simplify
the effort of converting the data into what I *really* want (so to answer
Len's question, XML is *not* important to Office itself, it just makes it a
bit easier to work with the data). The real work happens after that... and
banging stuff into a database may or may not help.