Next Generation of OBA

Microsoft® Office Business Applications (OBA) were originally conceived to help with information integration in Microsoft® Office and they did so with some success. However, the OBA approach has numerous limitations: one must take into account the different object models of the Microsoft® Office suite applications and attend to their various programming structures. OBAs are therefore extensions of individual Office applications (Microsoft® Word, Microsoft® Excel ®, Microsoft® Outlook® etc.) based on managed code (.NET), rather than a flexible, configurable integration framework. Furthermore, a stand-alone OBA must be developed, maintained and organized over the entire life cycle not only for each Office application but also for each release version. This can quickly become a complex versioning challenge.

In contrast, the Office Business Gateway (OBG) is a framework rather than a coded point solution. It uses server-side metadata for dynamic provisioning of dedicated user interfaces within the task pane. All specific applications within the client task pane can be executed from an assembly store at run time or from a client-side cache within the task pane. As a consequence, only the client add-in must be deployed and changes can be implemented within the framework without the need to redeploy the client. This makes development of new information “views” significantly easier, deployment is faster and management costs are kept low, while keeping all the benefits OBA’s were originally designed for. Uniquely, the Office Business Gateway integrates not only with Microsoft® Outlook®, but with Microsoft® Word, Microsoft® Excel® and Microsoft® PowerPoint® as well. OBG will also integrate with Internet Explorer® 8.0 (a completely different paradigm altogether). In combination this allows for ergonomic access of information from different repositories within Microsoft® Office, Microsoft® Dynamics™ CRM and other Host applications.

Learn more and download the full version of the OBA and OBG comparison paper.

Please note: Office Business Gateway is a product of my company Combionic, which is also owner of this blog.