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OBA Composition Reference Toolkit Version 2.0

The 2007 Microsoft Office system is a powerful platform for building role-based, collaborative, and analytical applications that extend the reach of line-of-business systems and back-end applications to information workers across an organization. Office Business Applications (OBAs) is the general term used to describe solutions that integrate the core capabilities of backend business systems with the widely deployed and used business productivity services and applications that constitute the Microsoft Office System. OBAs provide line-of-business data, information, and processes to information workers directly within the business productivity tools, interfaces, and devices that they use to execute and complete their business tasks.

The OBA Composition Reference Toolkit reveals the underlying composition capabilities of the Microsoft Office system. It integrates seamlessly with the Microsoft Office system to enable a prescriptive, application-composition experience for information workers. These information workers can then go on to build and deploy OBAs by using semantically related OBA components such as workflows; document libraries, lists, and pages in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007; Web parts; client add-ins for Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO); business intelligence (BI) reports; BI dashboards; and so on. The Toolkit contains a Microsoft OBA Composition Server and an OBA Composer. The OBA Composition Server includes metadata, administration, and provisioning services to enable cataloging of OBA components, administering and managing components, defining semantic relationships between components, defining the bindings between components and line-of-business systems, and to support the deployment of OBAs that users have composed by using the components. The OBA Composer is a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) application that consumes and uses the services of the OBA Composition Server to enable a rich client and prescriptive user experience for composing and deploying OBAs. The Administration user interface for the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit is integrated into the Central Administration portal of Office SharePoint 2007.

What’s New in Version 2.0?

Version 2.0 (V2) of the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit evolves the Version 1.0 release of the Toolkit to add information technology (IT) administration capabilities, a prescriptively secure user experience for OBA composition, and incremental deployment of OBAs. The V2 release also provides support for installing the OBA Composer on a client computer that is running the Windows Vista operating system and connecting to a remote computer that is running Office SharePoint Server. The release provides support for many new, out-of-the-box components, too, which cover scenarios that pertain to Expense Reporting, Purchase Requisition Management, Financial Services, and Health & Life Sciences solutions.

The V2 release also includes the source code (framework, tools, and sample components) of the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit to enable independent software vendors (ISVs) and solution integrators to extend and repurpose the Toolkit to suit their individual needs.

Karthik Ravindran

Karthik Ravindran

My name is Karthik Ravindran. I am an architect in the Platform Architecture team at Microsoft. The OBA Composition Reference Toolkit was a very exciting project that I worked on recently. It was built to give architects and developers a flavor of the inherent composition capabilities of the Microsoft Office system. I encourage you to view the videos, read the white papers, download the Toolkit, and try the hands-on labs. I would love to hear what you find and how you extend this idea.

Architecture Overview

Composition is the next frontier for business and IT agility. This white paper introduces the concept of composite applications and identifies its key benefits to the enterprise and the end users. The white paper asserts that OBAs are composite applications that are built by using the Microsoft Office system. The paper then introduces the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit as an illustration of the best practices to take advantage of the composition capabilities of the Microsoft Office system. It gives an overview of the Toolkit and its architecture, and lists the benefits of such a tool to IT and business users alike.

Introduction Video

Watch a five-minute video presentation about the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit. It explains how to use the OBA Composer to search OBA components, and how to build and deploy an OBA quickly. Open in new window.

Download and Installation

You can download the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit and a collection of sample OBA components that you can use to experiment with the Toolkit from here.

You can also obtain a fully loaded Microsoft Virtual PC (VPC) image with the Toolkit and preinstalled sample components by registering for the OBA Reference Architecture Packs connect program on the Microsoft Connect site.


You can download the following documents and use them to explore the Toolkit and develop a deeper understanding of its capabilities.

The Setup Guide walks you through the process of installing the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit and the sample components, and exploring and testing the installation.

The Overviewdocument introduces you to the benefits of composite-solution architectures. It also explains how these architectures can be materialized in the context of solutions for information workers using the Microsoft Office system. The document includes an overview of the architecture of the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit with references to related implementation artifacts that architects and developers can explore to extend and customize the Toolkit to suit individual requirements.

The User Guide walks you through a hands-on lab exercise to explore the process of composing and deploying OBAs by using the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit.

The Administrators Guide provides an overview of the capabilities to administer and manage the OBA Composition Reference Toolkit in this release.

The Component Design and Packaging Guide can be used by developers to understand and apply component development practices that enable the materialization of the benefits of composition solution architectures when building OBAs.

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