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Excel® 2007 VBA Programmer's Reference by Michael Alexander, Rob Bovey, Stephen Bullen, John Green

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Chapter 12. Working with XML and the Open XML File Formats

XML (Extensible Markup Language) functionality has been available in various forms since Office 2000. It made its debut in the Office suite of applications in 1999 with relatively little fanfare, waiting there quietly until the release of Office 2003, where it was touted as one of the most significant improvements in Excel. Office 2003 came with many new XML capabilities and the promise of major changes in the way businesses would work with data. In addition to seamless exchange of data, XML promised easy analysis, dynamic reporting, and the ability to consume data from an untold number of external sources.

Unfortunately, XML has failed to find a place in the hearts of many Excel programmers. The problem is that many Excel programmers still look at XML as a solution to a problem that they haven't quite encountered yet. This is because much of the functionality offered by XML can be handled by existing technologies and processes that programmers are already comfortable with. In addition, most Excel developers don't live in environments where XML shines the brightest — environments where data is routinely exchanged between disparate platforms (such as the web). The reality is that most Excel programmers live in a world where the Office suite of applications and a few SQL Server databases are as diverse as it gets. The bottom line is that there has never been that one compelling reason to leave the comfort of existing technologies ...

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