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Microsoft Businesses Apple

Microsoft drops VBA in Mac Office 2007 374

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the seems-more-secure-that-way dept.
slashdotwriter writes "Macworld features an article stating that the next version of Office for the Mac will not include Visual Basic scripting. From the article: 'Microsoft Office isn't among the apps that will run natively on Intel-based Macs — and it won't be until the latter half of 2007, according to media reports. But when it does ship, Office will apparently be missing a feature so vital to cross-platform compatibility that I believe it will be the beginning of the end for the Mac version of the productivity suite...'"
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Microsoft drops VBA in Mac Office 2007

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  • QUICK!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by strredwolf (532) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:28AM (#17184444) Homepage Journal
    Someone get a port of OpenOffice.org [openoffice.org] up and running natively on MacOS X!
    • Re:QUICK!!! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ford Prefect (8777) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:31AM (#17184464) Homepage
      *TYPEY-TYPEY-TYPE*

      Ta-daaa! [neooffice.org]
    • Re:QUICK!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by deadhammer (576762) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:33AM (#17184490)
      Everyone, pool your mod points and give 'em to this guy. I always found it ridiculous that OpenOffice has to run on an X session, it always seemed like a horrible kludge to me, especially getting printing to work. If we can get OpenOffice running natively and smoothly, and soon, we can give Office Mac users a real alternative that's not only free (which is something that Mac users aren't used to), but also high quality and works well enough to easily replace it.
      • Re:QUICK!!! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Ford Prefect (8777) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:43AM (#17184560) Homepage
        Everyone, pool your mod points and give 'em to this guy. I always found it ridiculous that OpenOffice has to run on an X session, it always seemed like a horrible kludge to me, especially getting printing to work.

        Conversely, I got modded down for linking to NeoOffice [neooffice.org], which is... "based on the OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 code and includes all of the new OpenOffice.org 2.0.3 features".

        It's very much a Mac program. Native fonts, copy-and-paste, printing, Aqua interface... Have a look. [planamesa.com]
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by deadhammer (576762)
          Indeed. Saw it after my post (poster's regret, and all) and thought it was a grand old idea. Now if the OOo team can just officially support that and make that the new version of OOo for Mac, instead of the ugly hack they have going right now, I'll have plenty of hope for the future.
          • Fix java first (Score:3, Interesting)

            by rvw (755107)

            OpenOffice is working on an Aqua version [openoffice.org] that can run natively on OSX. I suppose that will run faster than NeoOffice.

            From their mission statement:

            To develop OpenOffice.org on the Mac OS X platform.

            At the moment this means producing continued releases of the X11 version of OpenOffice for the Mac, and the removal of X11 as a requirement thus making OpenOffice more Mac like. Once OpenOffice Aqua is released, the team will focus on making OpenOffice adhere to the Apple HCI guidelines.

            For me, NeoOffice wo

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by davidsyes (765062)
            I'll probably get flamebait or troll for this but, what the hell? So far I've got enough karma, so I must not be pissing off the saner of the modders (yet)...

            How QUICK is NeoOffice? Is it faster than OOo is on Linux? ON my box, OOo takes up to 1.5 minutes to get its ass away, just to get to a blank screen. And, no, I don't run that little cheat/kudge quick-start thing. And this is with a MINIMUM of anything else open. Even Win4Lin 4.x is not invoked at this point. But, since Lotus SmartSuite from 1986-2002
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shmlco (594907)
          "It's very much a Mac program. Native fonts, copy-and-paste, printing, Aqua interface..."

          You mean other than, apparently, not using the men bar?
      • I always found it ridiculous that OpenOffice has to run on an X session, it always seemed like a horrible kludge to me, especially getting printing to work.

