Developing an Excel 2007 add-in »
FERDY CHRISTANT - APR 13, 2008 (02:16:14 PM)
People have been writing Microsoft Office add-ins for years. They are a great way to extend the power of your office productivity suite. There is obviously also a great downfall, as it locks you into an office suite and makes version upgrades harder.
Without worrying about all this, today I played around with a new Visual Studio 2008 project type: the Excel 2007 Add-in. This project type makes it super easy to develop your own Add-in. You can visually create an add-in Ribbon, place controls on it, and link it to code events. You can directly debug the code you develop in Excel. Below is my shot at creating a simple plug-in, for the sake of experimentation:
Note the black arrow. This is the custom "Blog" Add-in, placed in its own Ribbon. By clicking "Load Blog", the entries from the online blog are placed in the active worksheet. I used a test copy of Blogo.NET to connect to. By clicking "Subscribe", the blog feed is added to your feed reader.
The functional value of this test case is of course none, but I just wanted to find out how this stuff works nowadays. If you're interested to know how I developed this, please refer to this article. I used the article as a base to get started, and then customized the code to fit my needs.
Whilst I remain skeptical of building a lot of functionality in client applications, one has to acknowledge how comfortable end users are with Office applications. The best practice I can come up with would be to not write business logic in such extensions, instead the extension must link up with server-side data or services only. What do you think?