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Microsoft Office 2003 Editions: Overview of Developer TechnologiesSeptember 2004

"Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (beta)" has a runtime capability to open the data island by using a server process without the need to run Excel or Word. You can then manipulate the data island in a document through a lightweight object model from server-side code. You can then read or update the data in the island, including that which is bound to the document view. When the user opens an Office document for which the data bound to the document is changed, the view re-synchronizes with the data island and the user is automatically presented with the updated data. In this model, Excel and Word are not needed to write to the data on the server, but rather only to view it on the client. This update model provides scalability and enables high performance batch processing of documents containing data islands on the server.

Storing data in the data island also provides a mechanism for enabling robust offline scenarios. When a document is first requested from the server or first opened by the user, you can fill the data island with the most recent data. Then, you can cache the data island in the document and make it available offline. The user or custom code can manipulate the data without a live connection. When the user reconnects, you can propagate the changes to the data back to a server data repository.

"Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (beta)" also introduces enhancements to the way you programmatically access UI, or view, elements. Elements, such as ranges, lists, bookmarks and mapped XML schema elements become first class controls that you can easily access in code. You can uniquely identify each control. The controls support data binding and provide a more complete event model.

Suggested Next Steps

Download and begin using "Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (beta)" which includes Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2003: http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/vs2005/

Read the "Visual Studio Tools for Office version 2005 (beta)" blog: http://weblogs.asp.net/vsto2

Information Bridge Framework

The Microsoft Office Information Bridge Framework is a set of tools and technologies that help you use XML and Web services to connect information in documents in Office 2003 Editions to line-of-business systems. It enables you to build solutions providing live, direct connections to enterprise business information that users can employ to make and implement decisions. Information Bridge Framework relies on metadata coming from Web services and a metadata server that feeds into a custom Office 2003 add-in which presents rich, interactive views of information to users. You can retrieve and present information through the Information Bridge Framework when users interact with specific smart tag menus or move amongst document regions marked by a custom XML tags.


Employees in an organization generally need to view, retrieve, and act on line-of-business data and operational information to work efficiently and make the best decisions. However, employees often may not have access to the information or are required to switch contexts and navigate a separate application to get what they need. Moreover, the documents with which they interact contain important business data but do not help them bring up any related content. As a result, users lose time searching and then copying and pasting information in different formats between different applications, without any efficient way to access or reuse information.

© 2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Page 28 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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