Eric Lippert

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Consider the following portion of an all-too-common server scenario. An authenticated user, perhaps a salesperson, requests a Word document from a server. The document is an expense report, and the server is an ASP, ASP.NET, or SharePoint Server. The server code looks up some information about the user from a database, Active Directory, or Web service. For example, perhaps the server has a list of recent corporate credit card activity that it will prepopulate into the expense list. The server starts up Word but keeps it "invisible" because there is no interactive user on the server. It then uses the Word object model to insert the data into a table, saves the result, and serves up the resulting file to the user. This is a very suboptimal document life cycle for two reasons. First, it is completely unsupported and strongly recommended against by Microsoft. Word and ... (more)