Microsoft Office 2003 Editions: Overview of Developer TechnologiesSeptember 2004
Figure 5. Default and custom research task panes
Research Task Pane Benefits
With this feature being available in most Office programs, users don't have to navigate among separate windows in order to perform a quick lookup of information (for example, to perform a search through a browser). Users have one convenient way to look up terms within the context of their document. Through search results, users may also have a set of features available to them to incorporate the information into their documents.
Developers and organizations benefit through the ease of making corporate information available to all (or select) users in the task pane by implementing a straightforward, industry standard Web service that exposes the information. The services available to users can be configured and updated from a server or through policy.
Research Task Pane Technology
The Research task pane is available in Word, Excel, Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003, Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote® 2003, Microsoft Office Visio® 2003 and Internet Explorer (when an Office program is installed). Search options that come with Office 2003 Editions include basic resources such as thesauruses and dictionaries in multiple languages, language translation, an online encyclopedia, and Web searching. There is also a simple Web service URL that you can activate to initiate a search against SharePoint sites.
To expose information in the Research task pane, you implement an industry standard Web service using the method names and schemas expected by the Research task pane. The schemas describe the expected query and result XML streams. You can set up searches to access local and remote data sources, both behind a corporate firewall and on the Internet. Security can use Windows Authentication or Internet passwords. The Research task pane shares cookies and caching with Internet Explorer. The Research task pane can be controlled by administrators at a corporate level, automatically rolling out services or broadcasting their availability using a Discovery Web service for research services.
For basic features such as displaying results and copying items to the clipboard, a Research service does not require any client-side code beyond an Office installation. However, you can customize a research service to contain smart tag actions for extended document interactions. Smart tags require that you install a DLL locally. Though once installed, you can make smart tag actions with full client-side functionality available through menus in research service results.
Suggested Next Steps
Download and begin using the Office 2003 Research Service SDK:
Download and begin using the Research Services Development Extras (coming September 2004 on MSDN)
View a Web seminar on building research services:
Follow a "Hello World" tutorial to build a custom research service:
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