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Professional Outlook 2007 Programming (Programmer to Programmer) Paperback – 5 Oct 2007
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From the Back Cover
Professional Outlook 2007 Programming
Written by one of the most popular and knowledgeable Microsoft Outlook MVPs, this book emphasizes the many new and exciting Outlook 2007 programming features. Ken Slovak shows you all you need to know to develop everything from Outlook custom forms and personal productivity macros to advanced COM add–ins that use a range of Microsoft technologies.
The Outlook 2007 model fulfills many of the requests that Outlook developers have been making for years. You′ll see how many of the programming properties that are considered vital, but were previously unavailable in older versions of Outlook, now exist. Real–world examples show you how to solve common Outlook programming problems. Plus, you′ll learn common workarounds for Outlook programming bugs. You′ll quickly discover why you′ll rarely if ever have to leave the Outlook object model to do what you want with your code when using Outlook 2007.
What you will learn from this book
Various properties, methods, and events in the new unified Outlook model
How to customize the Outlook user interface
Ways the interface works with other applications
How to use VSTO 2005 V3
How a task management system can utilize the new To–Do bar
Who this book is for
This book is for professional or advanced developers who want to take full advantage of the power of the unified Outlook object model in Outlook 2007, and who want to learn the important new features in the unified object model. Existing knowledge of Outlook programming is not required.
Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real–world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.
About the Author
Ken Slovak is president of Slovak Technical Services, a company specializing in Outlook, Exchange, and Office custom development and consulting. He has been an Outlook MVP since 1998. He has coauthored Programming Microsoft Outlook 2000, Professional Programming Outlook 2000, Beginning Visual Basic 6 Application Development; contributed material to other Outlook books; and written numerous magazine articles about Outlook. He makes his home in central Florida with his wife and dog and enjoys swimming, fishing, cooking, and chasing squirrels for the dog s amusement.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
If you're interested in programming for Outlook or just curious as to how it works this book won't let you down. It's definitely not a boring reference manual.
This book covers a lot of topics that I didn't bother to read, and this review won't be relevent to users who want to learn about VBA and Outlook forms.
The quick summary of what I read is "Microsoft provided feeble interfaces for plugin development, and you have to recreate tons of stuff from scratch. I've done that for you, and here is 50KB worth of code to copy-and-paste into your project."
After typing up a significant part of it over two days, I realized that I had made too many typos to troubleshoot, and I also decided that I didn't really care about all of this minutiae, anymore. So I went to the author's website and downloading the huge blocks of cookie-cutter code that are required to make a plugin of any sort, and just read through the end. However, his sample doesn't compile in Visual Studio 2005, regardless of what I do to try and fix it.
Let's go over how badly this sucks. There is simply no way that you could ever take the code from the book and construst anything resembling the project file which I later downloaded from the author's website. Far too much of the object structure, file structure, references, and namespace declarations were omitted in the book, without so much as a word about it. The code involved is big, and kinda abstract. It's unclear what you need to change to achieve certain results. The example provided might have barely been sufficient to guide me toward my task, to begin with. However, since this one example didn't compile, I was totally stranded.
The architecture of the Outlook plugin is not really explained, although there are "tactical" references to it, sprinkled across a 100 page span that describes bits of code. The object model summary at the end of the book looks basically like a plain text file printed sideways, and offers no "summary" at all, just basically a poorly formatted list of objects, methods and properties.
Now, I can't fully blame the author for providing insights (which must have been painfully learned) into Microsoft Outlook, which just doesn't "want to be modified." However, I'm not inclined to praise the author, either. The parts of the book that I read (about half of it) looked like it was churned out as quickly as the author was able -- maybe a basic narration about bits of code from a single relevent project.
Overall, this is the sub-sufficient level of documentation that seems way too common for the Wrox brand. I would have steered clear, since Wrox always fails me, but there weren't many choices for Plugin Development. I guess I'll blow some more of my company's training budget on the other books, since the Web doesn't really cover this topic, either.
Professional Outlook 2007 covers the several options for deploying add-ins. It starts out by walking through the creation of a macro using VBA. Macro's can be setup by using the inline macro designer by selecting the Tools > Forms > Design a Form. The designer support allows a developer to drag/drop fields onto the form and create a customized interface. Ken also discusses the options related to using Outlook Form Regions, a new feature only available in Outlook 2007. A form region embeds an icon in the Office ribbon so the user can activate the region (for certain region settings). While this is a nice option and separates the add-in from the actual form, the challenges are backward compatibility (as this feature isn't in Outlook 2003). Throughout the book, the book covers as many possible development options as there are with Office 2007, which are macros, COM add-ins, and VSTO, and across the various syntaxes and query mechanisms (like DASL) that are available.
Ken's book is filled with the gotchas (some times I debated as to whether the Outlook integration was even worth the hassle because of some of the many problems like random crashing, security issues, etc.) of Outlook development that every developer has to be aware of. He includes an entire chapter focused on the idea of real-world programming with Outlook 2007.
I think Ken does a good job of getting his point across, but in some areas the subject can come off dry; he includes his own personal source code that he reuses across projects. While helpful, I felt it was a distraction from the book a little bit. But overall, the book was great and I'd recommend it personally. Like all good books, this book wrapped up with a sample program that's always beneficial.
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