Office 2007 New Extensibility Interfaces

Office 2007 introduced a set of new extensibility interfaces. Prior to Office 2007, there were several extensibility interfaces, which all behaved differently, required different development techniques, different deployment/registration and different runtime lifetime characteristics. These included ISmartTagRecognizer, ISmartTagAction, ISmartDocument and IRtdServer. The only interface that was usefully implementable in a COM add-in was IDTExtensibility2 – and,…

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Microsoft .NET Development for Microsoft Office

A number of people have reported that the link to the companion content seems to be broken. MSPress are aware of the problem, and are fixing it. Meanwhile, here’s a direct link. http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/4/3/a433e8ad-25b5-420e-9126-292b380eb2f3/setup.exe Here’s the main book link: http://www.microsoft.com/mspress/books/7756.aspx …and replying to all those people who’ve asked whether I’m writing an update for Office 2007,…


COM Developers are from Mars, VBA Developers are from Venus, or: Typing, Binding and Wrapping in Office Development

I paused over my final mince pie today, and pondered the psychology of Office developers (as one does). Office development is a curious mix of different programming philosophies that has given rise to a number of interesting behavioral practices among developers. I picked the title for this post because one of the curious things is…

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Low-level support for ICustomTaskPaneConsumer, IRibbonExtensibility, FormRegionStartup, etc.

I’m mostly interested in the runtime aspects of VSTO, and less interested in the RAD design-time aspects (however wonderful they are), and in this post I want to explore some of the low-level infrastructure that the VSTO runtime provides. As a developer building add-ins using VSTO, you mostly (and rightly) don’t care how the plumbing…

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The Anomalous Behavior of Custom Task Panes in Word and InfoPath

Try this: create an add-in for Excel/Outlook/PowerPoint/Access with a custom task pane. Run the solution, see the custom task pane. Open another Excel workbook, see the custom task pane. Now, create an add-in for Word or InfoPath with a custom task pane. Run the solution, see the custom task pane. Open another Word/InfoPath document/form, and… where’s…

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Custom Task Panes: Doc-Level and App-Level

With VSTO 2005, you can build doc-level custom task panes (although we called them ActionsPanes). Our doc-level task panes were built on the old ISmartDocument technology – effectively, VSTO offered a streamlined RAD mechanism for building smart doc solutions.   With the upcoming “Cypress” release of VSTO 2005, you can also build app-level custom task…

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Converging the Office Add-in Model

Over the years, Office has exposed a number of different extensibility mechanisms, which all enable developers to build solutions based on Office. Each of these mechanisms is geared towards a different set of requirements, and the design of the extensibility interface reflects these different requirements. Think of the options: COM add-ins, XLLs and WLLs, XLAs…

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