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Microsoft Businesses Apple

Microsoft drops VBA in Mac Office 2007 374

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 @11:28AM (#17184444) Homepage Journal
    Someone get a port of OpenOffice.org [openoffice.org] up and running natively on MacOS X!
  • OpenOffice anyone? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EvilRyry ( 1025309 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:29AM (#17184452) Journal
    This coming right on the heels of the news that OpenOffice will be getting VBA support soon, how convenient!
  • by BlenderFX ( 954511 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:45AM (#17184582)
    This is definitely good for Vista sales in the long term because of the new Vista EULA terms regarding running Vista in a virtual machine.
  • Re:Let's Be Honest (Score:4, Interesting)

    by zappepcs ( 820751 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:54AM (#17184660) Journal
    Yep, and with the support of the OOo folks, I hope that Windows users soon will be in a place where they don't notice the difference either... Seriously, does MS have any feet left to shoot?
  • by rocjoe71 ( 545053 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @12:03PM (#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.

  • iWork '07 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @12:08PM (#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 arth1 ( 260657 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @12:12PM (#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.
  • Converter? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pizzach ( 1011925 ) <pizzach@gmail.cEEEom minus threevowels> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @12:16PM (#17184822) Homepage
    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 ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @01:40PM (#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?

  • by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @02:04PM (#17185688) Homepage Journal
    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 based applications are fine as stop gap solutions for people who don't mind what their applications look like, as long as they get their work done. Most users tend to a bit more fussy and want something that does the job, while looking the part. Remember Mac users expect things to 'just work'. You can accuse them of being spoiled, but this is the markert you have to cater for. Attention to detail, such as UI design and localisation make a huge difference in your application getting accepted.

    If your application is the only one that fills a certain purpose for the given OS, then they will choose your application because they have no choice. But when there is competition, skimping out on important details is going to lose you first place.
  • by mbadolato ( 105588 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @02:50PM (#17186094)
    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 stuff I'm not using?

  • by gidds ( 56397 ) <slashdot AT gidds DOT me DOT uk> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @03:09PM (#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.

  • Fix java first (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rvw ( 755107 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @03:44PM (#17186496)

    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 works, and I've been using it since more than a year. The big problem here is not NeoOffice, but Java Swing I believe, as NeoOffice is java-based. Java is slow on the Mac, and that should be fixed! Try to use Eclipse, then NeoOffice is lightning speed.

  • Applescript! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bhgray ( 1038114 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @04:00PM (#17186622)
    When this news first came out several weeks ago I think I remember the macBU team listing AppleScript as the new preferred method of scripting rather than VB. The current Applescript reference guide for Excel alone runs 462 pages, and contains hundreds of classes and methods. I've Applescripted Excel on occasion with great success, and converting the actions to Automator actions is fairly easy. I think that other than the obvious, potentially huge, burden of converting VBA to Applescript, I think that in the long run the move could end up strengthening the interoperability between MacOS and the Office suite.
  • by Budenny ( 888916 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @05:17PM (#17187140)
    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.
  • The standard (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @05:26PM (#17187184) Homepage
    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:Fix java first (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jrockway ( 229604 ) <jon-nospam@jrock.us> on Sunday December 10, 2006 @08:05PM (#17188358) Homepage Journal
    > I wonder why that hasn't happened if it's so much faster.

    Most linux distros ship the native version. I think that on OS X you're locked into Apple's JVM (for the Cocoa widgets, etc.), and Apple's JVM just isn't particularly good. It's not fast, and it won't emit native code. (So try Eclipse on Windows or Linux with a Sun or IBM JIT JVM. Much nicer.)
  • Third party support? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Niten ( 201835 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @09:29PM (#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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, 2006 @09:37PM (#17188994)
    I loathe and despise Word for Windows. It is slow, almost unusably buggy, has the most awkward and painful interface I know of (much, much worse w/ 2007, from what I've seen of it and IE7) and crashes constantly to boot. I've never had much exposure to the rest of Office but what I know of it sounds the same or worse. Oddly enough, the latest version of Word for Mac I've used (2001 IIRC) was dramatically superior to the then-current Windows version; maybe a reaction to the Word 6 fiasco and subsequent backlash.

    Given all that, why would anyone, anywhere touch Office with a 10 foot pole? Because it's MS; because management idiots buy it, not users; because it's possible, with enough expensive training, to make it work well enough to keep things creaking along. And, of course, because every business document out there is in the misbegotten .doc format.

    I should be thrilled at the prospect that Neo or OOo might get a well deserved boost from this; I should be excited that the new XML formats, as atrociously designed as they are, make interop more possible (harder to block at least) than ever before.

    Instead I'm thinking: my company provides me full MSDN, including Office development. MS is planning to provide pretty much the same object model in the new Office, except that it will be exposed by Applescript instead of VBA. What would be the market prospect for a VBA / Applescript translator?
  • by kabz ( 770151 ) on Sunday December 10, 2006 @11:12PM (#17189896) Homepage Journal
    I had an occasion recently to repair an Excel file that crashed Excel 2003 on load. Open Office Calc loaded the file, complained about a (corrupt) number of rows, but then displayed the file faultlessly. Saving the file yielded a file that worked fine in Excel.

    This saved one of my co-workers untold grief retyping the file.

    Go Open Office!

    And, btw, Calc at least starts up in just a few seconds on an Ubuntu 6.10 VM with 512 Megs in Parallels on a Mac Mini Core Duo 1.66

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"