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Office Business Application (OBA) Sample Application Kit for SAP

So, you're probably asking yourself: what is OBA, and why should I care?? OBAs are essentially a new breed of composite application that you build using the Office Platform. OBAs at their essence are made up of three major pieces: i) the LOB system (e.g. SAP, PeopleSoft, or Dynamics), ii) A customized Office client (e.g. custom task pane using Visual Studio), and iii) SharePoint customizations (e.g. Business Data Catalog (BDC)) Web part. The value of OBAs derives from the fact that by building them you can integrate specific parts of the LOB systems in your organization directly into the Office interface that your information workers use on a daily basis--think Sales data integrated into Excel 2007 which enables you to use the native functionality of Excel and a customized Excel client to read/write data. This same idea applies to the SharePoint environment, where developers can also create views into data using different service-bound Web parts. The net for OBA development is that if your orgamization uses Office in their daily operations and you're not building OBAs, then you're missing an opportunity to leverage your existing infrastructure (as opposed to building and supporting separate LOB applications).

For more information on OBA, I would suggest the following resources:

1. Six Office Business Applications (MS Press), Programming Microsoft Office Business Applications (MS Press), or Professional Office Business Application Development using VSTO and SharePoint (Wrox).
2. Overview of an OBA: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb614538.aspx.
3. Overview of OBA Solution Patterns: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb614541.aspx.
4. My blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/steve_fox/default.aspx) where I've listed out some additional resources to check out.

So, with the above in hand what is this Sample Application Kit for SAP and Siebel?

In many cases, developers don't have the knowledge on how to programmatically integrate Office applications with LOB systems. What this kit provides is guidance on how you can integrate Microsoft Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with SAP and Siebel. The kit includes a design overview, developer guide, installation guide, and of course source code to get you started.

The goal of the kit is to provide developers with some information on how they can go ahead and learn how to programmatically integrate SAP and Siebel with Office (specifically Excel and PowerPoint 2007 and MOSS 2007), thus providing you with specific knowledge around Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) - a component technology within Visual Studio 2008 that enables you to build Office solutions, MOSS 2007 and the integration with LOB Adaptor, and more generically how to integrate SAP and Siebel with .NET using Visual Studio 2008.

I hope you enjoy the kit, and look out for more Sample Application Kits for other line-of-business systems in the future!

Steve
Last edited May 30 2009 at 2:15 PM  by Steve_Fox, version 5
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