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Microsoft Office 2003 Editions: Overview of Developer TechnologiesSeptember 2004

within a specific section of a document, and extend documents to seamlessly integrate with other processes and systems. You can also manage task pane events to perform actions on behalf of the user. All of this allows an organization to manage its information with a higher level of integrity.

You can deploy smart document solutions using a new mechanism that enables installation when a user simply opens a document that was obtained by using e-mail or downloaded from a Web server or file server. These solutions implement a high standard of security that is subject to Office security settings, demands trusted servers for deployment sites, and requires all solution code to be signed. Smart documents also can automatically update themselves from a trusted server location, making solution upgrades easier. You need not install or manage the client-side code directly.

Smart Document Technology

You can use an existing document or start from scratch to build a smart document solution. To do so, you must attach the document to an underlying XML schema. For more information, see Custom-defined XML Schema Support. The solution then uses the schema as the basis for marking it with corresponding XML elements. You write code to respond to events that are fired when the user’s insertion point enters a document range mapped to an XML element. The custom code should provide the user with specialized UI in the task pane.

There are a number of techniques available to create smart documents, including the ISmartDocument interface, "Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (Beta)" and Information Bridge Framework. Each provides a different flavor of technology and suits a different type of solution’s needs. Note that you cannot use Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System version 2003 to create smart document solutions because it does not provide programmability access to the task pane.

IMPORTANT: Information Bridge Framework has been deprecated with the release of the 2007 Microsoft Office system. For information about Office Developer Platform and Business Application strategy, see the OBA Development Portal on the Microsoft Office Developer Center.

If you have been working with Information Bridge Framework 1.5 and are experiencing compatibility issues with the 2007 Microsoft Office system or .NET Framework 2.0, see Knowledge Base article 926348.

The following table provides the major decisions factors for each technology. The paragraphs which follow describe the underlying technologies.

Table 1. Smart Document Development Technology Options


Expected rollout of your solution


Other considerations

"Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (Beta)"



Most flexible


2004 +


Restricted task pane

© 2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Page 13 By using or providing feedback on these materials, you agree to the attached license agreement.

To comment on this paper or request more documentation on these developer features, contact us at O12Devdx@microsoft.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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