Is ONOM still a going concern??

Jul 27, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Andy Gray's recent article "Creating OneNote 2010 Extensions with the OneNote Object Model" (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/ff796230.aspx) inspired me to have another look at the OneNote Object Model. Once you get used to programming within the context of the .NET framework with C#, having to work with the COM-based OneNote API feels like a step back in time for me, and I tend to avoid that.

I was, however, disappointed to see that not much has changed since the last time I looked, about a year ago. It is really difficult to get started with the OneNote Object Model: when you go to the Downloads section, it is empty. There is zero documentation. There is a "Quick Start HowTo" link on the homepage, but is has not worked for the last month and a half. Apparently you have to go to the "Source Code" tab, download the most recent "Change Set" (10 months old) and build the necessary libraries yourself - the last time I did something like that was when we still used UNIX where I work.

Well, I did, and indeed building a simple app to enumerate the notebook names is now easy, intuitive and elegant:

    using Microsoft.Office.OneNote;
    class Program
    {
        static void Main()
        {
            foreach (var book in OneNoteHierarchy.Current.Notebooks)
                Console.WriteLine(book.Name);
        }
    }

But I hit a wall when I want to work with page content. I just cannot figure out how to get at existing content, or add new content. There is -I repeat- zero documentation, so no help there, and intellisense suggests that this functionality simply is not there? I have not been able to find a single example of how to read or write page content with the Object Model, and others seem to have the same problem.

Microsoft seems to want to promote the much undervalued OneNote application: it is now present in all versions of Office 2010, and a first-class citizen in the SkyDrive Web Apps. That is great. For me, OneNote has become as much a part of my daily working tools as is Outlook. And I would love to write utilities, add-ins, for OneNote. Having a decent OneNote Object Model available, properly documented, would greatly facilitate this.

I think Microsoft should more seriously support the developing of the OneNote Object Model. I feel certein that this would lead to a decided increase in the number of people getting involved in developing utilities and add-ins. So far, it has apparently been left up to volunteers. Committing to working on something as complex and mission-critical as the OneNote Object Model is of a different order than contributing in the form of an add-in here and there and not something that I, for one, am able to do, given that I have a full job and a life besides.

I am curious to see if there are others who feel the way I do.
Please add your comments!

Jan Roelof