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Andrew Clinick - Demo of Visual Studio Tools for Office 2005

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Developing apps for Microsoft Word and Excel hasn't been as easy as it could be. That's about to change with the new Visual Studio Tools for Office. Andrew Clinick gives us a "first look" demo.

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    The Discussion

    • rasx

      It’s about time! Finally, an Office development environment that appears as straight-forward as working a WinForm. Andrew Clinick’s sincere honesty and candid remarks are unusual for many other W2 laborers priding themselves with sophisticated obsequiousness.

      Now: I want to see these tools allow me to right-click on a paragraph in Word or a cell in Excel to bring up a “send text block to web service as XHTML” command. Clearly, I must be the only Microsoft customer on the planet who cares about this, but it seems unreasonably difficult to extract XML data from Office products that translates/preserves formatting (or a granular subset of formatting) in an interchangeable format (XHTML). Don Box was working on this (by writing an XSL transform) and mysteriously stopped so I know I’m on to something here!

      Right now, the current XML features in Office 2003 allow you to extract XML as data-only with respect to a custom schema. Why can’t we use our schemas to extract data and some simple subset of formatting? Currently it’s all or nothing---or write it yourself with tools that suck. I do not understand why this feature is not a priority. Customers may realize that Microsoft Word can be the flagship application for entering formatted prose, structured by a schema, to be routed via a “smart tag” into a Web Service (like, say, a Web Blog service). So now, imagine a world where I can write a document, enjoying decades of features packed into Word, and then save my document to my hard drive and my web Blog! Moreover, I can right-click on a paragraph (or a region defined by my schema) and run a “Send to my Blog” command! Why can’t Microsoft run this Blog web service and charge me for it?

      I am convinced that the world needs this solution. The new Visual Studio Tools for Office 2005 look like they can get me (or someone like me) closer to this goal.

    • ChrisHaas
      i'm one of those "half hour to not get things done" when it comes to programming in excel so this looks really awesome! great job!
    • gswitz
      I really enjoyed it. I do lots of scripting of data into Excel.  I enjoy being able to code code (add functions to Excel spreadsheets when creating the spreadsheet in Visual Studio -- using code from one project to add code to another).  But, for the most part, the spreadsheets are full of static data and charts that the users can show and hide, expand and collapse groups, etc. Many of the end users work in a disconnected state (they take the database of missed business on the road as they make sales calls, for instance).

      So, after watching the demo, I'm wondering if it would be pretty workable to dynamically create a Workbook with Worksheets containing missed sales data for every month of the year and customer information, and have that data bound to a database at the home office.  As the sales people make their calls, they can update contact information or other customer related information, quote data, etc, and when they return to the office, have it sync to the database.

      Am I dreaming big, or could I create this in a month with Office 2005?
    • PeterF
      The Channel 9 Team wrote:
      Developing apps for Microsoft Word and Excel hasn't been as easy as it could be. That's about to change with the new Visual Studio Tools for Office. Andrew Clinick gives us a "first look" demo.


      Very well done!

      But one little thing, I hope the winform controls are also rendered on paper?


      Peter
    • lars
      This is just SO COOL!
    • Andrew​Clinick
      Hopefully in less than a month Smiley  This is exactly what we envisaged
    • mwindham
      Very Nice. It would be nice for C++, too. 

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