David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small.  

Browse by Tags

  • Office from the past, ODF and OOXML (Office of today and tomorrow) and why is organic growth nearly always bad for software and why re-writing is not good either

    As I have said many times in the past I used to write document conversation tools. I believe this gives me a valid reason to be able to pass comment on the ODF/OOMXL debate that is raging at the moment. If these types of questions interest you, have a look at the book I talk about later ( In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters (UK) or here for US link ) Lets start with some history about the Office 97-2003 file formats. Joel was writing about this today ( Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds) - Joel on Software ). Note that part of what he has commented on is the fact that the documentation for the binary file format is now available from Microsoft: Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds) This item ran on the Joel on Software homepage on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 Last week, Microsoft published the binary file formats for Office . These formats appear to be almost completely insane. The Excel 97...
  • Business Contact Manager Team Blog - good information, including SQL and VBA tools, Smartphone and product information

    I was hunting for an answer to a questions someone asked me and I came across this the BCM Team Blog. Below are some of the recent posts. It is worth adding to your RSS feed list. Troubleshooting BCM for Pocket PC/Smartphone Get Business Contact Manager with Outlook Standalone How to Change BCM Polling Interval? Happy Holidays Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2007 SP1 is Live Business Contact Manager Team Blog ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , BCM , Business Contact Manager , Office 2007 , Office System , CRM , Small Business
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image

    I saw this and thought I would share for those who had not seen it - Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image Get familiar with the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 release: Preview Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 in a Virtual PC (VPC) image. Overview This Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 preview leverages Release Candidate (RC0) code in a Virtual PC image. The demo is designed as a one-computer setup with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 server and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 client for Microsoft Outlook. Note: Although the image can be utilised on a single PC or laptop computer, it is strongly suggested that the image be run using an external USB 2.0 hard drive for best performance. If you do not have an external drive, you can run the image locally on the host computer; however, you will experience a decrease in performance. Contents This VPC contains the following: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 (RC0) Microsoft Dynamics CRM Laptop and Desktop Client Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK (C:\CRM Tools\SDK...
  • Do you want a Microsoft Architecture Poster?

    I saw this at Chris's site and thought I would share: Chris Bowen's Blog : Got Tech Posters? There are plenty of technology posters and charts for developers available on MSDN. I didn't realize just how many until I searched for "poster" on MSDN downloads . Here's a list of the more recent ones: [Edited list by David - more on Chris's blog] .NET 3.5 Namespaces Poster The .NET Framework 3.5 Common Namespaces and Types Poster Exchange Component Architecture Poster This poster highlights the architecture and feature set of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. Visual Basic 2008 Keybinding Poster Printable wall poster containing list of useful keyboard shortcuts for Visual Basic 2008 developers Visual C++ 2008 Keybinding Poster List of keybindings for Visual C++ language within Visual Studio and Visual C++ Express 2008 Visual C# 2008 Poster Wall chart showing useful keyboard shortcuts for Visual C# programming language 2007 Office System: Developer Posters Download these posters to learn more...
  • Office 2007 SP1 is here and it does more than just update the desktop - SharePoint gets AJAX for example

    I'm sure you have heard that the Office 2007 Service Pack is here. Darren Strange has documented what is in it and how to get it at Office 2007 sp1 ready for download today and OfficeRocker! : More detail about sp1 . In answer to Susanne's post at here , hopefully this post has some more info in it One of the little things he puts that I like is: Some other factoids about sp1 There are roughly 2500 fixes in SP1. This an average size for a service pack, but the issues fixed are very important to our customers. Almost 20% of those fixes are direct result of customer requests. Over 500 of those fixes focused on security. There are a total of 24 different releases in 38 languages. There are 683 distinct packages. All have released simultaneously today. If you get the whitepaper then you would be keen to see the information below. Notice that SharePoint amongst other things a developer update to support Ajax and that other server products (Groove and Project Server) are also updated. Stability Microsoft continues...
  • Microsoft Office System Developer Conference - February 10-13th 2008

