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  1. #1
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    Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    I would like to learn Visual Basic and have some questions I'd like to get answered before taking on this task.

    Is there a difference between Visual Basic used in or with different Office products (Word 97, Excel 97, Access 97)?

    Recommend learning any certain one or others? I mainly use Word 97 with Excel being a VERY close 2nd. I've begun dabbling with Access 97. I also use Outlook 98 as my mail client.

    Would you suggest any specific books to assist me in learning VB? I've read past posts regarding this question and have developed a small list of book which I'll have likely researched by the time you read this post.

    Is there a difference between VB & VBA? If so, which one is better to learn?

    Thanks in advance,

    -Steve-

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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    Steve,

    Since you mainly want to use this with Office products, you're better off starting out learning VBA in the context of the Office apps, rather than learning VB.

    The VBA language that's behind the Office apps is basically the same for all the apps (and is essentially the same as the core language that's used in VB). What's different from application to application is the object models.

    So you're really learning two things at the same time: (1) the VBA language, which is (mainly) the same across the Office apps and VB, and (2) the object models of the different apps, which you are going to manipulate using VBA.

    You're probably best off learning Office/VBA in the context of the apps you know best (since you're already familiar with their object models from the user interface side) - these will seem the most intuitive to learn.

    You'll probably get loads of suggestions for books, but for a very solid entry-level book about Office 97, I would recommend Microsoft Press' Office 97 VB Developer's Guide - this book is probably out of print (might be able to find it used), but it is also available for free on the MSDN site <A target="_blank" HREF=http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/office97/html/web/intro.asp>here</A> - it's a bit superficial in its treatment of the individual apps, but it's a very solid intro.

    Good luck!
    Gary

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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    There's an office 2000 version-but I could not get a direct url. Go to <A target="_blank" HREF=http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/odeopg/html/deovrwheretogofromherech11.asp>http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default....romherech11.asp</A> and choose the top of the book- at "Microsoft Office 2000/Visual Basic Programmer's Guide"
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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    See the list of Word VBA books at my URL below.

    If youn really want to learn this stuff, you are better off starting with a good VB book suxh as Gary Cornell's Visual Basic 6 from the Ground Up.

    All of the Word VBA books I've seen leave much to be desired.

    The Excel and Access books are a bit better, I expect, because, they have a more target application, Word is too loosey-goosey.

    In effect, VBA for each app consists of a core "subset" of V Bplus an application specific object model.

    If you have any sort of real programming packground, you'll pick up this stuff faster if you first look at VB.

    How one approaches this really does depend on your background and goals, be it casual user, power user, or programmer.

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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    THe Office 2000 programmer's guide is far superior to the Office 97 programmer's guide, which I did find very useful.

    You might be able to find the Office 2000 programmer's guide at some online bookseller.
    I don;t currently havethe ISBN as my copy came with the Office 2000 Developer Edition software.

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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    <hr>If you have any sort of real programming packground, you'll pick up this stuff faster if you first look at VB.<hr>
    I disagree, Howard. VB is quite different from the VBA implementations in the Office apps in many obscure and frustrating ways. Granted, the basic structures are the same, but the implementations vary wildly due to each specific application engine's objects and events. I think people have more trouble moving from VB to VBA than vice versa. For most people, learning the basics in a familiar and frequently used application will be easier and more immediately useful than learning an entirely different approach and still not knowing how to program the application of choice. If by "real programming background" you meant things like COBOL, then yes, VB is probably a better starting point because the application-specific features would drive someone like that nuts at first.

    There was a good VBA Developer's Handbook written by Getz and Gilbert for Office 97, but the Office 2000 equivalent is the Visual Basic Developer's Handbook by the same authors.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    Steve, most of you questions have been answered, so I'll just add a couple of comments.
    <img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2>
    > Is there a difference between VB & VBA? If so, which one is better to learn?
    <img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2>
    The answer to this depends on what you want to do. If you have special-purpose apps that you want to design and code, then you want VB. If you want to increase your productivity in Office 97, then you want VBA.
    <img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2>
    > suggest any specific books
    <img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2>
    I have lots of books including the aforementioned, but the only books that I use are the ones by Steven Roman. I just use Excel & Word, so my choice is Writing Excel Macros and Writing Word Macros. They are cheap, brief, and useful. Just noticed that they are on sale at Amazon for <$10! Here is an Amazon link to all of Steve's books. HTH --Sam
    <font face="Comic Sans MS">Sam Barrett, CACI </font face=comic>
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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    I agree with the other posters that that you may be better off getting VBA books specific to the MS products you want to work with, because they will teach you about the underlying object model for the product.

