Feeds

Microsoft offers developer tools for its lonely Office Store

Visual Studio kit for building Office add-ons exits preview

Top three mobile application threats

Microsoft really wants developers to build apps for the new version of its Office productivity suite – both standalone and subscription – and to that end it has released a new set of tools for Visual Studio 2012 designed to make it easier to develop, test, and deploy Office add-ons.

"The Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 provide broad and deep support, ranging from new templates to new designers to a whole host of integrated lifecycle tools," Soma Somasegar, corporate VP of Microsoft's developer division, said in a statement on Monday.

The tools allow developers to create Office add-ons using the suite's new extension model, introduced in Office 2013 and the latest version of Office 365, in which coders create Office extensions using HTML, JavaScript, and other web standards, rather than Windows-centric technologies such as Visual Basic and ActiveX.

The new model also allows developers to package and distribute their add-ons via the Office Store, an online marketplace based on the same idea as app stores for mobile platforms – or, for that matter, Microsoft's new app store for Windows 8.

Redmond is doing all it can to drum up interest in the Office Store among users and developers, having gone as far as to yank the built-in dictionary from Office 2013, forcing users to choose an alternative from the Office Store.

So far, however, the shelves at the Office Store are looking even barer than those at the Windows Store. Aside from the dictionaries, plug-ins for printing labels, and tools for integrating with online services like eFax, there's not much to entice most users – something Redmond surely wants to change.

The Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio have been in development since July 2012 – long before Office 2013 became commercially available – and Microsoft has issued significant updates for them since the initial preview release.

With Monday's production release of the tools, Redmond has added still further capabilities, including a code validator that developers can use to catch common errors before submitting their apps to the Office Store, in addition to what Somasegar describes as "a lot of fit-and-finish" to the tools' UI.

The tools for Visual Studio offer a richer development experience as compared to "Napa", an online tool for Office add-on development that Microsoft launched last July and that Somasegar says has been updated on a weekly basis.

The tools are available as a free download, but to deploy apps to the Office Store a developer must have an Office 365 Developer Subscription. That ordinarily costs $99 per year, but Somasegar said on Monday that Microsoft has added a one-year subscription as a free benefit for Visual Studio Ultimate and Visual Studio Premium with MSDN subscribers.

In other words, there may not be many customers for Office Store add-ons yet – and, seemingly, even fewer ideas for them – but at least they're cheap to build. ®

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.