Thursday, August 03, 2006

Only geeks need read on...

I do a lot of programming with Microsoft's Visual Studio .NET development environment. There are some things that .NET is very good at. There are even some things that it's amazing at. But there are also some things that it really sucks at. Some really basic things, sometimes. Like generating reports. You'd think that since .NET comes bundled with Crystal Reports, it would be good at reporting "out of the box." But when you start trying to use it, you discover after a few hours that the documentation sucks, and you discover after a few days of trying different things that the documention sucks because the functionality that could be documented sucks. Just because .NET and Crystal Reports come on the same CD, doesn't mean they are integrated. It so does not. Crystal Reports is, in fact, pretty much useless with .NET. At least in my opinion.

So... anyway, last week I came across an online article about Visual Studio Tools for Office -- VSTO -- supposedly a way to incorporate Microsoft Word and Excel into .NET applications. Using the article, I poked around some. I didn't get very far, but I got far enough to be intrigued. So I ordered a book -- the Carter and Lippert. I arrived home last night to find it stuffed into my mailbox. This morning I arrived at work excitedly clutching my book. Now it's a few hours later and I have a .NET application that's creating Word and Excel documents, inserting data into them, formatting them, and printing and saving them.

This is way cool.



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