Microsoft Office 2003 Editions: Overview of Developer TechnologiesSeptember 2004
With the Information Bridge Framework, data in documents become business objects that are connected to related information and data in business systems. Users can more efficiently bring up related information and perform actions on it without leaving the context of their current work. Users can also establish dynamic links between Office document text and the company’s enterprise business objects, making it easier for the next user of the document information to access further content if they need.
Using the Information Bridge Framework, you can build a Web services infrastructure around business systems to expose information in a meaningful and reusable way using metadata to define business objects, relationships between information, related actions and solution views. This declarative solution model allows an organization to segment solution development between those focused on building a reusable Web services infrastructure and those focused on the domain-specific work of building a business solution.
The Microsoft Office Information Bridge Framework is a set of software components, tools and prescriptive guidance that enable you to create solutions that connect programs in the Office 2003 Editions to enterprise systems or applications. You can build Information Bridge Framework-based solutions for Word, Excel, and Outlook.
The Information Bridge Framework architecture uses metadata to express the relationships between Web services, business entities and views, operations, and user-interface elements. Metadata is information or data that is created as line-of-business applications expose their information as Web services. After metadata is described through XML, a solution developer can use specialized designer tools to create customized Office solutions that present back-end information in custom usable ways directly in an application in Office 2003 Editions.
The components of Information Bridge Framework are as follows:
Prescriptive design guidelines for building Web services and defining metadata. You can reuse existing Web services or build new ones. The Web service guidelines describe how you can add metadata to Web services and how you can design Web services to be more effective providers of content to Information Bridge Framework solutions. The metadata allows multiple Web services to expose data, views and actions embodied by line-of-business applications as a unified model and in a standardized way. It effectively describes a particular solution’s views and actions.
Metadata Designer. A plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET that creates and manages solution metadata. The Metadata Designer also allows solution creators to configure how enterprise data and operations appear to the user through transforms to HTML or custom Windows Forms.
Metadata Service. Provides the metadata from a metadata database in SQL Server 2000 to the client-side engine.
Client component. Orchestrates the custom solution by interacting with Microsoft Office programs, calling Web services and displaying the data returned by these Web services.
A request for displaying information is initiated either manually by the user selecting smart tags or automatically as the user enters a predefined, XML-tagged region. The client engine retrieves and interprets metadata for the request from its local cache, or through a request to the Metadata Service to determine what operations need to occur. The engine then retrieves needed information or executes actions using one or more Web services, creates a view including context-specific actions and navigational elements for retrieved information and displays the result. The resulting display is presented to the user through a programmable task pane or a
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