Tadwick

My Outlook 2003 add-in had been working well under both 2003 and 2007 until I started trying to save my custom CommandBar in Outlook 2007. Having read the posts and blogs about the necessity of developing add-ins in two development environments (one with VS 2005, VSTO SE, Office 2003 and 2003 PIAs and one with VS 2005, VSTO SE, Office 2007 and 2007 PIAs), what is the optimum architecture for doing so

The considerations seem to be:

  1. Portability of code base
  2. Separation of code with Outlook 2007 functionality (ribbon etc) from generic base functionality supported in Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007
  3. Licensing costs

My questions are:

A. If I run a virtual machine (VM) to build against Outlook 2007 do I need to buy additional XP and VS 2005 licenses

B. Do I need to cut and paste the generic code base between the host and VM or can I somehow reference the generic class files on the host from the VM

C. How is your development environment set up

Thanks, Tad



Re: Visual Studio Tools for Office Architecture and licensing to support multiple versions of Outlook

Dennis Wallentin

Hi Tad,

Licensing costs

MSFT offer some subscriptions that may be of interest:

- MSDN Subscription

- MSFT Action Pack (I don't know any details)

How is your development environment set up

Don't tell anyone but I have the following set up:

Running Ubuntu (Linux Distribution) as the host operating system and use VMWare 6.0 to run the following guest operation systems:

  • Windows 2000 - Office 2000 - VS 6.0
  • Windows XP - Office 2003 - VS 2005 - VSTO
  • Windows Vista - Office 2007 - VS 2005 - VSTO


Do I need to cut and paste the generic code base between the host and VM or can I somehow reference the generic class files on the host from the VM

Well, VMWare offer the possibility to share folders between the host and the guest operating systems. I don't know If You can references class files etc via VMWare or not.

In case You have not read Andrew Whitechapel's blogposts on the subject:
Can you build one add-in for multiple versions of Office

Why is VS development not supported with multiple versions of Office






Re: Visual Studio Tools for Office Architecture and licensing to support multiple versions of Outlook

Tadwick

For anyone who's interested see MSDN pricing (eg Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition with MSDN Professional Subscription is $1199USD full and $799USD upgrade) and side by side comparison of editions. MS Action Pack is $299USD pa (requires free MS Partner membership) and includes lots of stuff including 64 bit versions of Window Server and Exchange. I'm not sure if the Action Pack includes older versions of office (ie 2003) and the access to XP and Office 2003 via MSDN may be limited as of the end of June 2007.

I use MS Virtual PC and VM Server (both free). I 've seen Andrew Whitechapel's blogs on the subject and they are enough to make anyone's stomach churn. Somehow the millions of potential VSTO clients is motivation to stay the course.

Tad





Re: Visual Studio Tools for Office Architecture and licensing to support multiple versions of Outlook

Dennis Wallentin

Tad,

Keeping the same pace as the "state of the art" development tools tend to come with two "prices":

  • Price model
  • High development speed which put us in a constantly "beta mode" and in a "confusing" mode.

We can agree or disagree on the above but we cannon change it.

I 've seen Andrew Whitechapel's blogs on the subject and they are enough to make anyone's stomach churn.

At least it's honest and gives a clear picture over the present situation although it gives a less attractive scenario.

What You can consider is to use VB 6.0 to develop the COM Add-in which can then target OL 2000 - 2007. It's no longer available via MSFT but it appears that You can get a copy at eBay or at similar sites. Of course, it comes without the latest "whistle & bells".






Re: Visual Studio Tools for Office Architecture and licensing to support multiple versions of Outlook

Tadwick

Dennis,

I didn't mean that I found what Andrew wrote offensive - I agree that the information he provided was thorough and useful. What I meant was that the prospect of trying to make VSTO work with two versions of Office on the same machine made me queasy and confirmed my conclusions that two development environments are necessary.

Tad