Jon Udell: Exploring Office 2003: Here are some screencaps of the XML capabilities of Word and Excel in Office 2003. The mind reels at the possibilities.
Here’s something a little more in-depth on the topic from MSDN: Importing XML Maps, XML Lists, and Dynamic Chart Sources in Excel 2003:
“Excel 2003 has improved its support for operations with native XML. Microsoft Excel 2002 added the ability to open and save Excel spreadsheets in an XML vocabulary designed specifically for Excel called the ‘XML Spreadsheet’ format. This vocabulary conforms to a specific schema, so any system can produce an Excel-ready spreadsheet in XML, as long as it conforms to the schema.”
I can’t help but think that the ArborTexts and XMLSpys of the world are in big trouble, and that even content management companies may feel the sting here. With Office documents having their source in XML, that’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from Web publishing.
I know from sitting through many a content management vendor presentation that one of their big selling points is letting users author in native applications (Word, for instance), then converting that to Web content. I can’t help but think that this advantage is disappearing quickly.