Over the past few weeks, I've attended and presented at a number of conferences (specifically VSLive, MS CSAF, Collaborate, and DevConnections) and had some great conversations with attendees who were seeking more information or had questions in the sessions on additional OBA resources. During some of these conversations, I promised to follow up in my blog on some specific issues/questions. In this blog post, I've added some additional information on:

  • Deployment
  • SharePoint Workflow
  • Outlook add-in development

I'll also be following up on this post in the future with additional information, so I encourage you to check back or RSS the blog (as I'm not exactly to a schedule when posting).

Deployment

In a couple of my sessions, we had some detailed conversations around deployment. Here is a question that I was going to check on. I've also added some additional information that you can check out.

1. Can you point to the root folder assembly and have it point to the latest version of the bits? (This was in relation to mapping a content type from SharePoint and then invoking the assembly from the doc library.) The answer to the question, as I suspected, was yes--and that the deployment manifest should point you to the right location. However, the thing I forgot to mention was that you have to make sure that in your deployment properties you have "Check every time the customization runs." Also, this is not the default setting; the default setting is "Check Every 7 Days." So, once you publish a solution with that configuration, each time the custom document is opened you will get the latest version of the assembly associated with that document.

Misha Schneerson, one of the devs on VSTO, has a great multi-part post on Deployment. While we've made it easier in VS 2008 (by virtue of ClickOnce), there are still some things to keep in mind. You can check out his blog here: http://blogs.msdn.com/mshneer/archive/2008/04/24/deploying-your-vsto-add-in-to-all-users-part-iii.aspx.

SharePoint Workflow

Many of you asked me about some additional workflow guidance. I've pinged a couple of different people, and we're going to put together a blog-post with some additional information. I've also requested some web-casts to address some of the basics. I'll post pointers as these become available. Until then, here are a few things to get you started:

1. http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=358685

2. http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/HA101005911033.aspx

3. http://blogs.msdn.com/nikhil/archive/2007/09/11/vsto-and-sharepoint-workflow.aspx

4. http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb386168.aspx

I'm also working on a couple of other things (whitepaper and webcast) that I'll try and get out to you soon.

Outlook Add-in Development

I'm noticing more and more developers extending Outlook. In one of my sessions, we talked a little about deployment across 2003 and 2007 instances of Outlook and we also discussed migration of OFS form regions to managed code OFRs. Here is some additional information for you guys on this:

 Outlook 2007 should host an Outlook 2003 add-in.  Mary Lee recently wrote a blog post about developing and testing an Outlook 2003 add-in on a computer running Outlook 2007.  You can read more at this post -  http://blogs.msdn.com/vsto/archive/2008/03/20/developing-an-add-in-for-multiple-versions-of-office.aspx.

Note that the deployment method isn't Office version specific; it's VSTO runtime specific.  A VSTO solution that works for both O11 and O12 must be designed with the VSTO 2.0 runtime and .NET FX 2.0, so the same setup project with CASPOL deployment would apply.

There is also an interesting topic named "Creating Solutions for Multiple Versions of Office" at http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb772080.aspx.

We do have topics that discuss how to import an OFS into an Outlook 2007 project.  We also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of importing a form region vs. creating one fresh by using our designer.  I will admit that the discussion of using an OFS file is not overly extensive.  However, I don't think we missed any discussion critical to who are considering the idea of moving their OFS files to VSTO.  Here are the topics that discuss using an OFS file:

·         Creating Outlook Form Regions - http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb386301.aspx.

·         Walkthrough: Importing a Form Region that was Designed in Outlook - http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb608611.aspx.

·         Accessing a Form Region at Run Time - http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb772084.aspx.

Note: Thanks to the VSTO dev team and UE team for providing responses to my field notes and queries.

To those of you who attended my sessions and had questions, I hope the above at least gets you started. If not, I'll be sure to post more in the coming days and weeks.

Steve