Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies
MSDN & TechNet: Releasing Office, SharePoint, Exchange & Lync Centers and content for developers and IT professionals.

August, 2005

  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    Speaking about possibilites with Office and XML...


    You should check out the Excel XML Writer Library and the Excel XML Writer Library Code Generator created by Carlos Aguilar Mares. Carlos downloaded the Office 2003: XML Reference Schemas, ripped the bones of the Excel 2003 XML Reference Schema, and created a C# library that allows you to generate Office 2003 XML Workbooks. If want to see the power of Excel and XML in action, this is a MUST see. This tool is more than fantastic!


  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    Ode to XML in Office


    Since I woke up this morning I was thinking how XML has changed the information systems world. I remembered that when I was in college, I had a client-server teacher who started talking about this new thing called XML and his advice was: “you should explore this baby since it’s going to change the world someday.”

    Since the late 90s, the minds of the software development world adopted XML and designed products that included support and integration for XML. The Microsoft Office team decided as well to integrate XML and to start the XML in Office story. Office 2000 and Office XP were the XML in Office beginners, with these versions you were able to open and save XML files. XML started to gain power and popularity and became the interoperability standard, the lingua franca of all systems. Office 2003 then expanded the possibilities of working with XML and products such as Word, Excel, Access, and InfoPath offered a deeper integration with XML.  With Office 2003 you can do more than save and open files, among other things, you can create XML mappings in Excel, transform Word documents into XSL-FO format, turn user input into XML using InfoPath, and allow developers to create their own XML schema structure representing information within Office 2003 programs. The Office 12 version will expand even more the possibilities for the XML in Office story; for starters, all documents will have open XML-based file formats.

    Here are my recommended steps and pointers to become a part of the XML in Office story:

    1. If you have not learned XML yet, learn it, and make it a part of your life. XML is the present and the future of software. Research and understand what XML, XSL, XSD, and XPath are and how they work together. Visit the XML Developer Center and explore the site. Then, you are ready for step 2.
    2. If you have worked with XML, but you have not experimented with XML in Office, explore the XML in Office portal and learn more about the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. Then, you are ready for step 3.
    3. If you know XML, and you have explored the bones of Office in XML, be aware of what’s coming next, Office 12 is full of surprises. Pay close attention to Brian Jones’s blog, register to The Future of Office: Be the First to Know site, and stop by the Office Developer Center. I will keep you posted with all the new content for Office 12 that will be published at the site.

    For everyone, read books, explore blogs and newsgroups, and play around with Office and XML. Try to solve a business or home problem using what you learned; you will be surprised of the power of XML in Office.

  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    Hosting Office in .NET applications


    If you are building a .NET application and you are struggling to find a way to host Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Visio drawings, Project files, or PowerPoint presentations, you might consider using the Visual C++ ActiveX Control for hosting Office documents. I learned about this download resource and I was shocked to see how you can add it to your solution and start working with Office applications in less than a minute. You can open Office applications, format content, update documents, save changes, print, and more inside your application. The Office Framer Control is an Active X control written in C++. The download includes source code to extend the functionality and sample code to use it inside Visual Basic 6 and HTML pages. You can also enable and disable specific functionality by using a full set of properties, methods, and events exposed for customization.

    You can also host the control inside managed applications following these simple steps:

    1. Download and install the Office Framer Control 1.2 Sample.
    2. Start Visual Studio .NET. 
    3. Open your WinForms or WebForms application.
    4. Add the DSO Framer Control to the Toolbox: 
      • On the Tools menu, click Customize Toolbox (in Visual Studio .NET 2002), or click Add/Remove Toolbox Items (in Visual Studio .NET 2003), and then click the COM Components tab. 
      • On the COM Components tab, select DSO Framer Control Object. 
      • Click OK to close the Customize Toolbox dialog box.
    5. Select the DSO Framer Control icon that appears in the ToolBox and drag-and-drop the control over the Form or Web Form.
    6. Adjust the control’s docking/size as needed.
    7. Build and run the application.
    8. Create a new document to test the control.
    I have to warn you that the control is not supported, the control and the source code is provided AS-IS for customization. However, you still can extend the functionality and it does the job, so have a peek and enjoy!

  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    Starting a new adventure...


    Greetings fellow developers!

    My name is Erika Ehrli and I am the new Site Manager of the MSDN Office Developer Center (ODC). I will continue the awesome work that John Durant -the short bald man - started. Today I am starting a new adventure by using this space as my definite stop to share with you code samples, thoughts, and tips that I have learned to get the best of Office client applications and servers.

    I want to start my blog by sharing with you what moves me to be here: I am a developer, and as many developers around the world, I have been faced with the constant change of technology. As developers we are always exposed to new and better ways to create software and we have a constant need to obtain information and resources to learn how to build solutions and integrate technology to solve our business needs or our customer's needs. We are always demanding to find accurate samples, source code, conceptual and procedural documentation, and of course, the sooner we find it the better.

    I admire all the people who use their talent and knowledge to create whitepapers, code samples, blogs, and tools to help other people to get the best out of software. Sharing knowledge is one of the best ways to make a difference in other developers’ experience with technology, so here I am starting my own way to contribute and enjoying this great opportunity to become one of the voices for the Office development story.




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