        I've always found it ridiculous how Mac users don't like running cross-platform applications under X. X is a standard for windowing on *nix systems, even if it's old and a little broken. If it's such a big deal, why doesn't Apple integrate Aqua and X better? And in terms of printing, Mac OS X uses CUPS, which is the same thing most people use on Linu

        • by mccoma (64578) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:23AM (#17184886)
          I've always found it ridiculous how Mac users don't like running cross-platform applications under X. X is a standard for windowing on *nix systems, even if it's old and a little broken.

          seems you answered your own question.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:25AM (#17184920) Journal
          X applications do not use the native widgets. For things like buttons, this just means they look wrong. For things like text boxes, it usually means that the shortcut keys for navigating are wrong. If this doesn't bother you, it's probably because you use a platform where these things don't have standard behaviours.

          On top of that, the menu bar is in the wrong place. Most Macs these days are laptops, and a top-of-the-screen menu bar is much easier to hit with a trackpad than a window-attached one. It also wastes less screen real-estate, which is quite precious on a laptop.

          Drag and drop don't work properly with X11 applications. Even if Apple did integrate XDND with native drag and drop, most X11 application developers don't really make use of it. I can drag a link from Safari into my terminal and have the URL appear. I can drag the icon from the title bar of a document window into an email, and have it become an attachment.

          X11 applications don't have access to text services (unless they use GNUstep, and then they should just be linked against Cocoa, instead of run in X11). In a normal rich text box, I can select some text, hit a shortcut key, and have it typeset using LaTeX and inserted as a PDF (great for equations in presentations), or have it evaluated as a mathematical expression, or have the words counted, etc.

          All the shortcut keys are wrong in X11 applications. Most X11 developers these days use control or alt, instead of meta, and so motor memory doesn't work for common operations.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, 2006 @01:17PM (#17185802)
            "X applications do not use the..."

            Few write for "X" (x.org) they actually write for gtk+, kde-libs, or opengl? and such. Many (expecially kde-libs) of these desktop libraries provide very standardized widgets and shortcuts. Most of these shortcuts are exactly like those on Windows.

            I don't really understand what you mean by navigation shortcuts to widgets so if you can explain further...

            Anyway, things like native look and feel, and unique position of the menubar (which I still dislike after years of use) fall into the realm of the theme engine and the window manager. Here is a example to show that it _could_ be done...
            http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=241868 [ubuntuforums.org]

            "Drag and drop..."

            I think this is also a desktop library thing and for me it works great. I use kmail which is a KDE application; I run Xfce as my desktop and D&D files from my file browser to new emails all the time. These are applications using TWO completely different desktop libraries but they do D&D amazingly well. But I agree that this area needs to be worked on. There are certain times the action taken is predictable but different from the expected.

            "X11 applications don't have access to text services..."

            I will give you this one. I like this feature in OSX, and haven't found a true equivalent in either Windows or Linux. I think this level of cooperation between applications is something you will easily get in one vendor environments and is extremely slow to develop in scattered systems like open source.

            "All the shortcut keys are wrong in X11..."

            This is matter of opinion, and personally, I have found the Mac shortcuts to be a PAIN. I like the Windows and KDE shortcuts far better. Especially for Windows, there is much more standardization in third party apps. For the core Mac applications, it is amazing, but it totally falls apart when you leave these applications. I hate developing with Dreamweaver and such for Mac. For me it boils down to shortcut-to-expected action without thought, and it is far better in the Windows realm than Mac. In Mac, I always need to think "ok, what application am I using..." It only takes a microsecond longer, but when I am using 4-5 applications each with 2-5 windows, it ends up being equivalent to using the mouse.

            Ok, to summarize, what Apple really needs to do is develop their own theme engine and window manager for kde/gtk. Also, they can provide a translation layer for D&D to and from kde/gtk applications. This will solve 80% of your issues. Apple is closed source, therefore, they are in a much better position to make such software; they owe it to their customer base. There are open source projects that do much of this, but they can never get to the level that Apple can, and you can't expect too much from them as they are developing for a very small market.

