More tools that work on top of Word XML


There is a company called CambridgeDocs that has built a tool that will transform from WordML into XSL-FO. Here’s a link to their site: http://www.cambridgedocs.com/products_wordml2FO.htm


This is just another example of a group that has leveraged the XML support in Office 2003 to build a tool to solve specific customer needs. As I’ve said numerous times, one of the big benefits we see with our XML fomats is that partners and other 3rd parties can now come along and build targeted solutions on top of Office. Here’s a diagram from their site:



There definitely is a demand out there for tranforming WordML into XSL-FO, it just isn’t a big enough demand for us to build directly into the product. Instead, as is often the case, we rely on 3rd parties to build these types of solutions, and by moving to a default open XML format, we make it that much easier for people to do just that. Remember if only 1% of our customers are in need of a specific feature, that’s at least 4 million potential customers for a 3rd party to sell to.


I’m hoping to keep this blog moving forward with more and more information about how you can use the formats and help anyone that’s interested in building a solution. The “Intro to Word/Excel XML” posts I made over the past few months are great starting points…


-Brian

Comments (4)

  1. anon says:

    I think this post is biased to say the least.

    While you point out there are some worthy xslt transformers out there, what you don’t mention is how long they have been to engineer. For a xslt transform to accurately move one fine-grained format to another, taking care of all the details, it litterally takes years. Just as in any good software.

    In a lot of your posts, you have been toying us with this false idea of blatant XML ease of use, all while the ability to use notepad or a simple parser to work with XML is only one piece of the pie. Another piece of the pie is the complexity of the underlying semantics. How big is your XSD ? 1MB, 2MB? How many companies will leverage it with all the fine details? Perhaps 2. You hope only one does so.

    You may reply that you need not know everything in order to transform one XML into another, you could say it only takes you to know the particular XML fragment in play. But that’s not true with any substantial schema. For instance, objects in some XML fragment make a consistent relation with other objects via some whatever relative reference, id, guid, or sometimes even nastier relation like being a child of some 3rd parent. So that’s not easy to deal with, at least if you are hoping to transform that XML file and still retain the ability to come up with a well-formed and valid XML file that is however now corrupt and won’t open anymore in the target application.

    Last but not least, it comes to me that moving to XML can be a good thing from a file format point of view since it frees you up from what YOU guys got stuck into, the bit-wise thing in .DOC, .XLS and .PPT. You are leveraging your own ability to make improvements to the software, in essence you are really only fixing the file format you have locked yourself into. So that’s not much to brag about.

    I can already foresee you are adding new specialized XML fragments in later versions, that only a Windows run-time will be able to understand and work with because 1) it will be hardly documented, just like anything related to Office documents until now, 2) and because it will require some pieces of .NET or WinFX or whatever library that is as closed as regular office binaries are.

  2. ILT says:

    Anon: after all the other nonsense and spurious objections to these XML foirmats for Office 12, I’m not surprised at yet another diatribe based on exactly nothing.

    Get real!

    Brian Jones; I’m amazed at your patience and good humour. Most of the consistent misery-merchants that post comments here don’t deserve the time of day! They’re taking any and every opportunity to declare anything Microsoft as some sort of a con or a conspiracy. I’d bet they’ve never contributed anything worthwhile to the world, let alone to software development.

  3. anon says:

    ILT, I am not attacking anybody. I am attacking the company strategy because I think it is hiding a lot that matter to everyday users.

    I come with arguments and factd.

    Your personal attacks, associated to lack of any argument or fact, only tell that you are a troll. Go get a life.

  4. FARfetched says:

    Anon… for my uses, I don’t care how complex the schema is. If I can extract the content I want from an OfficeXML file, which in my case is usually the text or the headings, then there’s not a problem for me.

    There’s a big difference between getting what you need from a complex XML file and getting everything. You probably don’t need more than a few days to work up an XSLT to get the pieces you want in the format you want. Just let your default template drop the rest on the floor.