The “X” Stands for “Xplain, Please”

Microsoft has just announced their new Office file format, XDocs . That noise you hear is the sound of millions of people scratching their head at once, trying to figure out what the heck XDocs is.

The MS Web site describes XDocs like this:

“XDocs,” a code name for the newest member of the Microsoft Office family, streamlines the process of gathering information by enabling teams and organizations to easily create and work with rich, dynamic forms. The information collected can be integrated with a broad range of business processes because XDocs supports any customer-defined XML schema and integrates with XML Web services. As a result, XDocs helps to connect information workers directly to organizational information and gives them the ability to act on it, which leads to greater business impact.

All together now: “Huh?!?” That sounds like something from Dilbert’s consultant-speak generator. All they need to do now is leverage their core competencies to provide best-of-breed e-commerce solutions, and they’re set.

Seriously, can anyone explain to me what this does? ‘Cuz I have no idea. Of course, I had no idea what the big deal behind .NET was when they announced it, either, and it’s since been executed on pretty impressively. So maybe XDocs is something to keep an eye on.

Or maybe it’s just FUD. You make the call 🙂

(P.S. If this is a new format for MS Office documents — does anybody else find it unsurprising that Microsoft would change the Office file formats right when the project is demonstrating near-perfect compatibility with Office 2000/XP files? Hmmm…)