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The Excel® Analyst's Guide to Access® by Michael Alexander

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Chapter 17. Integrating Excel and Access with XML

As intimidating as XML may seem, it is really nothing more than a text file that contains data wrapped in markup (tags that denote structure and meaning). These tags essentially make a text file machine-readable. The term "machine-readable" essentially means that any application or Web-based solution designed to read XML files is able to discern the structure and content of your file.

Because XML is text-based, it is not dependent on a specific application for construction, reading, or editing. This versatility makes XML an excellent integration mechanism.

In this chapter, you gain a solid understanding of the fundamentals of XML. You also get some context for XML functionality in Excel and Access by exploring some of the ways both Excel and Access allow you to work with XML data through the user interface.

Why XML?

Up to this point, you have explored several integration techniques that use well-established technologies that you are sure to feel comfortable with. So the question is: Why XML? Why should you explore a relatively new technology that, frankly, few in the Excel and Access community are using? There are three major benefits to using XML as an integration mechanism.

With XML, you can bypass technologies that you may not feel comfortable with such as MS Query, SQL statements, or ADO. Imagine incorporating external data into your Excel or Access processes without the need to manage database connectivity or use complex SQL statements. ...

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