Thursday, April 09, 2009

* OBA, Office Development and VSTO – Getting started

OBAs (Office Business Applications) are new types of application/solutions which are built on Office System 2007 as a platform and so deployed on top of Office System 2007 apps. The development stream to develop OBAs is called Office Development and the tools used to develop OBAs are called VSTO (Visual Studio Tools for Office).

A typical Information worker in any industry today uses various tools and communication channels to complete an atomic business process. The list may comprise of following:

· Line of Business Solution for Transactions etc.

· Content Management solution or Knowledge Portal for reference knowledge.

· Mails to communicate & share documents with peers

· Telephone calls for knowledge gathering/sharing

While middleware technologies have considerably improved the automation and workflow enablement of system based business processes, the business process which involve humans are still quite disjointed. There is a lot of opportunity to improve productivity and efficiency in human based workflows.

OBAs are newer kind of application which try to fill the gaps in human workflow by providing a simplified and yet powerful platform to collaborate and execute business processes. OBAs can be exposed to users via a popular and familiar Office client interface or web based interface.

OBAs leverages the following Office System capabilities:

· SharePoint workflow and Windows Workflow foundation.

· Extensible User Interface of Office Clients

· ECMA Office Open XML File formats

· Business Data Catalog for connecting to LOB applications.

· Search portal

· Business Intelligence and Reporting Services.

Pls find below the first three articles in this series.

  • OBA, Office Development, VSTO - An Overview
  • Visual Studio Tools for Office - Getting Started
  • VSTO - Application Level AddIn Architecture
  • VSTO - Document Level Customization Architecture

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