Microsoft has developed a version of Visual Studio 2005, which will allow users to deploy interactive forms with the next version of the MS Office suite.
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The development tool, called Visual Studio 2005 tools for the MS Office System (Vsto) allows software developers to extend Word documents and Excel spreadsheets using Visual Studio .net, Visual Basic and C#.
BJ Holtgrewe, senior product manager at Microsoft, said the tools allows server applications to read and write Word and Excel files, without the need for Word or Excel to run on the server.
In a demonstration at Tech Ed, Holtgrewe showed an estate agent application using an electronic form running within a Word template. The application pulled in data from external sources and allowed the end user to fill in details in order to produce a contract.
Holtgrewe said that by programming such forms in Vsto, users are able to lock down security in Word and Excel via security that is built into Microsoft’s .net programming model for web services.