Office 2007 and the CLR get along after all

Roughly a year ago I wrote a post titled “Microsoft Office and the CLR don’t get along?“. But parts of the Office team do use the Common Language Runtime (i.e., .NET technology). They even use Windows Presentation Foundation!

Through Tim Sneath’s blog I found a preview of a tool called the Calendar Printing Assistant for Outlook 2007. It works with Outlook 2007 Beta 2 and it requires Beta 2 of the WinFX Runtime Components (now known as .NET Framework 3.0). Fortunately I still have Beta 2 of WinFX on my home machine so I could check out this tool. Installing it takes some time since the installer NGENs the assemblies. After that the application runs quite smoothly.

The application is one of the few applications released so far by Microsoft that uses the Windows Presentation Foundation. Check out Tim’s blog entry for a screenshot.

The application has a “Publish as XPS” menu item. I wonder if Adobe will force Microsoft to remove this feature here as well. That would be shame, since XPS fits WPF like a glove: XPS is a subset of XAML for WPF.

Unlike Microsoft Expression Interactive Designer, the Calender Printing Assistant uses HWND interop quite heavily. So its user interface uses Win32 in combination with WPF. You can see this if you dig in using the Microsoft Spy++ tool, which can be found in the “Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 | Visual Studio Tools” folder in the Start menu.

You can see the WPF parts of the window as HwndWrapper[CPAO.EXE;;GUID] window classes.

I have attached a sample (zipped) XPS file for my agenda on August 17, 2006 to this post. You can view it if you have the .NET Framework 3.0 installed.

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