If you are wanting to play with VSTO and want a simple, easy to carry intro, this isn’t it. It’s massive and it weighs a ton!
But that is because it covers all the main Office apps, well Excel, Word and PowerPoint, I dunno what the Access/VSTO story is. Maybe the Access boss was out the day they decided to point VS at Office?
This is a good book. I’m always a little sceptical on books, especially if I don’t know if the authors are commercial devs. I know the two Erics are key members of the VSTO team, but thats not the same as delivering and supporting, using the book contents, to paying clients. With this book though you can just follow through the examples and deliver working solutions, that actually work.
My only issue is with the section on UDFs using Automation add-ins – c’mon guys, everyone knows .net automation add-ins are completely inadequate for commercial use. Sure show the tech, but at least warn people that the performance is pitiful. Otherwise someone will use just that section, see how crap they are and assume that the rest of the book and the technology is as bad, and it isn’t.
The rest of the book (I didn’t bother with the non Excel stuff of course) looks like a simplified version of what to do, but actually VSTO 2008 is that simple. All that Caspol security bobbins is gone and getting your VSTO solution working on someone elses pc is now really straightforward.
The book is just C#, but you can download the VB stuff from their site. But I would strongly advise anyone wanting to look at .net to seriously consider the move the C#, sure there is a bit of a learning curve, but the resources are so much richer, and the language is so clean (well was – its getting more cluttered all the time). If you just want to get things done, stick with VBA, if you want to develop and grow as a developer take the plunge and try C#. Of course dropping back to VBA and putting a ; at the end of every line is a pain…
I’m not completely convinced by VSTO, I think the VS2010 v Office 2010 story will be pretty slick, but the VS2008 stuff v Excel 2007 is really quite flaky. I think in 2010 they have actually fixed some things they just patched in 2008 (I’m thinking the locale ID mess for one thing).
My preference for Excel add-ins is still xlls and with the rapid rate of improvement and availability of tools in this space, its getting better and better.
I have a click-once server deployed VSTO add-in live at the moment and its pretty neat. I publish new version any time I make a change and the users get it the next time they start Excel, easy squeezy. Moving it from the test server to production was a pain, but once live, updates are very smooth. Then again we have an add-in loader which does the same thing for .xlas, .xlls and .xlams so maybe its not that great a leap forward…
Anyway if you are doing VSTO development this is the book to get. PED also has a good section on Excel/.net covering all the options as well as going into detail on VSTO with VB.net.
How are your VSTO projects coming along?