It has been sometime since there is an issue of MSDN mag that focuses on Office Business Application development. I believe not since before Visual Studio 2008 released. Visual Studio 2008 does comes with a lot of new tools inside VSTO for OBA development and it is worth while to have a look what you can achieve easily here.
Editor’s note on why one should think of Office as a development platform http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc507637.aspx
Document Automation using VBA to VSTO
Automate Web App Deployment with the SharePoint API
Integrate VSTO with SharePoint Content Types
The slides from ODC 2008 are made available on the OBA Central website.
The slides are categorized into a few categories:
- Architecture (those planning a full scale deployment of OBA should read this!)
- Client (incl. coverage of some lesser know product for OBA i.e. Access & Groove)
- Server (ala SharePoint, look out for stuffs on BI and Authentication)
- Services (SOA & S+S)
One of the cool thing I saw from the slides is a 3d Silverlight webpart for Plant Floor OBA RAP (pic below).
From 25th to 27th March 2008, I will be conducted a class for Certified Partners in Malaysia on creating Office Business Applications with the latest Visual Studio 2008 (VSTO 3.0) on top of Windows Server 2008. Windows Server 2008 will be something new to me so I will create a series of blogs on how to setup an SharePoint 2007 + Office 2007 development environment on WS08 later. So stay tuned.
To find out more about the launch of latest Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio check it out here.
FedEx’s David Zanca did a demo of their Quickship application at Bill Gates’ keynote at Office Developer Conference. You can check out Bill Gates’ keynote recording here.
FedEx Quickship is a great example on how Office Business Applications can enhanced collaboration and user’s productivity. They have leverage the following OBA features:
1. Quickship toolbar inside Microsoft Outlook 2003/2007.
2. Printing and doc gen to FedEx Kinkos from Word 2007
3. Quickship site template for SharePoint 2007
4. Integration with Office Live
I got the pictures from John Mullinax’s blog. More details here. Some features only available to FedEx customers in US, but you can get a feel of the OBA app with their Flash demo here.
Perhaps the biggest thing coming out from Office Developer Conference this week is the introduction of Office Business Applications (OBA) Composition Reference Toolkit. It is not yet a complete product but offers a lot of promise to enhance collaboration in the enterprise.
The preposition is based on Web 2.0 paradigm called mashup where users can grab data and application from the Internet cloud and create a custom web application themself. One such mashup tool is PopFly from Microsoft; with this tool I can integrate my list of friends from Facebook and combined with Live Earth map I will have an application myself showing me where they live on the map. Popfly requires no coding on the users part and it is an attraction to the enterprise as well . Information workers already familar with Office productivity suite and to a certain extend SharePoint portal, and on the mean developers been building applications module which integrate with both Office and SharePoint. All those integrated modules are later coined the term Office Business Applications. So let the developers buiding the building blocks (in the form of Office addin, SharePoint web part or workflow) of OBA modules, then end users can use a OBA toolkit to combined all the building blocks into the enterprise processes. The OBA maship process is something like this
- User choose the OBA components they want from the toolkit, it could be Office addin, webpart or a form
- User arrange the components into a process
- Provision the OBA app to the OBA server (its actually SharePoint here
The toolkit has the familiar Office Fluent UI, shown here is the provision menu
- Wait for OBA server to set the app, it’s shown in the Status window
- User login to the provisioned SharePoint website to access the components (below is a sample app I created without even looking at the HOL and screen shot below shows a link to download the Office add-in in my app)
The content on the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit is completed with
- The bits in the form of MSI
- Video intro
- Installation guide
- Hands-on lab
You can also check a talk by Javed Sikander who architect the toolkit at Channel 9 here.