* Posts by Mad Scientist Jr.

1 post • joined 6 Feb 2013

Help us out here: What's the POINT of Microsoft Office 2013?

Mad Scientist Jr.
Pint

MS Office = USELESS without VBA macros & backward-compatibility Win32 API Support

Microsoft Office in general is SO much more useful with VBA macros and Win32 API support.

Why they would leave these features out of the Windows RT version is beyond me.

It would not be impossible to simply update the engine under the hood so that the same macros work with 64-bit Windows RT. They could even update the macro interpreter so that the Win32 API references point to equivalent 64-bit RT routines. The value of VBA across all Microsoft's products all these years has been

1. The VBA language hasn't changed much, so there is a bigger return on investment over time and less of a learning curve. Some people who do software development for a living and like the latest & greatest like to complain about VBA being "outdated" - the truth is that a LOT of businesses who run on Microsoft Office (Excel, Access, Word, Outlook, etc. or some combination of these) don't have the budget or resources to hire or outsource software developers to build them "proper" applications using so-called "real" programming languages like .NET and SQL Server. That stuff is overkill for a lot of businesses and just not a good value for them. Apps built with the C++ and ultra-OO enterprise mentality are difficult to understand and work on without a team of trained people, that stuff makes programming harder not simpler. VBA is easy to learn - even with its quirks, after almost 20 years, at least those quirks are well-known and well-documented online. If you want to do something in VBA, you can be guaranteed someone has done it and posted sample code somewhere online.

2. VBA is easy to use - compared to "modern" programming languages and the whole "enterprise" programming methodology, VBA with the visual drag-and-drop forms editor, etc., is SOOOOO easy for even a non-programmer to pick up. The macro recorder functionality in Excel & Word especially make learning how to do things a snap -why don't more apps have this??? Hello??

3. There is a TON of existing VBA code out there so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Being backwards compatible is a HUGE benefit and cost and time savings. There is so much code out there going back to the 90s with Visual Basic 3, 4, 5, 6, the Win32 API, vbscript, even classic ASP, that still works in VBA. It’s all the same language, how easy can you get? This is by far the #1 reason Microsoft Office has been so successful and such a great value – they made applications that the user can *EASILY* extend with a drag and drop interface and simple programming language that has a huge back-library of code available and hasn’t changed in decades.

All the above spell out BIG RETURN ON INVESTMENT. How can Microsoft not see that??? When did the disgruntled C++ 6.0 programmers take over the company and start calling all the shots?? MS has been floundering for years without Bill Gates, who had the vision to make a user-friendly OS and apps interface that didn’t change too much (ie the classic File menu etc.) but was powerful enough to easily get it to do what you need. By contrast, Apple is too limiting & controlling, LINUX is too hard to use (Ubuntu has made strides, but they have a way to go) , and Google’s stuff is too slow (and their macro languages are not intuitive or well-documented. If they add a macro recorder, a mature framework, and desktop scripting capability they will have something.)

If Microsoft knows what’s good for them (and their customers) they will capitalize on what makes them special and a value before the others catch up. Add support for VBA macros and Win32 API to RT and keep it working for ever, and just update the tools with all the newer features found in Visual Studio to make it even easier to develop/manage, and add macro recorders to ALL their apps such as Outlook, PowerPoint , Access, OneNote, etc.

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