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This web page has all the download links and pointers to documentation that you need to get started using the product.
Please make sure to follow the installation instructions on the download page carefully to ensure you have a smooth experience with this beta release.
There is also a separate runtime installer accompanying VSTO 2005 SE Beta. Note the runtime is a beta, too, so please do not distribute it to your customers. Feel free, however, to use it for testing purposes. Once the final version of the runtime becomes available later this year, we will recommend that you deploy it to all VSTO machines, including ones that run only solutions created in VSTO 2005. Just not yet.
Now, it may be helpful to understand where VSTO 2005 SE fits in the grand scheme of things, so here’s a hopefully brief enough explanation:
In November 2005, Microsoft released the Visual Studio 2005 family of development products, including VSTO 2005. (You often see us informally refer to that release of VSTO as “v2” because it’s the second release of VSTO.) The 2005 release of VSTO targeted Microsoft Office 2003 Professional. Solutions created using VSTO 2005 should work fine – at least for the most part – in the 2007 Microsoft Office system. Of course, given the big changes in Microsoft Office around the file formats and the UI, you may run into some challenges with your existing VSTO 2005 solutions and will eventually want to start updating them for the 2007 Microsoft Office system, not just to make them work better there, but also to take advantage of the new functionality.
In March and then again in June earlier this year, we released a couple of VSTO “v3” CTPs (Community Technology Previews) to accompany the 2007 Microsoft Office system Beta 1 Technical Refresh and Beta 2 respectively. These CTPs were essentially prototype “demoware” software that were intended to give you a glimpse at what’s coming for 2007, and the confidence that something is actually coming, so that you could start planning your solutions accordingly. The CTPs also helped us validate many of the architectural ideas for “v3”. The CTPs were, however, still only early, incomplete and untested releases of a product that would not be available until the next release of Visual Studio.
Here is where VSTO 2005 SE comes into play. The idea behind it is to deliver a whole new product – not VSTO “v3” but a new add-on to Visual Studio 2005, still largely based on the VSTO 2005 technology, that would enable you to create new add-in projects targeting the 2007 Microsoft Office system specifically. Additionally, because most VSTO developers would still be on Office 2003 for a while, we wanted to provide something new and useful for Office 2003 as well. Hence, we also included add-in support for several Office 2003 applications in VSTO 2005 SE.
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This may be more than you wanted to know, but armed with some of this background knowledge, we all hope you will find testing VSTO 2005 SE Beta a smoother and more enjoyable experience. And please let us know if you run into issues – or want to share feedback – on the VSTO forum: http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowForum.aspx?ForumID=16&SiteID=1
Release Program Manager for VSTO 2005 SE