I gave a presentation at the Office DevCon conference yesterday on smart client solutions built on top of the Microsoft Office System. The attendance at this conference has been overwhelming - we are even having to turn internal Microsoft people away through lack of space! We always knew that Office as a solution development platform was important and compelling but I think we may even have underestimated the scale of interest out there.

My presentation went ok I think - the feedback will be the ultimate judge - but I am not a natural presenter. I prefer Visual Studio to PowerPoint.

I think the highlight of the session was the GeneriCo demo that John Peltonen of 3Sharp gave. 3Sharp are a Microsoft Solution Provider that specializes in Office solution development. John did a great job of walking through the architecture describing the various technologies used. He even managed to calmly overcome an error in the web app portion of the demo - why do web apps always do that? J

The architecture of GeneriCo is interesting. It is essentially a composite smart client solution that uses a service agent to coordinate the various Office applications in a task-oriented way. The service agent runs in a separate process and is responsible for interacting with the web service, retrieving and caching data, and for synchronizing changes in the background. It is built using the Patterns and Practices Application Blocks. Integration with the Office applications is accomplished using Visual Studio Tools for Office, Information Bridge Framework, InfoPath code behind, and the Outlook add-in API’s.

The GeneriCo code will be made available on the Microsoft connected systems web site soon.