Windows IT Library UPDATE--June 16, 2004

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1. Book Review
- Developing Microsoft Office Solutions: Answers for Office 2003, Office XP, Office 2000, and Office 97

2. New from Windows IT Library
- Design-Time Integration
- MARS, Asynchronous Commands, and ObjectSpaces

3. New Books in Print
- CYA: Securing Exchange Server 2003 & Outlook Web Access
- Office 2003 XML

4. New eBooks
- A Guide to DNS and Windows 2000
- Building the Small Business Infrastructure
- Preemptive Email Security and Management

5. Windows IT Library Top Five
- Microsoft Windows NT Server Administrator's Bible: Option Pack Edition
- The Microsoft Outlook E-Mail and Fax Guide
- A+ Certification: How to Pass Your Exams
- Microsoft Windows NT Secrets: Option Pack Edition
- The Administrator's Guide to Microsoft SQL Server 6.5

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==== 1. Book Review ====

Developing Microsoft Office Solutions: Answers for Office 2003, Office XP, Office 2000, and Office 97

Author: Ken Bluttman
Publisher: Addison Wesley Professional
Published: December 2003
ISBN: 0-201-73805-8
Soft cover, 608 pages
Price: $49.99

Don't be put off by the title of Ken Bluttman's book, "Developing Microsoft Office Solutions: Answers for Office 2003, Office XP, Office 2000, and Office 97," just because you think it's a book about programming--the book isn't about conventional programming. Instead, Bluttman's focus is to teach you the steps involved in creating custom solutions using the Microsoft Office suite of applications such as Excel, Access, and PowerPoint.

As a Windows or systems administrator, you might still wonder whether this book is relevant to what you do every day. In answer, Bluttman reminds us that, if you were to casually stroll into any office anywhere in the world, odds are that "you'll see Microsoft Office running on everyone's desktop--from assistants to managers, from directors to corporate officers."

But the widespread use and popularity of Microsoft Office isn't what's important. What really matters is the enormous amount of functionality that Microsoft has packed into the Office applications. In his book, Bluttman talks not just about using the different Office products in their "basic off the shelf fashion: Word for writing documents and Excel or PowerPoint for creating spreadsheets and presentations." Rather, he rightly makes the claim that there is "so much more power behind these Office products. Under the hood are sophisticated technologies that, when applied, elevate Office to unprecedented custom, productive uses." Bluttman says that using these technologies make it "possible to create killer apps in just a fraction of the time it takes with traditional programming tools." For that reason alone, this book is relevant to you.

Bluttman explains how you can create your own customized solutions to problems without having to rely on, or to wait for, your company's team of application developers to deliver what you need. In addition, you can use the book to solve problems for other people in your company. By doing so, you'll gain their trust and confidence, and enhance your own credibility. As Bluttman says, "a satisfied user community is the best measure of success."

As the book's subtitle suggests, Bluttman addresses the following releases of Microsoft Office: Office 2003, Office XP, Office 2000, and Office 97. Although most of the book applies to all versions of Office, the author devotes chapter 10 "XML and Office" and chapter 11 "Introduction to InfoPath" exclusively to Office 2003. InfoPath is important because you can deploy it to create distributable forms for capturing data in a structured manner. The book's publisher ( ) offers the chapter about InfoPath as a sample of the book's contents.

Bluttman has divided his book into three parts: Office Development, Office Technologies, and Case Studies. An appendix lists useful resources, including Web sites and books that have been grouped into the following categories: XML resources, Office development; ASP, VBScript, JavaScript, and HTML; Microsoft technologies; and technical education, support, and peer-to-peer discussion.

In the Office Development section, the author devotes separate chapters to solution development for Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Each of these chapters follows the same structure. The discussion begins with the objects, properties, and methods associated with that particular product. For example, in the chapter about Word, you learn that you can use the properties of the Application object (the highest level object in Word) to set or retrieve information about a particular Word document (or Word itself). A case in point is the ScreenUpdating property, which toggles the screen refresh between on and off. Each chapter, with the exception of the chapter devoted to Access, concludes with a discussion about the product's events. An example of a Word event is the DocumentBeforePrint event. As the name suggests, Word executes coding for this event just before printing a document.

In the Office Technologies section, Bluttman discusses those technologies that Microsoft has integrated with Office. The five chapters in this section tackle common Microsoft Office objects, such as file search and file dialogs; Microsoft forms; XML and Office; smart tag functionality; and InfoPath.

In the Case Studies section, you'll find practical examples of how you can apply Office technology. This section consists of five chapter-length case studies, some of which are based on real projects that Bluttman himself has been involved in, while the others are hypothetical. The purpose of the hypothetical case studies, Bluttman says, is to "showcase how new Office 2003 technologies are likely to be integrated into future solutions."

