Getting Started with Office System as Platform for ISVs

4289AE77-4CBA-4A75-86F3-9FF96F68E491 New research from Forrester and reported in CIO Magazine shows most enterprises are sticking with some version of Office System productivity suite over alternatives. The research was reported in Forrester: MS Office Still Sitting Pretty in the Enterprise.

In a recent survey of IT decision-makers at companies of all sizes, nearly 92 percent are supporting either Office 2007 or Office 2003 or earlier.

This makes Office System a solid platform product integration with your products. Office offers several points of integration with your applications.

You can get started by checking out the Office System Development Center on MSDN.

Check out the Microsoft Office Interactive Developer Map. It is a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application that helps developers visualize the different programs, servers, services, and tools that will help them build solutions. It allows you to drill down to each product and technology and learn about new features, objects, Web services, namespaces, and schemas required to extend Microsoft Office and build custom Office Business Applications (OBAs).

Office Interactive Developer Map image

Here are some interesting blogs to help you in your development efforts for Office.

Office Business Application (OBA)

Check out the new tooling in Visual Studio 2010 Beta for Office.

Visual Studio provides the following types of project templates for Office development:

  • Document-level customizations. This type of solution is associated with a specific document.

  • Application-level add-ins. This type of solution is associated with the application itself.

To decide which of these project types is best for your solution, think about whether you want your code to run only when a specific document is open, or whether you want the code to be available whenever the application is running.

Use ClickOnce or Windows Installer to deploy solutions that you create by using the Office development tools in Visual Studio. ClickOnce deployment enables you to create self-updating solutions that can be installed and run with minimal user interaction. Windows Installer (.msi) files can be easily distributed to end user computers, or distributed by using Systems Management Server (SMS). For more information about deploying Office solutions, see Deploying Office Solutions.

The Microsoft Office development tools in Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 contain new features that help you accomplish the following tasks:

If you are new to Office development, see Getting Started (Office Solutions in Visual Studio 2010).

Videos on Office Development, Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4.0

My colleague John Weise has put together videos on new features of development for Office with Visual Studio 2010. See .NET 4, VS 2010 and Office: New Features in .NET 4 for Office Developers on Channel 9. You can also see a new feature of Visual Studio 2010 that allows you to embed only the required pieces of the Primary Interop Assemblies (PIA) into your executable so that the PIAs are not required to be on the client machine when you deploy your solution. See .NET 4, VS 2010 and Office: New Features in VS 2010 for Developers.

SharePoint + Visual Studio 2010

Building SharePoint applications application get much easier in Visual Studio 2010. It’s easier to build, install and test Web parts, interact with lists, set and debug workflows. Deployment to your SharePoint servers is easier than ever before. And you can develop SharePoint applications using your desktop machines with Windows Vista and Windows 7 rather than requiring SharePoint Server virtual machines on your desktop.

  • Jason Zander, the general manager for Visual Studio, announced and demonstrated the Visual Studio 2010 tools for SharePoint.  Here's a quick summary of what he showed:

    • Server Explorer for SharePoint viewing Lists and other artifacts in SharePoint directly inside of Visual Studio

    • Windows SharePoint Services Project (WSP file) Import to create a new solution

    • Added a new web part project item and showed the Visual web part designer which loads a user control as a web part for SharePoint

    • Showed adding an event receiver for SharePoint and using the wizard to choose the event receiver and to just create a source file with that event receiver.

    • Added an ASPX workflow initiation form to a workflow project and showed how this workflow initiation form has designer capability

    • Showed the packaging explorer and the packaging editor which lets you structure the SharePoint features and WSP file that is created

    You can learn more on Channel9 and the Visual Studio 2010 homepage. For more information about the tools in Visual Studio 2010, see Sharepoint tools support in Visual Studio.

    Open XML

    ISVs can create Word files without Word being on the server now by using Open XML. With the new packaging capabilities in Windows 7, you can write your data directly into OpenXML files or create similar document types.

    MSDN has published a comprehensive set of videos of a 2-day Open XML developer workshop. These videos cover the content that was posted on OpenXMLDeveloper recently here. You can get the online course at Open XML Developer Workshop content..

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