If you’re looking for guidance on how to integrate SAP and/or PeopleSoft into your Office applications, then the OBA Sample Application Kits are a great place to start. OBA, or Office Business Application, is a composite application that integrates line-of-business systems with the Office client (e.g. Excel or Outlook) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. These kits provide some great documentation and source code to help you get up and running quickly. The kits include:
1. Source code for an end-to-end OBA;
2. Installation guide;
3. Solution walkthrough; and
4. Technical overview document.
The kits are a free download and can be found by going to the OBA Sample Application Kits landing page on MSDN:
You can also find the code samples here:
Check out the kits and more by visiting the OBA Sample Application Kits site on MSDN today. Also, check out Steve Fox's blog for more information.
Last week I had the great opportunity to do my first experiments with Silverlight 2.0. I was truly fascinated to discover the power that this technology offers.
My favorite feature so far is the Deep Zoom functionality. Deep Zoom allows you to zoom in an out an image or collection of images using your browser. It follows the same navigation principle used by http://maps.live.com/, where you use your mouse to zoom in and out a map. Not sure if you have seen the very cool Hard Rock Memorabilia site announced at MIX this year. This is the coolest Deep Zoom demo of all I've seen so far.
Many times I've shared with you that I am a visual person and that I really like looking at maps, roadmaps, posters, or diagrams to learn something new. For example, while working with an API, I always find useful to look at class diagrams. I know I can always rely on Intellisense to discover what to do with an API, but to me, class diagrams are a useful tool since they also provide the big picture of how classes relate to each other. Just by looking at class diagrams you can understand the inheritance between classes and you can also see all the members and types of each class.
When we document an API, it's always challenging to provide a full-blown class diagram as part of an SDK or online documentation on MSDN. Some APIs are huge and there's no way we can publish a complete class diagram image in a MSDN online topics. Sometimes we just create partial class diagrams with the most relevant objects because of the space limitations we have.
Las week, while releasing the Open XML Format SDK -April CTP, I thought it would be cool to create a Silverlight 2.0 Beta Deep Zoom app that would allow us all to explore the Open XML API class diagram. For that reason, I created a Deep Zoom app and I am publishing it today so you can play with it and use it as learning tool.
I am posting my Silverlight app here in my blog so you can get the idea of how it works. Use your mouse to click and zoom in and out.
If you want a full screen view of this app, you can access it from this url:
I used Visual Studio 2008 and the Deep Zoom Composer app to create the Open XML API Class Diagram Explorer. My sample app is based on the Deep Zoom Sample with MouseWheel / Pan / Click-Zoom app published by the Expression team.
If you want to learn more about Deep Zoom and Silverlight, check out the following:
Web sites and blogs
I also recommend Arturo Toledo's blog, ScottGu's blog, and the Expression team blog.
Silverlight samples for Office developers
Office developers should look into this. For example, integrating Silverlight apps into SharePoint sites seems to me like a very cool idea.
We are glad to announce that the Open XML Format SDK April CTP is available!
You can download the new SDK from here:
You can also find and online version of the SDK on the MSDN Library:
Also, you can find permanent links to both the download and online version at the XML in Office Developer Portal and at the Office Open XML Formats Resource Center.
For those of you who are not familiar with this SDK, here's a brief intro.
The Open XML Format SDK Technology Preview simplifies the task of manipulating Open XML packages. The Open XML Application Programming Interface (API) encapsulates many common tasks that developers perform on Open XML packages, so you can perform complex operations with just a few lines of code. Using this API, you can programmatically generate and manipulate Word 2007 documents, Excel 2007 spreadsheets, and PowerPoint 2007 presentations. The programming model uses managed code, so it's safe for server-side scenarios.
The Open XML Format SDK also provides how-to articles and reference documentation that can help you get started with Open XML programming.
For those of you that have been working with the June 2007 CTP, here's a brief list of what's new with the April CTP:
Product names and editorial changes
1. The name of the SDK is "Open XML Format SDK" instead of "Microsoft SDK for Open XML Formats."
2. We changed all references of "Open XML object model" to "Open XML Application Programming Interface (API)."
This release also includes support for cool C# 3.0 and VB.NET 9.0 features, such as LINQ Annotations.
If you want to see more detailed information, see What's New in the Open XML Format SDK April Technology Preview.
The Open XML API will release in two versions. Open XML API Version 1.0 is the updated version of the CTP in June 2007 and will only contain the Open XML Packaging API. Open XML API Version 2.0 will contain all of the Open XML API components, including the Open XML Packaging API with further updates. It will enforce validity of the content either in the original Open XML documents or being generated through this API. The purpose of this plan is to give out the long awaited Go-Live license of the existing Open XML Packaging API to external developers.
The April 2008 CTP release has improvements based on customer feedback provided by the field and MVPs.
For the May 2008 release of the Open XML API Version 1.0, we also plan to incorporate customer feedback to improve the SDK. If you have comments about the API or documentation, please use the following two resources:
I recommend you monitor the following blogs for more news about the Open XML Format SDK:
More code samples: OpenXmlDeveloper.org site
You can also watch Zeyad's and Eric's interview to learn more about the future of the Open XML Format SDK.
Have fun with the April CTP!
Like many of you, I have been reading many blog posts related to this week's announcement that Office Open XML was approved as an ISO standard. Today I came across an interesting blog post from Jan van den Beld, who was Secretary General of Ecma International in Geneva and is currently a consultant in IT Standardization issues, working for organizations such as ECMA International and more.
I do have a lot of respect for organizations such as ECMA International and I want to share with you a link to Jan's great blog post:
I think people from ECMA International deserve all our respect.
Many of you may have already heard that Office Open XML was approved as an ISO standard! This is great news for all of us who have been developing solutions using Open XML. You can find all the details in Brian's blog. Also, Doug Mahugh provides great pointers to other bloggers that talk about this.
For those of you who are interested in creating solutions using Open XML, you should know that we have plenty of articles, videos, and code samples available on MSDN that can help you get started. If I knew nothing about Open XML today, here's the top ten list of resources I would start with:
You can find additional resources here:
Also, Joanna Bichsel and Doug Mahugh have compiled great lists of tips, resources, and pointers to Open XML developer documentation. You should check out their blogs!
Just as we speak, the Office Developer Documentation group (aka MSDN Office group) is busy building a new CTP for the Open XML Format SDK. While I was at the Office Developer Conference this year, many people asked about the future of this SDK and wanted to know if we were to release a Go Live license soon. The answer is yes! Based on customer feedback, the product team improved the June CTP version of the Open XML API. This release also includes support for cool C# 3.0 and VB.NET 9.0 features, such as LINQ Annotations. Watch Zeyad's and Eric's interview for more details.
So this month, not only we got the happy news that the Office Open XML was approved as an ISO standard, developers will also get a new release of the Open XML Format SDK. As soon as we publish the new SDK, I'll be blogging about what's new with the SDK and I'll be sharing more code samples so you can play with this new release.
Last but not least, for those of you who are eager to get started with Open XML, here's a cool video where Brian Jones shows how to build Word 2007 document using the Office Open XML Formats.