Office 2003, which will be released soon, is more than an evolutionary upgrade. No one will want to sit this
one out because Office 2003 has the power to transform everything you do.
Imagine this for starters: In Word 2003 you can write a training guide and
then click a button and transform it into a teacher-only guide. Click a different
button and instantly transform it into a student-only guide. Click yet another
button and transform it into a learning exercise!
XML is what makes this possible. It is extremely exciting and I'm looking forward
to the day when it takes over the world. I don't think I'll have to wait long,
either, because the benefits are so dramatic, so tangible,and so accessible.
There's another aspect to XML that is just as exciting: XML allows you to enforce
rules for the data entered into a document. Office 2003 supports this aspect
of XML, too.
For example, you can specify that a fax number must appear at the top of each
fax cover sheet and must always include an area code. If a document violates
this or any other rule, you can tell Word to refuse to print or save the document.
If preferred, you can tell Word to alert you when a rule is violated, but allow
the document to be printed and saved, anyway.
The ability to enforce rules governing content and the ability to re-purpose
documents at the click of a button will radically change how we interact with
documents and with each other.
This is a *very* exciting time to be a Word user.