Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Demising VBA: the caret and stick approach

I haven't been posting much in the last year, because the work I'm doing is under contract and I don't own the source code... So I can't publish it here. I can't complain: everyone's tightened up the IP and disclosure rules in their contracts and workng quietly beats hell out of not working.

So, in the absence of any actual content from me, here's a little gem from Tushar Mehta, on VBA in Office 2010:

To support this new data type, Microsoft also introduced the CLngLng function, the VarType constant vbLongLong, and the DefType statement DefLngLng. The type declaration character is ^. This can cause problems while typing VBA statements that use the exponentiation operator, which is also ^.

Feel free to read the details... And remember to insert a space before indicating an exponent in your calculations.

I wonder what else is out there, waiting to be discovered. I wonder, also, whether any other financial institution has made the transition to Office 2010, outside of a few 'early adopters' who amuse and entertain their IT staff with their ingenuity. We've only got about 50,000 regular users, worldwide - regular as in 'I use it every day in a critical part of my job', and probably twice that number of occasionals, so we're talking about a fair chunk of revenue for Microsoft here, and you'd think they'd make it easy for us to migrate.

Actually, you know Microsoft: you know damn' well they've made it difficult.

Everything we've done in terms of macros and reports, all the way up to add-ins and fully-developed applications, will need some testing - that's standard for all Office upgrades, even service patches - and we test the complex ones quite thoroughly. You'd think there might be tools, and scripts, and maybe even checklists and case studies. But no: Microsoft is unlike any other software vendor. And we start this job *knowing* that everything we've build that uses the application menubar is broken, by design, by Microsoft's insistence on imposing the new 'Ribbon Bar' with no concession whatsoever to supporting backward compatibility... I predict thet we'll be using Office 2003 well into 2012; and that there are major companies as big as us, or bigger, who'll be using it in 2014.

Ultimately, Microsoft will kill off VBA and this is just another nail in the coffin; they are, if you will, putting the caret before the hearse.