Using Windows Presentation Foundation and Line-of-Business Data in Microsoft Office Clients (Beth Massi)

I mentioned on my blog yesterday that SDN Magazine made an article I wrote back in May available online — and since it’s all about using WPF & data in a VSTO solution I thought I’d post the link up here too 🙂

Using Windows Presentation Foundation and Line-of-Business Data in Microsoft Office Clients

In this article I talk about how to expose Line-of-Business data via ADO.NET Data Services to an Excel client using WPF. Office solutions you build with Visual Studio are designed to work with Windows Forms controls but you can also use WPF controls in your solutions as well. Any UI element that can host Windows Forms controls in an Office solution (VSTO) can also host WPF controls using the Winforms ElementHost as a container.

Using WPF controls in Office allows you to think out of the box and provide world-class data visualizations that are not possible with Windows Forms controls. And you can do it easily in an instantly familiar end-user application like those in the Office family. But what if you don’t have any fancy data visualizations? Even the simplest controls that display data are often better off as WPF controls in Office applications because they better match the UI styles used in the latest versions of Office. Using WPF can make your add-ins look built into the Office applications themselves, providing a better user experience.

This article describes one piece of the Northwind Office Business Application (OBA) sample we created in the beginning of the year so if you’re just getting started in OBA development with Outlook, Word, Excel and Sharepoint I’d suggest reading these as well:

  • OBA Part 1 – Exposing Line-of-Business Data
  • OBA Part 2 – Building and Outlook Client against LOB Data
  • OBA Part 3 – Storing and Reading Data in Word Documents
  • OBA Part 4 – Building an Excel Client against LOB Data
  • OBA Part 5 – Building the SharePoint 2007 Workflow
  • The full sample application, built with Visual Studio 2008, is here:

    Hmm… I’m thinking a part 6 on deployment of this baby would be a good follow up….

    Beth Massi, Visual Studio Community