If you’re an Outlook developer who has been excited to hear about all of the cool new work done for Outlook 12 but didn’t know where to begin, I now have an answer for you.  We’ve finally (sorry for the delay) posted 3 sample add-ins to BetaPlace.  These add-ins will help you learn by example how to use some of the great new extensibility features of Outlook 12.  All three add-ins are written in managed code, but without using VSTO as an Office 12 compatibility version of VSTO has not yet been released.

We took the extra step of releasing all three add-ins in both C# and VB based on feedback from the labs at PDC indicating samples in C# weren’t helpful for those VB developers out there.  We plan to continue releasing the sample code in both languages.

These three add-ins were available on BetaPlace starting on Monday:

Prepare Me Add-in
The Prepare Me add-in showcases the new Custom Task Pane technology that has been included as part of Outlook 12.  The Prepare Me add-in provides a task pane to help prepare for meetings on your calendar by showing information about the attendees, recent mail items from each attendee, and quick links to related meetings and items assigned to the same categories.  If you did the PDC 2005 hands on lab for Outlook this add-in should be familiar to you.  For Beta 1 we’ve updated the add-in to include support for the new UI in Outlook inspector windows.  Prepare Me also demonstrates the usage of the table, property accessor, context menu customization, programmatic search, categories, and exchange user.

Rules Add-in
The Rules add-in show how easy it can be to replace Outlook UI to provide a custom experience for a user.  In this case the add-in repurposes the “Create Rule” context menu entry point with a WinForms dialog that supports creating custom rules for the selected item.  This add-in makes use of the rules object model, property accessor, context menus, and the select names dialog.

Travel Agency Add-in
The Travel Agency add-in is an example solution demonstrating Outlook’s new Form Regions.  This add-in displays adds a “Booking” page to the contact inspector  that allows travel preference information to be associated with each contact.  Additional the extra tab allows for viewing and creating new travel itineraries for the selected contact.  Behind this region business logic and itinerary processing code lives in a Outlook add-in running behind the form.

I hope all the Outlook developers out there take a look at these samples and start to learn how to use the next extensibility features of Outlook 12.  There is a lot more still available that we haven’t shown off yet, so please play around too.  If you have any questions about the samples or getting them to work, post on the Office 12 beta newsgroups or send me a comment here.