REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 9, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a new set of technologies designed to enable developers to build business solutions based on the next version of Microsoft® Office, code-named “Office 11.” Among the technologies is a new set of tools, code-named “Visual Studio® Tools for Office,” which enable Visual Studio .NET developers to use Microsoft’s premier professional application development tool to build solutions based on Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel documents, as well as several new XML development experiences. In addition, Microsoft will continue to support Visual Basic® for Applications.
“Microsoft is focused on creating great opportunities for developers, and ‘Visual Studio Tools for Office’ enables developers to build solutions that provide an intuitive end-user experience,” said Tom Button, vice president of the Developer Platform and Evangelism Division at Microsoft. “With .NET-connected software and the power of Office, developers can create a broad range of applications that span from devices to datacenter servers, and now to Office.”
Using “Visual Studio Tools for Office,” developers can create applications written in Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and Microsoft Visual C# (TM).NET that run in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. The convergence of Microsoft’s developer tools and programming model with “Office 11” provides developers with significant advancements in the areas of language choice, security and application deployment.
“These tools allow developers to take advantage of the .NET Framework and write code that is efficient, secure and easy to understand,” said Kevin Schuler, president of InDepth Technology Inc. “We’re excited by the opportunities ‘Visual Studio Tools for Office’ creates to enhance the solutions we design for our customers.”
Developers will have complete access to all the features of Visual Studio .NET 2003, including the powerful editor and debugging environment to write code that is robust, maintainable and less prone to errors. Developers also will benefit from easy-to-use designers for creating user interfaces, working with data and XML, and building server-side code and components.
Built-in security features of the .NET Framework offer developers and network administrators greater control and flexibility to allow only trusted code to run in Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. The no-touch deployment feature of the .NET Framework also makes it easier for developers to deploy and maintain code running on servers or end-user systems.
“Visual Studio Tools for Office” will be available in conjunction with “Office 11” in mid-2003. Pricing and availability details for “Visual Studio Tools for Office” will be announced at a later date.
Helping Developers Move Forward With Enhanced XML Support in “Office 11”
In October, Microsoft unveiled the first beta release of “Office 11,” which features enhanced support for XML, including improved object model programmability, the ability to use XML schemas, built-in support for XML Web services and a new smart document solution model. Developers can take advantage of the XML features in “Office 11” to build solutions that create and consume XML on the desktop, enabling companies to enhance their business processes and improve employee productivity by allowing information workers to create, retrieve, reuse and connect to information in innovative new ways.
Word and Excel templates can be designed with an underlying customer-defined XML structure, based on corporate, departmental or industrywide schemas, enabling developers to build a document-based application with context-specific help and supporting information. This ensures that end users can enter and view valid data without having to understand or work directly with XML. Integrated support for XML Web services in “Office 11,” along with support for Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) and XPath, helps developers leverage their existing Office and Web development skills to build solutions that bring XML Web services data into the Office environment, enabling them to create new and more-productive user experiences. Companies can take advantage of industry-leading technologies that yield a competitive advantage through improved use of corporate information at the desktop.
Other features of “Office 11,” such as smart documents and smart tags, ensure that applications will be built with rich user interfaces. Smart documents facilitate the creation of XML-based applications that provide end users with contextual data, help content and workflow, enhancing productivity by presenting information through a programmable task pane when a user needs it. Custom smart tags have been improved in “Office 11” to better streamline cumbersome tasks for users, such as reviewing data from a back-end system, by providing content-specific actions or dynamically modifying a document’s content. These advancements enable developers using “Office 11” to build entirely new solutions or enhance existing solutions to take advantage of rich user interfaces.
Additional information about the development enhancements and features in “Office 11” is available on the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/office/developer/preview/ and on MSDN® at http://msdn.microsoft.com/office/ .
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