XML and Collaboration

XML is fast becoming the file format which vendors are clammering to adopt
in their products. My main interest area is with collaboration and I see two
key announcements recently which will bring great benefits in terms of opening
data to collaboration platforms.

  • Office 12 XML document format for Word, Excel and Powerpoint (see Brian
    Jones’ Blog
  • Lotus, more quietly, announced RSS integration into the "Hannover"
    client (Notes 8) and also XML feeds from Quickplace.

As more and more products jump on the XML bandwagon we may soon have a situation
where platforms aimed at providing document management and knowledge manegement
elements of collaboration will be able to interact more freely through RSS feeds
(and some work will be required for the security and integrity of these feeds
where commercially sensitive information is involved but one would expect most
of this to be dealt with at the network level).

My main area of interest at the moment has been thoughts around the humble
file server. The search capabilities of these devices have just been boosted
with the XML format as it should be possible to index header information from
the XML documents in order to allow rapid searching of huge volumes of data.
If fields in the XML headers could be linked to a users unique identifer (email
address, IM name, group name) then presence awareness at a file system level
would be possible. With smart search engines looking at keywords in header data
you could for example search for spectroscopy, this returns 1000 documents from
your physics company, but by drilling into the author field you see that 60
documents can be attributed to a particular group or individual.

I can foresee a complete re-code of many document manageent platforms and database
platforms in order to utilise the capability of more granular search and replace
from within XML based office documents.

The next interesting area will be the aggregator development and how that progresses
into an enterprise level desktop application ….. well theres one for another
post (but I’m still arguing with myself what to blog next, I think it will be
SIP and how that affects instant messaging environments and the interface between
different proprietry systems (the main corporate environments being Sametime
and LCS…..so I’ll aim to do that in the next 7 days).

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