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VBA Will Return To Mac Office 113

An anonymous reader sends a pointer to Erik Schwiebert's blog — he's the design lead of Microsoft's Mac Business Unit — where he announces that Visual Basic will be returning to Mac Office. Not in Office 2008, which started shipping earlier this year. We discussed the announced death of VBA in Mac Office 17 months back. Schwiebert says that the interval to the next version of Mac Office will be shorter than 4 years but isn't able to offer any more detail. The blog post calls for feedback on what features of VBA and Windows interoperability are most important to people.
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VBA Will Return To Mac Office

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  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jackharrer ( 972403 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @08:24AM (#23401190)
    Question is why they dropped it in the first place?
    My personal bet is that they wanted to Office on Mac look less business like. That would stop Macs going to enterprises where (as everybody knows) MSFT has a nice profitable stronghold.
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @08:24AM (#23401192) Journal
    Microsoft decides when it's time to kill Foxpro, when to drop support for old versions etc. Hitching a company's business to Microsoft tools like Access, Excel, Sharepoint and VBA... keeps them on the upgrade treadmill forever. It should teach the Corporate beancounters to go for standards-based tools and programming languages instead.
  • Re:Feedback (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @08:25AM (#23401198) Homepage
    Features are important? How about making it so some middle manager can not make some MS Access app and then have upper management have you deploy it for 100+ users to use.

    The number of fricking POS Access applications I had to support that were coded so badly that it took days to figure out what the person was trying to do is insane. Corporate america is riddled with these kind of monsters causing IT people to ball up under their desks and cry through the night.

    I was happy when they removed VBA because it stopped that nightmare.
  • Re:Four years? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @08:38AM (#23401300) Homepage
    I agree. The movement times of things from Microsoft seem to be monumentally slow, and even after taking so long, there's nothing to show for it. They took 5? years between XP and Vista. They didn't really add many true features, and a large proportion of people would rather be running XP. Compare that with Linux Distros, where a new release happens every 6 months. New features are incorporated as they come available, and things can be changed incrementally, because of the frequent releases. My Mandriva box probably has changed quite a bit more than XP to Vista did in the same time frame, but it hasn't been quite as painful because it has been so incremental. Also, I bet they could sell a lot more retail boxes, and make a lot more money if they released every 6 months and charged $30-$40 for each release, rather than release every 5 years, and have nobody buy retail and everybody just get the $50 OEM license. Even if they only get 2 upgrades over the 5 years, they are still pulling in more money than they would only selling OEM licenses.
  • by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @08:39AM (#23401302)
    They now have to differentiate themselves from other office suites on the Mac that are free and can read/write .doc files (not to mention much cheaper than Office:Mac).
  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @09:16AM (#23401668)
    I write VBA routines all the time at work. To an engineer they're invaluable. One of our data acquisition boxes always outputs a fubar CSV style file. I have a script in my personal.xls file that anytime I open one of these files I run this script and it does 10 minutes of cleanup in 10 seconds.

    I know that some people write entire programs in Excel but I'd wager that 90% of VBA programs are something written by an engineer or other technical person to make their life easier.

    And yes, I know about Matlab. Problem is not everyone has a $10k seat. Everyone has Excel. I'd never publish my code to anyone but as far as making my job easier, you're damn straight I love VBA.
  • Re:Four years? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by EvilRyry ( 1025309 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @09:22AM (#23401742) Journal
    I'm sure the recent surge in Mac sales has nothing to do with this.
  • Re:Four years? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lorenzo.boccaccia ( 1263310 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @09:23AM (#23401752)
    also consider that there is no such thing as a "standard" linux. So each program is born to be very customizable in term of integrating with the os (data directory, binaries directory, library replacements).

    this flexibility is the key of the change management: they're not on a backward compatibles os. they're forward compatible programs
  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @09:27AM (#23401804)
    Microsoft if fighting a battle against becoming irrelevant. On one hand their products are hindered by backwards compatibility required by the business community, yet on another hand, their products are becoming irrelevant thanks to web platforms like Google apps, and virtualization tools like Parallels and VMware.

    If Microsoft cuts their ties with "old-school" software like VBA, ActiveX, and 16-bit dos-era software to improve their current offerings, they slit their throats with the business community - it will force their "cash base" of customers to find something new - and it probably won't be a Microsoft product.

    If Microsoft does not cut their ties with old-school software, the development cost of keeping the backwards compatibility causes their current software to stagnate compared to the dynamic offerings of Apple, Google, and the open source community.

    Microsoft is becoming less relevant by the day. I see it at my company and many others.

  • Re:Four years? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @09:33AM (#23401894) Homepage Journal
    Even less connected: file format lock-in.
  • by clang_jangle ( 975789 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @09:44AM (#23402070) Journal
    With NeoOffice and many Mac users already feel we have no more need of MS office. In four years' time, that will only be more true. The end of MS' monopoly on business software is definitely in sight now, and they brought it about themselves with their greed, over-confidence, and short-sighted policies.

    It wasn't so long ago I pretty much had to use MS software on my Mac to do all I needed to do -- WMP, Office, IE. Today, the only MS code on my Mac is codecs for wmv and wma files (which I play in mplayer). This is real progress, and we owe a big debt of gratitude it to the FOSS guys.
  • by New Breeze ( 31019 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @09:47AM (#23402116) Homepage
    Insightful? Most of the stuff built with these things are small utility applications for specific departmental uses. The beancounters know what they're doing, i.e. a book on Excel and VBA for Joey down in the warehouse so he can automate his inventory sheets to print in location order so his job is easier vs. a department of expensive CS majors bitching about doing "crap work" like this doesn't take much to see where the value to the stockholders is. The right tool for the right job, not everything needs to be a major production.

  • by Gazzonyx ( 982402 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `grebnevol.ttocs'> on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @09:54AM (#23402214)
    Right. Routines. Not invoicing software that has the business logic, form, and database access rolled in to a single blob. Routines are fine. Single tiering a decidedly multi-tiered application is not.
  • Forced Update (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2008 @11:53AM (#23404120)
    So by putting it back in this will make the next Mac Office a Must Have update - netting Microsoft lots of $$$s. Why am I not surprised?

    And if MS listed to this demand, why are they so deaf to keeping XP available through at least the next Windows upgrade?

  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Thursday May 15, 2008 @09:12AM (#23416806)
    My comment was meant to highlight the large number of competitors that Microsoft never had before.

    Google, Apple, and the open source community now have entire application platforms that can compete with Microsoft.

    Does this mean that all the networks built in the last 20 years will, overnight, switch to something else? No. What it does mean is that slowly as new systems are evaluated and rolled out, Microsoft is being considered less and less.

    Just yesterday we rolled out OpenFire as our internal IM system. We considered Sharepoint, but it was bigger and more expensive than we needed. iChat server could not integrate with our directory system (despite what Apple docs say).

    Microsoft losing mindshare to others should not be a surprise - when you have Microsoft's marketshare, the only direction you can realistically go is down.


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