Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 24
  1. #1
    Gold Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Hollywood (sorta), California, USA
    Posts
    2,759
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    .Net RoadMap (any)

    VB and VBA developers may find this link useful.
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
    <img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2><img src=/w3timages/redline.gif width=33% height=2><img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2>

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    2,970
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 29 Times in 27 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    Kevin,

    Interesting read, but what's missing from the point of view of Office/VBA developers is 'Office programmability'.

    Assuming Office 11 is still VBA-powered, and not due to be released until 2003, then it sounds like 2005 at earliest before a released version of Office will permit programmability with VB.Net.

    This raises interesting questions for developers (like me) who mainly work with Office but who may want to expand their understanding of VB and perhaps branch out into VB development. I know that every bit of VB that I've been able to learn has translated into better ability with Office VBA.
    However any study directed to VB.Net now, is not going to be applicable to Office for at least three more years.

    So where does an Office developer who wants to improve their skills, direct their efforts? - learn more VB (for the indirect benefit of better understanding of Office VBA), or learn VB.Net because that's the way everything is going eventually.

    I've got to conclude the answer is: both!

    Gary

  3. #3
    Gold Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Hollywood (sorta), California, USA
    Posts
    2,759
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    >>So where does an Office developer who wants to improve their skills, direct their efforts?

    Here's my personal addition to the "roadmap". Call it the Kevin Edition Roadmap Addition:

    If you are developing Office applications that are essentially turn-key systems (global
    addins that provide added functionality or a business solution) then you can

    1) jump on the .Net bandwagon now and built COM addins for Office using .Net (C# or VB).
    2) create COM addins of Office using the MOD. This is Visual Studio 6.0 (VB6) based development.
    3) use VBA, the API, OLE/COM, etc. to build the apps.

    We're going with #1 because it brings you and your apps into the world of full-on OOP and keeps
    you at least 10 years ahead of the obsolescence steam roller. Besides, there is actually a little
    money left for this.

    If you are developing intelligent templates, macros and the like for a department here
    and a department there, stick with VBA which will be supported even in Office 12 (as will
    WordBasic!)

    As far as "learning more VB" goes, forget it. Learn .Net. Your VB skills are not lost in
    .Net if you choose VB.Net as your code lingo. But even if you jump to C# (as I am), it
    won't take long to get up to speed with some good training materials.
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
    <img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2><img src=/w3timages/redline.gif width=33% height=2><img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2>

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Stuttgart, Baden-W, Germany
    Posts
    931
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    IMO for Office developpers, 90% is knowledge of the applications, and only 10% knowledge of the programming language.

    I'm not a programmer -- as far as my stuff goes, it won't matter much to change if necessary. The difference seems much smaller this time than it was from WordBasic to VBA.

    What would interest me if I was a professional: Will MS make sure that my code runs five years from now? And if I want to port, will it help everybody with the conversion of old code?
    I would bet my <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15> on it, though there seem to be quite few who usually are better informed that wouldn't.

    <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16> Klaus

  5. #5
    Gold Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Hollywood (sorta), California, USA
    Posts
    2,759
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    VB code is *not* really compatible with .Net (I know, to an extent it is). Any VB project will
    require work to get it to compile and run on the .Net framework. Plain and simple.

    So, if that "upgrade" established a Microsoft track record, then NO your code will not run in 5 years.
    However, I do not believe the transition from VB to VB.Net makes for a trackrecord. It does
    make for a (to use a trite buzzword) quantum shift in development practice that will not
    change in five years. I think it's save to say that any .Net code created today will compile
    and run effortlessly on the .Net framework of tomorrow. If there's anything that comes
    close to insuring your code will run in 5 years, it's the .Net Framework.

    There's about 6
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
    <img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2><img src=/w3timages/redline.gif width=33% height=2><img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2>

  6. #6
    Gold Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    3,386
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    A number of things MUST change in a .NET-ized Office.

    For example, all .NET languages require that arrays have a lower bound of 0.
    Excel will really be impacted.

    Variant data type is gone.

    The change is actually greater than going from WordBasic to VBA, but I expect that MSFT will have a better upgrade engine for VBA to VSA, so the upgrade may be easier than from WB to VBA.

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Sacramento, California, USA
    Posts
    16,775
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    Kevin, you're a raving optimist! You know those extensibility libraries included in Office and VB? That's what makes code from a couple of versions ago run in your current versions. Why should the leopard change its spots just because .Net is the new be-all and end-all?
    Charlotte

  8. #8
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Stuttgart, Baden-W, Germany
    Posts
    931
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    Arrays starting at zero and no more variant data type? Then I would have to change next to nothing in my code.

    For some more changes see Karl E. Peterson's list, or Microsoft's migration paper.

    Nothing in there that looks like a quantum leap to me. From what I've seen, we will get a nice new language that does away with some old stuff and makes cross-language development easier, but nothing like the conceptual change that occurred between WordBasic and VBA.

    Pretty soon there'll be .NET mouses and keyboards and what not, and perhaps even the next Office (with VBA) will be called Office.NET.

    Though I must admit I have scarcely looked into VB.NET or the .NET framework yet, much of the .NET hype seems like a lot of ... eerm ... hype?

    Since the next version of Office will still have VBA, and at least the next two versions after that will almost surely support it, I'm in no terrible hurry.

    <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16> Klaus

  9. #9
    Gold Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    3,386
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    It's a lot more than hype.

    Apress has a book on upgrading VB to VB .NET.
    MSFT Press has a book on upgrading from VB to VB .NET
    Apress has a book that compares VB, VB .NET and C#.

