This year, we moved closer to greater interoperability with Microsoft Office documents with the announcement of the Microsoft Office XML. As Bill Gates outlined in his latest executive email, this will usher in a new generation of productivity software. XML will become the default file format for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which will make it easier for other programs to read documents. SQL Server 2005 will also provide multiple features for supporting XML, some carried over from previous versions and some new features as a result of customer input.
XML is more than just a text format at Microsoft. It is a core part to realize the dream of anywhere, anytime data access. In the past few years, we have seen wide-spread adoption of the entire XML alphabet soup – XML, XSLT, XSD, etc. XML is being used by developers in multiple application stages.
What does this mean for us in the Developer Division?
It means that Visual Studio needs to provide the best support for XML in the industry. With Visual Studio 2005 we have significantly improved the experiences for XML Editing and XSLT debugging. For example, the XML editor provides functionality for design-time well-formedness, validation errors, and validation support for Schemas, DTDs, XDRs and context sensitive Intellisense. We also support XSLT editing, the ability to convert a DTD or XDR to XSD Schema and the ability to infer an XSD Schema from an XML instance. The XSLT debugger, invoked from the XML Editor, provides standard Visual Studio debugger functionality like the ability to set and remove breakpoints. We even compile XSLT into IL, allowing you to use your favorite debugging features like breakpoints, stepping etc., on XSL Transforms. Developers can easily view the output of the transform as it is being generated.
Visual Studio 2005 attacked two of the biggest pain XML – Editing XML and XSLT Debugging. Check out this online demo of the XML tools. We know we need to do more here, and we will continue our investments here beyond Visual Studio 2005.