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MS wants Office to be a development platform

Microsoft will bid to make its Office suite a development platform when it releases a developer edition of Office 97 in January. The firm will announce the product at the Office 97 Developer Conference in California next week.

Office has already become something of a development platform through the Office-Compatible programme under which independent software vendors can copy Office toolbars, menu structures, dialogue boxes and other screen objects. However, this is the first time has put all the tools for corporate and third-party developers into one box.

The developer product will include the suite applications available in the end-user Office (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Outlook, and a PIM) as well as customisation tools such as a Setup Wizard for custom applications, SQL querying, tools for replicating data across multiple databases, and ActiveX controls.