Happy wishes and some Office predictions for 2016

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Another year has gone, a new year started … this is 2016. Welcome!

My year, for the eleventh time already, started with receiving the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award again.

After nine years of receiving the award for Visual Studio Tools for the Office System (VSTO), one year of Office365 I now, after the award update, received the award in the award category “Office Servers and Services”. This is where all former Office365, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business and Yammer are grouped today. As of October 2015 the MVP Award categories have changed, there are now less categories and in theory you can get the MVP Award in multiple categories.

So what will bring 2016 to you and me? Well nobody knows… so I don’t know either, but let’s see if we can make some educated guesses here.

2015 was the year Office Microsoft released some early updates on the Office 365 APIs. Starting with the outer ring of Office365 we got access to files, contacts and much more. Access to the documents itself (the structure of the document, in VBA the Object Model) was fairly limited.

In 2016 I expect to see much more APIs providing access to the Office document model. This will give you the functionality, but now cross-platform, like you used to see with VBA, COM-Addins and in VSTA/VSTO solutions.

Let’s see how the Office365 APIs progresses in the year of 2016. Join me in the process of learning the ‘modern’ ways of developing Office solutions on x-plat. Keep an eye on my blog …

How to Install Office 2013 SP1 on Office365

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A little while ago Office 2013 released its Service Pack 1 and I explained where to download the Service Pack. On your Windows RT machine there was no option to download an installer to update Office 2013 like you do on a regular Windows machine so I added an additional post to explain how that is done.

Office365 or other subscription based Office installations are also a bit different than the other installations to update your installation. These installations are mostly offered using the so called C2R installations where C2R stands for “Click-to-Run” installations. C2R installations are completely different than MSI installations, you can read more about it here. So how do you update a subscription based Office installation?

When using Office 2013 as part of a subscription the service pack is not offered via Windows Update or standalone installer. In this post I will show you this other installation option: how to install your Service Pack 1 on a subscription based Office installation in the steps below.

  • Start an Office client application such as Word
  • On the top in the Ribbon, Click File
  • Click and go to the Account Tab
  • There you’ll find an Office Updates section:

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    Here above you see the Dutch localized version but the idea is the same. To the left of the Office Updates (Yellow highlighted section there is an Updates Options button (here in the Dutch version called “Bijwerkopties”. From there you can select to check and update your Office version. Right after clicking the update option you’ll get a notification dialog that will say a new version is available or in that is the case saying the latest version already has been installed:

    SNAGHTML6c6abed
    Again, for kicks I show you the here -Dutch- message box, not much different than the English one however … it told me there are Office Updates available and asks me if I wanted to install the update now.

  • Click Yes to continue installing the Service Pack 1 from here.

There you have it, I explained to you in this blog post that there is a slight difference between the installation options between the subscription based and the installed base Office version. To recap, here are once more the four options on how to install the Office 2013 Service Pack 1:

Confusing? A little bit if you ask me, especially if you are like me and have several different options to facilitate, but I guess most people just have one or two of these options in place. It seems that over time more and more people will shift to the subscription based option either in the context of Office365 or the Office Home program where you get five installations on a ‘family’ subscription for under hundred dollar a year.  

Showtime: Walking with Dinosaurs 3D

Walking with Dinosaurs 3D


The “Showtime” section on my blog is a reminder, mostly for my own reference but maybe helpful for other film enthusiasts as well, to remember what movies I’ve seen lately, what it was about and how I rated it in general.


Supposedly a spin off from the BBC series this is an animation feature where the viewer is brought back to the time on earth when Dinosaurs were around. I went to see this movie with my ten year old son and besides entertaining it probably also provided some learning moments as the movie explained some details around the existence of the Dinosaurs, differences between the various species and their natural enemies. As said, the movie was entertaining, some humor added and 3D effects on top to make it more impressing. Personally I like the ‘fun’ animation features like the Ice Age series a bit better that the more realistic animation feature like this one but I got the impression that for kids it was entertaining enough to earn a minimal Seven out of Ten.

