Microsoft Tools To Link Office XP To Web Services

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Solution providers wanting to customize Office applications for clients now have two more tools in their belt.

Microsoft is now offering the Office XP Web Services Toolkit, which allows solution providers to build automated links between Office applications, such as Word and Excel, and Web-based offerings.

If a user needs to create periodic reports incorporating sales data, the solution provider could provide a link to a Web-based service that would automatically provide that information. That data could then flow into the appropriate Word or Excel document, Microsoft said.

Smart Tags, which link on-screen text to context or additional information when a user clicks the mouse, to date have been difficult to deploy, Microsoft acknowledged. With the new Smart Tag Enterprise Resource Toolkit, a network administrator or consultant can change Smart Tags from the server without deploying DLLs, said Anders Brown, lead product manager for Office XP.

"This essentially allows developers to manage Smart Tags from a server, but still get all the richness of the client-side functionality," Brown said. "If you're aggregating CRM data and using the concepts in Toolkit to connect those to a Smart Tag [or, if you're in the call center but then move to an operational role, you'd have to deploy new Smart Tags to get the right information. Now that can be done at the server."

Both toolkits are available for download from the Microsoft site now.

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