Project Colletta DocBar in Word 2013...? RRS feed

  • Question

  • I have installed Project Colletta on Win 8.1 x64 with Office 2013 AND 2010 installed.  The DocBar appears in Excel and Outlook, but NOT in Word.  Reviewing the troubleshooting information on the project page, it doesn't appear the DocBar comes from a COM AddOn any longer, as I could not find RD_xxxAddOn for anything but Outlook and Internet Explorer.

    Can anyone  assist in getting the DocBar to appear within Word?  This tool could be a boon to my team's daily management and organization.

    Many thanks,


    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 11:24 AM

All replies

  • You're right, there isn't a COM add-in for Word: the main application watches out for Word windows and uses their accessibility interfaces to get hold of the document shown in them (I really must get round to writing a blog post about that). I still need IE and Outlook add-ins because I can't get all the information I need via that route. BTW: the documentation is a bit out of date, sorry: we need to find time to do something about that.

    You say you have both Office 2010 and 2013 - do both versions of Word have no docbar or just one? (This is a configuration I haven't tried - I'll see if I can get hold of a machine to try installing both to see what happens here.) And are both 32 bit versions - I guess they are, but just checking. Incidentally, does this repro on other machines (eg, with only one version of [32 bit] Office), if you have another machine to test.

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:22 PM
  • I will try on another machine and let you know.

    On my main machine, neither version of Word shows the DocBar.  I also noted that OneNote was not showing the DocBar.  I repaired, and the DocBar appeared in OneNote, but disappeared from Outlook.  I tried to add the Com add in, but it tells me it's not a valid AddIn.  Excel shows the DocBar for both 2010 and 2013, however PowerPoint does not have a DocBar in either version.  MSProject, which I only have 2013 installed, does not have a DocBar.

    Are there any debugging logs, etc. that would be useful to you?  This is a great project, and directly addresses a core organizational problem, let me know whatever I can do to assist.  I will post once I have loaded onto my Win8 tablet, which only has 2013.

    The 2013 installation is all x64.

    • Edited by clucksted Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:49 PM
    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 5:48 PM
  • Gavin -

    Although the two machines certainly do not have an identical load out, both my primary machine and my Win8 tablet are x64 Win8 and x64 Office 2013.  On the Win8 tablet, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote have a DocBar, but Visio, Project, Access do not.  (I'm not sure if Visio or Access are supposed to.)

    Let me know what to look at next... Are there any thoughts to a shareable database of tagging?

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 6:30 PM
  • Most of my testing has been with 32 bit Office 2013, but we did a quick test with 64 bit 2013. As I said before, I'll replicate with both 2013 & 2010 installed.

    App support: for Office 2013, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook & OneNote should have docbars; for Office 2010, no Excel but everything else should work. We've not done anything with Visio, Access or Project (in some cases, I'm not sure what the tagged thing ought to be; in others, there's not much of an object model to work with).

    There is an outstanding bug whereby sometimes the docbar doesn't appear with some existing windows (ie, documents or emails already open), but switching to another window and back, or minimize and restore, usually cause it to pop up.

    Shareable database: we almost have that, but it's not been tested at all well. In the install directory, there's an ActivityMonitor.exe.config file. One line in the connection strings section references the SQL Server CE database file residing in your user directory space. One possibility is to put the DB on some network visible path. Another option is to reference a full SQL Server database on a local or remote server, the connection string for that being something like:

    <add name="ExplorionEntities" providerName="System.Data.SqlClient" connectionString="data source=SERVER;initial catalog=DATABASE;Integrated Security=SSPI;multipleactiveresultsets=True" />

    Please note, as I said earlier, this has not been tested much and is definitely a work in progress. Note also that there is as yet no attempt to handle concurrent database updates - if you make some changes on one machine, they will not be visible on the other until you restart the activity manager application, and conflicts are "resolved" by the latest write winning, which could lead to data  loss. Ie, use this at your own peril! Yet another limitation is that there is no attempt to make file references work across machines - eg, a file c:\foo\doc on machine A will be treated as a reference to the same place on machine B rather than magically resolving the cross-machine reference. In other words, as it stands currently, sharing the database isn't really that useful. Worse still, Project Colletta does not have the notion of users, so you can't sensibly share the DB with other people. (The DB schema can handle the notion of users, it's just that Project Colletta doesn't know about them.)

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013 7:43 PM
  • I've fired up a Windows 8.1 VM and installed both Office 2010 and Office 2013, 64 bit. Both copies of Word showed the docbar. Nothing comes to mind which might explain what's causing yours to not appear, sorry. Clutching at straws, have you any other applications which keep an eye on windows coming and going, maybe there's some interference between their hooks/event handlers and Project Colletta's.
    Thursday, November 28, 2013 11:27 AM
  • That may certainly explain why the docbar is flaky, sometimes appearing and sometimes not.  (It has disappeared in Outlook again.)  Do you know of any tools we could use to spy on processes that may be interfering.
    Tuesday, December 3, 2013 2:46 PM
  • I think a lot of the flakiness is purely my fault, I can't really go blaming someone else for everything :-s

    Outlook is the app I do have most problems with the docbars coming and going - in particular, for simplicity there's an assumption that any one document is open in at most one window. If you open one Word document in two windows, only one will get the docbar - people don't tend to do that with Word, but it's common in Outlook (eg, the same email visible in the main window's preview pane, and in its own window). I do find, though, that the docbar doesn't vanish permanently, it does seem to reappear after some alt-tabs, etc. This is a research prototype - I know it could do with more engineering (and certainly more testing, especially on different versions of the operating system and different hardware!) before it approaches the reliability levels of production software.

    Tools to go spying: I'm not aware of any easy point and click tools, but I do find that Process Explorer is very useful. It can tell you what DLLs any process has loaded, which can sometimes indicate hooking if you know what you're looking for.

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 10:02 AM