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Microsoft Office 2003 Editions: Overview of Developer TechnologiesSeptember 2004

deployment of Office solution assemblies, server-side and offline scenarios, and seamless integration with the Visual Studio toolset. "Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (Beta)"will also include the InfoPath 2003 Toolkit for Visual Studio 2005 which is discussed in the section on InfoPath development.


"Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (beta)" significantly increases your ability to develop and deploy Word and Excel solutions. By hosting Excel spreadsheets and Word documents within the Visual Studio IDE (see Figure 8), "Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (beta)" gives you a streamlined and consolidated environment for building solutions with Word and Excel.

The integration goes deeper, for example, by exposing Office objects as .NET-based controls, listing worksheets in the Solution Explorer, enabling data binding into documents and elevating object model properties through the Properties Window. These features allow professional Visual Studio developers to construct Office solutions more easily by using their existing Visual Studio .NET skills.

"Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (beta)" also improves many popular scenarios, such as those using the task pane, and introduces a few new solution scenarios that were previously impossible or simply unsupported. For example, by enabling the concept of a data cache in documents, you can pre-populate documents and reports on a server with timely or personalized information before the user accesses a document.

Figure 8. Excel 2003 as a design surface in Visual Studio using "Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (beta)"


In "Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (beta)", the IDE hosts Excel and Word as designers (see Figure 8). You can design Office documents within the Visual Studio environment using the full collection of Windows Forms controls in Excel and Word by simply dragging and dropping managed controls, including third-party controls, from the Toolbox onto the Word or Excel document surface. Double-clicking a managed control in Excel or Word invokes the code view in which you can write customizations inside the auto-generated event handler for that control.

Programming the task pane gives you a way to provide content, tools and information to supplement the document being created or used.  "Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (Beta)" allows you to instantiate an ActionsPane class which you can then populate with custom Windows Forms user controls.  The layout, visibility and behavior of controls on this task pane are entirely up to you, allowing an extraordinary level of flexibility.  Smart document solutions that display content specifically relevant to a user's position within a document are also programmable through the ActionsPane class.

"Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (beta)" creates a data-view separation by enabling you to embed data as an XML data island in the document. Some of the data may be viewable in the document; some of it may be hidden. You can update the data directly without having to write code to describe how to format the data in the document. Typed data sets provide a schema-oriented programming model for interacting with the data island, ensuring IntelliSense support for the managed code you write. Data binding between the data island and the view keep the two entities in sync. You can also add validation code to the data that is independent from the document’s view components.

© 2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Page 27 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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