I had a specific goal in mind when I bought this book -- to produce a plugin for Microsoft Outlook 2003 (and 2007 in the future) that adds a tab to a calendar item. This tab provides integration with scheduling software for meeting rooms. (not my idea, but not my choice, either).
This book covers a lot of topics that I didn't bother to read, and this review won't be relevent to users who want to learn about VBA and Outlook forms.
The quick summary of what I read is "Microsoft provided feeble interfaces for plugin development, and you have to recreate tons of stuff from scratch. I've done that for you, and here is 50KB worth of code to copy-and-paste into your project."
After typing up a significant part of it over two days, I realized that I had made too many typos to troubleshoot, and I also decided that I didn't really care about all of this minutiae, anymore. So I went to the author's website and downloading the huge blocks of cookie-cutter code that are required to make a plugin of any sort, and just read through the end. However, his sample doesn't compile in Visual Studio 2005, regardless of what I do to try and fix it.
Let's go over how badly this sucks. There is simply no way that you could ever take the code from the book and construst anything resembling the project file which I later downloaded from the author's website. Far too much of the object structure, file structure, references, and namespace declarations were omitted in the book, without so much as a word about it. The code involved is big, and kinda abstract. It's unclear what you need to change to achieve certain results. The example provided might have barely been sufficient to guide me toward my task, to begin with. However, since this one example didn't compile, I was totally stranded.
The architecture of the Outlook plugin is not really explained, although there are "tactical" references to it, sprinkled across a 100 page span that describes bits of code. The object model summary at the end of the book looks basically like a plain text file printed sideways, and offers no "summary" at all, just basically a poorly formatted list of objects, methods and properties.
Now, I can't fully blame the author for providing insights (which must have been painfully learned) into Microsoft Outlook, which just doesn't "want to be modified." However, I'm not inclined to praise the author, either. The parts of the book that I read (about half of it) looked like it was churned out as quickly as the author was able -- maybe a basic narration about bits of code from a single relevent project.
Overall, this is the sub-sufficient level of documentation that seems way too common for the Wrox brand. I would have steered clear, since Wrox always fails me, but there weren't many choices for Plugin Development. I guess I'll blow some more of my company's training budget on the other books, since the Web doesn't really cover this topic, either.