Book Review - Visual Studio Tools for Office by Eric Carter and Eric Lippert
Part of my 2006 professional goals involve learning more about Microsoft's collaboration software. To that end, I got a review copy of Eric Carter and Eric Lippert's book Visual Studio Tools for Office - Using C# with Excel, Word, Outlook, and InfoPath. Good stuff here...
Part 1 - An Introduction to VSTO: An Introduction to Office Programming; Introduction to Office Solutions
Part 2 - Office Programming in .NET: Programming in Excel; Working with Excel Events; Working with Excel Objects; Programming Word; Working with Word Events; Working with Word Objects; Programming Outlook; Working with Outlook Events; Working with Outlook Objects; Introduction to InfoPath
Part 3 - Office Programming in VSTO: The VSTO Programming Model; Using Windows Forms in VSTO; Working with Action Pane; Working with Smart Tags in VSTO; VSTO Data Programming; Server Data Scenarios; .NET Code Security; Deployment
Part 4 - Advanced Office Programming: Working with XML in Excel; Working with XML in Word; Developing COM Add-Ins for Word and Excel; Creating Outlook Add-Ins with VSTO
The two Erics have put together a very nice volume that shows how the programmability of Office is structured, and then how that object model can be used within the Visual Studio environment using special tools provided for that purpose. While you have to have the latest and greatest Office and VS software to follow along, their writing style is pretty straight-forward, and the reader should be able to pick up on the core concepts to understand the possibilities inherent in the integration. Even if you're not necessarily ready to fire up VS to program Word or Excel, Part 1 and 2 do a great job in showing the object layout of those Office components and how they can be manipulated. If you've never gotten into the code that can be added to a Word or Excel document, those two parts of the book would be worth it alone.
For me, I'm going to gain two benefits from this book. First, the object model information will help me better integrate Office into my Notes/Domino applications. I do some of that now, but the object model for Excel and Word have always been somewhat hazy to me. This book will help clarify those areas. Second, I think that knowing more about InfoPath will be part of my process as I seek to understand more about Microsoft collaboration application development. As a result, having this book should help me tie InfoPath into the Visual Studio environment and get a running start on my education.
Definitely a useful addition to your library if this is an area of interest to you...