    Where: San Jose Convention Center , San Jose, CA Who: 2000 developers and architects who build solutions on the Office platform (Office clients, servers, and services) ODC 2008 will bring together architects, developers, industry technical experts, Microsoft insiders and key partners in a public forum for the first time! Together, we will redefine what it means to be focused on Microsoft Office development, exchange ideas on how to continue innovating in this ever-changing space, and share best practices on how to craft the next generation of Office Business Applications . Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will deliver a special keynote that is not to be missed (and probably one of the last ones, so be there!!). The web site http://www.odc2008.com is now live. Who is the Microsoft Office System Developer Conference for? Those involved or interested in using the Microsoft Office system (clients, servers, and services) as an application development platform. For example, people in technical roles e.g. architects, developers...
  • MSDN Evaluation Center for Office system, Biztalk, SQL Server 2005/2008 and Windows Server 2008

    I just found the MSDN Evaluation Center online today to give you evaluation resources that you might develop against. These include BizTalk Server, Office Communication Server, Office Enterprise , SharePoint Server, SharePoint Designer, SQL Server 2005, 2008, Express 2005 SP2, Windows Server 2008. I've pasted much of the content, but all the download links etc are country specific, so I have removed those. Click on the link above to get to download this stuff! MSDN Evaluation Centre Welcome to the MSDN Evaluation Centre, the central location for all Microsoft developer product trials and beta evaluations. Try a product before you buy it or test the latest beta to see what is in store for the next release. Start at the beginning of the evaluation process and follow the new products as they go through to the final releases. Remember to check back often as new products will be added as they become available. As you evaluate your software, we'll provide you with comprehensive and relevant insights and information...
  • Office Open XML file format information or Standard ECMA-376 and the OOXML SDK information on MSDN

    I saw this question asked internally today, so I thought I would share. If you want to develop to use the Open XML document format you probably want to look at two things. The Microsoft resources (eg http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-gb/office/aa905545.aspx ) and the ECMA resources Standard ECMA-376 . On the MSDN site you will find documentation and a MS SDK (less interest if you are developing using a functional language for your mainframe ). The ECMA site has the following: Standard ECMA-376 Office Open XML File Formats (December 2006) This Standard defines Office Open XML's vocabularies and document representation and packaging. It also specifies requirements for consumers and producers of Office Open XML. An Office Open XML overview is available on the Ecma website. Copy these file(s), free of charge: File name Size (Bytes) Content ECMA-376 Part 1 350 630 zipped DOCX file ECMA-376 Part 1 1 441 795 zipped PDF file ECMA-376 Part 2 341 625 zipped DOCX file with 2 Annexes ECMA-376 Part 2 1 286 494 zipped PDF file...
  • Lots of Partner training (new url) - Licensing 101, Sales 101, Office PerformancePoint, Office Business Applications (OBA), Enterprise Search, SharePoint Services and Server 2007, Office Communications Server 2007, Infrastructure Optimisation (IO) ...

    [updated with a working URL] Partner Licensing 101 – The next one is being held on the 4 th December 2007 This session will equip sales people with a top level knowledge that will enable them to talk to new and existing customers about Microsoft licensing. Target Audience: This session is aimed primarily at sales people from all Partner types, although it is appropriate for all Partner roles whether in Sales, Purchasing or Technical. The course is ideal for new starters looking for a good introduction to Microsoft licensing or just a great as a refresher for those who have taken a break from Microsoft licensing. This session is suitable for people who present technology solutions to customers from a non-technical perspective and need to demonstrate the correct way for customers to purchase. Click Here to register For further information please contact Carla Symonds. Partner Sales 101 - The next one is being held on the 5 th December 2007 - Aim: This session will equip sales people with the knowledge and skills...
  • Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 Released - MSDN members can download the product and the Express and trial versions are available for download now too.