            Personally, I use Mac, Windows, and Gentoo Linux. I use OSX the least, but have used it for the last 2 years. I find it very... pleasant to use for things like browsing, essays, and image development. I like Linux for programming and cross platform application development. Windows, kind of falls somewhere in between leaning toward Linux. Overall, basic things are great on the Mac, but more complicated things are irritating to do, and the "obviousness" type stuff actually gets in the way of multitasking and feature access.
            • by gidds (56397) <slashdot@@@gidds...me...uk> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @02:09PM (#17186202) Homepage
              I like the Windows and KDE shortcuts far better. Especially for Windows, there is much more standardization in third party apps.

              Standardisation in Windows apps? That's a laugh...

              Let's take just one example which bugs me every day I have to use Windows at work: Find again. In many apps I want to go through a page, stopping at each instance of a particular string. In most cases, you start off by pressing Ctrl+F for Find. But once you've found the first match, what do you do to skip to the next? Oh, that's easy, you press Ctrl+G. Except it's not. Sometimes it's Ctrl+Y (Y? Goodness knows.) Sometimes it's that nice memorable F3. And sometimes you can't do it at all; you have to keep the Find dialog visible, which means you have to reach for the mouse every time you switch between going to the next match and editing it. I am *forever* forgetting which strange method of control to use in which app.

              And that's just one single almost-universal action, across a small handful of common big-name Windows apps I use every day. Compare that to the Mac, where it's Cmd+G in every app I've come across. And repeat across tons of other little shortcuts and common actions.

              'Standardisation'? Hah.

            • by Listen Up (107011) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @06:48PM (#17188204)
              Personally, I use Mac, Windows, and Gentoo Linux. I use OSX the least, but have used it for the last 2 years. I find it very... pleasant to use for things like browsing, essays, and image development. I like Linux for programming and cross platform application development.

              What cross-platform development? I am a full-time J2SE/J2EE developer and I develop %100 of the time in OS X. OS X is by far the best Java development platform I have ever used, especially considering that Java is a first-tier language included with the OS, and easily exceeding Windows and Linux (especially considering the continual reconfiguration and dependency hell that is Linux). For OS X specific applications, Objective C in XCode is actually quite easy and intuitive to use, with XCode being an excellent IDE. For Windows-specific development, I run a copy of Windows in Parallels. If I was not able to use OS X, I would use Linux and configure it heavily to work like OS X, and would do everything I could to not use Windows for development. But, from what you say, it is obvious you do no actual development on any platform, especially not OS X.

              Windows, kind of falls somewhere in between leaning toward Linux. Overall, basic things are great on the Mac, but more complicated things are irritating to do, and the "obviousness" type stuff actually gets in the way of multitasking and feature access.

              Obviousness? Is that even a word? Putting that aside, what "obviousness" are you talking about? I cannot think of a single obvious task in OS X that somehow gets in the way of multitasking and feature access. Most newbies tend to complain about shortcut keys, but do not make the effort to look them up (they are even online) or turn them on globally in the preferences for all applications and dialogs. And since you are complaining about shortcut keys in applications, it not only shows that you are obviously a newbie, but that you are complaining about a problem which is not specific to OS X. All of the OS X shortcut keys are standardized and logical. If there is a non-standard shortcut key in a specific application, then it is a vendor issue and not an OS X issue. If you are complaining about something other than shortcut keys, then you will be just as full of shit about that as you are about everything else.

              Ok, to summarize, what Apple really needs to do is develop their own theme engine and window manager for kde/gtk. Also, they can provide a translation layer for D&D to and from kde/gtk applications. This will solve 80% of your issues. Apple is closed source, therefore, they are in a much better position to make such software; they owe it to their customer base. There are open source projects that do much of this, but they can never get to the level that Apple can, and you can't expect too much from them as they are developing for a very small market.

