XML Import/Export for the Masses (2/2) - exploring XML
XML Import/Export for the Masses
eXportXML is a program that fully integrates into Word by means of macros and supports almost all standard formatting options in Word. No external XML parsers or interpreters are needed. A custom Word template is used to provide specific functionality such as adding metadata, optionally including references to DTDs and XSL style sheets, and exporting the document in valid and well-structured XML.
The export mechanism handles headings, lists, tables, and graphics. Direct text formatting is also supported, altough this feature breaks XML's desirable policy of separating content and style. Use of Word's indirect formatting through styles is the better option in that case.
An example Word document is provided to demonstrate the capabilities of eXportXML. This five page memorandum contains the typical combination of headings, direct formatting like alignment, tables and images. The export function creates an XML document that mirrors the document structure quite well. Tables are exported in the CALS format. Images are saved externally as JPEG, which might not always be the best choice.
I have not found the DTD for the example document in the package but style sheets for HTML output are included. Feel free to develop or plug in your own or other standard DTDs and style sheets like DocBook.
The introduced tools help in establishing XML as an authoring format by turning the most popular word processor into an XML import and export tool. This cannot be equivalent to a full XML editing environment but could remove one of the main hurdles today: the need to switch to a different editing application. Prices for both tools are quite steep (USD 149 and EUR 499, respectively), but time will soon tell whether competition and the open source community will step up to the interesting and probably popular task of providing a Word add-on for editing XML.
Produced by Michael Claßen
Created: Oct 15, 2001
Revised: Oct 15, 2001