Following MacWorld, Reg Developer started a rumor [1] that VBA would be going away from future versions of Microsoft Office for Windows. The speculation was based on Office 2008 for Mac dropping VBA (a big blunder by Microsoft, IMHO) and on Microsoft dropping their licensing program for 3rd parties to incorporate VBA into their applications.

Sometimes the internet is like a Petri dish for The Stupid Virus. Rumors grow and spread rapidly. This rumor spread wide enough that it even caused Microsoft to take notice. The Excel team at Microsoft posted a clarification [2] that VBA for the Windows based version of Office won’t be going away in the foreseeable future.

This is a good thing.

I’ve read speculation here and there about the future of VBA for a while now. Partly, this was due to the Mac 2008 VBA issue [3] and partly this was due to the huge push Microsoft is making for SharePoint services, relegating Office VBA development to the role of the red-headed stepchild. But no official word from Microsoft was issued until now. It took a widely read site like The Reg to make Microsoft stand up and take notice.

This started me thinking. What about all the other things developers wonder about?

I’d like to port FlowBreeze from VB6 to .NET, but there are still some stumbling blocks. The biggest hurdle is the lack of official support for Excel 2000. The next biggest hurdle is that COM add-ins run in the Excel process, and only one version of the .NET framework can be running in a single process space. If you develop using .NET 2.0 and the customer also uses an add-in based on .NET 1.1, then problems can occur. There are ways of dealing with these problems, but it would help if I had more information on which to base decisions.

I, and a lot of other developers, would love to know the penetration stats for the various .NET frameworks. And what about the user stats for Office 2000, XP, 2003, and 2007? Solid market data on that would be great.

Maybe The Reg can help us out. I’m sure other people could think of more data Microsoft could share to aid the developer community. Could we get a few more rumors out there?

[1] http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2008/01/14/office_mac_08_vba/
(See the footnote that the article has been updated. In this case, ‘updated’ means ‘completely rewritten’.)

[2] http://blogs.msdn.com/excel/archive/2008/01/16/clarification-on-vba-support.aspx

[3] http://www.schwieb.com/blog/2006/08/08/saying-goodbye-to-visual-basic/

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