Do you have a small repetitive task that can be performed more efficiently using Microsoft Outlook 2007, or are you developing a comprehensive application to retrieve and present Outlook data? You'd probably like to have a good reference guide nearby. Here are two books that cover programming with Outlook 2007: Sue Mosher's "Microsoft Outlook Programming: Jumpstart for Power Users and Administrators," Digital Press, 2007, 825 pages, and Ken Slovak's "Professional Outlook 2007 Programming," Wiley Publishing (Wrox), 2007, 454 pages (Figures 1 and 2 below.)
Figure 1: Sue Mosher's book
Figure 2: Ken Slovak's book
To be fair, I know both of these authors; they are long-time Microsoft MVPs for Outlook. They've contributed tremendously to the Outlook community and both are experienced and accomplished authors. Each has compiled a comprehensive, readable text; however, the intended audience for each of these books is slightly different.
Sue Mosher's book is easy to read for a programming book. While it assumes the reader has solid experience as an Outlook user and administrator of Outlook clients, it doesn't assume any programming knowledge. Sue does a great job of introducing the concepts behind Outlook programming and then applying those concepts to real-world scenarios. The text is logically broken down into types of programming for Outlook: Outlook Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) Design, Outlook Form Design, and Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBSCript).
There 's a chapter dedicated to using Search programmatically with Outlook 2007, where search functionality was improved greatly over previous Outlook versions. Sue provides a website resource through her company, Turtleflock, LLC, in support of her books and the Outlook community: http://outlookcode.com/. I use this site a lot, both for myself and in referring others for code samples and instructions for specific Outlook programming issues. OutlookCode.com has an ongoing user forum and code sample sharing repository. Of course, you can also download code samples used in the book. Sue doesn't go deep into COM add-on technologies, but focuses instead on programming to make Outlook do more for the user without full application development.
Ken Slovak, of Slovak Technical Services, doesn't spend much time on administrative tasks or scripting for administrators. He gets into the meat and potatoes of coding much quicker than Sue does. After a brief introduction to Outlook programming, Ken segments the content logically into programming types for Outlook: Outlook VBA, Outlook Forms, and COM add-ins. Ken provides many code listings in both VB.Net and C#. The depth of examples and API alternatives makes Ken's book more applicable to professional developers. Ken also puts the knowledge together in a working example chapter where the reader can create a Task Management System for Outlook 2007. Ken provides the full code and effectively explains what is happening along the way.
Ken's publisher, Wrox Press, an imprint of Wiley Publishing, provides strong web support for its authors, including an online forum and downloads for code samples directly from their site. The support site for Ken's book is found at http://p2p.wrox.com/book-professional-outlook-2007-programming-isbn-978-0-470-04994-5-363/ .
I'm not a very good programmer, but I do use both of these books regularly. I read Sue's book from cover to cover when I received it. Ken's book I use much more as a reference resource. So if you are an administrator looking to make work easier for you and your users then Sue Mosher's book offers some great insight. Or if you are a developer looking to create new add-ons or marketable applications for Outlook, then consider adding Ken Slovak's book to your resource library.