    I just saw this as Scott's blog while preparing something on SQL 2008 CTP. This is an amazing set of tools now released!! Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5 Released Today we shipped Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5. You can download the final release using one of the links below: If you are a MSDN subscriber, you can download your copy from the MSDN subscription site (note: some of the builds are just finishing being uploaded now - so check back later during the day if you don't see it yet). If you are a non-MSDN subscriber, you can download a 90-day free trial edition of Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite here . A 90-day trial edition of Visual Studio 2008 Professional (which will be a slightly smaller download) will be available next week. A 90-day free trial edition of Team Foundation Server can also be downloaded here . If you want to use the free Visual Studio 2008 Express editions (which are much smaller and totally free), you can download them here . If you want to just install the .NET Framework 3.5 runtime...
  • There I was talking about Office Business Applications (OBA) and there is training around the UK available

    From the Empower Blog I saw: Office Business Applications (OBA) Technical Briefing This two day technical briefing explores an emerging category of applications, known as Office Business Applications (OBA). It explores the technologies that underpin them, in particular Microsoft Office 2007, Windows SharePoint Services, Microsoft Office SharePoint Services and Open XML. This two-day course is run as a seminar and the labs are provided as a take-away for attendees to go through in their own time. For more information and to enrol, follow the link to the Partner Learning Centre and sign in using your Partner Program login and password. OBA Briefing ttfn David Technorati Tags: Office Business Applications , OBA , Training
  • Where to start to build products that integrate with Microsoft Office

    I came across the OBA (Office Business Applications) web site www.OBACentral.com which has lots of information about nearly 200 OBA solutions. While there is a getting started and "on ramp" information on the site, I found the MSDN site ( Office Integration ) which I like almost as much. Given the prevalence of the Office Platform, assuming it is there and building on it can make life much easier!! Office Integration Need to integrate two or more Office products? Need to integrate Office products with other Microsoft products and technologies? Want to learn about designing and building applications using the Microsoft Office System? This section of the portal provides pointers to resources that will help you build real-world business solutions. Office Business Applications The 2007 Microsoft Office system provides a comprehensive set of servers, clients, and tools to make it easier for enterprises, software vendors and developers to build and deploy a new class of business applications called Office...
  • The Open XML Vote (OOXML) and why I hate politics

    This is a rant and it is my opinion and does not reflect that of Microsoft or others - It is my Opinion! From 1992 to 1995 I had to write document converters - I had to pick apart binary file formats and translate them to another format. It was hard work and I JUST WISHED people would create a largely encompassing standard for documents that was documented so I did not have to do all the work myself. Role forward to today, Office is still the prominent document format (which is now documented on http://msdn.microsoft.com ), but there is a new kid in town that encompass everything that an Office document is and more. This is the Open XML document format. People have cried for years that they wanted the Office Document standard to become more than a defacto standard, they wanted it to become a format an open standard. It was always going to be large, but to cover all the features and functions available in Office, it would have to be. There is no point in the standard being something different to that used in Office...
  • SharePoint User Group Meetings in UK (Newcastle and Reading) in September

    I got this e-mail today from the UK SharePoint User Group. They have two meetings coming up, one in Reading and one in Newcastle. Since SBS includes WSS and you can easily load WSS v3 onto it too, here are the details: Newcastle - 10th September MOSS MVP and general all round nice guy Spencer Harbar will be presenting an evening of goodness for all that attend. Arrive 6:30 for a 7pm start 1st Presentation: MOSS Server Farm Architecture & Design. This session introduces the fundamentals of MOSS Farm design including server roles, topology constraints and design goals which are paramount for delivery of a secure, available and scalable MOSS hosting platform. Each server roles’ unique characteristics will be covered with their associated trade-offs. In addition, three common models will be presented with a discussion of their strengths and weaknesses. 20 minute food and drinks break 2nd Presentatoin: Top 10 Tips for your SharePoint Development Environment. This session will present 10 essential tips, tricks,...
  • Application news for developers - x64 support, application people ready assessments, Vista Gadget security inspection and SharePoint development

    While I am on holiday I thought I would forward these items for the developers out there. The http://blogs.iis.net blog looks awesome for IIS7 information, including videos and the other MSDN information demonstrates how to develop SharePoint tools. Application support Is Your Application Platform People-Ready? Complete the Self-Assessment and Find Out Take the Application Platform Infrastructure Optimisation assessment to measure the effectiveness of your current infrastructure in platform-agnostic terms, and compare your application platform infrastructure against industry best practices and the latest IT research. http://www.microsoft.com/business/peopleready/appplat/ac/apio.mspx Inspect Your Gadget http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/security/bb498012.aspx Today, the Windows Vista Sidebar hosts Gadgets built from HTML, JavaScript, and potentially ActiveX controls. Because Gadgets are HTML, they are subject to Cross-site Scripting style bugs. These bugs are extremely serious because script in the Sidebar is capable...
  • SharePoint webcasts, business information, KB support information and developer information

