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Custom Views and the LoadWebBrowserControl Method

Office 2003

Previous versions of Microsoft® Office Project 2003 were limited by the range of components available for its views. This section of Project Guide 101, and the related code sample, shows how to remove that limitation with custom views made from Web services and custom Microsoft Internet Explorer content. You will learn what custom views offer, how to create custom views, and how to integrate them into Project 2003 using the LoadWebBrowserControl object model.

For a list of files in the custom view sample, see Task Form Custom View. To compare files in the custom view sample with the default Project Guide files, see Default Project Guide Files.


Information Technology managers are in the desktop creation business. Their users want management desktops with all the tools needed to get real-world work done. Users don't want to worry about which applications do what, or anything else that's outside real-world work. They know their business, and they only want the tools necessary to do their job. The IT manager's job is to deliver desktops that present users with everything they need to know to make business decisions, along with the tools to manipulate that data intelligently. Users' desktops should present those tools in an integrated and easily understood user interface tailored to the business processes.

IT managers have a difficult time because those desktops don't exist. There are too many different business domains and management methods for any single software maker to understand, let alone create optimized tools for all of them. Software makers can build applications that fit into a lot of management desktops, but they don't offer complete out-of-box solutions. It's up to IT managers to mix and match add-ins, applications, and training to come up with the right desktop for their company's business.

The Problem: Coordination Overhead

There's a cost to the mix-and-match approach. For example, suppose City Power & Light is a U.S. utility that just opened a plant in Europe. Their management software doesn't account for reports or labor rules required by the E.U. They buy a new application specific to the E.U. to deal with those requirements. Now any City Power & Light manager who wants a complete picture of her company's business has to jump back and forth between two applications, trying to put that picture together in her head.

Even though both applications draw on a common database, the City Power & Light manager is hurting from too many tools on her desktop. The scattered applications force her to spend time and attention on coordinating her software instead of doing work with it. The use of disconnected applications has been accepted because managing with software is still more efficient than managing by hand; people just put up with with the coordination overhead of multiple-application desktops.

Databases led to big productivity gains by allowing people to centralize their data. Because of data centralization, it is now considered bizarre to require sales entries in more than one place in a company's system. Still, it's not bizarre for a manager to hop between two applications to get at all her tools for reporting on those sales. Consolidating tools into one user interface can offer gains similar to those of data consolidation. Custom views in Project 2003 provide a means of consolidating business tools.

The Solution: User Interface Consolidation with Project 2003 describes how Project helps to solve the problem.