My experience with Outlook 2003

Mar 31, 2009 at 9:38 PM
Looks great! I'm going to keep watching this project closely! ;-)

Here are some quick things I noticed:

- I noticed is that it was looking for work remaining on items that have been marked 'Deleted'.
- I also noticed that I was getting an exception on line 20 in Converters\RemainingWorkWarningValueConverter. values[2] was coming in as "not set". This was during while I was trying to set the thing up, so it may be because everything wasn't setup correctly. I initialized remainingHours to just 0. After I set everything up correctly, I changed the code back and it worked.
- I successfully compiled the code against Outlook 2003! Appears to work great! I don't think the remaining time for each person is working. I'm actually connected via a Lotus connecter in Outlook, so that may be the problem there.
- I get the standard security dialog "Something is trying to access Outlook. Do you want to allow it?" error message box. I don't think there is anyway to code around that, but this locks up the whole monitor app until this dialog is dismissed.
- We have a LOT of team members. Most of my time was typing everyone in the xml file. That was tedious.

Question: to you think it is possible to disable the Outlook integration? Basically do everything else, without the stuff dependent on Outlook. That may not be possible.

Other than those things, it appears to work great! It detects the build, remaining work for each person, items complete, etc. The only thing that doesn't work for me is the Hours Available, and that is probably because of my Outlook setup. Great stuff! Keep up the good work!

Apr 1, 2009 at 11:50 AM
bebo, that is great feedback! Glad to hear you like the tool. Also, good job on getting it to work on Outlook 2003. It is useful to know it works there.

- I will create a work item for the first item in your list.
- The second item had already been fixed in the latest changeset. I only saw this recently in a different deployment.
- The fourth item is easy to fix. If you go to Tools/Trust Center/Programmatic Access in Outlook 2007 (don't know the place in 2003), you are able to disable those warning dialogs.
- Regarding the team members file, you don't need to repeat the data from the previous entry. In other words, if the only thing that changes between members is their names, then that is the only thing you need to list for each team member. It always takes the previous member as the default. This is meant to keep the file small and manageable. I would be interested in hearing about alternatives, if anyone has some proposal.

Regarding disabling the Outlook intergration, that would be easy, since that is confined to a single class. You would just need to create a simple class that returns all hours as available. However, I believe that Outlook integration is one of the best features of this tool, since it makes the predictions much more realistic.

Basically, the sprint monitor uses the same functionality you are able to see when you schedule a meeting with other people. If you go to the Scheduling tab, you are able to see the Free/Busy information for each attendee. If that works there, it should also work in the monitor.

Apr 1, 2009 at 11:51 AM
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Apr 1, 2009 at 2:23 PM
Good morning!

Thank you for the quick response! I am very grateful that you have shared your time and skills with the community. It is no small sacrifice. Thank you!

I completely agree with you on the Outlook integration. That is one of the biggest features! I naively assumed that I couldn't get around the Outlook security warning message in 2003. Your response helped me. It prompted me to do some digging and I found something that has helped immensely: Outlook 2007's Trust Center makes it a lot easier than 2003, but this tool makes it easy to safely bypass the warning messages in 2003.

I am now monitoring our sprints! ;-) Thank you for the help!
Apr 1, 2009 at 10:05 PM
Once again, great feedback! I'll be sure to include that resource in a future setup procedure manual!

It is good to know that the work of setting this up in CodePlex is not in vain, and people are benefiting from the work I put into it. Feedback like yours makes it much more worthy of that investment, and the project more mature in the end.

By the way, you mentioned you had a large team. In case you have the possibility of connecting two monitors to the machine you're using for the monitor, you'll be able to see all the team members in a dedicated monitor.

Apr 5, 2009 at 9:17 AM
Bebo, can you tell me what you did in order to make the tool work with Office 2003? I imagine you used the Outlook 2003 PIA, instead of Outlook 2007. I would like to get it working for both versions without recompile.
Apr 6, 2009 at 1:29 PM
I basically went to the References of ScrumSprintMonitor.Implementation project, removed both Microsoft.Office.Core and Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook. Then I "Add Reference" to the .NET "Component Name" Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook. This resolves the little warning signs on the references. After this I can compile that project without error.

The original references appear like this in the project file:

    <COMReference Include="Microsoft.Office.Core">
    <COMReference Include="Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook">

When I'm done the reference looks like this:

    <Reference Include="Microsoft.Office.Interop.Outlook, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=71e9bce111e9429c" />

When I look at it, it says version of the interop. That is Outlook 2007 correct? I just noticed that I had a choice between Version= and Version=, but 12 worked for me. Maybe it is compatible with Outlook 2003. Maybe all that is needed is to do a .NET reference to the interop instead of the COMReference. My knowledge on this topic is definitely limited. ;-) I'd be interested to know if you could change the reference like I did and still make it work with 2007.
Apr 6, 2009 at 5:16 PM
Thanks, that worked also in Outlook 2007! I have changed the project to include your version.

Apr 6, 2009 at 8:18 PM
Works for me! I didn't have to change the references this time! It appears that I have the Office 2007 PIAs installed already. I found this interesting blog post:

So...what I understand from that post is...using Office 2007 PIAs will work with an Office 2003 install. Sweet!