              There are few completely incorrect points here, so I'll hit the big ones. First, Apple needs to develop software and SDK's for the development of OS X specific applications and truly cross-platform applications like Java. Apple does not need to make Linux programs compatible whatsoever. If a Linux program wants to run on OS X, then the Linux program should change to accommodate, Apple makes the API available for programmers to use in a multitude of languages. Apple does not somehow owe Linux compatibility to anyone. And marketshare doesn't mean shit to well qualified and driven developers. How many main developers does it take to make OpenOffice into NeoOffice? Two.

              What your post really says is that you use Linux and Windows on a PC. You have seen screenshots of OS X, possibly even used it a minute or two in an Apple store, and get the rest of your OS X information from linux.slashdot.org. You should use OS X full-time before writing reviews of it for other people on Slashdot who have never used OS X before either.
        • by ChristTrekker (91442) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @12:40PM (#17185488)

          If someone (Apple or anyone else) could come up with a window manager that followed the shared-menubar style UI of the Mac, it would be a big step in the right direction. X apps simply don't "fit" in a Mac environment. The feel is completely wrong, due to wrong UI element placement and appearance. Mac users (rightly) see X11 apps as a last resort. It's like running GNOME apps in a KDE session, or vice versa, but even worse. Different, not-entirely-compatible mechanisms of doing the same things are at work, and it's not seamless.

          If there is a wm that supports Mac-style menubars, I'd love to know about it. Anyone?

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jZnat (793348) *
            KDE's kwin does, but it's somewhat of a hack (in my experience/opinion) if it was supposed to be like Mac OS X's application bar.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          I've always found it ridiculous how Mac users don't like running cross-platform applications under X. X is a standard for windowing on *nix systems, even if it's old and a little broken. If it's such a big deal, why doesn't Apple integrate Aqua and X better? And in terms of printing, Mac OS X uses CUPS, which is the same thing most people use on Linux.

          Most users want their programs to look like they were written for their OS, and they don't want to feel that it was dumped on their OS by accident. X-Windows
        • The standard (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jbolden (176878)
          X is a standard for windowing on *nix systems

          Think about this for a second. Do you think the people who are interested in "the standard" rather than what they think is best would be using OSX at all? X is designed to work well for people who like Unix apps (Darwin users). Its also designed to offer some level of support for an integrated environment. But that's far short of a mac app.
      • Re:QUICK!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sco08y (615665) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:13AM (#17184802)
        Everyone, pool your mod points and give 'em to this guy.

        It just takes 3 people to mod someone up to 5... If you think about it, that's why there are so many lame 5 point posts.
    • Does Open Office have some kind of scripting functionality akin to VBA?

      -stormin
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by damiangerous (218679)
        Yes, a version of StarBASIC. There is also a scripting framework that supports other languages and provides an API for developers to add more.
  • OpenOffice anyone? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EvilRyry (1025309)
    This coming right on the heels of the news that OpenOffice will be getting VBA support soon, how convenient!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Interesting decision to be making Word less compatible now as Mac market share grows ... not that VBA is something I particularly want to see proliferate.
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:39AM (#17185032)
      Does anyone still think that the appeals court was right in reversing Judge Jackson's decision? Did anyone expect that Microsoft would behave any differently? I would hope the oversight committee is paying attention, but they're probably they're too busy enjoying a new Ferrari or two. Seriously, it's been said for years that had there been no Apple, Microsoft would have found it necessary to invent one ... but that assumed Apple's market share stayed insignificant. If Apple starts to erode Microsoft's customer base in any substantial way, Microsoft will take steps. This is probably just the first salvo.

      But yeah, VBA is something the world should be able to live without.
  • Virus anyone (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Well, here goes the platform where all of the "real" Mac OS X viruses are born. Now only remains concepts and supposedly fud viruses.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by goombah99 (560566)
      The V in VBA is for virus, or so I always thought. I'm glad to hear it go. MOST users don't use it. it shoul dbe off by default. it's a macro virus waiting to happen just like Active scripts in IE were.
  • Meanwhile... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Otter (3800) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:41AM (#17184536) Journal
    Office will apparently be missing a feature so vital to cross-platform compatibility that I believe it will be the beginning of the end for the Mac version of the productivity suite...

