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Tim Murphy

Tim is a Solutions Architect for PSC Group, LLC. He has been an IT consultant since 1999 specializing in Microsoft technologies. Along with running the Chicago Information Technology Architects Group and speaking on Microsoft and architecture topics he was also contributing author on "The Definitive Guide to the Microsoft Enterprise Library".

I review for the O'Reilly Blogger Review Program

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Tim Murphy's .NET Software Architecture Blog Adventures in Architecting and Developing .NET Office Open XML
Alternate OOXML Document Generation Approach
Eric White has put out a document generation example which uses XPath and Word Content Controls. I applaud Eric for the amount of work he has done with his exploration of different ways to perform template base generation. This is a subject that is challenging and we need as many ideas as we can get. There are a couple of areas that I see room for improvement in this XPath design that I would like to bring up. The first is that Eric has chosen to put his document generation in the document itself. ......

Posted On Thursday, March 31, 2011 6:49 AM

2011 Chicago Code Camp
It is that time again. Time to polish up you presentation skills on your favorite language or technology features. The Chicago Code Camp is accepting proposals for presentations. Show everyone in the Chicago area what you know and submit your own. I really enjoyed presenting last year and just had to submit a proposal for this year. This time around my topic is Increasing Collaboration with Windows Phone 7, SharePoint 2010 and Office Open XML. I had a much longer title but the site forced me to shorten ......

Posted On Saturday, February 19, 2011 3:04 AM

Update Since Microsoft/PSC Office Open XML Case Study
In 2009 Microsoft released a case study about a project that we had done using the OOXML SDK 1.0 for Research Directors Inc. Since that time Microsoft has released version 2.0 of the SDK and PSC has done significant development with it. Below are some of the mile stones we have reached since the original case study. At the time of the original case study two report types had been automated to output as PowerPoint presentations. Now that the all the main products have been delivered we have added ......

Posted On Wednesday, December 15, 2010 4:30 PM

What I Learned From Thirsty Developer
A few months back I sat down on a conference call with Dave Bost and Clark Sell to record an episode of Thirsty Developer. I had suggested that we could talk about Office Open XML and how it can be used to automate the generation of documents. Now for a number of reasons this episode will never see the light of day (at least not as we originally recorded it). But the reason that sticks in my mind is that the story wasn’t there. As technologists we spend a lot of time learning tools, languages and ......

Posted On Thursday, November 11, 2010 12:35 AM

Chicago Architects Group – Document Generation Architectures
Thank you to everyone who came out to the Chicago Architects Group presentation last night. It seemed like the weather has a way of keeping a large portion of the people who registered from making the meeting. There was some lively networking going on before and after the meeting. I enjoyed the questions that people had during the presentation. It helped to bring out some of the challenges with dealing with the OOXML and ODF standards from an architecture perspective. I have posted the Slides and ......

Posted On Wednesday, June 16, 2010 6:05 AM

June LCNUG Presentation
Office Open XML has been my focus for the last 8 months. We are creating solutions that generate data and business rule heavy presentations and document. On June 24th I will be covering the how to use OOXML to generate documents that can be used as sales and marketing collateral. Register below and come out and join the discussion. Tags: Office Open XML,OOXML PSC Group,LCNUG,Document Generation ......

Posted On Tuesday, June 8, 2010 3:15 PM

Chicago Code Camp Recap
My presentation on leveraging Open XML was a great experience and the attendees were very gracious. I was pleasantly surprised to have a full room. There was even one person sitting on the floor. You can check out some pictures here. I have posted my slides and code. If anyone has any feedback or questions feel free to contact me. Tags: Chicago Code Camp,OOXML SDK 2.0,Office Open XML,slides,code ......

Posted On Sunday, May 2, 2010 2:57 PM

Speaking At The Chicago Code Camp
I just got news that my talk on Office Open XML has been accepted for the Chicago Code Camp. I hear that they will be announcing the full schedule of sessions soon. Be sure to register and join us. As a bonus the guys from .NET Rocks will be there. Tags: .NET Rocks,Chicago Code Camp,Speaking,OOXML SDK 2.0,OOXML,Office Open XML,PSC Group ......

Posted On Tuesday, April 20, 2010 3:07 AM

Dealing With Table Borders In OOXML
Note: Cross posted from Coding The Document. Permalink Formatting tables in a document programmatically can be a very complex task. This is the major reason which we start our document generation projects with templates instead of building components in a document by hand. Borders are on aspect of a table that you may want to fomat. Borders are used to make certain content in a table stand out. If you need to conditionally set and remove borders there is something that you need to be aware of. Even ......

