Chapter Summary

This chapter has shown you that Microsoft Access 2003 makes it easy to work with XML files. Using Access built-in commands or programming code, you can both export Access data to an XML file and import an XML file and display the file as an Access table. You learned here what XML is and how it is structured. After working through the examples in this chapter, it's easy to see that XML supplies you with numerous ways to accomplish a specific task. Because XML is stored in plain text files, it can be read by many types of applications, independent of the operating system or hardware. You learned how to transform data from XML to HTML and from one XML format to another. You explored the ADO recordset methods suitable for working with XML programmatically. You were introduced to XSL stylesheets and XSLT

Taking Your VBA Programming Skills to the Web transformations. All of these new methods and techniques you've studied here will need time to sink in. XML is not like VBA. It is not very independent. It needs many supporting technologies to assist it in its work. So don't despair if you don't understand something right away. Learning XML requires learning many other new concepts (like XSLT, XPath, schemas, etc.) at the same time. Take XML step by step by experimenting with it. The time that you invest studying this new technology will not be wasted. XML is here to stay, and future versions of Access are bound to offer even better integration with XML than the current 2003 version. Here are three main reasons why you should really consider XML:

■ XML separates content from presentation.

This means that if you are planning to design web pages, you no longer need to make changes to your HTML files when the data changes. Because the data is kept in separate files, it's easy to make modifications.

■ XML is perfect for sharing and exchanging data.

This means that you no longer have to worry if your data needs to be processed by a system that's not compatible with yours. Because all systems can work with text files (and XML documents are simply text files), you can share and exchange your data without a headache.

This means that you no longer need a database system to have a database. What a great value!

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