Broader, Deeper Integration

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-02-11 Print this article Print

Meanwhile, Zanca is slated to show FedEx's vision for broader, deeper integration of its printing and shipping services in Microsoft Office - both Office clients and SharePoint, Hicks said.

"We're using Web services to create connections," said Suzette Egnot, manager IT, FedEx Integration Services. QuickShip is "built on our Web services and allows users to ship directly out of Outlook," Egnot said.

FedEx has a FedEx Developer Resource Center where the company offers a series of Web services and plug-ins for developers to take advantage of better leveraging the FedEx platform and do business with the worldwide courier giant. FedEx Web services enable developers to integrate FedEx shipping functionality into software programs, Web sites or other environments.

"We use Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008, and we rely heavily on Visual Studio Tools for Office [VSTO], Egnot said.

"Our intent is to provide connections where the customers are so they don't have to leave the applications they're working in," Egnot said.

"This is an example of software delivery via a service model, using real-world business services," Bryant said.

FedEx has made heavy use of VSTO, Egnot said.

Added Bryant: "It's a tremendous enabler giving developers the power to have, from managed tools, the Outlook Office model to build interesting applications."

He said the improvements through Visual Studio 2008 and improvements in VSTO and technologies such as the Office Ribbon Designer are enabling people to "divorce themselves from custom UIs [user interfaces]."

Meanwhile, the new OBA sample kits for SAP and for Peoplesoft are working OBA templates for connectivity to SAP and Peoplesoft data sources.

And although the BizTalk adapter pack will RTM at the Office developer conference, the technology will not see general availability until March 1, Bryant said.

The BizTalk Adapter pack is a set of application adapters for Siebel, SAP and Oracle to enable customers to surface line-of-business data directly into familiar interfaces such as Microsoft Office or any client using Web services, Bryant said.

Meanwhile, Microsoft held "Sleepless" contests in various cities around the country to have teams compete for $100,000 in prizes. Contests were held in Chicago, New York, Detroit, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Atlanta. Winners from all of those events will meet for an ultimate "Sleepless" contest during the Office developer conference, where a final winner will be announced, Microsoft officials said.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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