REDMOND, Wash. — March 21, 2006 — In his opening keynote address today at the company’s second annual Microsoft® Office System Developers Conference, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates emphasized the upcoming release of the 2007 Microsoft Office system as a “major breakthrough” for developers. The platform-level innovations delivered in the next release will provide developers with building blocks for custom solutions that bridge the gap between information workers and the information they need to be more effective. Specifically, Gates detailed developer-focused investments spanning client and server technologies, Ecma Office Open XML Formats, as well as new tools for developers, including the “Orcas” release of Visual Studio® Tools for the Microsoft Office system, which supports innovation in the 2007 release.
“The 2007 Microsoft Office system will provide a complete platform for solutions ranging from collaboration and enterprise content management to business intelligence, enterprise project management and more,” Gates said. “By connecting enterprise applications to the software tools that people use every day, the 2007 Office system will enable organizations to finally realize the value of their technology investments.”
2007 Microsoft Office System Server Lineup Reaches Critical Mass
Gates called the server-side investments in the 2007 Office system “the most significant we’ve ever delivered.” Microsoft Windows® SharePoint® Services 3.0 provides integrated workflow support, native support for ASP.NET 2.0, as well as out-of-the-box support for new Web technologies such as blogs, wikis and Really Simple Syndication (RSS). Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 builds on that foundation, introducing new functionality including enterprise content management capabilities, business intelligence with new Web-based spreadsheet capabilities delivered in Excel® Services, electronic forms support using InfoPath® Forms Services, as well as information and people search enhancements. In addition, Office SharePoint Server 2007 will provide new data connectivity services — called the Business Data Catalog — which will make it possible to present line-of-business data within SharePoint Products and Technologies. For example, a search via SharePoint Server 2007 will allow retrieval of information from back-end systems such as customer relationship management and enterprise resource planning applications. This deep set of server-side investments promises to connect people to processes, data and other people in new and powerful ways.
Industry partners such as SourceCode Technology Holdings Inc. are already working with these building blocks to develop solutions such as the K2.net workflow development platform built on the upcoming 2007 release. “We have invested in expanding our next release of K2.net, code named ‘BlackPearl,’ to take full advantage of the power of the 2007 Microsoft Office system, enabling both technical and business customers to take ownership of and easily participate in business-process-related initiatives across the organization,” said Adriaan van Wyk, CEO of SourceCode Technology Holdings Inc. “Microsoft Office system’s ongoing innovation, strategic partner advantage and close collaboration only reinforce why we continue to bet on the platform, allowing our customers to maximize the value of content management solutions.”
2007 Microsoft Office User Interface Extensibility
The new 2007 Microsoft Office user interface is easily extensible by developers. XML-based configuration makes it simple to customize the new, context-sensitive Ribbon in the user interface, which will give people a more powerful, consistent and streamlined experience. In addition, custom task panes provide developers with new ways to deliver their unique functionality, with valuable screen space right where people need it. Further, a new application add-in model allows developers to create custom add-ins, providing controls that enable IT staff to easily manage them.
Fostering Development With Ecma Office Open XML Formats
The investment Microsoft is making in Open XML Formats creates an exciting set of new opportunities for developers. Through information presented during conference sessions, developers can learn to extend their solutions through deep integration with document contents. This follows the Open XML Formats submission to Ecma International as a proposed open standard last November. Microsoft is working to support the vast opportunities for ISV development in several promising areas including document integration with line-of-business systems; automated document assembly and content management; content auditing, tracking and regulatory compliance; file conversion tools and utilities; vertical industry Open XML Formats support; public records; and digital archival management.
In his keynote address, Gates announced the formation of a technical community of developers to exchange information about developing with the Ecma International formats. Known as the Open XML Formats Developer Group, 39 industry leaders such as Intel Corporation, Apple, BP and Toshiba have come together to form and support an open, Web-based community. Any developer can join at any time, free of charge, to learn more about how to use and support the Open XML Formats on any platform. More information can be found on the community’s Web site at http://www.openxmldeveloper.org.
To complement work with XML and to help accelerate the movement from older binary formats to the new Open XML Formats, Microsoft updated and expanded its licensing of earlier binary formats for developers. Both the Open XML Formats and earlier binary formats for Microsoft Office Word, Microsoft Office Excel and Microsoft Office PowerPoint® are now available under a broadened program for developers. All interested developers are now able to work with their customers to move the billions of existing documents from previous formats to take advantage of the power and flexibility of Open XML Formats solutions.
“Orcas” Release of Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System
As part of a complete tools strategy, today Microsoft also announced the availability of a community technology preview (CTP) for the next generation of Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office system, code-named “Orcas.” As a version of Microsoft’s premier development tool, the “Orcas” release of Visual studio Tools for Office will allow professional developers to use their .NET programming skills to build enterprise-scale business solutions on the 2007 release platform. Visual Studio Tools for Office makes building, deploying and maintaining solutions on the Microsoft Office system substantially easier and faster, which is why it is one of the company’s fastest-growing tools designed for developers. Today’s CTP provides developers with an early look at the support for new innovation in the 2007 release platform. The forthcoming version will focus on broad support for all the Office applications including add-in capabilities, visual designers for the new UI features, server tool support and more.
About the Microsoft Office Developers Conference 2006
Attendees from around the globe are participating in the three-day conference at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond. As a forum for professional developers, software architects, systems integrators, independent software vendors and enterprise companies, the conference includes keynotes from Gates and Kurt DelBene, corporate vice president of the Office Server Group of Microsoft Office System. In addition, 64 individualized sessions detail the developer opportunities for the upcoming 2007 Microsoft Office system. Additional details regarding the conference can also be found online at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/devcon/default.mspx.
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