    When I talk to partners delivering solutions on Windows SharePoint Services V2, V3 and even for some Portal server is becoming a real business opportunity. When I met with Vin of Wem & Co the other day, some of the stuff they were doing was amazing! Anyway, here are the 3 things I thought might be useful - one being the SharePoint VHD so you can just download and play. SharePoint information Creating Business Value through Better Collaboration http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/Browse.aspx?DisplayLang=en&nr=20&productId=353C4E9D-9E78-4435-A360-01BB7F540D17&sortCriteria=date Tools Office SharePoint Server 2007 VHD This download comes as a pre-configured VHD. This download enables you evaluate Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/Browse.aspx?DisplayLang=en&nr=20&productId=353C4E9D-9E78-4435-A360-01BB7F540D17&sortCriteria=date Webcasts TechNet Webcast: Workflow in Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies 2007: Out-of-the-Box and Creating Custom...
  • Simple overview of what is in Windows SharePoint Services 2007 & MOSS 2007 and how to develop on them

    For those who wish to expand into SharePoint enhancements (remember that you can enhance the site without any dev tools using the browser features) I found this simple blog entry ( Know your options for developing with SharePoint 2007 - Program - .Net - Builder AU ) and it is quite nice. Read the whole blog, but here is a snippet. The editions of SharePoint One of the more confusing aspects of SharePoint is that there are two versions available: Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. Developers follow the same basic steps to get started with SharePoint regardless of the version. Here's an overview of both offerings. |> WSS: This is the so-called "free" version, as there are no additional licensing issues. It is included with the Windows Server 2003 operating system (version 2.0). The current 3.0 version is available via download. It provides core document management, collaboration, and search functions, which include blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, e...
  • How to customize Business Contact Manager 2007 forms in Outlook 2007

    I found this on the Office Website when someone asked me about form customisation for BCM. I thought I would share it. Demo: Customize Business Contact Manager forms You can customize Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager forms by adding fields and list items (drop-down lists) that are unique to your business. You can customize the following types of forms: Account Business Contact Opportunity Business Project You can customize drop-down lists by clicking Edit this list and then adding your item to the list. Watch this short demo to see how to customize a Business Contact Manager for Outlook form. How to do it (text version) Customize your Business Contact Manager forms through user-defined fields Customize drop-down lists on Business Contact Manager forms Demo: Customize Business Contact Manager forms - Outlook - Microsoft Office Online ttfn David Technorati Tags: Business Contact Manager , BCM , Customise , Customize
  • Whatever happened to FrontPage and what has it got to do with SharePoint Designer or Web Expression

    I seem to be being asked this a lot, so I thought I would pop up my simple answer: FrontPage has been both extended and then split into two products. We now have SharePoint Designer which is one child of FrontPage, but obviously ideally suited to modifying SharePoint (and OfficeLive) sites and then we have the “any type of web page editor” which is Expression Web. If you look at http://www.microsoft.com/products/expression/en/web_designer/fpwd_faq.mspx you will also see: How is Expression Web different from Microsoft Office FrontPage 2003? Expression Web builds on Microsoft Office FrontPage® 2003 technologies to provide an unprecedented level of support for creating standards-based Web sites. Valuable feedback from customers like you have helped us create a new product that fully supports Web standards such as Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML), cascading style sheets (CSS), and Extensible Markup Language (XML). If you are familiar with FrontPage, then you will find Expression Web easy to use. Expression...
  • Getting data out of or into Office 2007 documents just got easier with the Open XML gets an SDK