New Office REST APIs and Developer Tools for Visual Studio Update

Tonight (here in Europe that is) Somasegar announced on his blog that the Visual Studio Team and the Office Team released a “number of significant updates for developers building apps that interact with the Office ecosystem”.

All of the updates are more or less related to building Apps for Office/SharePoint and the Cloud. If you need full integration (interacting between Word and Excel, building compound documents, Ribbon interaction etc.) I think you still need to use the ‘other’ option, VSTO. The downside of –that- however is that it won’t be as mobile a you’d like to see. You win some or lose some, depending on the technology you decide to use.

Back to the updates… Announced today were the new Office 365 APIs for consuming Office data and updates of Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio (not to be confused with Visual Studio Tools for the Office System aka VSTO, that is a complete other thing) and “Napa”.

Go and read the blogs for details on all of this,  no need for me to repeat all of it Glimlach

  • The Office 365 Platform blog
  • The Visual Studio blog
  • This year I’ll try to deep dive on this a bit more to get into the subject of replacing your current Add-ins with Apps for Office/SharePoint – Can you or can’t you? Where are we at the moment. Everyone wants to move their Add-ins into the Cloud, but is it even possible today? More on this later …

Showtime: Philomena

Philomena


The “Showtime” section on my blog is a reminder, mostly for my own reference but maybe helpful for other film enthusiasts as well, to remember what movies I’ve seen lately, what it was about and how I rated it in general.


Philomena is a movie nominated for 4 Oscars and a whole slew of other rewards. You wouldn’t expect that by just watching the trailer of the movie.

The movie is about a woman who got pregnant at a very young age and therefor was put away in a Catholic convent where her son was born. Shortly after that her son was taken away from her for adoption.

Journalist Martin Sixsmith started to follow Philomena’s story and together with Philomena he started their search for her long lost son who appeared to have been adopted by an American family. On the search they travel to the United States where they tried to find his current location.

The story of a mother searching for her son changed from a series of facts into an emotional piece of art where spectators in the audience had a hard time to keep it dry. In a silent moment you could hear a soft crying from all directions. The producer managed to touch the hearts of many with this drama. Nine out of Ten, highly recommended !

How to install Office 2013 SP1 on Windows RT

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In my previous post I published the fact that Office 2013 just had just released their Service Pack 1 and explained where to download the Service Pack. On your Windows RT machine however there is no option to download an installer to go ahead in updating Office 2013 like you do on a regular Windows machine. How would updating be provisioned on Windows RT?

Look no further, here are the steps to install Service Pack 1 on your Windows RT machine:

In this case you are looking for an update to be found in Windows Update. So go to the start screen and:

  • swipe in from the right and click on Settings
  • On the bottom right click on “Change PC Settings”
  • Find “Update and Recovery” and click the link
  • Select Windows Update
  • This will show you all available updates, look for the update that says “Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Office 2013 (KB2850036) RT
  • Put a checkmark next to the update
  • Click the Install Button
  • That’s it … you only need to reboot after installing the update and you are good to go to work with your fresh updated Office 2013 RT.

Showtime:Last Vegas

LastVegas


The “Showtime” section on my blog is a reminder, mostly for my own reference but maybe helpful for other film enthusiasts as well, to remember what movies I’ve seen lately, what it was about and how I rated it in general.


This movie does not lack the big names to bring it to a success story, but is that enough? The story is all about a ‘gang of four’ being friends since childhood. They are now well over sixty and Billy (Michael Douglas) decided to take a shot and marry a thirty year or so younger girl and calls his buddies to arrange a bachelor party in Las Vegas (where coincidentally this week is the big SharePoint Conference 2014).

Things never have been very smooth between Paddy (Robert de Niro) and Billy. I won’t go into details to avoid spoiling the plot in details so take this for a fact. The four friends Billy, Paddy, Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) need to solve things around this issue.

It’s an old men movie, kinda slow and the ‘big names’ in the movie aren’t making it much better. Events are somewhat predictable and won’t give you the thrills you would expect from the title “Last Vegas – It’s going to be legendary”. It wasn’t that legendary if you ask me. Six out of Ten.

