Yesterday, Microsoft announced the availability of its Smart Tag software development kit (SDK) for Office XP, a free developers' toolkit that provides the information and tools you need to extend Office XP applications with new Smart Tag functionality. According to Microsoft, Smart Tags are a new feature in Office XP that enable realtime, dynamic content recognition and offer relevant options as you work. A typical example is the Paste Options Smart Tag, which appears when you initiate a paste operation in Office XP applications; this Smart Tag lets you quickly determine the formatting of pasted objects without opening a menu or dialog box. With the Smart Tag SDK, developers can integrate their own Smart Tags into Office and provide obvious and easy-to-use company- or industry-specific solutions.
"The ability to dynamically link user input--for instance, a supplier invoice number--with relevant user actions--such as 'check invoice status' or 'visit supplier Web site'--using the full power of COM and development tools like Visual C++ and Visual Basic (VB) is an enormously powerful concept," says Plural technical evangelist Charles Maxson. Plural is working with Microsoft to deliver integrated Smart Tag solutions that address specific needs.
The Smart Tag SDK includes a tutorial, a programmer's guide, an API reference, and sample code. It requires a Windows development environment such as Visual C++ or VB, and, presumably, access to a beta copy of Office XP. Last weekend, Microsoft released the Release Candidate 1 (RC1) version of Office XP. For more information and the free download, visit the Microsoft Web site.