Office 2003 may offer end-users a host of new productivity features, but Microsoft has admitted it faces a struggle to move the developer community to the new platform, writes Cliff Saran.
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Office 2003 could offer an ideal technology platform for embedding .net technologies. At the moment, most Office applications are created using Visual Basic for Applications, the software’s built-in scripting language. Ivo Salme, product manager for .net develop tools at Microsoft, said, "We want to move VBA developers forward."
However, the tools needed for this progression to .net are not expected until the autumn, when Microsoft introduces Visual Studio Tools for Office.
Salme said Microsoft would maintain backwards compatibility to support existing VBA code, but it sees .net as the future. "People’s investment in VBA will be maintained but we want to move VBA applications on to the .net platform," he said.
By rewriting Office applications using .net, Salme said developers would see "tangible benefits", including better support for data access and improvements in the way data entry forms are handled.