Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit brings Visual Basic for Applications back to Office.
Microsoft has announced a service pack for Office 2008 for Mac and said it
is bringing back Visual Basic for Applications for the next release of the Mac
The software giant's Macintosh Business Unit introduced Service Pack 1 of
Office 2008 for Mac on May 13. The release provides increased stability,
security and performance enhancements to the suite, company officials said.
The Macintosh Business Unit also is providing a look at the road map for
Office for Mac by announcing the return of VBA in the next version.
VBA is an implementation of Microsoft's Visual Basic, an event-driven
programming language and associated IDE
(integrated development environment) that is built into most Microsoft Office
Developers can build custom software using Visual Basic by embedding
the VBA IDE in their applications, Microsoft
said. It was also built into Office applications up to Version 2004 for Apple's
Mac OS X, and into other applications such as Microsoft MapPoint and Microsoft
Click here to read about Microsoft's plans to make Office 2007 protocols available.
VBA first appeared in 1993, but as of July 2007, Microsoft stopped offering
VBA licenses to new customers. Yet, with the release of Visual Studio 2005,
Microsoft announced VSTA (Visual Studio
Tools for Applications), an application customization tool kit based on the
.Net Framework 2.0 and built on the same architecture as VSTO (Visual Studio
Tools for Office).
"Sharing information with customers as early as possible continues to
be a priority for the Mac BU to allow customers to plan for their software
needs," said a Microsoft statement announcing the move to bring VBA back.
"Although the Mac BU increased support in Office 2008 with alternate
scripting tools such as Automator and AppleScript-and also worked with MacTech
Magazine to create a reference guide, available at http://www.mactech.com/vba-transition-guide
team recognizes that VBA-language support is important to a select group of
customers who rely on sharing macros across platforms. The Mac BU is always
working to meet customers' needs and already is hard at work on the next
version of Office for Mac," the statement said.
Bringing back VBA "is proof that Microsoft is taking the Mac market
seriously," said Stephen Forte, chief strategy officer for Telerik, a .Net
component vendor. Forte is also a Microsoft Regional Director. "The reason
why Office on Windows was, and still is, so successful verses its competitors
is the extensibility that VBA (and now VSTO) provides. This will give
independent software developers a chance to automate and customize Office on the
Mac and help Microsoft keep its market share on the Mac."
Andrew Brust, chief of new technology at Twentysix New
York, a consulting company, observed, "I see two interesting tidbits here:
One is that users and ISVs prefer VBA to AppleScript, and, two, there are
seemingly enough Macs out there in corporate environments such that IT
departments want to be able to make their PC-originated VBA code run on them.
This bodes well for Microsoft's decision to provide Mac support for
Silverlight, by the way."