    If you are still undecided in the Open XML debate, or decided but want tools to make it easier then hop over to James blog and have a look at Views on Windows Vista : Open XML gets an SDK : Yesterday Microsoft announced a SDK (Software Development Kit) for SDK which allows developers to create code which works well with the Open XML thanks to the libraries, samples and documentation provided by the SDK. You can download the SDK here . If you now think that having this as a standard is a good idea, please go to here to add your vote. ttfn David Technorati tags: open XML , Office 2007 , Office System
  • Clint Covington: Software design, Microsoft Office Access : Cool As Ice uses Office Live and Access 2007 with custom ribbon

    I saw this and thought you might like to see how one ISV has joined Office Live and an Access application. Web access and rich client applications. Nice!! Here is some information about the Access 2007 application that I’ve developed for Cool As Ice, which is a leading Norfolk-based supplier of air conditioning and refrigeration here in the UK. Cool As Ice wanted a bespoke customer contact system that they could use to hold data securely yet allow their workforce to use that data on their laptops, including adding and altering data, i.e. not just a read-only copy. Access 2007’s integration with Sharepoint meant it could provide the basis for a good solution. The application holds its data in a workspace that is part of my company’s Office Live site. The choice of Office Live to provide the SharePoint part of the solution means that their data is secure and that Cool As Ice do not need to get involved in organising that part of the solution, concentrating instead on the things they do best. Backups of data are...
  • Help to make the Office 2007 document type a standard (Open XML) - click the link

    I love standards - they make life easier. TCP is one, ODF is one, SNA is one, ASCII and EBDIC are. Even PDF is one. It just makes life easier. In this connected world standards are a good thing and sometimes more than one standard is very good. Microsoft has offered the Open XML (Office 2007 document format) as a standard too. We can have it as a standard in a short time frame or a long time frame. I want you to sign the petition to help it happen in the short time frame. Even Novell are supporting this as they see it as just making their customers lives easier. Go here and sign the petition to help move things forward in the short time frame. If you want to see how developers could use the standard have a look at http://openxmldeveloper.org/posts.aspx . You might wonder why I am asking you to do this. Well I've read the text at the microsoft.com site on Open XML and I like the idea of this being a public standard that people can write to without having to pay for the right to do so and the knowledge that...
  • Infopath training

    There are then a number of labs online - http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb251751.aspx covering Lab 1: Publishing an InfoPath 2007 Form Template to a Server Running InfoPath Forms Services Lab 2: Deploying and Managing InfoPath 2007 Forms Lab 3: Integrating InfoPath 2007 with the Data Connection Library Lab 4: Enabling Digital Signatures in InfoPath 2007 Form Templates Lab 5: Importing Word Forms into InfoPath 2007 Lab 6: Using InfoPath 2007 E-mail Forms Lab 7: Restricting Permissions to InfoPath 2007 Forms and Form Templates Lab 8: Using the InfoPath 2007 Object Model and Visual Studio Tools for Applications Lab 9: Designing InfoPath 2007 Forms for Mobile Web Browsers Lab 10: Creating and Inserting InfoPath 2007 Template Parts Lab 11: Integrating InfoPath 2007 Forms in Web Sites Using Visual Studio Lab 12: Using SharePoint Server Workflows with InfoPath 2007 To use these labs you need a number of downloads found at InfoPath 2007 Sample: Training Labs . ttfn David Technorati tags: Infopath , Training...
  • Getting started with Word, including Word 2007 training, tools to make moving from Word 2003 (or earlier) to Word 2007 much easier including Word 2003 to 2007 command reference and how to build your own Ribbon tabs

    I saw these links in the latest Microsoft downloads e-mail, but the more I looked into this the more I was amazed: Training materials you can use to deliver training on Word 2007 to your customers Tools that load onto a customers PC to enable them to find Word 2003 commands in Word 2007 Tools that put a useful set of getting started tools into a "Getting Started" tab within word Tools to build your own customised Ribbon tabs I'm going to start with the simplest of tools, the Interactive Command Reference . The Word 2007 Guide- Word 2003 to Word 2007 interactive command reference guide is available online, but the link is to the standalone downloadable version - which gives you an emulation of Word 2003, you click around on it and it then tells you where to find the selected item in Word 2007. great for that "Where has my command gone" conversations. Getting Started Tab for Word 2007 (download here) As you can see this tab has several features - the 1st one takes you off to the online version of the downloadable...

(c)David Overton 2006-18