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New Microsoft Office will save in XML

Microsoft have announced that the next and future versions of Office will save in XML. Think about it, that’s pretty cool. Even if it does mean that old versions of Office won’t know what to do with it.

I just hope it’s not “XML, Jim, but not was we know it”. Those of us who have worked in web design/development jobs will be all-too familiar with the “clever client” who has saved their Word document in HMTL for us to put straight onto their website (I remember this being particularly popular circa 1998-99 for some reason).

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Microsoft Word has a “Save as HTML” function which spits out the most repulsive, ghastly and out-right damn awful HTML you’ve ever seen. I hope that the new MS Office XML format isn’t like that.

If this all pans out nicely there could be a whole new aspect of the semantic web opening up here – and perhaps the beginning of the holy grail I’ve been hoping for… Where all network documents are saved in XML, and rely on a stylesheet for their presentational layer (not HTML), so that they can be read easily by both man and machine.

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