    Obviously, there's gonna be books on convedrting VBA to VSA, but I am guessing that if one learns how to upgrade from VB to VB .NET, one will be ahead of the game.

    The MSFT paper just scratches at the surfac.

    Karl Peterson's list is misleading.
    For example, it states that MsgBox and Debug.Print are not supported. The functionality is supported, but the syntax is different.
    If one does not want to worry abould changing syntax, one can always program in assembly language.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    2,970
    Thanks
    3
    Thanked 29 Times in 27 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    Kevin,

    If I were developing standalone applications, or Office add-ins that function like standalone applications, then I would jump to be able to do these using VB.Net.

    But virtually all of what I do (to date anyway) is develop 'intelligent templates' (and I'm guessing 90%+ of users of VBA on this Lounge are in this category) which means sticking with VBA.

    So while I'm onboard with your advice to learn VB.Net rather than VB - for doing things that used to be done using VB - the introduction of VB.Net does leave the Office developer who wants to expand their skills, in a bind:
    Anything I learn of VB.Net today, is not going to be applicable to my day to day work, for at least three more years.

    Since Office programmability with VBA was introduced, Office development and VB development have been joined at the hip, sharing a common language, and there was a high degree of interchangeability of skills between the two.
    Now with Visual Studio.Net, and VB.Net or C# superseding use of the VB language for what was previously 'VB application development', that conjoinment between VB and VBA is being ripped apart. What makes this divergence difficult to plan for is that it is only expected to be temporary - if Office 12 is programmable using Visual Studio.Net, then things will be rejoined again - in three years.

    Just as soon as becomes possible to program Office using VisualStudio.Net, it has to make sense for VBA developers to jump to VB.Net (or C# if you prefer), because that is the direction everything is going. Even if VBA continues to be supported for a few more generations of Office, there's little point in sticking with it as VBA will become increasing ghetto-ized.

    It's the temporary divergence between Office development (VBA), and Visual Studio-based application develpment (VB.Net/C#) that makes skills development planning really tough right now for Office developers. It still seems to me that I will need to spend the next three years developing my skills in both.

    Gary

  11. #11
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Stuttgart, Baden-W, Germany
    Posts
    931
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    In addition to language incompatibilities, I expect there may be a few incompatibilities because of changes in the object model.

    At least I hope that some rather flaky design decisions will be remedied.

    As an example, the hoops you have to jump through to make a Word macro work in all story ranges come to mind.
    Another change on my wish list would a proper distinction between paragraph styles and character styles (which really should be in two different collections).
    I'm sure there are quite a few other areas that could benefit from changes in the object model.

    <img src=/S/cheers.gif border=0 alt=cheers width=30 height=16> Klaus

  12. #12
    Gold Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Hollywood (sorta), California, USA
    Posts
    2,759
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    Your point is well taken: VBA-only programmers will not be able to
    "move on" to the .Net world until VSA or VBA.Net is bolted into Office.

    One environment we haven't seen much in the Lounge is the world of COM addins.
    I'm currently experimenting with the idea of converting all "intelligent templates" into COM addin driven
    templates. In fact, the entire "award-winning" app may soon be overhauled into a COM addin on steriods.
    The idea is to base all documents on 1 template: normal.dot (or as I use and I think you use
    a "FirmNormal.dot"). We deploy documents from a set of about 3 dozen base templates from which
    the creation of 500+- documents types are automated. Since I took the global addin approach to begin
    with, the move to a COM addin should not be too challenging. Nevertheless, we're still thinking it through.

    I'd like some feedback on whether you think this is possible. We're talking about storing the boilerplate
    language as well as all autotext currently deployed during the document creation process in XML files or db records.
    What ramifications do you see in such a move?
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
    <img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2><img src=/w3timages/redline.gif width=33% height=2><img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2>

  13. #13
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Silicon Valley, USA
    Posts
    23,112
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 93 Times in 89 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    > We're talking about storing the boilerplate language as well as all autotext currently deployed during
    > the document creation process in XML files or db records. What ramifications do you see in such a move?

    Preserving rich text could be a challenge. Certainly anything more complex (such as a table) would be extremely tricky to handle outside of the AutoText context. Maybe XML is up to the challenge... [skeptical look]

  14. #14
    Gold Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Hollywood (sorta), California, USA
    Posts
    2,759
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    Thanks for chiming in Jefferson. Appreciate your insights. So far, Word 11
    converts everything visible to XML. It does not save templates as, say, an XMT
    file as one might expect. In fact any autotext in a template is stripped out if you save
    the template as XML. Tables present no problem.

    I do think MS needs to do something about the autotext situation though. XML is not
    really a native file format if it can't store autotext (or provide some other means of
    storing text like autotext).
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
    <img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2><img src=/w3timages/redline.gif width=33% height=2><img src=/w3timages/blackline.gif width=33% height=2>

  15. #15
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Silicon Valley, USA
    Posts
    23,112
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 93 Times in 89 Posts

    Re: .Net RoadMap (any)

    Interestingly, OpenOffice.org/StarOffice uses a zipped XML file format for both documents and templates. You can see the general idea in the attached, which was set up with my common margins and settings and one test macro.

    I couldn't figure out how to store AutoText in a document/template; it seems to be stored in two (rather slow) database or XML files, one shared and one personal. (When I converted a Word 2000 template and chose Save As, the AutoText was nowhere to be found. Hmmm...)
    Attached Files Attached Files

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •