Doug Mahugh posted today on Interoperability – specifically the difficulty of enabling cross-application exchange of document formats. This represents one (important) aspect of the overall interoperability challenge, but I would like to set some context for this conversation in my blog. There is laser-sharp focus on XML-based document exchange fidelity & quality between Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, and other business productivity suites. The broader category of data interchange however, is often left unaddressed. I’d like to open that window for a moment.
Countless solution providers for Office exist, a community built over time by providing and incredible breadth of capability enabling the development of powerful solutions. One of the core requirements for Office development is data connectivity and data portability. I’d like to take a moment to point folks at 3 resources on MSDN that illustrate various aspects of data portability for Office – hopefully to add a little context to our investments around interoperability, which is broad and deep in our products.
1. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb545041(office.11).aspx Frank Rice discusses how to create data connections in Excel 2007, at least at the most basic level. From here you can connect through OLE, OLAP, Web Services,
- Simba connects Oracle to Excel 2007 using OLAP and MDX Query language.
- Straightthrough integrates Excel 2007 to Salesforce.com.
- So does the Salesforce Excel connector, connecting Excel to Salesforce.com.
2. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc197932.aspx Stephen Oliver discusses how to use content controls, data bindings, the Open XML SDK and custom-defined schema to introduce variable length repeating data items into Word templates.
- LeaderGuide Pro helps you create advanced templates through the use of building blocks.
- AptarMerge is does (among other things) document assembly-type work for Word, and also integrates to SalesForce.com
- IBM Rational RequisitePro uses the familiar environment of Word for software requirements definition, and integrates that to a requirements database
- DocToHelp integrates Word 2007 (and Open XML) into its enterprise scale help systems
3. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb332455.aspx Ken Getz discusses how to replace PowerPoint slide images
- Perspector Provides 3D graphics support for PowerPoint
- Impatica Provides plug-in free streaming for videos into PowerPoint
- Knowledge tree provides in-application integration for Word, Excel and PowerPoint to browse Knowledge Tree content within the applications
- Wondershare offers a number of products for converting PowerPoint documents to various formats.
This extremely narrow slice of life within the Office partner community illustrates a very important concept – interoperability with Microsoft Office is a well-worn path, supported by thousands of software providers, developers, experts, and so on. http://msdn.microsoft.com/office provides a tremendous resource for those developers and partners.
We will continue to do our best to support not only the document interoperability scenarios that Doug outlines in his post, but also those that are important to Microsoft partners and solution providers, whose businesses depend on us, and to whom we are grateful for their lasting and continuing support.