They seek him here, they seek him there, they seek him everywhere. (now available as a ringtone!)
I thought I’d have a tinker with VSTA in Infopath 2007. So I fired up a clean Win XP VPC and installed Office 2007. (great install btw – one click, leave for half an hour job done – not like VS which needs a prod every few minutes)
(Bear in mind the inclusion of VSTA in Office 2007 was a much trumpeted feature.)
I click around trying to remember which one of the apps I’ve never used has VSTA, Google a bit follow some instructions and come to a dead end.
‘Feature not available’ the installer says – hmm. More Googling gets me here. In summary to use VSTA you need .net framework 2.0 (or higher presumably) and the MSXML security hole.
So I then have to go and download these 2 components install them on the VPC (which meant a whole additions/networking dance (3 reboots I think)) then rerun the Office installer (glad I left the temp install files on there) and now I think I’m in business. I havent had chance to check because I’m trying to get all the VPCs built for next week – I could have done without this multi hour diversion. And I don’t want to use up my 20 odd uses and end up locked out for the conf ;-).
But the big question is, if Office 2007 has a dependency on .net framework 2.0 for some of its functionality shouldn’t it distribute the framework as part of the Office install? (at least on those versions that include VSTA)?
I know Office and VS are on different release schedules but really, what chance is there of convergence and adoption if its this painful to even try the thing out? (never mind deploy a solution to 20,000 desktops)
In a way I think this hidden/missing/unexpected dependency thing sums up the .net experience. I can’t help wondering if the Office team are trying to avoid getting sucked into it, if so I can’t blame them. But just fess up and tell us to use C++ native code then we’ll know. (Excel SDK in C/C++?). (Oh and please expose all the new stuff to the C API too – ta)
[Stop press – We have VSTA – not a right lot of use as I know completely nothing about the Infopath object model, but still its there.]