Patrick\’s Bytes

13, February 2008

PopFly for the Enterprise – OBA Composition Reference Toolkit

Filed under: Office,Office Business Application,OpenXML,Popfly,Sharepoint — patrickyong @ 5:48 am


Perhaps the biggest thing coming out from Office Developer Conference this week is the introduction of Office Business Applications (OBA) Composition Reference Toolkit. It is not yet a complete product but offers a lot of promise to enhance collaboration in the enterprise.

The preposition is based on Web 2.0 paradigm called mashup where users can grab data and application from the Internet cloud and create a custom web application themself. One such mashup tool is PopFly from Microsoft; with this tool I can integrate my list of friends from Facebook and combined with Live Earth map I will have an application myself showing me where they live on the map. Popfly requires no coding on the users part and it is an attraction to the enterprise as well . Information workers already familar with Office productivity suite and to a certain extend SharePoint portal, and on the mean developers been building applications module which integrate with both Office and SharePoint. All those integrated modules are later coined the term Office Business Applications. So let the developers buiding the building blocks (in the form of Office addin, SharePoint web part or workflow) of OBA modules, then end users can use a OBA toolkit to combined all the building blocks into the enterprise processes. The OBA maship process is something like this

  • User choose the OBA components they want from the toolkit, it could be Office addin, webpart or a form
  • User arrange the components into a process
  • Provision the OBA app to the OBA server (its actually SharePoint here

The toolkit has the familiar Office Fluent UI, shown here is the provision menu

  • Wait for OBA server to set the app, it’s shown in the Status window


  • User login to the provisioned SharePoint website to access the components (below is a sample app I created without even looking at the HOL and screen shot below shows a link to download the Office add-in in my app)


The content on the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit is completed with

  1. The bits in the form of MSI
  2. Video intro
  3. Installation guide
  4. Hands-on lab

You can also check a talk by Javed Sikander who architect the toolkit at Channel 9 here.

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