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

February, 2008

  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    Announcing the Microsoft Office Interactive Developer Map Version 2!


    We are glad to announce the release of the Microsoft Office Interactive Developer Map Version 2!

    The Microsoft Office Interactive Developer Map is a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application that helps developers visualize the different programs, servers, services, and tools that will help them build solutions. It allows them to drill down to each product and technology and learn about new features, objects, Web services, namespaces, and schemas required to extend Microsoft Office and build custom Office Business Applications (OBAs). This application also includes links and pointers to online resources available on Office Online, MSDN, TechNet, Channel 9, Channel 10, and OBA Central.


    What's New in the Microsoft Office Interactive Developer Map Version 2?

    • Update to more than 200 links to MSDN portal pages, MSDN articles, MSDN reference documentation, blog posts, RSS feeds, and community resources.
    • New products and technologies such as:
      • Office Development in Visual Studio 2008
      • PerformancePoint Server 2007
      • Unified Communications
    • User interface improvements:
      • Top 2007 Office system Web sites toolbar


      • Scaling and scrolling to varying resolutions
      • Crisp graphics


    We released this version at the Office Developer Conference 2008 held last week in San Jose, CA. The application was showcased in different booths and all attendees received a poster version of the Office Developer Roadmap that includes links to download the application.

    Download the updated version from the MSDN Office Developer Center and blog about it!

    We will also publish a video demo that shows how to use the app. Link to video coming soon.


    Erika Ehrli and Rob Barker

  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    Office Developer Conference 2008 Post-Conference Resources


    Thanks to everyone who attended the Office Developer Conference this year! It was great seeing so many familiar faces and enthusiastic Office developers gathered once again.

    I have a couple links and resources that I want to share with everyone:


    Bill Gate's Keynote Video

    It was such an honor to be there and watch Bill Gates deliver a keynote about Office development. He said that he likes Office and developers. He was delighted to see Office + developers together :). Watch this video.

    Bill Gates: Backstage at the Office Developer Conference

    Watch this Channel 9 interview during which Bill Gates shares the history of Office as a developer platform, some hints on the future of Access, how he personally uses Office 2007, if he still writes code, and his view on whether Office has hit the productivity plateau.

    Funny Videos from ODC 2008

    See Mike Walker's blog for a collection of funny videos played before the keynote presentations.

    OBA resources

    There were several key piece of developer guidance announced at Kurt DelBene's keynote:

    1. OBA Sample Application Kits for SAP and PeopleSoft

    These Kits are comprised of two new exciting pieces of guidance for Office developers: the OBA Sample Application Kit for SAP v2 and a "Sneak Peak" of the OBA Sample Application Kit for PeopleSoft. They highlight Office 2007 and SharePoint with Visual Studio 2008 Professional and Visual Studio Tools for Office v 3.0. Each kit shows a model Office Business Application but specifically, the OBA for PeopleSoft shows a Human Resources Recruiting scenario and the OBA for SAP shows a Business Travel Package Management scenario.

    All Office Developer Conference received a CD of the kits. Download information coming shortly.

    2. OBA Platform Scenarios for Customer Service Request Management and Sales Proposal Management

    Two important scenarios, Customer Service Request Management and Sales Proposal Document Management, to give Office developers, architects and the sales field the guidance they need to think about the Office platform in terms of collaborative, BI-driven enterprise applications. Both scenarios are built on Office 2007 and SharePoint using Visual Studio 2008 Professional with Visual Studio Tools for Office v 3.0 making use of features such as Open XML, Excel Services, Enterprise Search, the Business Data Catalog, UI customization, Forms Services and more.

    3. Financial Services OBA Component Library

    The Financial Services(FS) OBA Component Library is large set of  OBA components that aim to solve industry concerns in the Banking, Insurance and Capital Market verticals. All OBA components are based on both common financial schemas and standard web service protocols. These production grade OBA components accelerate both custom development and partner purchased solutions as they are in line with FS business process payloads.

    Mike Walker has a great blog post where he shares the details.