    And in other news, Open Office is getting that same feature, for which contribution Novell is being roundly denounced for conspiring with Microsoft to bring about the end of open-source software.

    • by Salvance (1014001) *
      This is just dumb of Microsoft. If OpenOffice is introducing VBA, why would they drop it? Microsoft Office is a cash cow on any platform, it just makes sense to support it fully.
    • by twitter (104583) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @12:58PM (#17185640) Homepage Journal

      Open Office is getting that same feature, for which contribution Novell is being roundly denounced for conspiring with Microsoft to bring about the end of open-source software.

      If the "feature" is free, no one will denounce them for it. When I see it in the Debian repositories, I'll know it's free and commend them for the contribution. Apple users will thank them too. If they had to sign NDA's and can't distribute it, then it's just another M$ owned prop for a non-free annoyance that should be left to die. If they are using such non free props to promote their distribution, they have indeed sold the free software community out.

  • Entourage is a great mail program, unless you want to use it to talk to an Exchange server. As an Exchange client, it sucks.

    I have clients who still run Classic exclusively so they can use Outlook 2001. The Exchange support in Entourage has been so shameful for so long (they've taken YEARS and still haven't achieved feature parity with Outlook 2001) that I really have a hard time believing it's not a deliberate move to thwart Mac use in the enterprise.

    The same goes for this move. Microsoft makes a TON of money selling Mac Office, and with the Mac market growing and Microsoft standing to see a Mac Office sales increase as a result, it's not like they can't afford the development costs.

    These actions only make sense from an anticompetitive standpoint. There's no other logical explanation.

    ~Philly
    • by arth1 (260657) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:12AM (#17184778) Homepage Journal
      Entourage is a great mail program, unless you want to use it to talk to an Exchange server. As an Exchange client, it sucks.

      Exchange is a great mail program, unless you want to use it to talk to a non-Exchange server. As a non-Exchange server, it sucks.

      Really, it wasn't made with interoperability in mind. It was designed to woo over the Novell Groupware crowd, and then lock the users in to one system. Unfortunately, it's succeeded far to well, something even Microsoft admits. They've been trying to open it up just a bit more, but as soon as one arm of the company manages to get it to work with an open product (like WebDAV or mbox spools), another arm of the company implements another incompatible and ill-documented lockdown feature (like Sharepoint integration).

      It's a shame that Novell decided to quench the pipe for the open-source Hula, which could have filled a pretty big part of the whole left by yanking out Exchange. But I guess that when you choose new sleeping partners, you also have to change the bedding accordingly.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mbadolato (105588)

      Entourage is a great mail program, unless you want to use it to talk to an Exchange server. As an Exchange client, it sucks.

      Why? I've heard people say this before, and yet I use Entourage every single day, connected to our corporate Exchange server. We have a mostly Windows shop, with a few of us on Macs.

      My email is seamless, my contacts are seamless (LDAP I believe), my calender is perfect. I've never even seen a hint of an issue.

      So what features and issues do people have with Entourage? Is it just stuf

  • funny, i remember reading the same thing here sometime back:
    http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/08/ 1232239 [slashdot.org]
  • by lgw4 (2274) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:50AM (#17184628) Homepage
    This is old news -- it showed up on a MS developer blog a couple of months back.

    The interesting part is that VBA is not fully supported on the 64-bit Office for Windows, and is in fact depricated, which traditionally means that no further imporovements will be made and further use is discouraged.

    Don't believe me? Go search Microsoft's Office site.

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:51AM (#17184640) Journal
    VBA is a curse from Microsoft causing all sorts of trojan risks, until it's dropped. Then it's a serious problem. Figures.
  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Sunday December 10, 2006 @10:55AM (#17184666)
    First of all, this news is over fives months old, and has been widely covered and known about since then. MacBU's Erik Schwiebert has a very detailed post [schwieb.com] and followup [schwieb.com] (also mentioned in the article) about exactly why Microsoft is dropping Visual Basic in Mac Office. The bottom line is that it was a difficult decision, and anyone who reads the posts will be able to understand why the decision was made.

