That would be me – Misha Shneerson. I am a developer in VSTO team. My career has been evolving around Office Programmability since I joined Microsoft almost 5 years ago right before Microsoft Office XP Developer has shipped. Then came one of the re-orgs. MOD team was merged into the great VSTO team. Since this team is so good I did not find any reason to leave and still working here.
Looking back I realize how much I did learn about what we should do to make Office developer successful. At the beginning I was working on some things that people found really hard to use. Should I really say the word ‘shim’? Yep, I did came up with this “workaround”, sorry about that … Then I worked on improving the experience and with the help of Siew Moi Khor and Andrew Whitechapel the COM Add-in shim wizard was born. It was still the same shim, but using the wizard one did not really need to understand what those .cpp and .idl files are for and why you would need to generate a GUID and manually place it in 25 different places. This was better but not as good as the Outlook Add-in support in VSTO. And of course there was the ActionsPane and SmartTags support in VSTO – those are pretty easy to do as well. Obviously, the easier things are the happier office developer is. Isn’t what VSTO is all about?
For now I will post about the ActionsPane and SmartTags and working with VSTO in general. I might get very technical and go into the depths of COM and explain all the plumbing we do to bridge between Office’s VB6 oriented Object Model (OM) and the CLR. I would probably talk about challenges we meet when trying to put .NET face to Office development. If this direction of the blog is something you would like to see then let me know. If I bore you let me know as well. Another possible direction is how to get the most out of VSTO without going into the debris of COM interop – this is what I call the pure user perspective. I would guess the audience for those posts would be wider but you never know.
This seems to be the end of the introduction. On to the real stuff now.