The World of Groove Development
As previously discussed, you can make changes to your Groove tools through the various development tools at your immediate disposal. In addition, other solutions are possible—customized solutions you can have your developers focus on. In harmony with that, a great portal is set up on the MSDN sites for developers who need to create solutions for the Groove platform.
Located at http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/office/bb308957.aspx, the site also links to relevant content on TechNet and Office Online, providing easy access to those materials. The available information enables developers new to Groove to build a solid foundation of knowledge before taking Groove deployments to the next level by planning, building, and deploying customized Groove-based solutions.
Tools that you can use to work with Groove development include the following:
Silverlight and Groove. Hugh Pyle discusses the possibilities of developing with Silverlight on his blog, at http://blogs.msdn.com/hughpyle/archive/2007/06/21/silverlight-in-groove.aspx.
The concept is simple. Silverlight is a plug-in that allows for vector graphics, animation, storyboards, and more ... all using .NET and XAML within a browser. Hugh says, "Groove Forms has a relatively restricted set of user interface capabilities. It's designed for building reasonably straightforward UI for data capture in small teams.
Forms with fields, views with columns, and a Groove workspace for distributed data storage. But many applications would like to go beyond a simple forms-driven UI, and Groove Forms doesn't make that very easy." Using Silverlight in Groove Forms would be a perfect combination, however. Hugh provides some good examples of how this can be done.
Groove with VSTO. Another development possibility is brought to us by Paul Stubbs (author of the book VSTO for Mere Mortals: A VBA Developer's Guide to Microsoft Office Development Using Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office) on this blog, at http://blogs.msdn.com/pstubbs/archive/2007/05/21/groove-n-with-vsto.aspx.
He mentions talking directly to the Groove client by using VSTO from an Outlook 2007 add-in. He says, "First start by creating a new C# VSTO Outlook 2007 add-in. The next thing you want to do is create a class library, called GrooveServices, to isolate all of the Groove service code." The rest is on his site to complete the process.
You can find additional resources on the development site, including a grouping of articles from Chris Normal, the development lead on the Groove Team, on how to work with Groove forms and Groove InfoPath forms, and more. So, if you are a Groove developer, or want to learn to become one, this site is a must.
You might also want to download the Groove 2007 Software Development Kit (SDK), which can be found on Microsoft's Web site. The kit includes samples and libraries to help you develop Web services applications for Groove 2007. The SDK includes C# samples and the Web Service Definition Language (WSDL) definitions for the Groove Web services application programming interfaces (APIs). In addition, it provides local copies of the Groove 2007 Web Services Developer Reference Guide and the Groove 2007 Forms Developer Reference Guide.
Another set of tools are Web Helpers for Groove 2007, located at www.codeplex.com/gwsv12helpers, which provide a C# .NET assembly that provides an abstraction layer for Groove 2007 and Groove 3.1 Web services. The abstraction layer provides an easy-to-use API with an object and eventing model, so that custom applications that interface with Groove can be built more quickly.