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By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2002-09-30 Print this article Print

Microsofts Raikes said the arbitrary schemas in Office 11 "grow phenomenally" the softwares ability to connect with business applications, since its no longer necessary to write Excel specifically for a financial reporting schema or a content management schema.

Word Task Pane (see image) will also become programmable in XML, effectively becoming a mechanism that guides users through the solution that was built on Office, Raikes said.

Bill Coan, president of Coan and Company Inc., in Hortonville, Wis., which develops custom templates and add-ins for corporate customers, welcomed the programmable task pane.

"This is a very, very powerful development," Coan said. "It simply hasnt been possible before now, and it will have a dramatic impact on user productivity."

But Bob Duerr, president of Integrated e-Com, in Naperville, Ill., which provides CRM (customer relationship management), e-CRM and e-commerce solutions to small businesses, said Offices new XML features seem geared toward midsize- and large-enterprise users.

"Small businesses will not use or understand the capabilities," Duerr said. "Also, getting the average user to take advantage of it will take understanding; training; and many, many pre-built templates."

Looking beyond Office 11, Raikes said there will be another significant step forward within the time frame of the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn and due beyond 2004, that will relate to storage unification.

"One of the improvements to the user experience will be the storage unification of certain applications, like Outlook, with the storage of the operating environment as well as some SQL-structured storage," Raikes said.

This will result in one folder system, on the client and server, based on the same storage system, Raikes said.

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    Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

    He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

    He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

    He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

    He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

    He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

    His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

    For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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