    4. OBA RAP for Loan Origination

    This OBA Reference Application Pack (RAP) for Loan Origination Systems in Financial Services is a reusable loan architecture factory. The goals of this RAP are to simulate bridging the gap between disparate business capabilities across a heterogeneous banking environment, centralize business rules decoupled with computation logic, and a scalable and robust lending platform. 

    5. OBA Composition Reference Toolkit

    The OBA Composition Reference Toolkit brings to surface the underlying composition capabilities of the 2007 Microsoft Office system. It integrates seamlessly with the Microsoft Office 2007 System to enable a prescriptive application composition experience for Information Workers to build and deploy Office Business Applications (OBAs) using semantically related OBA Components like Workflows, SharePoint document libraries and lists, SharePoint Pages, Web Parts, VSTO Office Client Add-ins, BI Reports, BI Dashboards etc. The  toolkit comprises an OBA Composition Server and an OBA Composer. The OBA Composition Server implements metadata and provisioning services to enable cataloging OBA components, defining semantic relationships between components, defining the bindings between components and LOB systems, and to support deploying OBAs composed by users. The OBA Composer is a WPF application that consumes and uses the services of the OBA Composition Server to enable a rich client and prescriptive user experience for composing and deploying OBAs.

  • Erika Ehrli - Adventures with Office Products & Technologies

    Open XML at the Microsoft Office Developer Conference 2008


    Hi there!

    I am very excited to be here in San Jose, CA attending the Office Developer Conference 2008. We had a keynote this morning with Bill Gates where he showed a video with his plans for retirement and where he talked about the value proposition of the 2007 Office system as a development platform. Bill talked about many of the different products and technologies that you can use to build Office Business Applications (OBAs), including the Open XML formats!

    Open XML is an open standard for word-processing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets that can be freely implemented by multiple applications on different platforms. Open XML is designed to faithfully represent existing word-processing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets that are encoded in binary formats defined by Microsoft Office applications. The reason for the need for Open XML is simple: billions of documents now exist but, unfortunately, the information in those documents is tightly coupled with the programs that created them. The purpose of the Open XML standard is to decouple documents created by Microsoft Office applications so that they can be manipulated by other applications independent of proprietary formats and without the loss of data.

    You can find more detailed documentation about Open XML at the Open XML Formats Resource Center and at

    If you are attending the Microsoft Office Developer Conference 2008, and want to learn more about Open XML, here's some information that you may find useful:

    Open XML Conference Sessions

    What's Up, DOC? Open XML Formats, OpenDocument Format, and the Revolutionary Implications of XML in Productivity Applications: Industry debate about the relative merits of Open XML Formats and OpenDocument Format highlights the significance of the productivity application market shift from binary and propriety file formats to vendor- and product-independent XML models. The competitive stakes are huge, and the related political posturing is sometimes perplexing. In this overview, Burton Group Research Director Peter O'Kelly introduces Open XML Formats, OpenDocument Format, and related World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards, and projects their implications for the future of productivity application-bases information management.

    Track: Executive Session: EXE104 (Feb 12 – 10:45 am to noon) Presenter : Peter O'Kelly (Burton Group Research Director)

    Developing document centric solutions using Open XML and VSTO "v3": The coming of the 2007 Office System introduced the Open XML File Formats, an XML based file format allowing deep integration of documents in your business processes. No longer is a document a black-box containing data, instead the document is the data. In this session you will learn about solution capabilities of Open XML, how to work with data and documents on the server and how to enable Informa tion Workers on the client side using Visual Studio Tools for Office ""v3"".

    Track: Client Session: CLI304 Presenter: Wouter van Vugt

    Using LINQ to XML to query and transform Open XML documents: Learn how to use the powerful .NET language-integrated query (LINQ) to process Open XML documents. See how these concepts are applied to build the Open XML Power Tools which are a set of Windows Powershell cmdlets that help you build Open XML document workflows quickly and easily.

