European Patent Office, Patent Number EP1376387
Microsoft Patent Application
Title: Word-processing document stored in a single XML file
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Description of EP1376387
Background of the Invention
 Markup Languages have attained wide popularity in recent years. One type of markup language, Extensible Markup Language (XML), is a universal language that provides a way to identify, exchange, and process various kinds of data. For example, XML is used to create documents that can be utilized by a variety of application programs. Elements of an XML file have an associated namespace and schema.
 In XML, a namespace is a unique identifier for a collection of names that are used in XML documents as element types and attribute names. The name of a namespace is commonly used to uniquely identify each class of XML document. The unique namespaces differentiate markup elements that come from different sources and happen to have the same name.
 XML Schemata provide a way to describe and validate data in an XML environment. A schema states what elements and attributes are used to describe content in an XML document, where each element is allowed, what types of text contents are allowed within it and which elements can appear within which other elements. The use of schemata ensures that the document is structured in a consistent manner. Schemata may be created by a user and generally supported by an associated markup language, such as XML. By using an XML editor, the user can manipulate the XML file and generate XML documents that adhere to the schema the user has created. XML documents may be created to adhere to one or more schemata.
 Typically, word-processing documents are not understandable by external applications unless those applications are familiar with the specific structure of the document. This makes it very difficult for applications to manipulate the word-processing documents without extensive knowledge of the application. What is needed is a way to easily manipulate, create, and display documents associated with a word-processor.
Summary of the Invention
 The present invention is directed at providing a word-processing document in a native XML file format that may be understood by an application that understands XML, or to enable another application or service to create a rich document in XML so that the word-processing application can open it as if it was one of its own documents.
 According to one aspect of the invention, a word-processor has a native XML file format. The well formed XML file fully represents the word-processor document, and fully supports the word-processor's rich formatting. Accordingly, one of the goals of such a native XML representation is have no feature losses when saving the word-processor documents in XML according to a defined XSD.
 According to another aspect of the invention, there is a published XSD file that defines all the rules behind the word-processor's XML file format. The schema describes the word-processor's XML structure. The schema file mirrors the internal word-processor program while still allowing ease of use. Thus, the schema enables third party services and applications to create XML documents understandable by the word processing application.
 According to yet another aspect of the invention, hints are provided within the XML associated files providing applications that understand XML a shortcut to understanding some of the features provided by the word-processor. By using the hints, the applications do not have to know all of the specific details of the internal processing of the word-processor in order to recreate a feature.
 According to yet another aspect of the invention, the word-processing document is stored in a single XML file. An application will be able to fully recreate the document from this single XML file. This includes all the images and other binary data that may be present in the document. The invention provides for a way to represent all document data in a single XML file.
 According to still yet another aspect of the invention, manipulation of word-processing documents may be done on computing devices that do not include the word-processor itself.
Brief Description of the Drawings
FIGURE 1 illustrates an exemplary computing device that may be used in one exemplary embodiment of the present invention;
FIGURE 2 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary environment for practicing the present invention;
FIGURE 3 shows an exemplary WPML file;
FIGURE 4 shows a tree view of an exemplary word-processor XML document;
FIGURE 5 illustrates a block diagram of an exemplary structure of a word-processor XML document; and
FIGURE 6 illustrates a process flow for interpreting a word-processor document; in accordance with aspects of the present invention.
Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiment
 Throughout the specification and claims, the following terms take the meanings explicitly associated herein, unless the context clearly dictates otherwise.
 The terms "markup language" or "ML" refer to a language for special codes within a document that specify how parts of the document are to be interpreted by an application. In a word-processor file, the markup language specifies how the text is to be formatted or laid out, whereas in an HTML document, the ML tends to specify the text's structural function (e.g., heading, paragraph, etc.)
 The terms "word-processor markup language" or "WPML" refers to markup language elements that are associated with a word-processor application and a schema associated with the word-processor application. This type of ML or schema is also often called the word-processor's "native" schema or markup.
 The term "element" refers to the basic unit of an ML document. The element may contain attributes, other elements, text, and other building blocks for an ML document.
 The term "tag" refers to a command inserted in a document that delineates elements within an ML document. Each element can have no more than two tags: the start tag and the end tag. It is possible to have an empty element (with no content) in which case one tag is allowed.
 The content between the tags is considered the element's "children" (or descendants). Hence other elements embedded in the element's content are called "child elements" or "child nodes" or the element. Text embedded directly in the content of the element is considered the element's "child text nodes". Together, the child elements and the text within an element constitute that element's "content".
 The term "attribute" refers to an additional property set to a particular value and associated with the element. Elements may have an arbitrary number of attribute settings associated with them, including none. Attributes are used to associate additional information with an element that will not contain additional elements, or be treated as a text node.
