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Compound Document: Definition, Architecture & Usage 

What is the definition of a compound document?

A compound document (or often mistakenly written as "compund document") has contents made up of different data types. This could be text, photos, or audio files stored in a word processor or a spreadsheet, for example. OLE was the first to incorporate this functionality in Microsoft software. Additional examples include:

  • HTML
  • KParts
  • Bonobo
  • Lotus Notes

A web page is a simple composite document that combines several sorts of information—text, images, audio, and videos—into one cohesive whole. Advanced compound documents provide real-time updates as their sources change, as well as the ability to directly access and share information sources.

The first demonstration of a Xerox Star workstation took place in 1981, and they originate from that time. The demo displayed information from other sources and even allowed visitors to directly visit these sources using a new user interface. The demonstration took place more than a decade before HTML and the World Wide Web, which you use on a daily basis.

compound document

How does the architecture of compound documents work?

The so called Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) has multiple rules for the framework and architecture of compound documents. The standards should be utilized in conjunction, either as a reference or as a requirement. The Web Integration Compound Document (WICD) standard and the Compound Document by Reference Framework standard are two of the most important CDF standards (CDR).

Web Integration Compound Document, or WICD, is a framework developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) for constructing such files . Depending on whether your major audience will be desktop or mobile device users, the WICD specification includes multiple profiles. Some of the web applications used are:

  • SVG
  • VoiceXML
  • X/HTML
  • CSS
  • MathML

OLE is also used in this context often. It is an acronym for Object Linking and Embedding. An author can activate different editor components to construct a compound document using a method for transferring and sharing information among them. It's a file made with an external application (such as files, graphics, or videos) that may be put into another application (for example Creo Parametric).

How are they used today?

Compound document types are made out of Microsoft Word documents. When you link a Microsoft Office file with data from another source or embed information in it, it has the potential to become a compound document.

You use Microsoft Office to compose a single document, construct spreadsheets, and produce presentations on a regular basis. It is also possible to add a document to your spreadsheet and include a link to your presentation in the Word document. The output qualifies as a composite document, whether you include live data from an external source or embed an image from your photo collection.

The concept of combining several information sources in a single environment revolutionized productivity software, spawning a new category known as groupware. You can work quickly through compound papers that link to information sources on the other side of the world thanks to the Internet's collaborative capability.

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Further reading: Sources and interesting links





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