Andrew Whitechapel

Shiny things that caught my eye

  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Do You Know the Way to San José

    • 0 Comments
    Momentum is gathering for the 2008 Office Developer Conference , and here's the skinny: When: February 10-13, 2008 Where: San Jose Convention Center , San Jose, CA Who: 2000 developers and architects who build solutions on the Office platform...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Implement ICustomTaskPaneConsumer in C++

    • 2 Comments
    The new extensibility interfaces introduced in Office 2007 are implementable via add-ins. Add-ins can be managed or unmanaged (native). If you're using VSTO, development is greatly simplified. However, if you want to build a native add-in to implement...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    VSTO + WPF + WCF + LINQ (MSDN Article)

    • 5 Comments
    There's an article in this month's MSDN magazine on building Office-based solutions using VSTO with WPF, WCF and LINQ. The point of the article is to affirm that all these disparate technologies do indeed work well together, and that the design-time experience...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    COM Shim CLR Loader Bug

    • 6 Comments
    The latest version of the COM shim wizards was released back in the summer, here . With the help of Adam Smith of Xobni (and of course, the indispensable Misha), we've identified a minor bug with the project code that the wizard generates for the shim...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Sharing Code Between Add-ins

    • 1 Comments
    Suppose you want to build a Ribbon customization, or a custom task pane, and you want to use this customization in multiple add-ins? For example, you might want to use the same customization in say an Excel add-in and a PowerPoint add-in. It's pretty...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Preserving the alpha channel when converting images

    • 10 Comments
    Here is a guest post by Eric Faller, Ribbon developer guru and all-round nice guy. It's a follow-up to my post about converting between the image formats used by Office and the .NET framework. I’ll be talking about handling the alpha channel (transparency...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    WPF in VSTO

    • 19 Comments
    Can you use WPF controls in VSTO solutions, and if so, how? VSTO's mission is to bring together the unmanaged Office platform and the managed development world. One aspect of this is the ability to build VSTO solutions that use managed controls within...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Converting between IPictureDisp and System.Drawing.Image

    • 5 Comments
    This is an interesting manifestation of the gap between COM-based native servers, such as the Office client apps, and managed code. There are a number of scenarios where you need to convert image formats between the native COM-based IPictureDisp and the...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Updated COM Shim Wizards

    • 56 Comments
    In our spare time, Misha and I have been working on and off on the COM Shim and associated COM Shim Wizards for the last few years, and we've just published a new version here: Isolating Microsoft Office Extensions with the COM Shim Wizard Version 2.3...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Can you build one add-in for multiple versions of Office?

    • 31 Comments
    This of course is the advantage of using the old "shared add-in" project types – you can build one add-in that targets all versions of all Office apps that support COM add-ins (ie, 2000 onwards). The question is, can you do something similar with VSTO...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Why is VS development not supported with multiple versions of Office?

    • 27 Comments
    First, the Office client apps are COM-based. Normal COM activation relies on the registry. COM registration is a "last one wins" model. That is, you can have multiple versions of a COM server, object, interface or type library on a machine at the same...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Office 2007 New Extensibility Interfaces

    • 6 Comments
    Office 2007 introduced a set of new extensibility interfaces. Prior to Office 2007, there were several extensibility interfaces, which all behaved differently, required different development techniques, different deployment/registration and different...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Editable TreeView

    • 0 Comments
    As I was updating the COM Shim Wizards (the new version should be published in a couple of weeks), I found I had a need for an editable TreeView. There is only limited support for editing in the standard TreeView. So, I did what all sensible people do...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Why is it so hard to shim IRibbonExtensibility?

    • 4 Comments
    The COM Shim Wizards are a set of Visual Studio 2005 project wizards that automate the generation of COM shims for non-VSTO managed Office extensions. These shims support COM add-ins, smart tags and real-time data components. The shim for each is broadly...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Microsoft .NET Development for Microsoft Office

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    A number of people have reported that the link to the companion content seems to be broken. MSPress are aware of the problem, and are fixing it. Meanwhile, here's a direct link. http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/4/3/a433e8ad-25b5-420e-9126-292b380eb2f3...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    VSTO Add-ins, COMAddIns and RequestComAddInAutomationService

    • 73 Comments
    The COMAddIns property is a collection of COMAddIn objects exposed by Office applications that support COM add-ins. The COMAddIn interface defines a small number of methods/properties, such as the ProgId of the add-in and the Connect state. It also defines...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    COM Developers are from Mars, VBA Developers are from Venus, or: Typing, Binding and Wrapping in Office Development

    • 2 Comments
    I paused over my final mince pie today, and pondered the psychology of Office developers (as one does). Office development is a curious mix of different programming philosophies that has given rise to a number of interesting behavioral practices among...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Low-level support for ICustomTaskPaneConsumer, IRibbonExtensibility, FormRegionStartup, etc.

    • 10 Comments
    I’m mostly interested in the runtime aspects of VSTO, and less interested in the RAD design-time aspects (however wonderful they are), and in this post I want to explore some of the low-level infrastructure that the VSTO runtime provides. As a developer...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Multiple Instances of Custom Form Regions

    • 1 Comments
    In my last post , I considered the final state of the FormRegionStartup interface, with the 2 new methods introduced right at the last minute. This is barely documented (hence my post). Custom form regions in general are barely documented, and another...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    GetFormRegionIcon and GetFormRegionManifest

    • 3 Comments
    The Outlook FormRegionStartup interface was enhanced right before Office 2007 was released. Two new methods were added. The existing documentation doesn’t explain these methods in any detail – not even in the developer help within Office. The existing...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Synchronizing Ribbon and Task Pane

    • 7 Comments
    The new custom task pane model in Office 2007 is interesting. It certainly opens up a wide range of opportunities for providing a better user experience than the doc-level ISmartDocument-based task pane. It’s also interesting in that it provides some...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    The Anomalous Behavior of Custom Task Panes in Word and InfoPath

    • 3 Comments
    Try this: create an add-in for Excel/Outlook/PowerPoint/Access with a custom task pane. Run the solution, see the custom task pane. Open another Excel workbook, see the custom task pane. Now, create an add-in for Word or InfoPath with a custom task pane...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Custom Task Panes: Doc-Level and App-Level

    • 4 Comments
    With VSTO 2005, you can build doc-level custom task panes (although we called them ActionsPanes). Our doc-level task panes were built on the old ISmartDocument technology – effectively, VSTO offered a streamlined RAD mechanism for building smart doc solutions...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Jobs in VSTO and VSTA

    • 0 Comments
    The industry is waking up to something the cool kids have known for a long time: you can build serious applications using Office as a base platform and Visual Studio as your toolset and runtime engine. One consequence is that our team is rapidly...
  • Andrew Whitechapel

    Excel Interop Types in Shimmed Automation Add-ins

    • 6 Comments
    In my previous posts on shimming Excel automation add-in UDFs, I've used simple examples where the methods tended to take and return standard types such as doubles and ints. Someone asked a question recently - what about Excel types as parameters? In...
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