Illustrative Operating Environment
 With reference to FIGURE 1, one exemplary system for implementing the invention includes a computing device, such as computing device 100. In a very basic configuration, computing device 100 typically includes at least one processing unit 102 and system memory 104. Depending on the exact configuration and type of computing device, system memory 104 may be volatile (such as RAM), non-volatile (such as ROM, flash memory, etc.) or some combination of the two. System memory 104 typically includes an operating system 105, one or more applications 106, and may include program data 107. In one embodiment, application 106 may include a word-processor application 120 that further includes ML editor 122. This basic configuration is illustrated in FIGURE 1 by those components within dashed line 108.
 Computing device 100 may have additional features or functionality. For example, computing device 100 may also include additional data storage devices (removable and/or non-removable) such as, for example, magnetic disks, optical disks, or tape. Such additional storage is illustrated in FIGURE 1 by removable storage 109 and non-removable storage 110. Computer storage media may include volatile and nonvolatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information, such as computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data. System memory 104, removable storage 109 and non-removable storage 110 are all examples of computer storage media. Computer storage media includes, but is not limited to, RAM, ROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other memory technology, CD-ROM, digital versatile disks (DVD) or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can be accessed by computing device 100. Any such computer storage media may be part of device 100. Computing device 100 may also have input device(s) 112 such as keyboard, mouse, pen, voice input device, touch input device, etc. Output device(s) 114 such as a display, speakers, printer, etc. may also be included. These devices are well know in the art and need not be discussed at length here.
 Computing device 100 may also contain communication connections 116 that allow the device to communicate with other computing devices 118, such as over a network. Communication connection 116 is one example of communication media. Communication media may typically be embodied by computer readable instructions, data structures, program modules, or other data in a modulated data signal, such as a carrier wave or other transport mechanism, and includes any information delivery media. The term "modulated data signal" means a signal that has one or more of its characteristics set or changed in such a manner as to encode information in the signal. By way of example, and not limitation, communication media includes wired media such as a wired network or direct-wired connection, and wireless media such as acoustic, RF, infrared and other wireless media. The term computer readable media as used herein includes both storage media and communication media.
Word-Processor File Structure
 FIGURE 2 is a block diagram illustrating an exemplary environment for practicing the present invention. The exemplary environment shown in FIGURE 2 is a word-processor environment 200 that includes word-processor 120, WPML file 210, WPML Schema 215, and WPML validation engine 225.
 In one embodiment, word-processor 120 has its own namespace or namespaces and a schema, or a set of schemas, that is defined for use with documents associated with word-processor 120. The set of tags and attributes defined by the schema for word-processor 120 define the format of a document to such an extent that it is referred to as its own native markup language, a Word-Processor Mark-up Language (WPML). The WPML is supported by word-processor 120 and may adhere to the rules of other markup languages, such as XML, while creating further rules of its own. A WPML provides a markup language that includes rich display information that a user can solicit without the need to spend time creating the schema corresponding to the display information.
 Word-processor 120 internally validates WPML file 210. When validated, the WPML elements are examined as to whether they conform to the WPML schema 215. As previously described above, a schema states what tags and attributes are used to describe content in an ML document, where each tag is allowed, and which tags can appear within other tags, ensuring that the documentation is structured the same way. Accordingly, WPML 210 is valid when structured as set forth in arbitrary WPML schema 215.
 WPML validation engine 225 operates similarly to other available validation engines for ML documents. WPML validation engine 225 evaluates WPML that is in the format of the WPML validation engine 225. For example, XML elements are forwarded to an XML validation engine. In one embodiment, a greater number of validation engines may be associated with word-processor 120 for validating a greater number of ML formats.
 FIGURE 3 illustrates an exemplary WPML file in accordance with the present invention. WPML file 300 includes WPML elements. An element in a markup language usually includes an opening tag (indicated by a "<" and ">"), some content, and a closing tag (indicated by a "</" and ">"). In this example, tags associated with WPML include a "w:" within the tag (e.g., 302). The "w:" prefix is used as shorthand notation for the namespace associated with the element.
 There are enough WPML elements for an application that understands XML to fully recreate the document from this single XML file. Hint tags may also be included that provide information to an application to help understand the content of the file. For a more complete description of the WPML used according to one embodiment of the invention, please see the description below. An exemplary WPML file that is more detailed is also discussed below.
 The text contained within the document follows the "T" tag, making it easy for an application to extract the text content from a word-processing document created in accordance with aspects of the invention. Given that the example shown is valid, WPML file 210 produces a document with a body and two paragraphs that include the text "Work" in the first paragraph and "123 Main" in the second paragraph.
 FIGURE 4 illustrates a tree view of a word-processor document, according to aspects of the invention. The first fields within the XML document relate to document information and properties.
