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Thursday, August 09, 2012

Developing Content Apps for Excel 2013 & AX 2012 (Part I.5)

Well I hope everyone is having a great week thus far! There is a lot to be excited about in the Microsoft Dynamics Ecosystem. I recently started a series, that plans to show off the value, by example, of creating content apps for Office 2013. SpotLight: Developing Content Apps for Excel 2013 & AX 2012 (Part I)

I left off that post, stating that the next focus would be around the consumption of AX 2012 services via REST. I honestly feel like however we need to save that for part II, and why this is titled Part I.5. We first need to get a better understanding of the Anatomy of apps for Office. With that, there is an amazing post that was recently released that covers this very well.: Anatomy of apps for Office

The above image is from the reference blog post, that is listed as the "[T]he canonical architecture of a "real-world" app for Office."

It's important to understand a few key architecture parts around Apps for Office. Specifically as I highlighted before, the technologies being used are items like: OAuth, REST, HTML5/CSS, JavsScript. These enable the development of the app for office.

Further, the above image also comes from the reference blog post, and shows off the diagram if the flow from developer, to private or public catalog's, through to the end user and their use of said app.

With that, we need to look at starting our first project that targets a Content App for Excel 2013. We do this, via Visual Studio 2012. To start we must launch Visual Studio 2012, and then select a new project.

You will notice there is a difference from the video's that are listed in the previous post targeting developer training. In the training VS2011 Beta was the target and there are some differences. Specifically you select either an App for Office, or an App for SharePoint.

In selecting an app for office, as you can see from the screen shot above, you then make a choice of the target app type. We are targeting content apps, which can only be used with Excel 2013.

In doing so, we see our App has some already existing artifacts, including a working example of getting values from the currently selected data area, or cell that is highlighted within the Excel workbook.

Now that we have a better understanding of the Anatomy of an app for Office, and we have clear instructions for starting our targeted content App for Excel 2013, We can truly focus on how to enable RESTful consumption of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 services.

That's all for this post, I hope your enjoying seeing the true power of the full stack Microsoft brings - and it's possible value for customers who have or are investing in Microsoft Dynamics AX. Through this series, the power of the cloud, interop of AX 2012, and the new Office Suite should come to light. Till Next Time!
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