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Userware for Office (Enterprise)

Imagine if add-ins could be developed directly from within Microsoft Office and shared throughout the enterprise with just one click.

Userware for Office brings Userware technologies to the Enterprise and pushes Microsoft Office to a whole new level.

Who is concerned?

Enterprises that use Microsoft Office products (Excel, Outlook, Word, Powerpoint...) and write Macros or Add-Ins to extend their functionality are concerned by this solution.

Examples: banks, insurance companies...

What problems does this solution solve?

Extending the functionality of Microsoft Office and sharing the extensions throughout a company is currently troublesome.

The problems of the main two other ways to extend Microsoft Office today (Macros and regular Add-Ins) are:

  1. Macros:
    • They cannot be shared throughout a company (they are mostly attached to a document)
    • They cannot be written in modern languages such as .NET
  2. Regular Add-ins:
    • They cannot be developed from within Office
    • Installation of a heavy and expensive development environment is required on each developer workstation
    • Deployment requires end-users to restart Office
    • Deployment is sometimes troublesome (versions conflicts...)
    • Debugging cannot be done on end-users workstations

What does this solution do?

Non-technical description:

This solution significantly improves the process of extending Microsoft Office and sharing those extensions within a company.

  • It allows users of Office to develop extensions (aka "Add-Ins") directly from within Office and to share them throughout the company in seconds.

  • It gives users of Office access to a catalog of extensions developed within the company, and allows to load/unload those extensions right away without closing the current Office document.

  • It allows to develop, debug, and deploy from just any machine, not just a developer's computer.

  • It instantly and transparently propagates new extensions and updates to all Office users in the company.

Some of the main benefits include:

  • Increased productivity, because there is no need to restart Office to use new extensions and their updates.

  • Improved business responsiveness, because making a change or fixing a bug does no longer require going back and forth between a development computer and an end-user computer.

  • Cost reduction, because there is no need to set up a dedicated development computer and to purchase licenses for development tools

More benefits are listed here.

Technical description:

This solution is like VBA but for .NET (it allows to write .NET Add-Ins directly from within Office), plus it is constantly synchronized with a repository on a server so that when someone makes a change to a piece of code on his own workstation, the change is automatically reflected on everyone's computer. It includes unique features such as the ability to update add-ins on the fly without restarting, and to load/unload Add-Ins right away from a catalog inside Office.

What does it look like?

Directly from within the Microsoft Office user interface, users:

  • can see a catalog of all the Add-Ins available in the company,
  • can load or unload Add-ins on the fly without restarting Office,

and developers:

  • can write/debug Add-Ins directly from Office (from any computer, including an end-user's workstation)
  • can make source code modifications and see the result in real-time without restarting Office,
  • can push new versions of Add-Ins to all users in real-time, without requiring them to restart Office.

The list of features is available here.