Office 2013 Service Pack 1

OfficeSymbolMicrosoft just released the first Service Pack (SP1) for Office 2013. As an Office SME, I have been developing solutions and worked with the product since the early versions waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back years ago, I’m always interested in what is going on in that area.

Getting information from the Office developer/development team is not easy these days, in fact … it never was… It has been a bit better, at the time they used to have Office Developer Conferences, in early years you even only were allowed to attend on invitation. The Office team is not one of the teams that shares a lot of information before going public on things. The Developer Division is completely the opposite and shares information whenever they can. In my opinion a much better way to work with your customers, get early feedback and make sure you stay on track – keep the train on the rails your customers are on. I know the Office team is just huge and also know the SharePoint Conference is targeted as replacement for the Office Developer Conferences but there is a huge difference between client applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and many more and SharePoint. SharePoint is mostly a Server environment.

Even if you are in the Office Beta process there are only one or two drops to look at and this does not make it easier for a full time Office Developer to get pain points addressed. Identifying bugs (often not in the product itself but in many cases caused by all sorts of ‘undocumented’ collisions or limited documentation) can be -very- time consuming and tedious at times. It would really help if that improved a bit…

Oh well, so much for the rant, back to the Service Pack…

Besides a cumulative rollup of previous fixes released earlier, up to approximately somewhere around January, it also include a whole slew of other fixes found in the product.

A list of fixes can be found here: (Excel Workbook)

For an overview of Service Pack 1 you can read the official announcement on the Office Updates Blog

Service Pack 1 is available through several channels like Windows Update or direct download:

DownloadDownload the Microsoft Office 2013 SP1 32-bit package now

DownloadDownload the Microsoft Office 2013 SP1 64-bit package now

Enjoy your updated Office Suite, it just got to be a little bit better than it already was … Let me know what you think about it in the comments!

Showtime: Free Birds 3D

FreeBirds


The “Showtime” section on my blog is a reminder, mostly for my own reference but maybe helpful for other film enthusiasts as well, to remember what movies I’ve seen lately, what it was about and how I rated it in general.


Free Birds, an animated feature about Reggie the Turkey. He found that turkeys are there to be sacrificed and be the Thanksgivings dinner star. He tried to warn his fellow turkeys but ends up as the annual Pardoned Turkey living in wealth and luxury. Until he meets Jake, or rather Jake finds him, the two of them travel back in time to 1621. The story evolves and allegedly history of Thanksgiving is visualized.

A movie with lots of humor for kids but also entertaining enough for adults. I enjoyed watching the adventures of Reggie and Jake with my daughter on the big screen (no, there are no extra credits for that) so Seven out of Ten.

Build 2012

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Last year I attended Build 2011. It was highly secretive and more or less Apple-ified kind of conference held by Microsoft however this time. No one knew what to expect other than that Microsoft planned to make a big shift in their plans for the upcoming years. As I blogged about it last time, it seemed that Microsoft decided to align all products with the same type of User Interface and able to run on most devices from phones to data servers.

One of the big announcements was that Windows would be able to run on ARM processor based devices and would be prepared as touch enabled Operating System.

Tomorrow, Eight-Eight-Eight (8-8-8, August 8th at 8AM) it will happen again. Microsoft is opening their doors this time on Microsoft Campus in Redmond, not in a fancy location with Disneyland or Vegas setting but ‘just’ at Microsoft’s home base.

Again, no-one knows what to expect and what to arrange for traveling and lodging but I’m pretty sure it will provide a lot of interesting information and options to build your network for the next year or so. Build 2011 provided insights in completely new areas and was definitely worth attending. In general I am an autodidact, the reason often is that I am learning the things that I ‘predict’ to be big in the -next- couple of years and a lot of it is simply not available soon enough. Living on the bleeding edge. Events like Build are different, mainly because the speakers on the conference -are the developers- working on the new technologies. Not some consulting guys but the ones who designed it.

So, it won’t take more that 24 hours until we know what it’s all about. Or maybe not … maybe you only know how to register and where to stay. That was what happened last year. No information at all.

