I'm speaking in Auckland and on the Gold Coast next week at TechEds. I’m doing a SQL2005 demo in the keynote in Auckland (but that’s only 5–10 minutes worth). My real session is on Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System (or VSTO2k5 for short).

VSTO is such a great concept. There are some things that really resonate with me from my time as a full-time developer. One is leveraging existing, well-understood applications like the Office suite to build additional functionality for a business. I'm sure that, like me, many developers have struggled with the options that have been available up to now. On one hand do you use a scripting approach with VBA? This gives great integration with the host application but leads to issues with extensibility, maintainability and security. Next, you could create COM components and call them from buttons or macros in the document or toolbar. This doesn't give the optimum integration experience and leaves you with that COM deployment headache. Finally, you could create a separate application that accesses the data in the Office app through automation. This gives you the maximum flexibility and security, but compromises on user experience because there needs to be a separate application running and context switches made by the user. Enter Visual Studio Tools for Office! Allowing a developer to build applications with the full power of the .NET framework and hosted within an Office document (or application, in the case of Outlook) means the best of both worlds. This is one of those technologies that has really made me nod my head and say "yes, I can see how that would work" and has had the same effect on all those to whom I've presented it.

In Auckland, this session is called "DSK312 - Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Office System: Building Office Solutions Using Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office" and will be on Wednesday, 31/08/2005 9:00:00 a.m. in Crowne Plaza Ballroom 2 (which holds up to 230). I am competing with Steve Riley for people at this session, so you may be able to find a seat.

On the Gold Coast, the session is called "CLI310 Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Office System: Building Office Solutions Using Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office - Andrew Coates" and will be on on Friday 2 September 10:45am - 12 pm. Note that this conflicts with Darren Neimke's IBF session (which is kind of a shame), but fear not. Darren's session will be repeated at lunchtime on Friday as it's already way over-subscribed. My recommendation is that you come to my session at 10:45 and get to Darren’s at lunchtime.