Monday, September 28, 2009

New Release of VisioAutomation library

Microsoft Visio is a popular vector diagramming programming for Windows. As with other Microsoft programs it can be automated and extended with COM, which can easily be done from .NET languages like C# and IronPython.

VisioAutomation is "a .NET Library that simplifies automating Visio from .NET languages such as C#, F#, IronPython and a set of tools that use that library." It is useful for:
  • Writing managed-code Add-Ins for Visio 2007
    Writing tools to automate Visio 2007 from command line
    Use it as a reference to learn how to do common Visio automation tasks
Version 2 of VisioAutomation has just been released. As well as various tools and libraries the latest version includes an experimental interactive environment built on IronPython and libraries to support using VisioAutomation from IronPython.
Today I’m releasing the latest version of the VisioAutomation library on CodePlex: http://visioautomation.codeplex.com/

This was a very large update and took about 6 months of effort.

CHANGES SINCE 1.X
  • The library itself has been reorganized into several distinct pieces (each in a distinct namespace)
    • VisioAutomation – the core low-level library – I don’t expect people to spend much time using this directly
    • VisioAutomation.Scripting – if you are writing interactive tools that work with Visio then this is the part of the library that will make using controlling Visio much easier
    • VisioAutomation.DOM – This one is a document-oriented API to control Visio – consider it low-level, you generally don’t need to interact with it
  • The tools have been reorganized
    • Visio Power Tools – this provides some extra features to Visio (such as Exporting to XAML) and the ability to create really nice gradients
    • VisioInteractive - (Experimental) A library meant for use by an interactive IronPython 2.0 session
    • VisioPS - (Experimental) an Module for IronPython 2.0 that lets you control Visio from the command line

FUTURE PLANS
  • VisioPS will be pulled into its related project I am working on – I haven’t finished with the concept but essentially think of it is a “simple business intelligence & analytics from the command-line” – the idea is to make it easy to play and render human-scale data
  • VisioAutomation – evolutionary changes
  • VisioAutomation.XML – A library to create Visio .VDX files directly from C# without having Visio installed (yes, it’s possible and it’s not even that hard)

PARTING THOUGHTS
Even if you aren’t interested in using the code for the library, check out the Visio Power Tools add-in – it adds some nice end-user features.

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