I keep seeing comments about the new Microsoft XDocs like this:

You know Microsoft has a marketing problem when none of us (Dave Winer, or the MVPs) can figure out what XDocs are for. I've been looking at the Web page and I still don't understand.

The Scobleizer

This really isn't very hard to understand at all.  Here's what I think:

  1. It's a slam against Adobe Acrobat / PDF and PDF Forms which Microsoft really doesn't like.  Acrobat is really a platform level technology and we all know that Microsoft really wants to be the only platform vendor.
  2. It's a super forms tools.  Forms are useful but not groundbreaking.  Still this is useful for capturing data.
  3. It relies on .NET (not stated explicitly but you can guarantee it).  I'm sure what's going to happen here is that internal developers will use it to create data capture applications and then it will drive installation of the .NET runtime as well as the next version of Office (that depends on whether or not there is a runtime engine or if you need the next version of office to use it).  If you think this is like the Word 97 file format change which drove the Office 95 to Office 97 migration then take the gold star !  That's right.
  4. And, most of all ... It's an AntiBrowser !  Yup.  An AntiBrowser.  This is the first real potentially mainstream product which you can use to capture data that isn't a browser / web server application.  Think about it -- how many data capture applications these days are built using a browser as the front end?  Lots and lots.  And those aren't all powered by IIS by a long shot.  This is a direct move against the thin client revolution.  And that just plain sucks.  Sure it makes sense to deploy executable code to capture data.  Sure it makes sense to update it and have even fatter client computers.  DOH ! 

Microsoft XDocs.  It's Just a Bad Idea.  Repeat After Me:

Microsoft XDocs.  It's Just a Bad Idea.