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Visual Studio 2005 Tools Beta Released for Office 2007

Microsoft released the Visual Studio 2005 Tools Second Edition Beta for the 2007 Microsoft Office System on Thursday. The timing of the release coincides with the Office 2007 Beta 2 technical refresh, which was also announced last week.

The Visual Studio Tools Office add-in, code-named "Cypress" is fully supported and available free to developers who are using licensed versions of Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition or Visual Studio Tools for Office 2005. This beta adds support for the standalone version of Visual Studio 2005 Professional. The Community Technology Preview, available in June, supported MSDN Visual Studio 2005 subscriptions and the Visual Studio Team System.

In response to customer requests, according to Microsoft, the VSTO 2005 SE Beta adds support for two Office apps--PowerPoint and Visio--in addition to Outlook, Excel, Word and InfoPath. The VSTO SE Beta offers managed code for these applications and supports what Microsoft terms "safe loading, unloading, and management" of these add-ins.

It also provides programming model and runtime support for new 2007 Office System features designed to support customized user interfaces and collaboration such as the Ribbon UI, custom task panes, and Outlook forms. It does not include visual designers for these features, notes K.D. Hallman, general manager, Office Platform Developer Tools, Microsoft. That functionality, not currently available due to time constraints, according to her blog posting, is on the product roadmap. The beta does offer design templates for InfoPath forms.

The VSTO 2005 SE Beta is available for download now. Final release is planned for later this year. More information for developers is available through the Microsoft Office Developer Center.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards (krichards@1105media.com) is the editor of RedDevNews.com and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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