2018 Just started – Happy New Year

Blog 2018

A lot happened in 2017 on all levels …

Marcel Meijer, Fanie Reynders and I did our weekly SDN Cast again for the second year already. We only skipped a few weeks to attend some large conferences and create some impressions of the events. You can find all the videos on our YouTube channel: www.sdncast.nl/youtube (or direct link: www.youtube.com/sdncast).

I was awarded MVP for the 13th time in 2017, in fact twice for 2017 – once in January 2017 and ‘automagically’ renewed in July 2017 due to a change in the MVP Program cycles. Instead of 4 quarterly cycles to be renewed once a year the award cycle changed to July for everyone.

So for me for the first time since 2007 (as I was awarded in January of 2016) a New Years Day without the suspense of being renewed or not to be renewed. In 2018 the thrill is shifted to July so we’ll see what happens by then Smile.

Besides all of this we did three SDN Events (one day conference) an Office 365 Developer Bootcamp to teach Microsoft Teams development to a nice group of local developers (The Office Developer Bootcamp was a global initiative where everywhere in the world groups of people organized local Bootcamp events. Our Bootcamp was in Amsterdam last November).

But there was more … Dutch .NET Group Meetups, Build Conference, TechDays NL, Community MVP Event in Denmark and not to forget another year of great technologies!

Anyway … there happened too much to list here so that only leaves me to wishing you all the best for 2018 with many more events like we’ve seen in 2017!

The show must go on …

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Office Development – Add-in Types, what did we have before?

Office-Development-VSTO_thumb.png

To research the ‘new’ Office JS Add-ins we need to know what types of add-ins there are. If you come from VSTO there is some similarity, add-ins can be divided in different types. Let’s see what we had before.

In VSTO you had the option to create Document Customizations aka Document-level customizations where the add-in was attached to the document or spreadsheet, Application-level customizations, here the add-in lives in the context of the host application like Word or Excel and Outlook Form Regions for customizations in Outlook

Project Type Feature Application
Document Level Customization Actions Pane Word

Excel

Custom Ribbon UI Excel

InfoPath

Outlook

PowerPoint

Project

Word

Visio

Backstage View Excel

InfoPath

Outlook

PowerPoint

Project

Word

Visio

Controls on Documents Excel

Word

Shortcut Menus Excel

InfoPath

Outlook

PowerPoint

Project

Word

Visio

Application Level Customization Custom Task Pane Excel

InfoPath

Outlook

PowerPoint

Word

Custom Ribbon UI Excel

InfoPath

Outlook

PowerPoint

Project

Word

Visio

Backstage View Excel

InfoPath

Outlook

PowerPoint

Project

Word

Visio

Outlook Form Regions Outlook
Controls on Documents Excel

Word

Shortcut Menus Excel

InfoPath

Outlook

PowerPoint

Project

Word

Visio

So, in general there are these options explained a bit:

  • Actions Pane/Task Pane (Depending Application or Document Level)

    This is the pane on the right of a document that allows you to interact with the document. In case of an Actions Pane this is attached to the document, while the Task Pane can be there independent of the document. They can both do arbitrary things, but the Actions Pane only appears with the document.

  • Ribbon UI adjustments

    Adding your own Ribbon with controls on it. VSTO can add almost every Ribbon Control available.

  • Backstage View

    Backstage View is the view that you see when you select the File Tab. This allows you to add a special tab in there for whatever you want to show there. Some limitations apply

  • Outlook Form Regions

    Outlook Form Regions extend the way you work with your mail. There are options to just add a small part on top of the mail item or take over the full real estate. You can specify when this happens, will it be only in compose or read mode? You decide.

  • Controls on Documents

    With this feature you can enhance the document with extra controls on top of the document surface. The controls are not always persistent and you may need to re-create the controls each time you open the document if you want them to appear again.

  • Shortcut Menus

    These are the context menus. Right click on the document and add extra function call options within the right-click-menu to allow the user to do specific tasks related to the position of the caret (insertion point where the cursor resides).

This is quite a lot of functionality and also keep in mind that from most of these features you can do the craziest things because you can extend the Task Panes/Action Panes with either Windows Forms but also XAML interfaces. The other features can use the full .NET Framework stack so you can do everything you want.

The challenge is now to see if we can get the same things with Office JS Add-ins. Obviously you don’t want to fall back into a limited feature set. On the other hand, there is the fact that it needs to run on multiple platforms. That can be a limiting factor.

Given this summary I now have a goal to what to look for in the ‘new’ world.

To be continued …

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