On the road in Europe

It has been almost two weeks now since I arrived in Europe. As noted, I had hoped to blog more, but with all of the working, sight-seeing, eating, drinking and travelling -- not to mention very intermittent internet availability -- I haven't really had a chance.

I am in Vienna now (Wien to the locals, of course). I started in Munich as I noted, and if you are interested I did manage to make an entry on my personal blog about my experiences at Oktoberfest. We then travelled to Nuremburg, which is a lovely old city with a fabulous medieval castle. Next we went to Lindau, which is a little resort city on Lake Constance. Apparently only English speaking people call it that though -- in Germany it is the Bodensee. Anyway, we stayed at a very old hotel that was built over a mineral bath, called Bad Schachen.

On our way to Vienna we spent a couple nights in Salzburg. It is a very interesting city, again, with a fabulous medieval castle. There are some great restaurants in Salzburg. If you want something really unusual check out Carpe Diem.

We have met with three customers so far and a couple interesting and unexpected things came out of the meetings. First, I found a customer that has a real business need for a single addin shared across multiple Office applications (and multiple versions, of course). Another customer wanted it, but had no problem with the factorization described below.

We debated whether we needed an application agnostic addin project in VSTO, and decided against it: in almost every case an addin targets a specific application and desires strongly typed access to the application object. Of course there are common cases where one desires to have the same code run in different apps -- for instance a common Task Pane -- but this code is easily factored out into a separate dll project. I still believe that having a single addin for multiple apps is a bit of an edge case, so I don't know if we'll add a project specifically for this case. It is possible, however, to take an app specific VSTO addin project and alter some of the hidden code and make it work across apps. Perhaps a subject for another post.

The other thing I have seen more than once is that VSTO customers build addins that then serve as platforms for further addins. There seems to be a trend here. Fortunately we have a solution for this: MAF and VSTA. It is no problem to utilize the same addin model with which we built VSTO and use it to further customize these addins. A virtuous cycle.

As you may have guessed, I haven't yet gotten to my Cypress-based Form Region sample. If you are waiting patiently for it and want to send me a message, do just that, send me an e-mail and it will help me prioritize my work.