For me I’ll try to register and see if I can get a ticket to learn what to focus on the next couple of years. Maybe my boss is willing to sponsor me, maybe not -in that case I’ll break my piggybank and will it be my early Christmas vacation- but the ones who get in will be the ones with the Golden ticket ….

Let me know, are you trying to get registered, to get the Golden Ticket …?

To be continued …

A world with new software and a landing

Visual Studio 2012 Logo

Last year

… has been a rollercoaster ride of new beta opportunities in a wide variety of software products. Not one product but the complete line, ecosystem if you like, was going through a huge make-over. Within Microsoft there was finally the decision to align all products and make sure each product is complementing the other.

This was something I personally favored for a long time. Instead of having all these products doing their own thing let’s have all the tools and applications in one big bowl and make sure everything looks similar and one product ads to the other. One and One is Three!

I was lucky to be able to beta test a lot of the software that is about to get released soon. This, for me is an important part of my work and just fun to do as a hobby. The software wasn’t publicly available, but I was most certainly not the only one outside Microsoft working with it. Thousands of others with me provided input and recommendations that we thought were important to implement. Obviously to say that not all of our recommendations will make it into the product but I’m sure that a large part of the feedback was adopted making the products even better.

While working on the beta software, next to our daily lives and coping with professional issues at work along with doing your stuff at home not all the things we worked on could be discussed in public was not ready to be blogged about. So that created somewhat of a gap in my blog history.

Let’s see if we can change that. A lot of exciting things is about to happen over the next few weeks and months and I’m sure that with your holiday season at the end of the year, only a few months from now, you just don’t know where to start acquiring all the new stuff and get your wannahaves.

Some history

Years ago, and I -mean- yeeeeeaaaars ago, there was this vision of one solution on multiple screens. You would be able to run the things you needed to run on all devices. Going from mobile (Windows Mobile Phones), palmtop (remember the ‘small’ iPaq devices), laptop, desktop to server machines.

Reality was however that it never was a real tight fit. Windows Mobile Phones were just clumsy and hard to handle synchronizing using a wire. Same thing with the palmtops, internally running an embedded OS lacking the wireless connection (you could go wireless but that needed a sleeve to put around the device that was even bigger than the device itself).

The laptop and the desktop integration was a bit better, it ran the same operating system but servers, (How many server types can you name, from Windows Home Server to Data Center?) was, again, another complete different story. And the cloud was not even there yet!

Improvement was needed

As you can see, if you overlook all these things, it was quite a mess. Sure the tools if you each view them in their own context often were great tools. From the start they accomplished a huge boost in productivity. Let’s be real. A lot of’em I still use every day for my personal use, professional life or just as a hobby and I love working with it.

It is however time to change. All products have been re-evaluated, been looked at, and it was decided how the product will fit in scope of all the other products. Are there duplicates? Is there something missing?

The new world of software

With all of that, a complete range of products were developed that covered all devices. Some products are new others are existing but had a complete makeover. Going from small devices (phones) to handhelds (tablets), traveller machines (ultrabook), mobile workstations (notebooks), desktops, servers and all the way to the cloud.

All devices will get the same Windows 8 style UI interface and each tailored to the way it will fit on the device. Integration will take place between your mobile devices, your desktop workspace and The Cloud. A lot of work has been put into the scenario to access all your data wherever and whenever you need.

Some of it is already in a position ready for release other parts are about to be released to manufacturer and another set of parts will be on the release schedule very soon.

If you haven’t already done so, go over to the locations I added below and start exploring some of it. Go slow, there is lots and lots of it where that came from and a lot to learn!

Curiosity

And what better way to conclude this blog item for today with the other great event that just happened. Today the Curiosity Rover  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curiosity_rover) landed on Mars to explore the things we don’t know. Exciting time to live in and looking forward to see what Curiosity discovers …

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/

The new Software

Windows 8 Release Preview

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/release-preview

Office 2013 and Office365 Customer Preview

http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en

Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate

http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/11/en-us

 

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