I Made A Simple Task Pane App
If you've read about Office 2013, you may have seen the terms Content App and Task Pane App. I tried my hand at creating a task pane app, just to get a feel for how it works.
This task pane can be inserted into a worksheet. It displays my Excel Blogs list, which links to the most recent headlines at each blog. It looks like this:
It's really nothing more than a browser that displays this page. When you click one of the links, the Task Pane displays the recent headlines for that blog as links. To read an article, click and it opens the article in a browser window. Actually, it's an Internet Explorer browser window. Apparently, task pane apps that have outside links ignore your default browser and always use IE.
Contrary to what's implied in this headline, apps will not replace add-ins: Microsoft Office 2013- Goodbye to adds-in, bring on the apps.
- Reader Comments -
Following are comments in response to this item.
The most recent comment is at the bottom.
Isn't this pretty much an add-in? My Time Card add-in let's one hide Excel so it is pretty much like an app, except it isn't over the internet. I think it would be interesting to make it usuable over the internet with an Excel backing where you don't see Excel (so in "Metro" mode only). Is that possible. I haven't worked with 2013 yet. It does create interesting new possibilities. That is what I think would make it nice, just have the user interface on your phone and then when you get home/office you can sync the two and see the results of the data you added.
- By jon. Comment posted 08 August, 2012 10:54amI wrote a program for a company that used Excel as the backbone and then it exported the interface to HTML, so pretty much making the Excel as a fast development environment/UI. With Excel and .NET one can really create high quality applications quickly. I would think this would be the number one way to develop.
Anyways, I'm rambling. I own a couple of your books, their great. I'm sure I'll get your 2013 book when it comes out.
- By Joe. Comment posted 08 August, 2012 6:19pmWhat really surprised me is there is no way of retrieving a formula from a cell or even applying a format to a cell. So it seems Excel App will be limited to providing and consuming data and no more.
I expect the app store will be filled with data feed and charting apps and little else until Microsoft expert the object model.
- By John Walkenbach. Comment posted 08 August, 2012 6:33pmThat's exactly what surprises me, Joe.
I spent most of the day working on that date picker app. It works great, but it really made me aware of the limitations. It would be nice to be able to specify a date format for the inserted date. But I'm pretty sure that's not possible.
Sometimes, it seems that Microsoft is going backwards.
- By John Walkenbach. Comment posted 08 August, 2012 8:14pmThinking about this some more, I still have to be convinced of the value of Office Apps. Maybe there will be some useful ones, and surprise me. They're pretty much like Windows Gadgets. If I were a betting man, I'd say Office Apps will be just like Gadgets. Microsoft will be gung-ho for a few years, and then they will be quietly discontinued and forgotten about.
But who know? Maybe they're really on to something. But they need to improve the documentation. It's terrible.
- By Joe. Comment posted 09 August, 2012 9:12pmI was very excited about the office apps store. However, given the limitations, I can't see myself developing any meaningful apps until they extend the object model. Word and Outlook have access to an expanded, but still very limited, object model.
I agree with your gadget comparison - I'd even forgotten all about them! While I hope they will extend Excel support in time (no formula access??). I think they will continue to heavily restrict the functionality because of their desire to:
1) ensure that these apps operate in their own sandbox with no impact on the core applications performance/stability.
2) maintain compatibility with the soon to be a launched tablet variety of office.
In some ways I think Microsoft have missed an opportunity to develop a high quality App store around their Clickonce VSTO platform for their core x86 customer base. Secretly I hope this is coming - i see Visual Studio 2012 even has its own unrestricted app store. Time will tell.
- By Jon. Comment posted 15 December, 2012 12:03pmFrom reading the App blog it sounds like this is just the beginning for the functionality of the apps. After reading more about it I'm pretty excited. I developed a time card add-in that could be extended to apps and that way it could actually be used when you are away from your computer (unless you are like me and don't have a smart phone nor tablet).
First things first though. Learn [removed]/
- By John Walkenbach. Comment posted 22 January, 2013 2:10pmNo, I've decided that I have no interest at all in creating Apps for Office. At least at this point. It's just too limited.
And besides the feature just stopped working for me. Every app I try gives a bogus "unsupported browser" error.
- By jon. Comment posted 23 January, 2013 12:46pmI was watching the Microsoft Build Conference and they were saying that the apps ability is limited right now but in the future they plan to make it better. Don't know if it will ever be as great as add-ins though.
It would be interesting to know how to make a program that builds on top of the apps so you don't have to build the program more than once that is backwards compatible to previous Excel programs. It's on my list of things to look at, but haven't had time yet.
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