Office 11 Gets Developer Tools

New offering is convergence of Microsoft's developer tools with its Office programming model.

Microsoft Corp. Monday announced a new set of Visual Studio-based tools to help developers build business solutions based on the next version of Microsoft Office, code-named Office 11.

Known as Visual Studio Tools for Office, the new offering is a set of tools, frameworks, Office integration solutions and customer-assistance solutions from Microsoft. The technology includes classes and libraries for Visual Studio .Net languages—such as Visual Basic .Net and Visual C++ .net—and .Net Framework. Users will be able to build solutions based on Microsoft Word and Excel documents, as well as several new XML-focused best practices. Visual Tools for Office represents a convergence of Microsofts developer tools with its Office programming model.

Company officials said Visual Studio Tools for Office will be available with the release of Office 11, slated for mid-2003.

Office 11 features enhanced XML support and also supports user-defined XML Schema Definitions (XSDs). XSDs enable users to structure their data to fit their business needs, allowing companies to create customized Office solutions in documents that interact with other XML-based Web services.

The new tools also support the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) and XPath—a language for addressing parts of an XML document, which also will enable developers to build applications that link Web services with Office.

Microsoft .Net Software Architect Don Box and XML Architect Jean Paoli are scheduled to deliver keynotes on the use of XML in Office and other Microsoft technologies this week at the XML Conference and Exposition 2002 in Baltimore.