XML in Office 2003: Information Sharing with Desktop XML

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9780131421936: XML in Office 2003: Information Sharing with Desktop XML

*Co-authors are the world-renowned inventor of markup languages and a developer of the W3C XML Schema specification *Detailed coverage of Office 2003 Professional XML features, plus all the XML knowledge you need to use them *Learn to edit your XML document with Word, analyze its data with Excel, store it with Access, and publish it to the Web with FrontPage(R) *Build dynamic custom XML forms with the remarkable new InfoPath 2003--structured data collection with word processing flexibilityFrom the Foreword by Jean Paoli, Microsoft XML Architect and co-editor of the W3C XML specification: "XML enabled the transfer of information from server to server and server to client, even in cross-platform environments. But the desktop, where documents are created and analyzed by millions of information workers, could not easily participate. Business-critical information was locked inside data storage systems or individual documents, forcing companies to adopt inefficient and duplicative business processes. "This is a book on re-inventing the way millions of people write and interact with documents.It succeeds in communicating the novel underlying vision of Office 2003 XML while focusing on task-oriented, hands-on skills for using the product. " Desktop XML affects every Office 2003 Professional Edition user! It transforms millions of desktop computers from mere word processors into rich clients for Web services, editing front-ends for XML content management systems, and portals for XML-based application integration. And this book shows you how to benefit from it. You'll learn exactly what XML can do for you, and you'll master its key concepts, all in the context of the Office products you already know and use. With 200 tested and working code and markup examples and over 150 screenshots and illustrations from the actual shipped product (not betas), you'll see step by step how: *Office users can share documents more easily, without error-prone rework, re-keying, or cut-and-paste. *Office data from your documents can be captured for enterprise databases. *Office documents can be kept up-to-date with live data from Web Services and enterprise data stores. *Office solutions can overcome traditional limitations by using XML and Smart Documents. BONUS XML SKILLS SECTION!All the XML expertise you'll need, adapted for Office 2003 users from the best-selling Charles F. Goldfarb's XML Handbook, Fifth Edition: the XML language, XML Schema, XPath, XSLT, Web services ! and more! CD-ROM INCLUDED: Provides a fully functional 60-day trial version of Microsoft InfoPath 2003.

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About the Author:

CHARLES F. GOLDFARB is the father of XML Technology. He invented SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language on which both XML and HTML are based. His XML Handbook is now in its fifth edition, with more than 100,000 copies in print.

PRISCILLA WALMSLEY is a developer of the XML Schema Recommendation on which Office 2003’s XML support is built. She is a consultant specializing in XML architecture and data management, a power user of Microsoft Office, and the author of Definitive XML Schema.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

What do you give the software that has everything?

XML, of course!

Microsoft Office is the most successful productivity product in the history of computers, with over 300 million users around the world. Few of them use all of the features in Office now, so why add something new?

It wasn’t just the needs of the information worker that motivated this extraordinary enhancement to Office, it was the needs of the information itself. Thanks to the Internet, local networks, business integration and the very ubiquity of Office, key enterprise data is not available in one convenient place. Some of it is in managed central stores, but much more is in desktop systems, departmental repositories, and even in the systems of vendors and customers.

Past versions of Office have provided tools for coping with this problem, but solution implementation has been cumbersome and often required advanced development skills. That was in part because every data source typically has its own data format. In addition to accessing the information, a solution often had to decode it as well.

In the past few years, XML has emerged to solve that problem; it has become the universal information interchange representation. XML software for machine-to-machine functions is virtually standard equipment for all platforms. But until September, 2003, the only generally useful XML on the desktop was strictly in specialized products. Common productivity tools like office suites supported only specific XML document types, when they supported XML at all.

Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 changed that situation forever, by accepting any user-defined XML document as a first-class citizen. As a result, millions of desktop computers have been transformed from mere word processors into potential rich clients for Web services, editing front-ends for XML content management systems, and portals forXML-based application integration.

This book shows you how to use the XML features of Office to realize that potential. You’ll learn to share information among Office products and between Office and the rest of the XML universe.

XML in Office 2003 will make it easier to collaborate with co-workers and utilize the information resources of your enterprise and the Web.

