The power of data-view separation in your documents

There is an excellent post over on the Word team blog that goes into details on how the new content controls feature (when parred with XML mapping) allows for powerful data-view separation in you wordprocessing documents. I've talked many times about the custom defined schema support, and this post from Tristan does a great job of explaining how that can be achieved.

If you want to see a couple quick demos, a few months back I posted some videos on Channel 9 that helped show what you could do with this.

  • Operating against your data rather than Word's data – In this screencast I give a quick demo of the benefit you have as a developer / solution builder when you map your data to the content controls within a document.
  • Moving custom XML data from Excel to Word – In this screencast I show how you can use the custom XML support in Word and Excel to move your own data between the two applications. Rather than the basic copy/paste type functionality where you move the content and presentation, in this example I use Excel to run a model against my data and pull together some results. I then take the results out of the table in Excel and present them in a completely different format in Word.
  • Add your own schema to a .docx with controls and create the mappings - For those of you interested, there is an open source project that allows you to take any .docx file that has content controls and quickly add your own schema to the file and create mappings to the control. It doesn't require you to have Word running on the machine, and give you a pretty nice interface (not for the average end user though). Check out the Channel 9 video from Matt Scott who put the tool together.

Tristan actually had a series of posts on this subject, most of which focused on the non-XML side of content controls. This last post is his first to touch on the XML mapping functionality. There will be more posts to come that show how document management systems like SharePoint can allow you to view and modify the custom data without actually editing the presentation of the file. Here are all of Tristan's current posts in order:

  1. Control Yourself…
  2. Protect Me
  3. What does structured editing mean anyway?
  4. Meet the Controls
  5. What does structured editing mean anyway? (part 2)
  6. Separate Yet Equal