It's been a while since I've blogged last, and things have been very busy. Over the past three months, I've been to a number of conferences including the most recent Office Developer Conference and SharePoint Conference. It was great to see more OBA-centric content at these events. Coming up, I'll also be hitting VSLive, DevConnections, Collaborate, TechEd, SAP TechEd, Oracle OpenWorld, and PDC. And at these events, you're going to see some additional OBA content that will help you get on your way.

To start though, I'd like to offer those who are new to OBA some key resources...the things you might take a look at if you're a developer not necessarily new to .NET, but new to developing Office solutions.So, in this blog I'm going to list out a few places you might go to get more information.

  • OBA Overview: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb614538.aspx. This is a good article (chapter excerpt actually) to get your hands dirty.  
  • OBA Central: www.obacentral.com. A decent portal for partner and customer OBA information. I've worked with some of the companies on here, and it's always great to see companies highlighted and on OBA Central.
  • Office Developer Center: http://r.office.microsoft.com/r/rlidOfficeDeveloperCenter?clid=th-TH. This is a good place to go for general Office development information. There are a ton of decent How-to videos you can find here (which I think are one of the quickest ways to get yourself up to speed on very specific areas of development). 
  • VSTO Developer Center: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/office/aa905533.aspx. VSTO is key to developing the client-side portion of OBAs (as well as doing some server-side stuff such as SharePoint workflow). It's come a long way, so I encourage you to check it out (VSTO 3.0 is the most current version).
  • SharePoint (WSS) Developer Center: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/default.aspx. This is Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), the underlying infrstructure and object model for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007.  WSS is great for those of you who want to get into understanding the object model and dynamic creation of sites, lists, etc.
  • SharePoint (MOSS) Developer Cetner: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/office/aa905503.aspx. This is the MOSS portal, where you can find lots of great information. There are a number of key features you'll want to learn about when beginning to build OBAs. For example, you'll want to understand how to build Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Excel Services, Business Data Catalog (BDC) Web parts to build integration into your line-of-business systems and provide business intelligence into your MOSS-based solutions.
  • OBA Solution Patterns: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb614541.aspx. OBA solution patterns provide some guidance to architects and developers on design patterns. We have some ways to on these, but they're a great step towards guiding you on how to craft your solution after an existing pattern.
  • OBA RAPs: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/architecture/bb643797.aspx. This is the link to one OBA Reference Architecture Pack (RAP), which is a great way to learn about industry-specific OBAs. Mike has created a number of other ones, so make sure you check those out as well.
  • Six Office Business Applications for Office SharePoint Server (MS Press): http://www.microsoft.com/MSPress/books/9471.aspx. A book that provides an overview of six different OBAs and how developers could go about building them.
  • Programming Office Business Applications (MS Press): http://www.microsoft.com/MSPress/books/12194.aspx. A book that looks at the different technologies that makie up an OBA--ranging from business intelligence, to social networking, to OpenXML, to SharePoint Workflow. Again, a developer-focused book.   

In future blogs, I'm going to walk through some specifics about OBAs and try and cover them from top-to-bottom. I'll also try and find some additional things that you might find useful in your OBA ramp-up.

Until then (which I promise will not be too long), happy reading, coding.

Steve