    However, if you want a VB book for beginners, An Introduction to Programming Using Visual Basic 6.0 Fourth Edition by David I. Schneider ISBN: 0-13-936428-5 was recommended to me, and the <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0139364285/qid=1009553745/ref=sr_11_0_1/104-5578772-5868703>Amazon</A> reviews seem to support the recommendation. It is heavily used as a University textbook. I do not yet own a copy.

    VB and VBA in a Nutshell: The Languages by Paul Lomax, Ron Petrusha (Editor) ISBN: 1565923588 is an excellent reference for both VB and VBA, which I think Charlotte brought to my attention. I have this one and use it frequently, BUT it's only a reference, it will help you clarify things that a text may leave unclear, but it won't teach from the ground up.
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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    Sam, if you learned to write your clear concise code from those texts, that's good enough for me! I'm off to Amazon.
    -John ... I float in liquid gardens
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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    John, most of the "clear concise code" stuff was learned from studying the posts on this site, but Steve's books are also helpful. --Sam
    <font face="Comic Sans MS">Sam Barrett, CACI </font face=comic>
    <small>And the things that you have heard... commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2</small>

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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    Hey try to learn them all and whatever you can't figure out someone here will probaly know.... hehe.

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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    THe Office 97 edition of Steve Roman's book had at least 1 glaring omission. He explicitly stated that he was not going to cover error handling and referred the reader to another one of his books.

    How the heck, can such a book avoid discussion On Error? Perhaps, his later edition removed that deficiency?

    However, Steve's book may not be the one to start with.

    Last August, I started a service, as yet unnannounced, that, in effect serves to mentor those learning Word VBA and programming on their own.

    My first client chose to read 3 books she has that I too have. She chose to read the Guy-Hart Davis book first, then the Steve Roman book.

    She stated that she would have found it more difficult the other way around.

    So, how one does this really does depend on the individual. Somebody with a programming background is better off starting with VB as those books do a better job.

    Somebody who does not have a programming background and is not a techie, i.e., is a mere mortal end user may be better starting off with the Hart-Davis book. A more technical persion is likely better off starting with Steve Roman's book or the VB book.

    I started by purchasing the VB 5 Learning EDition before I had Office 97. That brought me up to speed more quickly than if I hadf started with a Word VBA book.

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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    The 97 and 2000 books are surprisingly different.

    The 97 book is for beginners and takes one to a low intermediate level.

    The 2000 book assumes you are an experienced Office/VBA developer, and gets right into the juicy stuff.
    The 2000 book should still be in print; I guess one advantage of getting the book (over the online version) is that the book comes with a CD which contains a lot of useful code.

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    Re: Learning Visual Basic (Office 97)

    Advantages of books include:

    1. One need not be a prisioner of a terminal to view the book.
    2. One can pick up a lot by merely flipping thru the pages of a book, or looking thru the index and finding what is needed.

    Online stuff is great for reference, but not for learning or many types of browsing.

    I don't know what is on the CD-ROM that comes with the book as my copy came with the Office Devo Edition.

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    Learning Visual Basic .Net

    And the biggest advantage of a book over online?

    You can read it while sitting on the toilet.



    (or on the train or whatever).

    But online one can determine whther the book is really worth the investment.

    I'm in a very bad financial situation, so I'm looking at either online or very low cost solutions to learning. So I tend to suggest online resources when available as a first port of call.

    "The Medium is the Message"- McCluhan, 60's.

    So has anyone had a chance to look at learning VB.net- either online or low cost book? Our VB shop has indicated they may be going that way.

    And is there a way of getting a beta copy if you don't get MSDN?
    Subway Belconnen- home of the Signboard to make you smile. Get (almost) daily updates- follow SubwayBelconnen on Twitter.

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