 For example, document statistics information may be stored. This information may include, but is not limited to, title, subject, author, manager, company, category, keywords. The information may also relate do document statistics such as creation date, modification date, last access date, last print date, number of pages, words, lines, characters, and the like. Custom properties may also be stored.
 According to one embodiment of the invention, all of the fonts are defined up font. The font information includes the supporting font information.
 Similarly, styles, tables, numbering, and the like are defined. The styles fields include formatting at different list levels, the type of list, and any other information needed for a list. Paragraphs contained within the XML document may point at list styles are they may default to a style.
 The character style contains information that relates to the text within the word-processing document. For example the character style may include properties relating to the font style, size, color, underline style, text effects, scaling, spacing, kerning, and the like. Any character property defined by the word-processor may be included. The text of the word-processing document ("text runs") point to the styles to define how the text should be displayed. A hint may also be provided that helps an application display the text.
 The paragraph style generally includes character properties as well as paragraph properties. Paragraph properties may include paragraph alignment, outline level, indentation, spacing before and after the paragraph, line spacing, pagination properties, and the like. The paragraph section may include information such as the style name of the paragraph, the list information, and the like.
 Table styles will contain a lot of information specific to the design of the table. This will include information such as banding, etc. Table properties include information such borders; width; and grid units. The Grid Units of the table is referenced by the cells to get their width.
 The text node contains the actual content of the document. All of the text for the word-processing document is stored within this node. This feature makes it very easy to be able to just access the content of the document. All of the other elements may be ignored if all that is desired is the text.
 Section properties contain information such as page layout, footer and header information, and other information specific to a section of the word-processor document.
 The text run references the character style name as well as allowing properties.
 Images and objects are within a Paragraph. Even floating ones are contained in a paragraph. When floating, this is where an anchor would appear. According to one embodiment of the invention, images are stored as a binary encoding. For an exemplary image stored as a binary encoding, please refer to the exemplary word processor file below.
 Template information relating to the word processor may also be stored within the word processor document. According to one embodiment of the invention, the template information is stored as a binary encoding within the word processor document.
 A paragraph mark element represents the paragraph mark. Since the paragraph mark itself can have formatting applied to it, we need to output an element to represent the paragraph mark that we can give character properties.
 As can be seen by the exemplary layout of the file, an application may use as much, or as little of the information as it desires. If the application desires to recreate or create the document exactly as the word-processor would then there is sufficient information within the document to do so. If the application desires to minimally format the content, on the other hand, then the application may do that as well.
 FIGURE 5 illustrates a block diagram of a document, in accordance with aspects of the invention. Styles 505 include list styles 510, char styles 512, paragraph styles 514, and table styles 516. Properties 518 include document properties 520 and information properties 522. Body 524 includes exemplary section 526 and exemplary section 528. Section 526 includes paragraph 530 that includes specific property information 530 and text run 532. As can be seen, the text runs may include properties and the text or possibly an image or an object.
 Exemplary section 528 includes table 550 that includes properties relating to the table and a definition of the table rows and the cells contained within the table. The sections may also include information relating to the footnotes, print information and the like.
 Different parts of the document may refer to the styles (505) to define how the element will be displayed. For example, as illustrated within the figure, some paragraphs may refer to list styles 414 or paragraph styles 516. Text runs refer to char styles 412, and tables may refer to table styles 516..
 The word-processor document includes all of the information within the document that allows it to be recreated an application.
 Other information may also be included within the document that is not needed by the word-processing program. According to one embodiment of the invention a "hints" element is included that allows external programs to easily be able to recognize what a particular element is, or how to recreate the element. For example, a specific number format may be in a list and used by the external program to recreate the document without knowing the specifics of the style.
 FIGURE 6 illustrates a process 600 flow for intrepreting a word-processor document, in accordance with aspects of the invention. After a start block, the process moves to block 610, at which point the word-processor document is parsed. The parsing may include looking at the entire document, or only at specific portions of the document. For example, one application may parse the document for text only, another application may parse the document for text and images, whereas another document may desire the entire rich content within the document.
 Flowing to block 615, the document is interpreted according to the published XSD. The XSD defines how to interpret the XML document created by the word-processor.
 At decision block 620, a determination is made as to whether to display the document. When the document is to be displayed the process moves to block 625 where the document is displayed. The document may be displayed to a user for editing or some other purposes. When the document is not to be displayed, the process moves to decision block 630.
 At decision block 630, a determination is made as to whether to modify the document. The document may be modified by a user or by the application itself with no user interaction. The document may be modified for many reasons. For example, additional text may be added or deleted, a portion of the document may be formatted differently, an image may be added, and the like. When the document is to be modified the process moves to block 635 where the document is modified (See FIGURE 7 and related discussion). The document is modified in accordance with an XSD that defines all of the information needed to create a word-processor document. An exemplary XSD is described below.
