At both the Kansas City and Minneapolis Windows Server/Visual Studio/SQL Server product launches, I've presented a breakout session called Creating Instantly Recognizable Application with the Microsoft Office System. It has given me a really good opportunity to dig into developing custom applications in the Office client applications as well as customizing SharePoint Server and, ultimately, tying the two systems together to create a true "software plus service" solution. I have to say, this stuff absolutely rocks!
One thing I've learned in the past several weeks is that is has never been easier to develop, test and deploy MOSS applications. There are several reasons for this:
- Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) is integrated into Visual Studio 2008 and offers a very rich set of project types for all the Office products
- VSTO provides a SharePoint workflow project type -- this is the same as a typical Workflow Foundation project (SharePoint uses WF as its workflow engine) except that it has all the SharePoint specific hooks built in that allows for one-click deployment and debugging
- For Office 2007 applications, VSTO now provides a visual design tool for ribbon add-in applications
- The developer experience for building Office Business Applications (OBAs) is exactly the same as building any other WinForm or ASP.NET application in Visual Studio
If you've developed an application in Visual Studio before, you can have an OBA application up and running in virtually no time. If you want to get some hands-on experience from the professionals, I'm glad to let you know that there will be a MOSS Camp in St. Louis this coming Saturday, April 5th. To get all the details, including the topics for the day, check out the announcement post on Clint Edmonson's web site. This is a community driven event being given my the St. Louis SharePoint User Group.