If you've failed to make the most out of Office in the past, don't delay any longer. The core Office products--Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and Outlook--are, as Bluttman says, "mature, stable, and feature rich. Building solutions on top of such a foundation makes for sophisticated applications that do not share the distribution problems or incompatibility issues associated with traditional tool-based solutions."

Tony Stevenson
[email protected]
Windows IT Library Guest Reviewer

For more book reviews, visit the Windows IT Library Web site.

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==== 2. New from Windows IT Library ====

Design-Time Integration
This chapter from "Windows Forms Programming in Visual Basic .NET" tells you how to manipulate the standard components, such as menus and an image list, that you'll find in Visual Basic .NET. Also, you'll find out how to design custom components, and you'll learn about code serialization and host-form integration.

MARS, Asynchronous Commands, and ObjectSpaces
In this chapter from "A First Look at ADO.NET and System.XML v. 2.0," you'll find out about ADO.NET 2.0's features for accessing and updating data. You'll learn about Multiple Active Results Sets (MARS), which let you open more than one results set over the same connection and access the sets concurrently. You'll also discover how to use asynchronous access to the results of multiple commands over the same connection instance, and ObjectSpaces technology, which lets you define data as instances of a class but handle that data like other intrinsic data types.

==== 3. New Books in Print ====

CYA: Securing Exchange Server 2003 & Outlook Web Access
This book contains easy-to-access coverage of just about every documented Exchange Server 2003 security setting. Topics include an introduction to Exchange 2003 security, Windows and Exchange 2003 security best practices, delegating and controlling permissions in Exchange 2003, SMTP security, securing the Outlook Web Access (OWA) server, combating spam, and protecting against viruses.

Office 2003 XML
This book explores the relationship between XML and Microsoft Office 2003, examining how the various products in the Office suite both produce and consume XML. Beginning with an overview of the XML features included in the various Office 2003 components, "Office 2003 XML" provides quick and clear guidance to anyone who needs to import or export information from Office documents into other systems.

==== 4. New eBooks ====

A Guide to DNS and Windows 2000
Windows 2000 and Active Directory (AD) brought DNS into the mainstream. Win2K completely incorporated TCP/IP for all aspects of networking, allowing Windows network administrators to drop the old NetBIOS protocol that Windows NT used as a transport and for name resolution. With NetBIOS gone, Win2K moved to TCP/IP's DNS protocol for network name resolution. Microsoft didn't stop halfway in adopting DNS and TCP/IP: DNS is an essential part of AD, and AD completely depends on a functional DNS implementation. To use DNS effectively, you need to understand its core components. This eBook provides a basic foundation for understanding DNS.

Building the Small Business Infrastructure
A small to midsized business's needs are different than the needs of larger companies. For these smaller organizations, this eBook helps you plan your IT infrastructure to get the most out of your systems while minimizing the costs involved. Beginning with an overview of Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 and a Windows Decision Point quiz, this eBook helps you decide which Windows version is right for your needs. In addition, you'll learn advanced techniques for keeping crucial servers up to date, how to use terminal services to remotely administer your systems, and how to lower your licensing and operating costs by using a free database solution called MySQL.

Preemptive Email Security and Management
This eBook offers a preventive approach to eliminating spam and viruses, stopping directory harvest attacks, guarding content, and improving email performance. Individual chapters cover the various alternatives for stopping spam and viruses and the alternative "preemptive" approach to email security and management; the various techniques for filtering spam and viruses from email messages; the problem of unwanted email coming from Denial of Service (DoS) and directory harvest attacks and how to deal with the problem; the crucial concerns in managing and controlling email content, with discussions about the inbound and outbound email controls you need to protect proprietary information and meet regulatory mandates; and how an email security and management solution can enhance the visibility of a user's email management to improve performance and availability.

==== 5. Windows IT Library Top Five ====

Microsoft Windows NT Server Administrator's Bible: Option Pack Edition
This book provides specific coverage of the Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack add-ons to help you plan, install, configure, manage, optimize, and connect NT Server 4.0 to the Internet.

The Microsoft Outlook E-Mail and Fax Guide
Written for Microsoft Outlook end users and the administrators who support them, this volume explains all the real-world tasks that you're likely to encounter when working with Outlook and includes many timesaving techniques that take you beyond the basics.

A+ Certification: How to Pass Your Exams
This book walks you through all the skills tested in the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) A+ Core Hardware exam and A+ OS Technologies exam.

Microsoft Windows NT Secrets: Option Pack Edition
Packed with the kind of notes, tips, and workarounds that come only from years of working day in and day out with a product, this book will help you optimize the performance, reliability, and security of your network.

The Administrator's Guide to Microsoft SQL Server 6.5
This book provides expert technical advice, practical management guidelines, and an in-depth look at the database administration aspects of SQL Server 6.5.

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