Yes, that's right: Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 now sports a set of tools for the 2007 Microsoft Office System (or VSTO 2005 SE, as Microsoft likes to abbreviate this collection). With the product launching simultaneously with Windows Vista, the time is obviously right for such tools to make the scene.
Just to make life more interesting, the official designation for these tools is Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office, Second Edition. (I guess that's to distinguish them from the toolset that's been available since day one, designed for MS Office 2003, and explains the source of the preceding MS abbreviation.)
Here's what you get with the latest edition of these tools, which anybody who owns a licensed version of Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office or Visual Studio Professional may download for free:
- Add-in modules for all the major Office 2007 applications, including Excel, InfoPath, Outlook, PowerPoint, Visio and Word. These feature safe loading and unloading capabilities and are designed as managed add-ins. Likewise, you'll also find enhancements for add-in support for the same components in Office 2003 (except InfoPath).
- Design and runtime support for important new Office 2007 features, including the ribbon, custom task panes, and forms regions for Outlook 2007.
- Design support for InfoPath 2007 form templates, so that developers can build templates for later population and use at runtime.
- Forward compatibility, which boils down Microsoft's assurances that applications built using VSTO 2005 continue to work with Office 2007, and are compatible with VSTO 2005 SE.
- Works inside VS 2005 Professional, as well as other already-supported VS versions, including MSDN subscriptions and products in the Visual Studio 2005 Team System family.
For more information, visit the MS VSTO 2005 SE Web page, where you can view a demo video, find lots of news and articles, and also grab the download if you qualify to use it.
Ed Tittel is a writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review. Cool tools rule!