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Figure 1.1 - The Northwind Dashboard folder home page uses Web Parts to display company information.

Applications that use Exchange public folders and Outlook forms through a browser Outlook Web Access provides a means for Internet users to access public folders that contain discussions or customer service applications, for example. It lets users send e-mail, manage appointments and contacts, and access Exchange public folders and several standard Outlook forms by using a

• Applications that modify the Outlook user interface through COM Add-ins These applications could best be described as custom Outlook applications that change the normal appearance and functionality of Outlook. COM Add-ins allow you to modify the command bars, the toolbars, and the Outlook Bar to suit specific application requirements. Other programs can be launched from a COM Add-in, such as retrieving data from corporate databases or providing other custom functions.

• Applications that use Exchange agents to extend a custom folder or custom forms Certain advanced applications require the use of either Exchange Server scripting or routing on private and public folders. For example, scripting agents (known as Event Sinks in Exchange 2000) are essential when you want to synchronize the contents of an Exchange public folder with a corporate database. Users can create workflow processes for documents and forms (voting, routing) that improve business processes by automating the transfer of information with Exchange Routing Objects available with Exchange Server 5.5 Service Pack 1 or later. If you run Exchange 2000 in your organization, Office XP Developer provides a drag-and-drop workflow designer that lets you create simple workflow applications without coding. You can build advanced workflow applications by writing workflow scripts or by creating server-based components that use the Collaboration Data Objects (CDO) Workflow object library.

• Applications that provide custom functionality built on Exchange and Outlook Knowledge Management, Sales Force Automation, and Document Management applications provide customizations of Exchange and Outlook for their target customers.

Forms You Can Create

With the Outlook form in Design mode, you can create a wide spectrum of forms to perform a variety of tasks. When you create forms with Outlook, you never need to start from scratch. Instead, you base the forms you create on a standard form of a specific type supplied with Outlook. Standard form types include Message, Post, Office Document, and built-in modules, such as Appointment, Contact, Distribution List, Journal, and Task Because most of the functionality is already available in these forms, you can often create custom forms by adding additional fields and controls to the standard forms, or by removing any controls you do not need. You can also create custom forms that bear little resemblance to the base form, such as a Post or Contact form.

In this section, we look at the different types of forms you can create or customize in Outlook. For more information, see "Outlook Form Design Mode" in Chapters 2 and 5 ("Outlook Design Tools" and "Forms").

Message Forms

Message forms are forms that are based on the Outlook Mail Message form. As such, Message forms allow users to send information to other users or to a public folder. Message forms are often used to streamline a request or approval process. Here are some examples of Message forms:

Vacation Request

The Vacation Request application, covered in Part III, "Building Blocks of Applications," contains a Vacation Request form, as shown in Figure 1-2. The Vacation Request form allows a user to send a vacation request to a manager. The Vacation Request application also contains a Vacation Approved form and a Vacation Denied form so a manager can respond to a request.

Figure 1.2 - The Vacation Request form.

Status Report

You can also create a form that enables users to send weekly or monthly status reports to their managers. Submitted status reports can be stored in a personal folder or public folder and used for reference at review time.

Mileage Report

Forms can be created to make it possible for a user to submit monthly mileage reports to a manager for approval. When approved, the information in the Mileage Report item can be written to a database. This report can be extended to a management-type application with the Exchange 2000 Workflow Designer.

Post Forms

Post forms are used to post items, as well as responses to items, to a folder. Post forms are used in applications that enable users to conduct online discussions, such as the Product Ideas folder discussed in Chapter 4, "Design a Custom Application." As such, Post forms serve as the foundation for creating threaded conversations in views. Post forms are also used for applications that require users to respond to a particular item, such as the Training Management application, in which the Evaluation form is used to post a response to a Course Offering item.

The following sections describe a few ideas for creating Post forms using Outlook in Design mode.

Product Ideas

The Product Ideas application consists of a Product Idea form and a Product Idea Response form, both of which are posted to a public folder as shown in Figure 1-3.

Innovative, new ideas are readily shared and recorded in a public folder for all to access.

I think we should use canvas. - Product Idea Response

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