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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Future of VBA? (VBA)

    I'm curious as to what others think: Does the arrival of .NET put the future of VBA in jeopardy?

    I know Microsoft promises to continue supporting and licensing VBA, but I wonder...Is there something they're not telling us - yet?

    Microsoft would probably rather distribute the .NET framework than plain old VBA. And what a coup for Microsoft if all current licensees of VBA needed to go to .NET in the future.

    I'd appreciate your thoughts on this, and references to any already existing discussions. If they're out there, I haven't found them yet. Thanks!

    Bob

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    Do you believe in living on the bleeding edge? As a developer, it's fun to rise to new challenges. Inasmuch as many people still use Word97, though, I have to wonder whether the question has a lot of relevance to the average user.

    At some point, it makes sense to transition Office to VB .NET. Maybe in Office 2004? To prevent customers from balking at the upgrade

  3. #3
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    IMHO, the next version of Office will adopt VS.Net.
    Just as VB .Net has an upgrade wizard, I would expect that Office would also have an upgrade wizard for VBA to VS .Net in Office.

    The VB to VB .Net upgrade wizard is quite good, but there are indeed problems that will require recoding.

    Other questions are:

    1. How much longer will the WordBasic object be supported?
    2. If Office becomes based on VS .Net, will there be multiple macro languages, i.e, VB .Net, C# and C++?
    3. Wil Office really adopt VS .Net, i.e., use the same forms engine as everything else?

    In any case, I see no point worrying about, or even discussing, this. THe best one can do is:

    a. Convert all remaining WordBasic objects to real VBA, there are necessary exceptions, but I won't discuss those.

    b. Get one of the books on upgrading VB to VB .Net. A lot, if not all, of the same problems will apply when converting VBA to whatever. For example, get rid of ALL Variant data types.

    c. Purchase VS .Net and play around with it. I purchased VB 5 Learning Edition before I ever got Office 97. One of the best decisions I've made.

  4. #4
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    Maybe not 'bleeding edge,' but I do like to look over the side of the cliff from time to time. <img src=/S/eyeout.gif border=0 alt=eyeout width=15 height=15>

    I've been learning about .NET, and learning VB.NET. It's just got me wondering about where things are headed in Office.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  5. #5
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    You raised some questions I've been thinking about too, such as the future of macro languages in Office.

    I'm not worried about this stuff - I'll know VB.NET long before it's ever used in Office. I just find it intellectually stimulating to think about future possibilities. I kind of wonder that there isn't more interest about it among Office developers.

    Guess they're all too busy programming for today... <img src=/S/snore.gif border=0 alt=snore width=32 height=15>

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    Very few companies are willing to risk their livelihoods on new technology, hardware or software. That leaves programmers putting their main time into working with existing tools and their spare time into learning new ones. Trying to learn something that doesn't exist yet but may sometime within the next year or so is a lot like herding cats--the rewards may not be worth the effort right now. <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>
    Charlotte

  7. #7
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    --------------------
    herding cats--the rewards may not be worth the effort right now
    --------------------
    I can't even get the single, solitary cat we have from pooping on the bathroom rug. The next to the last straw was stepping out of the shower into it.

  8. #8
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    <img src=/S/rofl.gif border=0 alt=rofl width=15 height=15> That cat's sending you a message! I live with 3 at the moment (I've had more but one ancient kitty died last year) and I listen *very* carefully to them. <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>
    Charlotte

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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    Well just to add confusion - err, I mean information - to this discussion... take a look at the following website which has been getting quite a bit of attention in the tech news sector lately: http://www.go-mono.com

  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    Oh, goody! Now we're going to complicate things with ADO-like libraries and near.NET functionality so we can run it in Linux! <img src=/S/flee.gif border=0 alt=flee width=25 height=25>
    Charlotte

  11. #11
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    MSFT will have to support VBA, at least as a separate object model, as with WordBasic.

    VB.Net supports a significant portion of VB 6 via the VB object.

    The questions I'm afraid to ask are:

    1. What will happen to the WordBasic object in the next version of Office? VB .Net does not officially support importing from VB 5. Will, let's call it VSA, support the importing of WordBasic object into VSA?

    2. Will there be only 1 macro language, or will Office macros be able to use all of the .Net languages, in particular VB .Net, C# and C++? For programmers, this is no big deal, but it may be for normal, and even power users.

    3. At whatever point MSFT drops support for the WordBasic object, we need to be prepared to rewrite our code to accommodate stuff not available in VBA or VSA. Indeed, I am in the midst of converting the last pieces of WB in my own code to VBA. In one project, there were about 20000 lines of WB code. THere are now only 72 uses of the WB object, some of which have no VBA equivalent, so I will attempt to change the code to avoid the use of those criters.

    And, I would suggest that anyone having a product that qualifies them for purchasing VB .Net Pro, or higher, do so BEFORE 1 SEpt 2002, if only to get the $300 rebate.

    I purchased VS .Net Pro just so I can play with the differences. And it gives me the 3 languages, VB .Net, C#, and C++, so I can prepare for whatever when MSFT finally announces/leaks what's going to be in the next version of Office.

    If you do get VS .Net, I would suggest first maxing out your system's memory.

    I'm running on a Pentium II 400, which is slower than MSFT's recommendation for VS .Net. However, in December 2001, I increased system from 128MB to 384MB.

    VS .Net performs quite well.
    Only thing that seems to be slow is when I add the Office 10 object Library as a reference. Takes a long time to load.

    Even if one does not get the software, one MUST take a look at the books on upgrading from VB to VB .Net and follow the suggestions on preparing your current code.

    The upgrade wizard in VB .Net does a good job, but conversion will be difficult for code that is not well prepared.

    First thing to do is get rid of Variant data types, which you should be doing anyway.

  12. #12
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    <hr>so I can prepare for whatever when MSFT finally announces/leaks what's going to be in the next version of Office<hr>
    My guess is that any of the supported languages will work, just as in VS.NET. The CLR (Common Language Runtime) seems to be one of the big selling points of the .NET Framework - write code in any language that YOU feel comfortable with. The end result is the same no matter what language you use to get there.

  13. #13
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    Re: Future of VBA? (VBA)

    MSFT finally caught up with common run-time libraries, technology is only about 40 years old.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Future of VBA - This Just In

    Sue Mosher of Slipstick fame contributed this tidbit to the lastest issue of Exchange and Outlook UPDATE, Outlook Edition, June 4, 2002:
    <UL>"Continued support for Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) apparently
    is also part of the plan for Office 11.0 and beyond. Steven Sinofsky,
    Microsoft's senior vice president for Office, recently reassured
    Office developers who've been concerned that future Office versions
    will have a programming language as different from VBA as Visual Basic
    .NET is from Visual Basic (VB). Sinofsky said that Microsoft is
    committed to full support for VBA for at least two full product cycles
    (i.e., for Office 11.0 and the version after that)."[/list]

  15. #15
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Future of VBA - This Just In

    Well that's a relief. I can keep paying my bills for another two Office cycles ... <img src=/S/hmmn.gif border=0 alt=hmmn width=15 height=15> That works out to about 2.5 years! <img src=/S/beep.gif border=0 alt=beep width=15 height=15>
    Charlotte

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