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Using Outlook for a C# project??

I need to develop a scheduler that will integrate Outlook's Calendar
capabilities (individual/recurrent appointments, week and month view, etc...)
with a few additional fields from our program. In our case, an appointment
being made will be seen globally (the Calendar will display the appointment)
but a record will be added to a another table saying that the appointment was
made for a specific user (the additional fields). That way we can build
queries based on these additional fields.
I was thinking of doing it from scratch but I've read that I can use Outlook
itself for this. What would you guys recommend? I personally feel a little
more secure if I build it from scratch, but I also know that I'm not going to
rebuild things that already exist.
Any help is appreciated.
Feb 1 '06 #1
1 2493

I've done alot of Outlook automation... A few notes:

- If you just want to pop outlook up in your app {which probably won't
be enough for your case as you describe it} you can use the "Outlook
View Control"; it will put a real outlook calendar control in your
application. Downside is that you don't have much programmatic control
over it and it can't do drag-n-drop {yet}...

- Infragistics http://www.infragistics.com NetAdvantage is a 3rd party
control library that has an Outlook like calendar control in it.
NetAdvantage is very good quality that is fully programmable.
Disadvantage would be cost of the library {I dunno offhand how much}
and I don't think you can add your own fields to the calendar grid.

As far as programming Outlook is concerned:

- When gathering requirements a) find out EXACTLY which versions of
Outlook you need to support and b) if possible insist on a single
version, hopfully most recent.
- Remember not to use the Outlook message id as a unique identifier of
an Outlook message {mail, contact, schedule, etc.}; the message id
CHANGES when the message is sent...
- Instead you can attach a guid or other identifier to the message via
a string custom property; anything that maps back to the related
database info
- All Outlook collections are 1 based not C# 0 based.
- Outlook will hang in memory if you do not release your interfaces, so
if in .NET 1.x do not count on the garbage collector - use
Marshal.ReleaseComObject {I hear .Net 2.0 is better about this but
don't know from real world use yet}.

Feb 2 '06 #2

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