So I’m a little late to the party here, but as you may have noticed a few weeks ago Office Beta 2 was released. The bits are available for download or on CD by registering on the Office 2007 Preview website. I would strongly encourage all the ISVs and developers who work with Outlook to register and try out your solutions on the Beta 2 bits and send me feedback. We’ve heard only a few issues with programmability so far in beta 2, so the extra coverage from the Outlook development community would be great.

You should also check out the recently updated Outlook Developer Portal page, which we will be updating with the latest information, tips, sample code, and more. We’re working to craft the portal into the first place any Outlook developer needs to go to find out more about developing Outlook solutions, so if you have any suggestions please shoot me a comment.

We’re also working on updated add-in samples that will work with the beta 2 release. While our code samples were previously only available to beta users on BetaPlace, for beta 2 we will be providing the samples via MSDN, and you should expect to see those go live over the month of June, with the first drop of Outlook 2007 focused MSDN articles coming online next week. I’ll be sure to post links to the various articles and samples as they are made available.

If you’ve been waiting to try out Outlook 2007 with Visual Studio Tools for Office, you’ll need to pick up the June CTP of VSTO and give it a whirl. There still isn’t much new for Outlook development, but we’re working closely with the VSTO team to make sure they deliver a great value add on top of our platform.

The whole programmability team has been hard at work and we are all really proud of what we have accomplished. Beta 2 has some rough edges we’ve already been working on, but I think you’ll agree that what we have in Outlook 2007 is a significant step up for developers who wish to integrate with Outlook in a rich and deep way.

One last tidbit: both Randy Byrne and I will be at TechEd 2006 in Boston in a little more than a week. Randy will be presenting more about developing solutions with a consolidated Outlook object model, and we will both be around on the show floor, during “Ask the Experts” and other events for you to pick our brains and find out more about what’s new in the Outlook 2007 platform. We’d also really like to see what types of solutions you are developing for Outlook and what types of pain points and other issues you have with the Outlook platform, so don’t feel like you just need to ask us questions when you see us.