Posted On Monday, April 5, 2010 9:43 AM

Where I Am Speaking Soon
Open XML and document generation has been my focus lately. With that being the case I will be speaking on the subject in the near future at the following event. Chicago Code Camp – May 1 Chicago Architects Group – June 15 Lake Count .NET User Group – June 17 I hope to see you at one (or more) of these events. Tags: speaking,Office Open XML,OOXML,Document Generation ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 30, 2010 3:34 PM

Why Standards Only Get You So Far
Over the years I have been exposed to a number of standards. EDI was the first. More recently it has been the CIECA standard for Insurance and now the embattled document standards of Open XML and ODF. Standards actually came up at the last CAG meeting. The debate was over how effective they really are. Even back in the late 80’s to early 90’s people found they had to customize these standards to get any work done. I even had one vendor about a year ago tell me that they really weren’t standards, ......

Posted On Tuesday, March 30, 2010 12:07 AM

Naming PowerPoint Components With A VSTO Add-In
Note: Cross posted from Coding The Document. Permalink Sometimes in order to work with Open XML we need a little help from other tools. In this post I am going to describe a fairly simple solution for marking up PowerPoint presentations so that they can be used as templates and processed using the Open XML SDK. Add-ins are tools which it can be hard to find information on. I am going to up the obscurity by adding a Ribbon button. For my example I am using Visual Studio 2008 and creating a PowerPoint ......

Posted On Wednesday, March 10, 2010 4:27 PM

Bolding and Underlining Text In Word Documents
Note: Cross posted from Coding The Document. Permalink In the templates that I have processed with Open XML there are usually a number of tables. Some times we have to add an extra paragraph to a cell and we want to keep the formatting of the text already in the cell. In this post I will go over how to apply bold and underline formatting to text as well as how to steal it from existing text and apply it to a new paragraph or run. In order to apply an underline format to a paragraph by hand you have ......

Posted On Tuesday, February 16, 2010 5:45 AM

How Does Simple Text Markup Differ Across The Office 2007 Suite
Note: Cross posted from Coding The Document. Permalink Our theme recently is things that need to be made more consistent in the office products in order to make document generation development more efficient for developers. This time around we will focus on difference between the way text is marked up in Word and PowerPoint. I have found that there are a number of subtle but important differences in the way text is written to the Open XML standard. This is then reflected in the Open XML SDK’s API. ......

Posted On Thursday, February 4, 2010 1:23 AM

Happy Holidays From A Microsoft Lawsuit
It seems that Microsoft has lost a lawsuit over their custom xml implementation for Office Open XML. This was about the worst news I could get just before the holidays since I have been working on creating solutions around just that feature. To me it is the most flexible part of the OOXML standard and crosses all types of Office documents. I can only hope that they settle this dispute so we can get back to moving forward document generation processes. Tags: OOXML,Office Open XML,Microsoft ......

Posted On Wednesday, December 23, 2009 9:36 AM

Choosing Custom XML For Tagging In Word With OOXML
In the further adventures of OOXML we have been looking at different approaches to tagging content in a Word template to be programmatically replaced. Initially we looked at simple in-line text as a user defined tagging system. The problem is that this is very error prone. The user has to enter the tag exactly the same every time. On top of that if the user backspaces while typing the tag or spell check flags the tag then the tag will be split into multiple tags. This is less than desirable. Content ......

Posted On Wednesday, November 25, 2009 7:59 AM

Searching For Content Controls In Office 2007 With OOXML SDK2
As far as I have seen content controls in Office 2007 render to either a SdtRun or SdtBlock object. The nice thing is that both of these inherit from SdtElement. This allows you to take the query from my earlier post and replace SdtBlock with SdtElement and now you have a universal retrieval. Of course as with any tool you need to be careful you don’t take it too far. Depending on the structure of you document this may not do what you need. Technorati Tags: office Open XML,OOXML,LINQ,.NET ......

Posted On Friday, November 6, 2009 11:14 AM

Retrieving A List of SdtBlocks for A Tag Value Using LINQ
If you are using a template document and replacing text programmatically using the Office Open XML SDK 2 API you will need a way to identify the target to be replaced. One option is to use a Content Control and setting the tag value the same for all of the controls that need to be substituted with a single value. After some trial and error and a lot of digging through the DocumentReflector I came up with the following LINQ query to get a list of all blocks with the same tag name. var blocks = from ......

Posted On Thursday, November 5, 2009 6:45 AM

Working With Office Open XML
If you haven’t heard of Office Open XML don’t be surprised. I hadn’t until a couple of months ago. In short it is a standardization of the Office document models which allows for more flexible development methods. You no longer need to have an instance of your target Office application running on a server in order to generate Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents. This is also the reason that all of the Office file extensions have a “x” suffix these days. Office Open XML files are actually zip files. ......

Posted On Monday, October 19, 2009 2:46 PM

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