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Microsoft Updates Office Developer Code Librarian With ISV Libraries

Microsoft Corp. today launched what is essentially a code-snippets-of-the-month club for corporate developers writing applications that build on Microsoft Office 2000 and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

The new service is called the Code Librarian Update, and will consist of free monthly updates to a Microsoft Web site of code libraries from third-party software companies with VBA-embedded products. The site can be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/officedev/downloads/codelibrarian.asp.

Lest anyone conclude this announcement out of the Office Deployment and Developer Conference in Phoenix is a step from Redmond toward open source, users will only be able to view the libraries via the Code Librarian, a searchable database of prewritten code in Microsoft Office 2000 Developer.

The Code Librarian consists of hundreds of reusable code snippets that can be dragged and dropped by developers writing applications using Office and VBA.

The first add-on library comes from Visio, formerly an ISV selling a business drawing application but now a division of Microsoft (www.microsoft.com). Microsoft predicts libraries from actual ISVs will come from WRQ (www.wrq.com ), Lawson Software (www.lawson.com) and Elsinore Technologies (www.elsitech.com). Microsoft claims many ISVs are eager to be included.

Dave Edson, technical product manager for Developer Tools at Microsoft, sheds light on how Microsoft expects ISVs to view the opportunity. Edson, who is a technical evangelist for Visio, explains how the Code Librarian Update could affect Visio: "We see Visio as a great graphics front end to all forms of data. People don’t necessarily know how to transfer that data back and forth between applications." With the appropriate code snippets, developers can drag and drop the code for transferring data between Visio and Access, Excel or Word. About a quarter of Visio development scenarios are used with Microsoft Office, and about 57 percent of Visio developers use VBA automation, according to Microsoft.

The Visio library includes about 100 functions. The total size of the library is about 1.4 MB, although it zips to about a 100 KB download.

According to Microsoft, there are about 2.6 million developers targeting the Office environment. – Scott Bekker

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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