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Advice on Getting Started creating an App RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi Folks,

    I have a commercial Excel addin which I intend transitioning to an app. It is basically a statistical package that is a ribbon tab with lots of buttons that fire up various forms to do analysis. (see the video How Statistician 2.0 works). I am just looking for some advice on how to get started.

    Basically, I know very little about web development technology (HTML, Javascript etc) but I am willing to learn. I have considerable experience programming in vb.net creating forms, ribbons and quantitative programming. So can someone recommend what technologies I should use? Should I use VS2012 or Napa. Should I develop the taskpane directly with HTML or Blend (or anything else?). Anything else that I should know?

    Its important to get the building blocks right before I begin on this project so informed advice is most welcome.

    Thanks,

    Bernie


    Bernie

    Saturday, July 13, 2013 11:20 PM

Answers

  • Hi Bernie,

    Thanks for your question.  The best place to start if you're interested in Apps for Office (which it sounds like you are), would be dev.office.com.  This is the starting point for developing Apps for Office.  Here you'll find introductory overviews, as well as detailed APIs for starting this type of project. 

    We are also working on a decision tree that will help folks like you decide how to best accomplish the development tasks they are interested in developing and in which technologies (or options of technologies). 

    I would also LOVE your feedback on the resources you find at dev.office.com, as well as any suggestions/requests/ideas for additional content and tutorials that would be helpful to you.

    Thank you,

    Sonya

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013 9:24 PM
  • Thank you Sonya,

    I am more than happy to feedback my impressions of the Apps development centre. I don’t know how valuable my feedback will be given my background as a vb.net programmer who develops Excel addins and who has little web technology experience (ie HTML & Javascript). But then again, you may be seeking feedback from this type of person.

    OK, my first thought after visiting the Apps development centre is that I now know what an app is and I have a sense of where Microsoft is going. The use of a lot of web technology jargon was a bit of a hurdle me.  The link to How to: Create your first task pane or content app by using Visual Studio  was very helpful as it gave me an understanding of what an Office can & cannot do as well as give me a sense of what technologies I need to get up to speed with.

    Having said that, the fact is I am still somewhat confused with many references to API’s, Javascript and the like when I don’t really understand properly how these technologies fit together. I am aware of the release of VS2013 and Windows 8.1 preview and I don’t how these releases may fit in to the big picture. I get the impression that it is early days and Microsoft is still in the process of working out where to go from here.

    I guess something like an online ‘Office apps for Dummies’ would help where no assumptions are made about a person’s level of understanding would help. Your idea of producing a decision tree sounds like it could be very helpful. I understand that I can produce HTML code with a text editor but then again, as I understand it there are other technologies such as Blend which can assist with this task. From my perspective, I would like to know which technologies I should invest my time and energy into first up.

    Finally, it appears that I will need to made a number of compromises in transitioning a VSTO based Excel addin to an Office app. No ribbon tabs or forms will require considerable re-imagining of how I do things.

    Right now, I think we are all learning.

    Best,

    Bernie


    Bernie

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013 5:45 AM

All replies

  • Hi

    Even I have just started out creating Apps for Office.

    The following tutorial

    How to: Create your first task pane or content app for Word or Excel by using a text editor

    Is a good place to start ?

    For constructing the HTML App using JS, I would recommend you to start out using the Twitter Bootstrap Framework and also follow the Office 365 UX Gudelines

    Monday, July 15, 2013 2:33 AM
  • Hi Bernie,

    Thanks for your question.  The best place to start if you're interested in Apps for Office (which it sounds like you are), would be dev.office.com.  This is the starting point for developing Apps for Office.  Here you'll find introductory overviews, as well as detailed APIs for starting this type of project. 

    We are also working on a decision tree that will help folks like you decide how to best accomplish the development tasks they are interested in developing and in which technologies (or options of technologies). 

    I would also LOVE your feedback on the resources you find at dev.office.com, as well as any suggestions/requests/ideas for additional content and tutorials that would be helpful to you.

    Thank you,

    Sonya

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013 9:24 PM
  • Thank you Sonya,

    I am more than happy to feedback my impressions of the Apps development centre. I don’t know how valuable my feedback will be given my background as a vb.net programmer who develops Excel addins and who has little web technology experience (ie HTML & Javascript). But then again, you may be seeking feedback from this type of person.

    OK, my first thought after visiting the Apps development centre is that I now know what an app is and I have a sense of where Microsoft is going. The use of a lot of web technology jargon was a bit of a hurdle me.  The link to How to: Create your first task pane or content app by using Visual Studio  was very helpful as it gave me an understanding of what an Office can & cannot do as well as give me a sense of what technologies I need to get up to speed with.

    Having said that, the fact is I am still somewhat confused with many references to API’s, Javascript and the like when I don’t really understand properly how these technologies fit together. I am aware of the release of VS2013 and Windows 8.1 preview and I don’t how these releases may fit in to the big picture. I get the impression that it is early days and Microsoft is still in the process of working out where to go from here.

    I guess something like an online ‘Office apps for Dummies’ would help where no assumptions are made about a person’s level of understanding would help. Your idea of producing a decision tree sounds like it could be very helpful. I understand that I can produce HTML code with a text editor but then again, as I understand it there are other technologies such as Blend which can assist with this task. From my perspective, I would like to know which technologies I should invest my time and energy into first up.

    Finally, it appears that I will need to made a number of compromises in transitioning a VSTO based Excel addin to an Office app. No ribbon tabs or forms will require considerable re-imagining of how I do things.

    Right now, I think we are all learning.

    Best,

    Bernie


    Bernie

    Wednesday, July 17, 2013 5:45 AM