OBA: Office Business Applications resources


Following on from my overview of Office Business Applications, here’s a quick list of resources if you are interested in learning more.

In general I feel that Microsoft has done a poor job of projecting a clear, consistent message about OBA. The result is a mess of various interlinking sites that offer only surface-level answers. Getting to the heart of the OBA vision is a difficult task. That said, I recommend these sites and resources to guide you along.

Web sites


Office Business Applications FAQ

Start here.

Covers the basics like ‘What are OBAs’, ‘Appropriate scenarios’, etc, but can get bogged down (eg see the question about composite applications).


OBA Central OBA Central
As per its name, probably the most regularly updated site for OBA related information. Includes links to all kinds of resources including how to locate ISVs, how to share your experiences, and a stack of training modules.
Has two good overview pages here and here.
OBA Home

Office Business Applications Home Page

Basically covers the components of the Office suite, plus links off to the other OBA related portals.

Includes a link to this made-me-cringe video.


OBA MSDN Portal Office Business Applications Developer Portal
The MSDN portal for OBA.
A little bit light on for value, and includes some out-of-date links (eg pointing to VSTO 2005SE resources like the OBA/VSTO Starter Kit).
OBA ISV connector

Office Business Applications – ISV Connector

Aimed at ISVs, and running a few promotions. But has a good set of resource links at the bottom of the page


OBA case studies

Office Business Applications Case Studies

64 case studies covering OBA solutions. Worth spending some time here so that you get a good understanding of what companies are achieving with OBA.

OBA architecture overview

Office Business Applications architecture overview

A good overview document (Word download) covering the architectural approach applicable to building OBAs

MSDN article MSDN Office Developer Centre Article
This excellent article, whilst long, covers the components of OBA quite thoroughly, and also outlines the reasons for choosing VSTO V3 for your OBA development (even if the ‘value proposition’ diagram still refers to V2). Dives into VBA considerations and deployment also. Highly recommended.


Specific resources

MSDN Webcasts: I recommend these two webcasts on OBA (by Steve Fox) – especially the one for Business Analysts.

OBA Webscasts

Demystifying OBA for Developers

Demystifying OBA for Business Analysts

(Make sure you download the WMV replay – not the actual webcast – the webcast download is full of syncing problems)

After reading all the different OBA sites it was Steve’s webcast that finally pulled all the pieces of the puzzle together for me – highly recommended.




OBA Team blog – a surprisingly disappointing blog that hasn’t been updated for months – only mentioned here in the hope that it improves in the near future, given it is the main blog on OBA.

Steve Fox – covers OBA, SharePoint and some VSTO.


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