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a Notepad window and begin typing a new spreadsheet. Similarly, it would be
very difficult for other applications to extract data from the BIFF format.
Figure 7.4.
Figure 7.4. BIFF files are difficult for other applications to read.
BIFF files are difficult for other applications to read.
In Excel 2000, Microsoft flirted with a new HTML file format. By default,
files were stored as XLS files in BIFF8 format. However, you could save a
file as an HTML file and later open that HTML file in Excel 2000. With some
limitations, most contents of the file and formatting could be successfully
round-tripped from Excel to HTML and back to Excel.
This produced an interesting new paradigm: It would be possible for any pro-
gram that could read or write text files to extract data from the Excel HTML
file. A program other than Excel could easily read or produce this format.
Using HTML made sense in 1998 through 2000. The rise of the Internet made
HTML a very popular format. However, although HTML is a great language
for the display of information, it is not necessarily a smart language.
In 1998, the World Wide Web Consortium published the first 1.0 specification
for a new language called Extensible Markup Language (XML), which
presents data that any platform or application can read. Like HTML, XML is
a simple text file that can be read or created with Notepad. Excel 2002 offered
a way to export data in XML. Excel 2003 continued to use BIFF8 as the stand-
ard file format, but you could choose to save a workbook in XML format.
When you later opened the XML file in Excel, all the formulas and formatting
would be successfully round-tripped. XML in Excel 2003 did not support VBA
or charts.
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