Microsoft Office 2003 Editions: Overview of Developer TechnologiesSeptember 2004
a document. The creation of a document should be the focus. XML provides structure to Word documents to assist you in creating a robust document-based solution and allows for easier subsequent reuse of the document information through the XML file format. If the captured information is solely intended for a database or to be submitted to a business process or Web service in the form of a custom-defined schema, InfoPath provides better control over data validation and offers quicker form construction to capture information than Word. There are also a number of Word structures, such as controls, that you cannot easily map to XML elements without writing code to construct the desired XML.
Recommend using Excel. Use Excel to capture XML when the information being captured is part of a numerical data aggregation or analysis project. A typical use is for peer groups to use a common Excel template for entering periodic information (e.g. monthly financials) which is rolled up into an overall analysis. An Excel template allows multiple users to use the power of Excel to consolidate and calculate the appropriate numbers to submit as a simple XML file; the common schema allows you to each XML results file in Excel. If calculations or numerical relationships are not necessary in the capture process, consider using InfoPath. The result of an InfoPath form is an XML file that you can merge and analyze using Excel.
Recommend using InfoPath. InfoPath provides rich form-like capabilities to capture information in an XML format. Any time you can consider a form as a mechanism to capture data easily, whether on-line or off-line, you should consider InfoPath. Due to the requirement that all users require InfoPath to fill out the forms, do not consider InfoPath for extranet scenarios where you are solely capturing a limited set of data within one session by a user. Web technologies are better for that scenario. However, InfoPath does provide the capability to fill out a form off-line which can provide a better experience for some extranet users when the filling out forms that require a lot of data, or require more time than a single sitting to complete. Or for scenarios that include collaboration and reviews before submission.
If high fidelity printing of the form is important, then consider Word. However, if it is better for the form to use many different controls, such as checkboxes and
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