Office as a development platform
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Office as a Development Platform. Tim Heuer [email protected] 602-405-4567. That was then…. An Office Client Today…. An Office Client Today…. An Office Client Today….

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Office as a Development Platform

Tim Heuer

[email protected]


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A unified solutions platform for building Office Business Applicationsthat make line-of-business systems, enterprisedata and workflows accessible and relevant to users.

Fully integrated Visual Studio Tools for Office technologies enable developers to build Office Business Applications and scalable enterprise grade solutions based on Microsoft Office.

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Office Business Applications (OBA)

  • New Breed of Applications

  • Use the Microsoft Office System to find and surface Line of Business Information

  • Composition point for the S+S vision

  • Pull through the entire stack

  • More info at and

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Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO)

  • ServerDocument – manipulate documents without automating Office

  • Word content control support

    • Ribbon customization

    • Word content controls

    • Outlook form region customization

  • Document-level solutions

    • Word, Excel, InfoPath 2003 onwards

    • Managed controls on the doc surface

    • Doc-level Actions Pane

  • Application-level Add-ins

    • Appdomain isolation

    • Office 2003 & 2007 Office system apps

    • App-level custom task pane

  • Highly streamlined developer experience

    • New designers for ribbon and Outlook form region

    • VBA => VSTO interoperability

    • ClickOnce deployment and security

    • Support for Workflow and Microsoft SharePoint

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Developer Benefits

RAD design experiencefor building Office-based apps

Utilize key2007 Office systemUI features

Streamlined tasks& processes



Build OBAs that leverage enterprise resources

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UI Customization in Visual Studio

  • Increased visual designer capability

  • Extended support for customizable task/action panes

  • Extended Outlook Form Region capabilities

  • Ribbon UI designer tools

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Example: Office Fluent Ribbon Extension





Ribbon Designer



Design Surface

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Ribbon UI Customization

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Outlook Form Regions

  • Visual Studio simplifies and speeds up Outlook form region design and configuration process with a visual designer and a wizard

    • Achieve maximum form region design flexibility with VS visual designer

    • Configure your form region with a simple, intuitive wizard

    • Run and Debug your form region right from VS (F5)

    • No need to manually handle manifest XML, OFS files, registry entries, etc.

    • Option to import Outlook-created OFS file

  • Implement a custom form region with an add-in

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Outlook Form Regions

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Word Content Controls

  • New experience for developing structured documents in Word 2007

  • New UI for developers to access Word Content Controls

  • Programmable through Word Object Model

  • Support for XML Mapping



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Custom Task Panes

  • Visual Studio 2008 provides app-level custom task panes

  • Create custom task panes with an add-in

  • Add-in support & task pane support for

    • Project, Excel, InfoPath, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word

  • Custom task panes appear in the main application window or (Outlook) inspectors

  • Populate custom task pane with UserControls

    • Populate user controls with Winform controls

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Word Content Controlsand Task Panes

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Much more…

  • Smart Tags

  • SharePoint Workflow/WebParts

  • Office Communicator/Presence Integrations

  • Office Open XML

  • Excel Server

  • InfoPath

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For More Information

  • Cheat Sheets

    • MsoId -

    • OfficeImageId -

  • OBA Central


  • OBA for Architects


  • OBA Dev Center


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SharePoint Workflow Support

  • Visual Studio 2008 supports creation of SharePoint workflow to help manage business process and information flow

    • Reduces complexity and greatly speeds development of SharePoint workflow

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VSTO Design-time Stack

Microsoft Office Excel®, and Word




PowerPoint®, Visio, Word, (Access, Project)

Microsoft SharePoint® Server 2007

Visual Studio



PowerPoint, Word, (Access)



PowerPoint, Word, (Access)


IDE Hosting







Ribbon XML

Form Regions

Project Templates

Item Wizards

Visual Studio

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VSTO Runtime Stack

Microsoft Office Client Host

Doc-Level Solution

App-Level Add-in

VSTO Runtime

Doc Task Pane

Host Item


Windows Forms


Custom Ribbon

Custom Task Pane

Custom Form Region

Common VSTO/A Runtime

AppDomain Management

Security Enforcement

Deployment and Updating


Managed Add-in Framework (MAF)


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Deployment & Security

  • ClickOnce support

  • Complete end-to-end customization installation experience

    • Install from CD, removable drive storage, the web or network shares.

  • Richer version-independent security model

    • No longer reliant on CASPOL

  • Offline access via the ClickOnce Cache

    • Supports both web deployments and network shares

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  • Low-impact deployment mechanism

    • Self-contained

    • Solutions installed per user

  • Prerequisites are installed if the user is an admin

  • Supports solution update / rollback without user intervention

  • Offline availability of solution

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  • Customization

    • No longer use ‘CASPOL’

    • Version-independent ClickOnce model

      • Works with future versions of .NET, VSTO Runtime & Office

    • Security evaluated on the deployment manifest

      • Check if the Deployment Manifest URL is in the IE Restricted sites

      • Evaluate certificate used to sign the deployment manifest

      • Consult the inclusion list

      • Security evaluated on installs & updates

  • Documents

    • Office 2007 Trusted Folder List

    • Customization still needs to be trusted

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Custom Task Panes: MDI vs. SDI

  • New custom task pane model not tied to the document

  • Its behavior is dependent upon the distinction between MDI and SDI

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VBA & Managed Code Interoperability

  • VBA can now call managed code with IntelliSense

  • This feature works for Word and Excel in Office 2007

  • Preserves the investment in VBA

  • Enables incremental extension of VBA solutions using VB or C#

  • Brings the power of .NET to your VBA solutions

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Call Managed Code from VBA

  • Developers enable VBA via COM Interop

  • Interop implemented at design time

  • Developers can then call managed code from VBA with IntelliSense after building the project