OBA Want to Knowbie?

For those of you who are saying, “huh?” right now…let’s start with a brief introduction to OBA (Office Business Applications).

Long Definition:  “Office Business Applications are an emerging class of application that helps businesses unlock the value of their line-of-business (LOB) systems and turn document-based processes into real applications. OBAs leverage the power of the Office Business Platform, that is, the clients, servers, services, and tools that comprise the 2007 Microsoft Office system to solve business problems….”

Short Definition: OBA is the ability to develop and customize Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) to meet the needs of document-based processing systems.

”Ok, I sorta get it…but what do I care?”   Well, these line-of-business systems exist everywhere.  How many times have we filled out a status report in Word?  Completed an expense report in Excel?  Approved a SharePoint workflow task in Outlook?

By developing applications on the Office Business Applications platform, we can expose enterprise-specific features directly in the Office client applications and provide a seamless integration into already existing LOB systems.

”Ok, I’m excited…how do I get started”    Let me first say, if you know your way around Visual Studio and Office 2007, do not be intimidated by OBA development.  Microsoft has invested a lot of time and effort to ensure that development in Office is intuitive and painless.  I am elated while writing this post because OBA development is just that.  It could be the top under-hyped platforms of the 2007 Office release. 

I have compiled a list of resources that I have found useful while getting started developing in Office.

Office Business Applications – Home Page

OBA Central

Microsoft OBA Team Blog


Microsoft OBA Developer Portal on MSDN

Office Development with Visual Studio Portal

Office System Development Control IDs

Office System 2007: XML Schema Reference

General OBA Downloads

Check back soon as I will be posting walk-throughs and podcasts on example applications and customizations.