 As a further illustration of an exemplary word-processor document, the following is a word-processor document created in accordance with aspects of the present invention. According to one embodiment of the invention, the word-processor document is stored as a single XML document.
EMI10.1 - EMI40.1
 The word-processor document created in accordance with aspects of the invention is very rich. If desired, an application that understands XML may create and/or modify the word-processor document. The application may also ignore many of the elements within the document if so desired. For example, an application may desire to only know the text contained within the document. According to this particular example, the application would only have to extract the elements identified by the <w:T> tag.
 In order for an application to understand the word-processor documents created by the word-processor, an XSD file is provided. Below is an exemplary XSD file that may be used for interpreting and/or creating the rich word-processing documents in XML.
EMI40.2 - EMI102.1
 As discussed above, hints may be provided within the XML associated files providing applications that understand XML a shortcut to understanding some of the features provided by the word-processor. By using the hints, the applications do not have to know all of the specific details of the internal processing of the word-processor in order to recreate a feature. Below is an exemplary hints schema, in accordance with aspects of the invention.
EMI102.2 - EMI104.1
 The above specification, examples and data provide a complete description of the manufacture and use of the composition of the invention. Since many embodiments of the invention can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, the invention resides in the claims hereinafter appended.
Claims of EP1376387
1. A computer-readable medium having computer-executable components, comprising:
a first component for reading a word-processor document stored as a single XML file;
a second component that utilizes an XSD for interpreting the word-processor document, and
a third component for performing an action on the word-processor document.
2. The computer-readable medium of Claim 1, further comprising a validating component configured to validate the word-processor document.
3. The computer-readable medium of Claim 1, further comprising a fourth component for displaying the word-processor document.
4. The computer-readable medium of Claim 2, wherein the XSD represents a word-processor's rich formatting.
5. The computer-readable medium of Claim 4, wherein the XSD is published and is available to applications other than the word-processor.
6. The computer-readable medium of Claim 4, wherein the word-processor document includes hints to applications that understand XML.
7. The computer-readable medium of Claim 5, wherein the action may be selected from parsing, modifying, reading, and creating the word-processor document.
8. The computer-readable medium of Claim 5, wherein the action may be fully recreating the word-processor document according to a word processor's set of features.
9. The computer-readable medium of Claim 8, wherein the action may be storing an image within the word-processor document as a binary encoding.
10. The computer-readable medium of Claim 9, wherein the action may be storing template information as a binary encoding within the word-processor document.
11. A method for handling a word-processing document, comprising:
parsing the document, wherein the document is contained within a single XML file and includes all of the instructions necessary to display the document according to how a word-processor would display the document;
and interpreting the document according to an XSD.
12. The method of Claim 11, further comprising displaying the document according to the instructions contained within the single XML file.
13. The method of Claim 12, futher comprising modifying the document so as to conform with an XSD file.
14. The method of Claim 13, wherein the XSD includes definitions for all of the features incorporated within the word-processor.
15. The method of Claim 12, wherein displaying the document further comprises formatting the text according to style and properties contained within the singe XML file.
16. The method of Claim 11, further comprising extracting text from the single XML file by searching for single tag indicating that the information following the tag is text.
17. A system for creating, interpreting, and modifying a word-processor document stored as as single WPML file, comprising:
a WPML file;
a validation engine configured to validate the WPML file; and
a word processor configured to read a WPML file created in accordance with a schema.
18. The system of Claim 17, wherein the word processor is further configured to modify the WPML file in accordance with the schema.
19. The system of Claim 17, wherein the word processor is further configured to output the document to a display.
20. The system of Claim 19, wherein the schema is published and is available to applications other than the word-processor.
21. The system of Claim 19, wherein the WPML file includes hints to applications that understand XML.
22. The system of Claim 19, wherein the word processor is further configured to create a document according to the schema.
23. A computer-readable medium having a schema encoded thereon, for a word-processor markup language, the schema comprising:
a properties element;
a styles element;
a body element, wherein the body element comprises:
a paragraph element;
a text run element including text that is the text content of a word-processor document and is defined by a single tag;
and a table element.
24. The schema of Claim 23, further comprising a hints element, wherein the hints element may be used to indicate a meaning for an item.
25. The schema of Claim 23, wherein the styles element comprises a list style, a character style, a paragraph style and a table style.
26. The schema of Claim 25, wherein the properties element further comprises document properties and information properties.
27. The schema of Claim 26, wherein the paragraph element further comprises a properties element.
28. The schema of Claim 27, wherein the paragraph section may default to a predetermined paragraph property.
29. The schema of Claim 28, wherein the text run section further comprises an image section.
30. The schema of Claim 29, wherein the image section stores an image as a binary encoding.
31. The schema of Claim 26, wherein the properties element further comprises template information stored as a binary encoding.