CNET is running an article this morning that discloses some of Microsoft's plans for Office 12. Office 12 represents an interesting development for fans of XML, as it opens a clear path for huge quantities of data to be immediately usable for web messages, web services, SOA integration, and of course, XQuery. How so?
Office 12 is proposing to revamp Word, Powerpoint, and Excel file formats to use XML. A recent Bill Gates memo talks about how this will usher in a new ways to work. There are of course, vast quantities of binary formatted documents still in use and despite the future availability of conversion tools; it will be sometime (if ever) we see 100% of office documents described in XML
Some of you may be wondering if we've been here before -- after all, Sun's Star Office went down this road some time ago. Well, we're on the same road, perhaps, but on a bigger bus: Microsoft's move towards XML document formats will eventually have a far greater impact as their market share predominates. When an industry heavyweight such as Microsoft positions one of its more profitable product lines on XMvL, other vendors take notice, all but ensuring the increased prominence of XML across the technology spectrum.
The recent Progress® DataDirect® XQuery Industry Study reveals some very interesting trends in the use of XML, XQuery and other XML technologies, reinforces my belief that Office 12's move to XML will cause an upsurge of XML in the enterprise. Indeed, I fully expect that many of our statistical findings on today's XML activity to grow significantly from the baselines we established with this survey, particularly as likes of Office 12 arrive to the market.
Of course, many corporations will take a wait-and-see approach at least initially, as various compatibility issues are ironed out. However, as with many shifts in technologies, it strikes me a that technology shift towards XML by a monolith such as Microsoft can only increase the prominence of XML across the technology spectrum
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