    The people at Microsoft who work within MacBU really do care, and really do take pride in their work. But overall, Microsoft seems to be making moves - decisions not made within MacBU, or decisions forced on MacBU because of resource allocations - that are strategically designed to hurt the Macintosh platform, but not appear to be doing anything overtly.

    Examples:

    - Killing Mac IE the day Safari was introduced even though Mac IE 6 was well underway and had been in development for over a year and was about to hit beta.

    - Never releasing Access, Project, or Visio for the Mac platform even though enterprises (particularly academic institutions) have been increasingly demanding it for years. Microsoft's response? "Our customers don't want these products."

    - Killing Windows Media Player for Mac, and making it look like going with the Flip4Mac QuickTime Windows Media codec is doing Mac users a favor, when Flip4Mac will never support Windows Media DRM, which Microsoft views as key to their future Windows Media strategy, leaving Macs unsupported (whether DRM is a good or bad thing is irrelevant to this point).

    - Killing Virtual PC for the Mac when the Intel transition was announced after initially committing to support it, even though Microsoft was probably in one of the best positions to quickly release a virtual machine version of Virtual PC (can you imagine Connectix killing Virtual PC after the Intel transition was announced? They'd be jumping for joy!), and then subsequently making Virtual PC free (on Windows).

    - Killing Visual Basic in Mac Office, which will make it DOA in many enterprise/corporate environments whose documents depend on VB scripting.

    I could go on and on. These are all expert strategic moves, not by MacBU but by Microsoft at large, designed to hurt the Macintosh platform as much as possible while still appearing to be "friendly" to the platform (by continuing to release Office).

    Fortunately, with Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop, and the forthcoming VMWare Fusion, new Mac users are feeling increasingly comfortable with Mac purchases, because they know that they can run Windows if they really need to, but often find they don't need it as much as they thought they did. For many, it's a security blanket to get them over the hump, and for others it does enable them to run those Windows (or other x86 OS) applications they need or want to smoothly and efficiently. In many academic/research enterprise environments, many people can't see a reason to get anything OTHER than Mac hardware now (especially for laptops), as it can essentially run anything. And in an environment where an institutions own IT capability will "support" things like Boot Camp usage, it's not a difficult decision to make.

    Microsoft's maneuvering will ultimately be futile. Windows "won" the "desktop war" long ago. But now, as with Firefox, people are realizing that there are real, viable alternatives that might actually be better than the status quo.
    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:06AM (#17184736)

      Maybe nobody remembers, but back when Steve Jobs first announced the Intel switch, he also announced a 5-year agreement with Microsoft where MS committed to continuing to release Office for the Mac. Surely Apple's lawyers weren't stupid enough to let MS kneecap the product (which is exactly what it's done) and get away with it, right?

      Not to mention that those "expert strategic moves" you mention are also "illegal anticompetitive moves" when carried out by a monopoly convicted of abusing its position, such as Microsoft.

    • by wirefarm (18470) <jim@mm[ ]net ['dc.' in gap]> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:35AM (#17184996) Homepage
      Fortunately, with Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop, and the forthcoming VMWare Fusion, new Mac users are feeling increasingly comfortable with Mac purchases, because they know that they can run Windows if they really need to, but often find they don't need it as much as they thought they did.

      Yep, Windows is the new Classic.

      After a week, you'll figure out a way not to need it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ichief (1038054)
      And this is why I believe one of the biggest mistakes the U.S. Justice Department made when handling Microsoft's antitrust case was deciding to leave the company intact, rather than splitting the company into 3 (OS, Office, Entertainment). Now, instead of seeing independent and smart business decisions being made in their productivity and entertainment suites to help them grow, they will continue to be boil down to one final parameter: Does it help the Windows unit hold onto its grasp on the PC market? An
  • by rocjoe71 (545053) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:03AM (#17184712) Homepage

    Honestly, if they left VBA in we'd be questioning M$ for persisting to include a platform that has been notoriously insecure.

