I've been moving around in Visual Studio for the last hour, trying to get familiar with it.Â As always, I feel that the best way to learn to use a program is to start with a project, so I decided to re-write my templates add-in for Excel 2007.Â In truth, I would prefer to re-write my Favourites add-in, but it will be more difficult, so I'm using the templates one as a learning ground. 🙂
So here are my first impressions of Visual Studio 2005 from the point of view of someone who is pretty comfortable in the Excel VBE:
That is exactly the order that my feelings went, with about 20 minutes between each...
There are so many commands in here, that it's hard to figure out what I'm trying to do.Â It took me 10 minutes to figure out how to change the name of my project (right click on it and say "rename"... don't I feel like an idiot now!)Â Â I may have complicated things though, as I installed MZ Tools immediately, just because I didn't have enough tools to get lost in right away.Â 😉
To further complicate things, (as if the new UI wasn't enough to deal with,) the code is all VB.Net.Â This means that I'm going to have to convert some of my code (how much remains to be seen) to VB.Net from VBA.Â The first example I came across was a Property statement.Â In VBA, we'd have a Property Let and Property Get routine.Â In VB.Net though, it's all in one routine:
[vb]Â Â Â Public Property EditMode() As Boolean
'AuthorÂ Â Â Â Â Â : Ken Puls
'Macro Purpose: Holds value for edit mode
'Return the value of edit mode
EditMode = bEditMode
'Set the value of edit mode
Set(ByVal value As Boolean)
bEditMode = value
Now I haven't even got to the point where I can attempt to debug this yet, so it could be totally wrong, but it does look like the help file example.Â ;)Â If it is right, I actually like this better.Â ItÂ sure makes it easier to keep straight, and keeps the code collected better.
Now, back to the Visual Studio IDE... here's some of the things that strike me as really cool:
- You can collapse blocks of code.Â In the example above, I can collapse the Get portion, the Set portion, the comment portion, or the whole routine.Â Very cool!
- Adding code to deal with the Ribbon is as easy as choosing Project|Add Module|Ribbon support.Â (Actually, this is a VSTO template, not strictly VS alone.)Â As soon as you do, *poof!*, you have a module set up with the code to create a sample ribbonUI.Â In fact, the RibbonX code is in another module, so you can edit it there.Â All the info in one place, rather than flipping back and forth between Excel and the CustomUI editor.
- An error list at the bottom of the screen highlights all the errors in your code.Â (I have a ton right now!)Â This is how I knew that my Property routines were at issue.
- The help files seem to have a lot of information and it's actually helpful.Â That may sound a little cheeky, but I always found the help files in Excel 2002 and prior quite frustrating.Â 2003 was okay, but 2007 seems better from what I've seen.Â I may change my opinion on this, but the Property help page was quite easy to use.
At any rate, that's about as far as I've got with it so far, but I like what I see.Â I do understand why Microsoft is pushing developers to use this product, but I still feel that they should give the tools to those developing within Excel from start to finish.Â The reason I'm in this program at all is because the only hope I have of populating a RibbonX group on the fly is by writing a COM add-in, and that shouldn't be the case.
Just my 2 cents on the matter.Â 😉