x4o: A New Generation of XML Authoring

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An Industry Leader with a Unique Solution

x4o Version 5 represents a new generation of XML authoring software, from the industry leader since 1993 in the development of structured authoring technology (XML & SGML) for Microsoft Word.

x4o preserves the complete Word authoring experience. Users can work with the complete feature set of Word while authoring in a fully functional XML authoring environment. The authoring process is complemented by a simple and flexible repurposing function that enables output for any requirement—PDF, print, web, e-books, XML, etc.

The x4o tab added to the Word ribbon, as shown above, is user-configurable. Functions can be easily added or removed, to allow any combination of authoring, managing, reviewing, or publishing content.


The x4o Theory of Operation

Any technology that successfully addresses a complex requirement must be based on a sound and clear theory of operation.

XML is used for the exchange of information, at any level of complexity, between systems. Schema files provide rules about the naming and organization of the XML content.

The unlimited range of current and future systems require a solution that is as flexible as possible, and compliant with any correctly formed schema. OOXML (Office Open XML) is the world’s most widely-used, comprehensive set of technical elements.

Technical elements are used for the identification of content for presentation purposes: e.g., paragraphs, emphasis, tables, lists, citations, footnotes, etc. They are generic; all documents use them in full or part. Microsoft Word is an authoring application that provides support for these elements.

To deliver maximum value, an x4o application manages the business elements and
defaults the technical elements to Word. Business (semantic) elements are for the
identification of content of interest that has a specific business purpose: e.g., part
number, active ingredient, reusable sections, etc.

In a production environment, many different XML formats are used, depending on the
application requirement. Using Word to save content in OOXML format makes it easy to
transform the content, using XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations),
to the desired target mark-up (format).

This leaves formatting to Word’s native behaviour. The x4o application focus is on
“high-value”, semantic elements that unambiguously identify data in the document.
This theory of operation satisfies the target requirements of the x4o solution:

• maximum ease-of-use via a familiar, ubiquitous tool (Microsoft Word)
• maximum functionality, flexibility, and extensibility of XML authoring applications


x4o Developer Toolkit

Developers can build XML authoring applications within the familiar Microsoft Word environment, without sacrificing any functionality in this completely extensible solution.

x4o developers have the additional x4o Designer tab available to them, offering functions required for building x4o applications.

The x4o Developer Toolkit lets developers:

  • create semantically structured XML authoring templates
  • build their own authoring schemas
  • customize industry standard and 3rd party schemas for use in an x4o application
  • access XML services specific to the schema and current instance from Word VBA
  • invoke Word VBA macros on XML events
  • customize the Word look and feel, using Word's VBA and XML configuration files
  • customize transforms to target outputs

Define XML Elements

Define XML Structure