Looking to Learn about Office Development & VSTO?

Download these files and give them a listen…also, while you are at it, open up the VBA help files for the Office app you plan to target for a solution and learn the object model.

And one more thing….it doesn’t hurt to become a proficient user of the applications either. In fact, if you don’t know what the Office Suite is capable of doing, then you have no idea what you are capable of building using Office in your solutions.

Open XML Format SDK Download (April CTP)

This download provides strongly typed part classes for use with Open XML documents.

See original here: 
Open XML Format SDK Download (April CTP)

So…Just What Exactly is Microsoft’s SaaS-Database Strategy?

Does MSFT have a Software-as-a-Service (Saas) strategy related to data? If they do, I would like to know sooner as opposed to later.

appengine_lowresAlmost every week I see something new regarding databases that intrigues me (a MSFT-focused  developer). Today it is the Google App Engine. Amazon has SimpleDB (I think that’s the name). SalesForce.com even offers a database service (although it is intended for their platform). There are others and I could list them here but I am not into that.

What does MSFT offer to fill this "database in the cloud/software-as-a-service" niche? Diddly-squat (best I can tell). But what do I know? I admit readily that when it comes to MSFT I am among the last to know. I am not an insider. I have no internal sources.

I love SQL Server and I find it kicks-ass in the situations where I need it (i.e. the database for my applications and data warehouses). SQL Express is quite good too. I’m using it now for an Excel OBA project. It’s a solid database without all the bells & whistles provided by the full versions of SQL Server.

But what about a software service that allows me to easily build & publish applications to a wider audience? You know, the type that brings me fortune and fame, stops global warming, prevents poverty, and provides for my retirement? Sure, I can go to a hosting provider, buy or rent a SQL Server license and then use it as my data provider. Then again, maybe I can’t because I might break the Microsoft SQL Server licensing scheme. I’m sure it all depends upon my path in an overly complicated "licensing decision tree". 

Microsoft has been great to its partners but if they continue to rely on their partner model too much it will hurt them. Because of Microsoft’s strategy to deliver their products through their partner channel, they do not have relationship with the majority of their customers. Microsoft should take corrective action, build a direct relationships with their clients, and thus improve the Microsoft brand.

I’m just thinking here…thinking MSFT should rediscover their soul. They should thumb their nose at the anti-trust communists in the US and Europe and do what they know the market wants. Microsoft should once more challenge their competition head-on. It was a winning strategy in the 80s & 90s and the market rewarded them. It is still a winning strategy and the rewards still exist. And the thing is, Microsoft’s customers want more from Microsoft. You only need to look at Apple and Google to see how customers respond to a company that seeks great relationships from their customers. Why Microsoft is not doing more of this "seeking", I have no idea.

Microsoft should leverage their Office Live platform (both the Office Live Workspace and the Office Live for Small Business versions) and deliver a development platform in the sky that blows away anything Google and Amazon have. The current focus of Office live is the business user. That’s great and I think it is really powerful and useful…but what about the developer?

I want a simple platform for publishing software. I want it to be integrated with other tools like customer management, payment processing, search advertising (Live, Yahoo, & Google), and accounting.

Microsoft, if you have something out their like I propose and if it has a cool logo and a snazzy name and makes the masses sing a happy tune…I want to know about it. If it exists already, then I blame marketing for confusing me with really long product names and logos that are really just words and a product box.