Sunday, April 02, 2006

Getting more value from Office Documents -- XQuery

Since documents by definition are created by and for the world-wide masses, there is a wide variation in the value of these documents. By value I mean both the quality of what they contain (are they true? accurate? interesting?) but also in their value as assets that can be transformed or reused. Microsoft Office 2007 will be XML-based; OpenOffice and StarOffice 8 are XML-based. You can argue whose XML is richer and more useful (so far I give that award to OO and SO8 for a variety of reasons that I'll explain later). But it is still hard to do much with that XML unless you use the right tools. I've used Altova's "Spy" for some time as a suite for some XML management like schema development and analysis and been generally happy with that suite. Increasingly, however, styling and transforming the content is becoming the best way to derive value from investments in XML content. That means using XSLT and XQuery, and I'm increasingly believing that for serious use of those standards, you need a different tool: Stylus Studio. To learn more about this alternative suite, check out Larry Kim's Stylus Studio blog.

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