The Microsoft Office Interactive Developer Map

June 13 2007

One of the things that I showed at Lotus Developer 2007 in my Advanced Office session was the Microsoft Office Interactive Developer Map. As big and overwhelming the 2007 Office Developer's roadmap is, this little gem gives you a great way to explore. It is a live application that you can click around. It contains links and it reads feeds to give you current information. Here is what it looks like:

The Microsoft Office Interactive Developer Map helps developers visualize the different programs, servers, services, and tools that will help you build solutions. It allows you to drill down to each product and technology and learn about new features, objects, Web services, namespaces, and schemas required to extend Microsoft Office and build custom Office Business Applications (OBAs). This map provides links to MSDN portal pages, technical articles, and key pointers to SDK and reference documentation topics.

When you download the map you can see an overview of the Office developer roadmap. You can click a product or technology to drill down and find resources related to the product you selected:

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Each time you drill down to a product or technology you will find links to:
1.        Key namespace documentation on MSDN.
2.        Resources: Product portals on MSDN and Office Online + key pointers to MSDN Library node, technical articles, and Visual How-Tos.
3.        Features: Most relevant developer features linked to online resources.
4.        Reference documentation: Links to MSDN developer reference documentation, SDKs, key objects, or Web services.
5.        Community resources: Product community portal, product MVPs, and product bloggers.
6.        Latest News:  RSS feed with latest news about a product. We provide feeds to product bloggers or MSDN Forums related to the product or technology.

Some regions of the map don't have a resource page. For example, all the platform boxes at the bottom and some technologies under the Tools region. However, if you click a platform box, the maps opens a new browser window that displays the best available MS site. For example, if you click IIS, we take you to http://www.iis.net.

The coolest feature

The map is a living document that provides links to MSDN Library reference documentation, MSDN portal pages, and RSS feeds that describe how developers can use the 2007 Microsoft Office system and associated tools and technologies to develop solutions that meet their needs.

It stores all links in an XML file that we will update when we publish new content or find better online resources. Once you install it, the map pulls the latest version of the resource file. You can find the map at Start Menu > 2007 Office System Developer Resources > Microsoft Office Interactive Developer Map. Then, each time you launch the application, it looks for updates pulls them from the server when available. No need to reinstall because you are using ClickOnce technology. This application is like a news reader that you can open every now and then to find out what's happening out there.

The map is built using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). It is worth the install if you do any Office development or integration. Download it here.  Thank you Erika and your team!

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