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VSTO for Mere Mortals¿: A VBA Developer's Guide to Microsoft Office Development Using Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office Paperback – January 8, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0321426710 ISBN-10: 0321426711 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (January 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321426711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321426710
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,899,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kathleen McGrath is a programming writer at Microsoft. She has written documentation for Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System (VSTO), Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA), and Visual Basic. Prior to joining Microsoft, she worked as a VBA developer customizing Word applications in the financial printing and legal industries. Kathleen has also created short video demonstrations of the features of VSTO and Visual Basic on her blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/kathleen.

Paul Stubbs works as a program manager with the Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) team at Microsoft. In addition to VSTO, Paul works with the VSTA team developing a new managed code application programmability development tool for InfoPath 2007 and independent software vendors (ISVs). Paul has written for MSDN Magazine and has spoken at such events as TechEd and TechReady. Paul also participates in the developer community on the Microsoft forums and his blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/pstubbs.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The target audience for Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) is the "professional developer." The term "professional developer" has several meanings, but the most agreed-upon definition we've heard is that it is someone who gets paid to write code. In other words, it's their primary job. It's not the departmental developer: the accountant who writes Excel macros as part of his accounting tasks or the word processing operator who customizes Word to increase her productivity. Instead, it is the .Net developer who might be interested in using Office as a development platform.

Prior to joining Microsoft, we both worked as VBA developers, customizing Office applications, and were very much interested in learning about managed code. We don't think that we are unique in that respect. There are millions of VBA developers today, many of whom are interested in learning about this next generation of Office development. Current books and documentation for VSTO are typically not written with the VBA developer in mind—it's assumed that the developer is familiar with Visual Studio, object-oriented programming, and the .NET Framework. The focus is (understandably) more on the features of VSTO, and how to work with the hefty Office object models.

We wanted to write a book for the VBA developer audience, and while you might not be familiar with .NET programming, this is where you have an advantage. You already are an Office developer who most likely has a lot of experience with manipulating the Office object models, as well as possessing power-user knowledge of the application. We can't think of a better environment to learn about managed code than within the context of something you are already familiar with: Office development.

VSTO brings Office development to the .NET world, and it has both disadvantages and advantages over using VBA. There are some amazing things you can do to customize Word, Excel. and Outlook with relative ease using VSTO (e.g., creating a customized task pane, adding smart tags to a document, and binding objects on a document to a data source). With the VSTO 2005 SE, you can create add-ins for six Office applications, customize the new ribbon UI feature of Microsoft Office 2007, and create application-level custom task panes.

We've had the advantage of working with the folks who designed, coded, tested, and documented VSTO, all of whom we have learned a great deal from. We've had an insider view of VSTO, and we hope to convey that information to you in an understandable and enjoyable manner.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Dimitri Shvorob on October 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
A VBA programmer migrating to VSTO will appreciate a thorough yet easy-going introduction to Visual Studio and VB, discussion of deployment, etc. A VB programmer will be less happy, feeling that pages taken up by the already-familiar material would be better spent on VSTO proper. A C# programmer will share the sentiment, and, of course, notice that code here is exlusively VB. An Excel programmer - using VBA, VB or C# - will note that in the book Excel shares the stage with Word and Outlook, and accounts for but a fraction of the total page count. I am a C#/Excel fellow, and "VSTO for Mere Mortals" is clearly not the right choice for me: its coverage of VSTO + Excel is just not nearly sufficiently comprehensive or deep.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Guy Barrette on April 28, 2007
Format: Paperback
Traditionally, developing on the Office platform meant that you would use VBA but Microsoft released Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) a few years ago to let .NET developers use their skills to develop managed Office applications. Moving from VBA to .NET is not easy because you need to learn so much new stuff especially if you never touched .NET in any way. "VSTO for Mere Mortals" is a book targeted at VBA developers who never used .NET before.

In the first chapters, the authors explain what is VSTO and what features are available for developers. Chapter 2 and 3 introduce the Visual Studio development environment and managed code. Seasoned .NET developers will skip these chapters but they are essential for people who never used Visual Studio before. The next chapters cover everything VSTO from Word, Excel and Outlook development to Smart Tags and database development. A full chapter is devoted to new features of VSTO 2005 SE and Office 2007.

If you're a VBA developer that wants to jump into .NET development using VSTO, look no further, this is the book for you. Experienced .NET will also find this book interesting but will skip a couple of .NET introduction chapters.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Love on March 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book (VSTO for Mere Mortals) is very well written and easy to understand. I did not come from a programming background. I started by learning VBA so making the move from VBA to the .NET /VSTO world was a bit intimidating for me, however; after reading and following the examples in this book, making that leap is not as hard as I thought it would be. I love the detailed code samples in the book and the step-by-step way that they are presented. I really learned a lot from reading this book. Thank you to all that contributed to putting this book together.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By rogsonl on May 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
I found the book thorough and easy to read and follow. It reviewed .net extremely well, and made me aware of .net capabilities I had overlooked since the old ones worked.

I met a problem early on in my use of the book, communicated with the author, and got the help I needed to overcome the problem.

An excellent book on the subject.
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Format: Paperback
This book is part of the "For Mere Mortals" series, which sounds like it was created by the publisher to compete with the popular Dummies and Idiots books. However, McGrath's efforts are not a trivial read. What she describes is a considerable effort by Microsoft to migrate the myriad VBA developers towards .NET and Visual Studio 2005 Tools.

The emphasis is not on implementing abstractions like object oriented programming. Rather, it uses the reader's background in coding VBA and in MS Word and Excel. Nor are you expected to be proficient in database design or the intricacies of SQL Server. Much of the text is about front end material. Like using the conveniences of the VSTO user interface, with its many widgets and menus, to easily code.

Many new features are available, compared to what you previously had under VBA. The most striking example is now the nifty ability to have a data island. Imagine an Excel spreadsheet on one machine. That loads from a database on another. If the first machine is your laptop, and you take it somewhere isolated from the network, what happens to your data? Well, there is now a means of copying that data, while you're still connected, into a data cache on the laptop. Without having to go to the extent of running a full database on the laptop.
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VSTO for Mere Mortals¿: A VBA Developer's Guide to Microsoft Office Development Using Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office
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