    Considering that Office 2007 is including InfoPath and Groove as alternatives to distributing forms one has to believe that M$ first move away from VBA is not their last. Frankly having done many Office automation projects over the years I can say that VBA is quite a programming limitation, difficult to scale and prone to memory leaks.

    As for alternatives, I have yet to find a management-type who wouldn't leap at the offer of replacing a stodgy, circa-1995 automated Word document with some sort of web-based application instead. For that matter, you can be outside of the M$ camp entirely by rolling out the replacements in PHP, JSP, Struts or FlashMX.

  • emulation (Score:3, Informative)

    by fermion (181285) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:05AM (#17184720) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if this is an economy push ay MS. Any reasonable size firm already has a site license to MS Windows and MS Office. Parallels is no great expense. In the end it is probably better for MS to get money for and OS and MS Office rather than just the later.

    This is also part of a trend to limit solutions available on the Mac platform. Over the past 10 years, the products that MS sells for the mac has shrunk. In particular, they buy cross platform products and kill them on the Mac Platform. Virtual PC and Foxpro are two examples. Connectix would have create a version for the Intel Mac. I believe the only reason we have MS Office for the Mac is because MS Office is a mac product, and was only ported to MS Windows.

    It is becoming more clear that the casual user should use OO.org

  • iWork '07 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 644bd346996 (1012333) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:08AM (#17184756)
    So apparently Apple has every reason to make iWork '07 a "no holds barred" release. I expect to see a powerful spreadsheet app and probably some nifty database or drawing thing to make Access or Visio, respectively, look clunky. Given how well Apple handled the transition from IE to Safari, they certainly have a good contingency plan for the gutting/cancelation of Office.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:13AM (#17184794)
    I think this sucks.
    Note that this was reported months ago, August 7, 2006, to be exact.
    Microsoft kills VirtualPC, VB for Mac [macnn.com]

    Here's the arstechnica.com forum discussion about it (started on August 7, 2006), with lots of pissed off users:
    MS Killing VB in Next Version of Office for Mac [arstechnica.com]

    Here are two blogs (Aug 8 and 9) by MacBU devs Erik Schwiebert and Rick Schaut, trying to explain this decision.
    Erik Schwiebert - Saying goodbye to Visual Basic [schwieb.com]
    Rick Schaut - Virtual PC and Visual Basic [msdn.com]
  • Converter? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pizzach (1011925)
    Can you do the same things with AppleScript as VBA? Isn't VBA more integrated? Would a become a millionaire if I made a convenient program that ports the code in non-obtrusive fashion? Is it really necessary that I have to phrase everything as a question?
    • by mccoma (64578)
      Well, if you could write a program to port VBA to AppleScript or Automator you would probably have a lot of sales.
  • by syrinx (106469)
    If there's no VBA, how are we supposed to write our worms?
  • Are they will so willing to show people they don't need VBA in Office?
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:45AM (#17185060)
    I use windows and debian linux myself. I am sick to death of msft's bullsh!t, and I have switched entirely to ODF.

    As you may know, there is an ms-office plugin for ODF, but there is not a way to read ms-office-2007 file formats on Mac. And there will not be a way until, at least, late march.

    Just wondering what you guys think.
  • by cyfer2000 (548592) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:45AM (#17185064) Journal

    One is to translate VBA in Office to Applescript and the second one is to translate Applescript to VBA.

    Damn, I don't know either of them and I am so busy reading /. that I don't have time to learn, otherwise, I am going to be rich.

  • by foniksonik (573572) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:52AM (#17185122) Homepage Journal
    Just tell your CIO "Hey we can reimplement this as a web based form application that will do the same thing but in a centralized and easily maintained location that all employees regardless of OS can utilize... AND we can generate stats, reports from those stats AND ensure that all employees are using the latest most up to date calculations."

