Frank Rice, Senior Programming Writer, Office Developer Documentation team, authored today's post.

By this time, you have undoubtedly seen all the jazz and excitement surrounding the launch of Microsoft Office 2013 Preview. In this post, I want to give you a quick review of the most exciting features for Office developers.

Obviously, the most radical addition has been apps for Office, which brings the web to Office client applications by adding browser-like features. This enables many exciting, new scenarios and solutions in a dynamic web application development environment. You can now use dynamic languages, such as Python, PHP, Perl, and JavaScript, and web development tools such as Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Beta for app development. This shifts the development focus from a proprietary language (Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications) to web-based languages (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, etc.) that enable you to use your web development skills for Office development. Note that VBA is still available for desktop application development.

Apps you create for Office 2013 Preview can be made available to the public in the Office Store. There they can be purchased or made available for free, depending on your preference. Organizations also have the option for an internal store known as the App Catalog. The App Catalog provides a central location for all corporate solutions, whether developed internally or externally. This enables the IT department to manage and monitor solutions centrally.

Other additions have been made to the Office client applications that are too numerous to describe adequately here. For example, Excel has added Quick Analysis, which is a contextual UI that enables quick access to data analysis features, such as formulas, conditional formatting, sparklines, tables, charts, and PivotTables. You can programmatically enable and disable the display of Quick Analysis. You can also create PivotCharts independent of PivotTables.

Microsoft InfoPath 2013 Preview enables you to embed Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Visio files as live documents into a page, instead of just attaching them as files. This enables users to interact directly with the content in Microsoft OneNote without having to open the document in Excel or Visio. Microsoft Outlook 2013 Preview introduces the inline response feature where you can compose a response inline rather than opening a new Inspector window. New shape effects such as bevel, 3-D rotation, glow, reflection, and sketching have been added to Microsoft Visio 2013 Preview. ShapeSheet developers can use these effects to design shapes with a more modern look and feel. In Microsoft Word 2013 Preview, you can programmatically change or add Settings for Reading Mode. These settings include text scaling, layout, and line length.

The list goes on. You can find more information about these and many other new features available in Microsoft Office 2013 Preview in the What's new for Office 2013 developers article at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/jj229830(v=office.15) .