Who is this book for?

You don’t have to be a professional developer to use the Office XML features. We’ve written this book so that office users who are comfortable with preference settings and macros will be able to tap into these resources. If you can deal with scripts — or are willing to copy and modify ours — you’ll be able to do even more. And if you are a pro, you’ll find that we don’t talk down to you: you’ll easily see the added possibilities for real program code.

And XML knowledge isn’t a prerequisite for this book either. It includes a bonus section of tutorials on XML and its related technologies, adapted from the best-selling XML Handbook.

How much XML?

Chapter 2 of this book is an introduction to XML that should be sufficient for learning the XML features of Office 2003. However, if you plan to use XML products other than Office, develop your own schemas, or use Office to share data with enterprise systems and Web services, you’ll want to learn more about XML.

As our readers will have differing experience with XML and different requirements for its use, there seemed no sensible way to intersperse detailed XML education with the Office XML tasks that are the focus of the book.

Instead we’ve put the detailed tutorials and references on the XML language and related standards where you can easily find them when you need them. They are in Part Three. The book’s Table of Contents and Index can guide you to specific subjects, and we also provide appropriate cross-references to them from the Office XML task chapters in Part Two.

While we chose and edited the XML tutorials to emphasize the aspects that are supported in Office, we did so fully aware that the focus of the book is on sharing information, including between Office and other systems that could have more complete XML support. For that reason, we also cover, though in less detail, XML facilities that Office does not support fully.

About the products

The Office suite is packaged and distributed in multiple editions and the XML support varies among them:

  • Native XML file formats for Word and Excel are available in all editions.
  • Custom schema support is only available in the Professional and Professional Enterprise editions.
  • The new InfoPath product is only available in the Professional Enterprise edition and as an individual purchase.

Almost all of the Office material in this book involves custom schemas. The general XML material, of course, is not product-specific.

When the book talks about “the Office products” without further qualification, it means those with XML support: Word, Excel, InfoPath, Access, and FrontPage.

Although Visio also has XML support, it is sufficiently different from the other products that we don’t cover it in the book. Its XML capabilities can be summarized as follows:

  • It has its own XML data representation, called VDX.
  • It can import SVG drawings as shapes and export complete diagrams in SVG.
  • It is possible to attach XML data in any schema to objects in a Visio diagram.

These things are mentioned here to avoid cluttering the book with disclaimers like “if you have the Professional edition you can also do this” and “all of the products (except Visio and non-XML-enabled products) can do that”.

How to use this book

XML in Office 2003 has three parts, consisting of 24 chapters. We won’t try to describe the full scope here, as you can easily look at the Table of Contents. But we do include some tips that will help you get the most from the book.

Part One introduces the applications of desktop XML, the XML language and technology, and the XML features of Office. Please read it first as it is the foundation for the rest of the book.

Part Two teaches the XML features of Office in detail, with working examples and step-by-step walk-throughs. Each chapter has a subtitle that indicates the level of implementation task it describes: power user or script developer. The Office product name is also included if it isn’t in the chapter title.

You can read Part Two with only Part One as background, although technical readers may want to complete the XML tutorials first; others can dip into them as needed.

There are two considerations to keep in mind regarding the examples:

  • Web services change. Any Web service described in this book might not be exactly the same, or even still exist, at the time you read about it. Before testing the example code, please check the Web service at the provided URL to see if anything has changed.
  • URLs do not contain line breaks. URLs can be very long and they cannot contain line breaks. When you see a URL in this book that is split over several lines, the line breaks are not part of the actual URL; they were inserted so that the URL could fit within the page width of the book.

The XML tutorials can be found in Part Three. We strove to keep them friendly and understandable for readers without a background in subjects not covered in this book. Tutorials whose subject matter thwarted that goal are labeled as being a tad tougher so you will know what to expect, but not to discourage you from reading them.

There is an extensive index that also serves as a “glossary-in-context”. We believe that the meaning of a term is best understood in context — in several contexts if they add to understanding, or the term has multiple meanings. Therefore, an index entry identifies the page(s) where its term is defined separately from the entry’s other pages.

Charles F. Goldfarb
Priscilla Walmsley
November 26, 2003

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