    Track: Client Session: CLI306 Presenter : Eric White (Microsoft) , Johann Granados (StaffDotNet)

    Generating Enterprise Content using InfoPath 2007, SharePoint and the Microsoft SDK for Open XML Formats: Be introduced to the Microsoft SDK for Open XML formats and show how developers can use the SDK and InfoPath 2007 to generate Microsoft Office documents on the server from data stored in SharePoint form libraries.

    Track: Client Session: CLI307 Presenter : John Holiday

    Office Business Application that Supports Microsoft's Top Executives: Discover how Office Open XML file format allows developers to manipulate server side workbooks to provide end users with secure scorecard viewing experience in the browser and not sacrifice Microsoft Excel 2007 rich client functionality while meeting the requirement of no client side code install.

    Track: Real World Session: RLW302 Presenter: Sergei Gundorov, Mike Reese

    Use the Open XML SDK and LINQ to XML to Program the Open XML File Formats: Although the packaging API makes it possible to manipulate the Open XML Formats directly, it doesn't make it easy. The Open XML SDK provides a consistent and neat wrapper around the API, making it far easier to get to the parts you need. Once you get to the part, however, you're still simply working with XML content. To make this easier, LINQ to XML provides a superb tool. Both C# and Visual Basic provide support for LINQ to XML, but Visual Basic adds specific features that make the process far easier. In this session, you'll see how to use the Open XML SDK, LINQ to XML, and Visual Basic's superb support for XML handling to manipulate Open XML File Formats. Special attention will be paid to the issues involved in handling namespace resolution, a tricky issue in any situation.

    Track: Client Session: CLI314 Presenter : Ken Getz

    Hands On Labs

    Exploring the New, Flexible XML Programmability in Microsoft® Office Word 2007: Be introduced to the concepts of the XML data store and XML binding features of Microsoft Office Word 2007. Program against a sample document while learning how to work with structured information in Office Word 2007 that is stored independently of the presentation surface. Explore the capabilities of the new data store and XML binding and allow you to gain insight on how these features enable the creation of document-based Office Word 2007 solutions.

    Understanding the Structure and Solution Capabilities of the Open XML Formats: Become familiar with the new 2007 Microsoft Office programs file formats. Examine sample documents for each of the 2007 Office programs that implement the Open XML Format. Learn how to edit documents by directly manipulating files without the use of the Microsoft Office programs. Explore the new default Microsoft Office programs file formats and gain insights on the new solution possibilities they enable for creating solutions.

    Open XML Booth

    Ken Getz, Wouter Van Vugt, Sanjay Kumar Madhva, and I will be at the Open XML booth. If you are attending the conference, come talk to us! We are all glad to share our experiences with developing solutions with Open XML and to help you find answers related to this exciting technology. Here's our schedule:

    MONDAY, FEB. 11


    12:30pm - 2:00pm

    Wouter Van Vugt/Ken Getz

    2:00pm - 3:00pm

    Wouter Van Vugt/Ken Getz

    3:00pm - 4:00pm

    Wouter Van Vugt/Ken Getz



    6:00pm - 8:00pm Expo Hall Reception

    Erika Ehrli Cabral/Sanjaykumar M.

    TUESDAY, FEB. 12


    10:30am - 12:00noon

    Wouter Van Vugt/Ken Getz

    12:00noon - 2:00pm

    Wouter Van Vugt/Ken Getz

    2:00pm - 3:30pm

    Erika Ehrli Cabral/Sanjaykumar M.

    3:30pm - 5:00pm

    Erika Ehrli Cabral/Sanjaykumar M.



    10:00am - 11:30am

    Erika Ehrli Cabral/Sanjaykumar M.

    11:30am - 12:30pm

    Erika Ehrli Cabral/Sanjaykumar M.

    Open XML Developer Roadmap

    Doug Mahugh, Frank Rice, and I created a new poster to help you discover the different components, markup languages, and vocabularies you can use to create Open XML solutions.

    You can find the poster at the Open XML booth and if you are not attending the conference, you can download a copy of this poster from:


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