    Problem solved. Long live the Intranet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Metzli (184903)
      This sounds interesting, but is it truly a usable idea? Most of the folks who I've seen use macros wouldn't be comfortable with and/or capable of writing such an application. This means that the responsibility for creating, maintaining, and supporting this would likely fall to the web development or programming groups. They likely have the talent to do this, but do they have the manpower to do this in a reasonable timeframe? The business folks are used to creating this stuff as needed and having it done
  • by guruevi (827432) <evi AT smokingcube DOT be> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @12:25PM (#17185368) Homepage
    Seriously, I haven't seen many VBA scripts in Word or Excel documents. They might have existed a few years ago, but now we have MySQL, PostgreSQL for free or Sybase, Oracle and a slew of other databases that can contain more data better and for automation we have PHP, Java, Python and Ruby. I have seen once or twice a VBA script in an Excel document and the fact that it was utterly bad scripting made me aware that you don't let bookkeepers create scripts but you should have real programmers take care of that.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @12:29PM (#17185398) Homepage
    This is terrible!

    The only time I use VBA automation is when a PC user sends me a Word attachment with a macro virus and I open it.

    We must have cross-platform virus compatibility! If we don't have Word macro viruses, what will be left for antivirus programs to protect Mac users from? The Mac antivirus market will collapse!
  • Who uses it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @01:30PM (#17185926) Homepage Journal
    I think the beta reaction instead of "wah, WTF?", should be what percentage of users actually make use of the VBA portion of office? Also, isn't Microsoft slowly migrating to C# as their high-level language of choice?
  • by Aurisor (932566) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @02:16PM (#17186274) Homepage
    Hey, guys....I read through the developer's blog. There's a section in there which he tells non-programmers to skip, where he goes through the gritty details of why porting VBA is impossible. Here's a quick summary if you can't seem to sift through the tech-speak but still want to know what's going on.

    First of all, a lot of the code that actually comprehends the VB programming language is actually tangled up in the GUI code. Second, the code has huge blocks of code that are written in processor-specific assembly. That means that they either have to fundamentally redesign the entire product or maintain separate versions for all of the different processors they support (32-bit PPC, 32-bit x86, 64-bit x86). Third, he rules out the possibility of porting the windows version of VBA over to the mac because the damn thing actually makes assumptions about how the actual .exe file is formatted. Finally, the author kinda passes blame along, saying he just inherited the whole program from his predecessors, who no longer work at Microsoft.

    When I first read the article, I thought it stunk to high heaven of Microsoft trying to gimp Apple. I still believe this is going to be a huge headache for Apple users who rely on extensive cross-compatibility, but unless that blog is a large-scale, deliberate, malicious fabrication, VBA is really an ungodly mess of an application.

    Who would have guessed?
  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @02:35PM (#17186404) Homepage
    For the most part on these things it's not us (Mac users) that have a problem with having a feature missing it usually comes down to soneone from the outside not accepting the fact that we cannot use thier stuff because we do not have that feature. If mac BU want to make headway they do not need to talk to Mac users about how to handle the loss of VB in Office but consult with the WINDOWS Office unit on how to handle that other CURRENT versions of Office will not have VB support. THAT is where a lot of the problems and friction eminate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Budenny (888916)
      You don't understand at all. Its about the viability of MacOS as a business platform. If you cannot, in a business environment, reliably exchange files, you don't have a viable platform. It may not matter to you personally, but it will matter to your coworkers and your employer. Its another step in the exclusion of Macs from the business world.
  • Third party support? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Niten (201835) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:29PM (#17188950)

    According to one MacBU developer's blog, the Mac version of OS X will have support for basically the same object model used in Office for Windows, but will only lack support for the VBA language itself. In its place, developers can use AppleScript or other languages to script Mac Office.

    So what are the chances that someone like Real Software will step in with a Mac Office plugin to allow it to handle VBA scripts?

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