Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Reusable Data
When you separate form from function in this way, it’s a simple thing to put the
function in another form. In other words, because XML data is stored
independently of the form in which it’s displayed, you can easily fit it into other formats.
XML data that started out as part of a college textbook, for example, could be
reused as a series of Web articles, a brochure, a syllabus, a Microsoft
PowerPoint presentation, or a blurb in a bookstore catalog.
Wholesale catalogs for specific audiences can be generated on the fly if
you’ve used XML as your data-storage standard. Suppose, for example, that
your business sells computer equipment. In the past, you’ve sent out full-size
catalogs (which is a costly endeavor and often provides a low rate of return).
If all your catalog data is saved in XML format, you can query the database for
a subset of clients (perhaps all customers who purchased equipment from you
24 months previously, customers who bought PCs, customers who bought
laptops, and so on) and produce a targeted catalog specifically for that
subgroup of all customers on your list. Similarly, you can use this same approach
to develop customized solutions for specific clients, departments, industries,
and more. The data is the valuable entity, and with XML, you can use that data
smarter and more efficiently, and give it a farther reach than it has ever had
before.
XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language for Transformations) allows you to
transform documents into a new form. This is especially important for bringing
legacy data into an XML format and transforming it to fit your XML standards.
Write Your Own Schema
Although XML was supported in a limited fashion in Microsoft Word version
2002 (you could save Word documents as XML files), there was no flexibility in
terms of the schema used (you had to use Word’s built-in schema) or the
creation of industry or business-specific applications.
The XML support in Office 2003 gives users the option of attaching
customized XSDs (XML Schema Definitions). You can choose to save your
documents in Word’s default schema (WordML) and attach your own customized
(called arbitrary ) schema that describes the language and functionality you
need in your business everyday.
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