Patrick\’s Bytes

1, December 2008

My new blog address

In case you drop by here. Do check out my new blog site at

I will stop posting at this side.


24, May 2008

MSDN Magazine revisits OBA development

Filed under: Office Business Application,Visual Studio 2008,VSTO — patrickyong @ 1:14 am

It has been sometime since there is an issue of MSDN mag that focuses on Office Business Application development. I believe not since before Visual Studio 2008 released. Visual Studio 2008 does comes with a lot of new tools inside VSTO for OBA development and it is worth while to have a look what you can achieve easily here.

Editor’s note on why one should think of Office as a development platform

Document Automation using VBA to VSTO

Automate Web App Deployment with the SharePoint API

Integrate VSTO with SharePoint Content Types

9, April 2008

Office Developer Conference ’08 contents now online


The slides from ODC 2008 are made available on the OBA Central website.

The slides are categorized into a few categories:

  • Architecture (those planning a full scale deployment of OBA should read this!)
  • Client (incl. coverage of some lesser know product for OBA i.e. Access & Groove)
  • Executive
  • Server (ala SharePoint, look out for stuffs on BI and Authentication)
  • Services (SOA & S+S)

One of the cool thing I saw from the slides is a 3d Silverlight webpart for Plant Floor OBA RAP (pic below).


24, February 2008

Develop OBA on Windows Server 2008 & Visual Studio 2008

From 25th to 27th March 2008, I will be conducted a class for Certified Partners in Malaysia on creating Office Business Applications with the latest Visual Studio 2008 (VSTO 3.0) on top of Windows Server 2008. Windows Server 2008 will be something new to me so I will create a series of blogs on how to setup an SharePoint 2007 + Office 2007 development environment on WS08 later. So stay tuned.

To find out more about the launch of latest Windows Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio check it out here.

14, February 2008

FedEx Quickship OBA @ODC 2008

FedEx’s David Zanca did a demo of their Quickship application at Bill Gates’ keynote at Office Developer Conference. You can check out Bill Gates’ keynote recording here.

FedEx Quickship is a great example on how Office Business Applications can enhanced collaboration and user’s productivity. They have leverage the following OBA features:

1. Quickship toolbar inside Microsoft Outlook 2003/2007.

2. Printing and doc gen to FedEx Kinkos from Word 2007


3. Quickship site template for SharePoint 2007

4. Integration with Office Live

I got the pictures from John Mullinax’s blog. More details here. Some features only available to FedEx customers in US, but you can get a feel of the OBA app with their Flash demo here.

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.

17, January 2008

VSTO Reloaded

Today the MSE team did a Tech Preview to fellow developers on Visual Studio 2008 which actually available for MSDN subscribers late last year and is available for sales now.

My session is about Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) 2008 and a lot of productivity enhancements have been put inside the package in this current version. They include but not limited to:

  1. Better UI Development on Office UI
    • Form Regions in Outlook
    • Custom Task Pane
    • Custom Ribbon for Excel, Word and PowerPoint.
    • No relearn, leverage on Windows Form Development skill
    • Windows Form able to host WPF app and extends this capability via Custom Task Pane
  2. SharePoint Workflow development
    • No more manual writing of workflow.xml, feature.xml (both are SharePoint feature config files) and deployment script
    • Streamline development process from 15 steps to 3 steps in VSTO 2008
  3. Word Content Control data binding with VSTO addin
    • Bringing unstructured data from Word documents to a structured world
    • Able to attach custom XML such as RosettaNet or UNeDoc which as industry based XML schema to Word data.
  4. Easy deployment of VSTO – Office Addin via Click Once
    • No more reliant on CASPOL
    • Transparent to end users


I demo a cool VSTO addin for Word 2007 hosting a WPF user control with colossal effect and acting as a client to a WCF services at the back end. The data access is done using LINQ for XML. After that I will publish

It is based on an article in MSDN Dec 2007 issue but the source codes there is not working for RTM version of VS 2008. Many thanks for fellow MS staff Andrew Whitechapel for making it work for VS2008 RTM.

You can download the slides and working version of the source code here. They are hosted on Windows Live Skiydrive/ Folders.

Slides in PDF

Slides in XPS

Source Code in C#

I will come out with a tutorial for the SharePoint Workflow later and also a VB9 version of the source code. So stay tuned. 🙂

6, September 2007

How to export ASP.NET GridView to Excel spreadsheet

Filed under: ASP.NET,Excel,Office Business Application — patrickyong @ 9:04 am

You can use this and create a button on your ASP.NET page to export a GridView report to Excel.

Oracle BI’s blog poll about .NET 2.0 installation and support for Office 2007

Filed under: Excel,Office,Office Business Application,Oracle — patrickyong @ 7:50 am

Oracle Business Intelligence blogger  is doing a poll on .NET 2.0 installation out there. This maybe because that the new Oracle BI Add In for MS Office 2007 requires the .NET 2.0 installation. Yes, and I think this is a fantastic OBA adoption here with Office 2007 as the front end to Oracle’s OLAP Cube than creating a new one.

And to my surprise there is a 58% YES (23/ 39) response out there.


19, August 2007

Search Enable Your Application with SharePoint Search and Business Data Catalog

Filed under: Office Business Application,Sharepoint — patrickyong @ 10:08 am

Search (such as those of Live Search and Google) is so ambiguous now that users would have start asking it especially if your system spans a few terabytes where searching for information is tedious. Within OBA architecture is the Search services which is powered by SharePoint Search and BDC, basically what you need to do are:

  1. Create a DBA Application Definition XML with IEnumertor and Specific Finder method instance.
  2. Define the BDC app as Content Source
  3. Setup Authentication
  4. Perform a content crawl
  5. Setup metadata properties and crawled property
  6. Create Search Scope
  7. Publish the scope to site
  8. Create a search web page

So it is that simple, more details you can get it from winsmarts website here.

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