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O'Reilly Open Source Convention
Hornbill.

Session

Microsoft Office Files Exposed
Simon St.Laurent, O'Reilly Media, Inc.

Track: XML
Date: Wednesday, July 09
Time: 2:30pm - 3:15pm
Location: Columbia

Microsoft's latest version of Office is far more open than its predecessors, though still closed source. While the code remains closed, Microsoft has opened its data formats and made it possible to use Office as an interface to other applications - even applications which know nothing of Windows or Office.

The latest version of Microsoft Office includes major new XML support for Word, Excel, and Access. Developers can save Word and Excel documents to a native XML format, but they can also create and analyze documents in any XML vocabulary. This openness is a huge risk for Microsoft and a huge opportunity for developers.

This session will explore this new functionality in depth, starting by examining the vocabularies Microsoft uses to represent documents, spreadsheets, and database information. First steps will explore what developers need to extract information from these formats and create new information using these formats.

A brief exploration of tactics for creating Word-based interfaces to XML document vocabularies will follow, along with a brief demonstration of how users can manipulate and analyze XML information in Excel.

Next, we'll examine some new aspects of Microsoft Office, notably the InfoPath (formerly XDocs) product, and how it compares to alternative possibilities using XForms, Mozilla, or plain HTML.

Finally, we'll explore how Microsoft's XML initiatives compare to similar initiatives from OpenOffice and other open source projects.



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