Today, 64 bit processors are found in most of our consumer and business systems. Because of its inherent capacity to support more virtual and physical memory than 32-bit ones, business users now can work with larger documents and files to perform big computation. So no wonder when Microsoft released the first native 64 bit Office 2010 some 3 years back, it was a defining enhancement for the power users and data analysis experts, as it allows to access more than 2 gigabytes of addressable memory. Office 2013 is the latest release to have both 32 bit and 64 bit versions. Though a 64 bit office provides the advantage of using larger memory, the downside is that most application extensions such as third party add-ins, Active-X controls and other in-house solutions build on earlier versions of office are incompatible on 64 bit native office applications. This is one of reason why Microsoft recommends most users to install 32 bit version of Office by default.
So why am I stressing on the 64 bit Office suddenly? Yes, now we have a new release of our mailbox ticketing solution (Team Issue Tracker for Outlook & SharePoint) that works seamlessly on both 32 bit and 64 bit native versions of Office 2010 and 2013. The old COM based add-in was totally overhauled and then ported to .NET framework (3.5). Now, you are no longer forced to use the 32-bit version of Microsoft Office/Outlook, just because you want to use our ticketing solution. The new Issue Tracking add-in version works with your 64-bit Microsoft Outlook. And how can you find out if you have 32-bit or 64-bit of Microsoft Outlook? Very simple, open Outlook and go to File > About Microsoft Outlook. And in the About dialog box, 32 bit or 64 bit is appended at the end of the title.
Developing a solution to be used in both 32 bit and 64 bit Office applications are not only mired with compatibility issues, but also the headache of maintaining separate builds and installation medias for each Office version. And note that, the older version of Issue Tracker was programmed extensively with legacy codes that were exclusively for 32 bit platforms. And that didn’t make our life easier. No doubt, it was a considerable effort making the switch but well worth the time and investment as newer Office releases will ultimately do away with the ActiveX and COM based in-process applications. Moreover, the inclusion of Visual Basic 6 run-time in newer Windows (9 and above) is most unlikely. So, for us. the switch has allowed us to use and capitalize the various components and services available in.NET framework in our existing products. And the end result is a product that is much more user friendly, features packed and able to fully exploit the new ribbon interface.
Another enhancement is the grid control. The new release uses a native .NET grid 3rd party component which is a big improvement from the older grids. Support for new data types such as bar codes, images, sorting of columns, spanning of cells etc. are some of them. Furthermore, the new looks is in ‘sync’ with the looks and feel of Office user interface.
A single universal installer is used for both 32 bit and 64 bit. All you need to do is run it and the windows installer would automatically perform the required installation based on the version of your Office.