VBA IDE vs VS2008 IDE

On Friday night, I began reading my way through PED 2nd Edition. After something weird happened with Excel, (I think because I have Excel 2003 and 2007 installed,) I got the bright idea to create a very simple Windows Forms application. I figured that I could make a really easy math game for my daughter. (I'll see about posting it over the next few days.)

So cool thing here… with very minimal VB.NET experience, I was able to knock up a fully working simple math game in about 3 hours that will install on Windows XP and Windows Vista. I was pretty damn impressed.

At any rate, here I am today, back working in Excel. And I can now say that I'm rather disgruntled with the state of the IDE for Excel VBA.

Despite gnashing my teeth on certain stuff in VB.NET, the IDE in VS2008 is awesome. Maybe it's for the big things, and I'm sure that there will be VBA IDE things I'll miss, but it's the little things that made my day. Little things like this:

  • You can collapse procedures/function and even entire regions of code. That seriously rocks!
  • You type in With "whatever", and it automatically puts in the End With. Actually, all constructs are like this… For Each, Select Case, Try/Catch and so on. Very, very cool!
  • The indenting everywhere is automatic.
  • The intellisense always suggests available items. I find this somewhat hit and miss in Excel's IDE for some reason.

I really wish that they add the features above into our tired old IDE. It would make things so much faster for typing up code from scratch!

7 thoughts on “VBA IDE vs VS2008 IDE

  1. Ah, but to pimp the VBA IDE, which hasn't changed in about a decade, would be to invest in VB6, which has been effectively dead since '98. IDE state-of-the-artfulness has moved on a bit since then.

    I'm still curious to see how MS will deal with the eventual demise of VBA and how (if) they'll address the billions(? my guess) of lines of VB6 code that exist - and continue to be written - in the real world.

  2. Isn't it great? Which VS do you have? Express?

    I love the IDE. The error msgs are much more suggestive than the usual VBA IDE error msgs. If your method is overloaded, you can cycle through each method until you find the one you want. And the arguments have tooltips.

  3. @ Mike

    This is just my opinion, but I think MS has already done about as much for VB6 to VB.NET migration as they are going to do. The world has been on notice for a long time that they should be moving on to VB.NET (when it makes sense for them.) How long that transition takes in truth is really anyone's guess though. MS could build VB6 capability into Windows 14 and someone would still be choked when it was pulled in 15, right?

    With regards to VBA, and again, just my opinion... I think MS has learned some lessons about the transition from VB6 to VB.NET and what they did not do well there. I hope that means good things for our inevitable transition. I don't think that VBA will be going anywhere in the short term though. We're have Excel 14 on the horizon, and yet we still have support for XL4 macros at least as far as 13. I'm sure that VBA will continue in the product to give people sufficient time to migrate properly. Having said that, these are merely my musings and may not bear any resemblance to reality. 🙂

    @JP I'm using VS 2008 Pro. It's a big program, to be sure, and I've only just cracked the tip of it. But the stuff I've seen makes so much of the writing easier that it's amazing.

  4. Ken,

    There are things you can still only do using Excel 4 macros (Which things specifically, escapes me at the moment). If MS stops supporting it, do you think most people will simply stop upgrading?

  5. Honestly, I couldn't say. It kind of depends if there is something in the newer versions that they want to take advantage of, I guess. When the potential of the new features outstrips the pain of coding a workaround, then I would guess that most people would make the switch. I'm sure that there would always be some though...

  6. "I think MS has learned some lessons about the transition from VB6 to VB.NET and what they did not do well there."

    I'm skeptical. I also hope they've learned lessons from the 2003-to-2007 "upgrade". I have clients who have yelled at me about their frustration. "You're an MVP, you should have told them it sucked." Well, I am and I did, but the PTB/PHB (powers that be/pointy haired bosses) had already set the wheels in motion.

  7. Pingback: The Ken Puls Blog » Blog Archive » PED 2nd Edition – Hello World!

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