Visual Studio Tools for Office

Friday, June 17, 2005 6:47 AM

While at TechEd, Chris talked me into going to see a lunch session by John Durant: GNL012 - Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office: Outlook Add-in support.  I blogged a little about this previously so this may be a bit of a repeat but I was very impressed.  His demo wasn’t the most flashy thing, but what I walked away with was seeing how easy it would be ot make these changes myself!

Outlook is one of the few killer apps on the market.  I think you’d have a hard time finding a good sized group of people who don’t fire it up within the first hour or arriving at work and leaving it on all day long.  I know I do, and so does everyone around me.  One of the great things about Outlook is it’s organization, presentation, and presentation customization capabilities for all your email, contacts, and calendar items (not to mention tasks which I’m big on).  In the last few years, other information stores have become more mainstream… spefifically RSS.

One thing that’s always gotten me is how there isn’t really a killer app for RSS OR NNTP.  I feel like I’ve tried just about everything… always coming back to Outlook, NewsGator (for RSS), and Outlook Express (for NNTP) for all sorts of reasons.  Some apps are close to nailing it on the head, like RSSBandit and Omea Reader, but nothing stacks up to the powers NewsGator provides within Outlook.  I’ve always had a little passion for making my own RSS/NNTP combo application for various reasons.  First and foremost, these are some of the most powerful research tools for me in my profession as a developer.  However, the most frustrating thing is keeping everything organized.  Yes, the mediums are very different in that RSS is primiarly a publication medium and NNTP is a conversation medium, although RSS comments seem to fall in line with the NNTP model… someone just starts a topic.  I’ve even gone so far as to spec’ing out and designing an application that would serve as a slick host for both NNTP and RSS… maybe others would find it useful.  Honestly it’s not a big deal if they didn’t because I know I would need it.

“Where is he going with this tangent?”  I think VSTO could serve as a great platform for others to build things like this.  The first thing I thought of when I saw VSTO was “whoa, think how many NewsGator one-offs we’re going to see!”

Maybe I’ll take my project to the next level and build it as a VSTO add-in.  Maybe I’ll start and quit like many of my other personal projects.  At any rate, this is just something that’s been on my head and wanted to get it out.

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