Patrick\’s Bytes

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

16, April 2008

S+S with Outlook 2003

Filed under: Outlook,Visual Studio 2008,VSTO — patrickyong @ 12:01 am

While I am helping Tang to do a S+S Outlook addin, his customer is looking at integration with a back end database and also simple workflow.

Developing such an addin for Outlook 2007 would have easy with the Outlook 2007 S+S blueprint but the customer still running Outlook 2003. Late last night I managed to dig thru MSDN and found an article showing me just how to do it with Outlook 2003 and Visual Studio Tools for Office.


As per screenshot above, it shows you how to add a custom command bar into Outlook, and also how to trigger Windows Form from Outlook. But the cool thing here is the sample showing you how to create a custom folder under Inbox showing your own set of data. While not as slick as what you can do in Outlook 2007, it is good enough for most people out there. 🙂

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).


19, February 2008

Hiding Task Pane programmatically with VSTO

Filed under: Excel,Visual Studio,VSTO — patrickyong @ 7:36 am

Today I struggled for some time to figure out how to control the visibility of custom task pane in Excel 2007. I had done quite a few Word 2007 addin projects but this is the first time I try to do it in Excel.

In Word 2007 with VSTO 3.0 (that comes with VS2008) to hiding the custom task pane I would add this in the Click event code

Me.Application.TaskPanes(Word.WdTaskPanes.wdTaskPaneDocumentActions).Visible = False

But with Excel 2007 it is different. You have use the DisplayDocumentActionTaskPane class

Me.Application.DisplayDocumentActionTaskPane = False

I found the solution in the MSDN article here.

Just FYI, adding a action pane is same for both application using the following method


10, February 2008

Your ERP, CRM and LOB should look like this!

Filed under: .NET Programming,Visual Studio,VSTO,Windows,WPF — patrickyong @ 2:53 pm

Just came back from Krabi today and the first thing that caught my eye when I open up homepage for the 1st time since 5 days is a sample ERP applications that make practical use of Windows Presentation Foundation framework without just snapping just another colossal.

The Lawson M3 Smart Client

Look at it, it is a familar interface like our normal Windows Form app but it gives end users a fresh feel which I think they will be happy to open and use everyday. And if you want to integrate this into Office task panes as a WPF add in, you can do so easily with VSTO 2008 as I mentioned here.

By the way, should you try to get away by saying there is no ‘design’ guy in your team/ company, a company called reuxables is making one of their WPF theme available free in the form of a .dll file. Download it here.

4, February 2008

Deployment Options in VSTO v3.0 (VS2008)

Filed under: VSTO — patrickyong @ 9:45 pm

There is a few new options to deploy an Office addin in Visual Studio Tools for Office 3.0. Among them are creation of a setup.exe file, or via click once.

Here I how to create a .msi deployment file so that it can be built on a CD.

1. Right click on the project file and select Publish


2. Then you will see a wizard pops up, for this I enter a file path


3. Next I select CD-ROM as installation path to end users


4. On the next path, I click Finish


Now wait for the building process to be done, and you can open the deployment folder. For developers coming from previous VSTO they are understand how easy is it now to create deployment files for their VSTO projects.


Now when I click on setup.exe, the VSTO installation wizard will pops up


When I click Install, it will auto install itself without asking further question, huge improvement for end users and IT admin alike!


27, July 2007

Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 is here

Filed under: .NET Programming,Tech.Ed,Visual Studio,VSTO — patrickyong @ 2:05 am

Beta 2 of Orcas just got release today and is downloadable either in VPC form or a DVD image. If you are based in South East Asia, where else to learn from experts about Orcas except TechEd 2007 South East Asia. There is the good old developer track and the newer web development track and their sessions have a lot of  materials on Orcas.

Web Development and UX Track
Getting Started Building Rich Interactive Apps with Silverlight
Deep Dive into Silverlight 1.1. with .NET

Developer Technology Track
Windows Client .NET: Building Rick Client UI with Acropolis Framework
Workflow in real world & how MS leverages workflow technologies
What’s new for device developers in Orcas
A lap around VS Orcas
LINQ and XML Integration in VB Orcas

You can have a look at the full list here.

5, July 2007

Blog about VSTO in Orcas

Filed under: Office,Office Business Application,VSTO — patrickyong @ 8:00 am

Eric Carter been blogging about new VSTO features inside Visual Studio 2008 (Orcas), among them are

  • New Document Level Office Project Type
  • Sharepoint Workflow Project Type
  • Mixing VBA and VSTO .NET managed code
  • And there are many post about OBA and mashups as well.

23, April 2007

Addin Express For MS VSTO

Filed under: Office Business Application,VSTO — patrickyong @ 3:55 am

For MS Office VSTO developers, there is now a solution available to create Office Addins with minimum coding. Selling at USD349 per pack is a bit costly but consider the fact most Office addin out there is to consume and manipulate some Line of Business web services at the backend, Addin Express do help you cut down on man power requirement while at the same time add value to your solution.

They have put up some Flash demo at their website

  1. Add Outlook Explorer toolbar and controls, add custom button to intercept a built-in button
  2. Add custom Outlook Options page in Outlook add-ins
  3. Add custom Outlook Folder Property page in VSTO with no coding
  4. Add Outlook commandbar controls to a built-in Inspector toolbar
  5. Process events of the Items collection in Outlook add-in

Blog at