Steve Ballmer announced yesterday the business availability of Vista, Office and Exchange. This means that businesses can deploy and start developing solutions that integrate these three products. You can read the executive e-mail here and you can watch the Webcast here. In case you are wondering, the consumer launch is scheduled for 1/31/2007. Microsoft also launched the Vista + Office PowerTogether site.
So you have the products and it's always useful to find information that can help you get started. I compiled my top ten 14 list of resources for architects and solution developers that plan to start building solutions using the 2007 Microsoft Office system (including SharePoint of course) and VSTO.
- MSDN Office Developer Center: Since Beta 2, we have published 63 technical articles, 119 downloads (including videos), 5 white papers and 21 updates to SDKs. This a great place to hunt for developer content related to Office, SharePoint and VSTO resources. This month we published 24 content items and we update the portal every week. You can subscribe to our RSS feed here.
- Product and Technologies Portals: The MSDN Office Developer Center has product portals for Office programs, servers, services, tools and technologies that have a developer story. We update and add new content to the site each time we publish a related content item. So this is a good place to find code samples, videos, technical articles, channel 9 interviews, downloads, bloggers, webcasts, and virtual labs related to specific technologies.
- 2007 Microsoft Office System for Architects: This portal page is part of the MSDN Solution Architecture Center and provides a list of resources that are of interest for architects. Among other things, you can find information about Office Business Applications.
- MSDN Webcasts - The Master Office Application Development: This webcast series drills down to product features and contains demos that show how to develop solutions with different Office products and technologies. They combine detailed theory with cool demos.
- MSDN Virtual Labs: If you want to get your hands-on some code, this is a great place to start with. You can download the lab manuals and keep them for further reference. You can subscribe to the Office Virtual labs RSS feed here.
- Channel 9 Office Interviews: The Channel 9 team has defined a new level of communication between Microsoft and developers and one of the most popular content items offered on this space are video interviews. The interesting thing about these videos is that they allow us to see the human being behind the technology and learn more about the possibilities offered by a product or feature. The Channel 9 team continues to run more interviews and it's always fun to watch them.
- Office Developer Screencasts: If you have 10 minutes or less and you are interested in watching a demo, this is a good place to get started. Sometimes watching something in action is better than reading it somewhere.
- Microsoft Office System Developers Conference 2006 Videos: The Microsoft Office System Developers Conference featured more than 60 breakout sessions organized in eight technical tracks. We have had tons of hits to these videos and developers are quite interested in the Solutions and Partners track.
- 2007 Office System Document: Developer Posters: Office development is a huge story, we have lots of products and inside each product, tons of features, objects and namespaces. We have been working on three posters that cover some key technologies related to Office development. These posters help you understand the big picture of Office development and how products and technologies relate to each other. An image sometimes tells more than a thousand words.
- Office bloggers on MSDN: I am quite surprised to see all the awareness that people have for Office 2007 developer features. For previous releases of Office, developers started ramping up to new features some time after RTM was available. Thanks to blogs, developers are quite familiar with the features and have already started building solutions. I find quite useful reading Office blogs; little pieces of knowledge are stored in tons of blog entries. We have compiled a great list of Office bloggers, and we update it every now and then. Every day new blogs are born and MVPs and product team bloggers are changing the way we learn. I have no words to say how much I admire Jensen Harris for being the best Office evangelist. His blog is a MUST stop.
- Office Online: Even when the target audience of this site is end users, as a developer I have found tons of useful resources here. Office Online is always useful for templates, clip arts and the best help. You can even download free Office trials!
- Office Solution Showcase: I love this site because it "highlights how leading companies are solving critical business problems using solutions built with the Microsoft Office System." Scenarios are categorized by industry and by department. It's always useful to see what others in the industry have done.
Compliance Features in the 2007 Microsoft Office System:
It's the best document (I have read) about what's new for developers in the 2007 Microsoft Office system. This is THE paper you have to read if you are trying to understand new features that shipped with the 2007 Microsoft Office System and how to build solutions using them. This paper provides an overview of what you can do using: Workflow, Auditing, Digital Signatures, Content Types, Routings, Enterprise Search, Document Inspector, Excel Services, the new Office XML File Formats and more. It's focused on how to use new features for compliance, but it still provides a great overview.
Overwhelming? Yes, can be a lot of information if you are just entering the Office development zone. But once you start diving every site and hunting for resources you'll see it's not enough. We still have lots of code samples to build and technical articles to write. Lots of fun stuff is still scheduled in our queue.