(C) 2009 - 2018 by Mourad Louha · All rights reserved

Archive for 2009

As mentionned in my first post, I would like to share my experiences when porting my VBA applications to .NET. Ok, now after playing with Visual Studio, I had to say that I also have to familiarize myself with some features of Visual Studio. This, even if I’m coming from Borland C++ and later Microsoft C++ (really very long time ago, still someone knows a Borland C ++?).

To start, I intended to migrate my very small application „Hide and unhide objects in Excel“. I expect that the new application would run both in Excel 2003 and Excel 2007. And it would be nice, if I also can use the application in Word and PowerPoint.

Ok, let’s begin. First, I created a new project in Visual Studio. As mentionned in part one of this post, I choose „ADX COM Add-in“ from „Other project types – Extensibility“

Add-In Express

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As you surely know, VBA allows to write very complex applications simplifying and optimizing business processes in a company. However VBA is gradually beginning to reach its limits and will certainly be removed in one of the future versions of MS Office. Major shortcomings of VBA applications are the low protection of the VBA Code or missing code management tools. With VSTO – Visual Studio Tools for Office – Microsoft provides specific templates and interfaces in Visual Studio to develop office applications based on .NET. This also means that the full power of .NET applications is made available to office Add-Ins. And, very important, the code is managed, each line of code is verified for its rights before excecution.

On one hand, you can create document based solutions with VSTO and, on the other hand, solutions on the application level. You need Visual Studio for using VSTO. Currently VSTO is available in Version 3.0.

For some time, I’m playing a little with this new possibilities. My first goal is to be able to migrate my VBA applications in the near future as effectively as possible. Certainly I will not avoid to rewrite some parts of my code and this would not be done in a few days, as some of my applications are containing more than 50.000 lines of code. So, I was searching the internet for tools for simplifying the migration process. I found the company „Add-In Express“ offering tools for what I was searching.

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I’m currently developing a tool for comparing the VBA performance of Excel 2010 with Excel 2007 and Excel 2003. In its actual version, this tool is able to measure the time used when running nested loops and when creating shapes. In this first article of a series I would like to presents my first results.

Excel 2010 VBA Performance

The first test I have done, was to run a nested loop in the three versions of Excel. I used Windows API functions to measure the time, as they allow more precise measurements. The test can be repeated several times to become a little more meaningful. The tool stores the test results in a report sheet, which also calculates the average of the tests results.

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Yesterday, I translated and published my article how to access to the Technical Preview of the Office Web Apps. Today, I will write about my first impressions of the Excel Web App. If you are not already participant to the Office Web Apps TP, please read the article Office Web Apps Technical Preview where you will find some explanations how to register for and use the TP.

Let’s now have a look at the Excel Web App. First, I login to Windows Live and navigate to SkyDrive as you can see in the following picture. As I’m usually using Windows Live in German, I had to change the language to English. If you don’t know how to change your language, this is also explained in the article mentionned above.

ExcelWeb App

For the current test, I used the Firefox 3.5 Browser. On one hand, I was curious if the Excel Web App will work properly in another browser than the Internet Explorer and on the other hand, Firefox is quite common in Germany. Let’s navigate to the folder „My Documents“. Then we have to click on „New“ and select „Microsoft Excel Workbook“ for creating a new workbook.

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A few days ago, I wrote this article in German, here is now my translation for our english speaking friends. According to the Microsoft Office 2010 Newsgroup and the Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering Blog, the Office Web Apps have been made available and can be tested. Even if they primarly targeted a selected group of users, with a little trick, everyone who has an account on Windows Live can get access to the Office Web Apps.

At this stage, only Excel, Word, Powerpoint and OneNote are available. Actually the functionality is modest, but I think, they are working hard at Microsoft to implement more functions. By the way, according the french blog Backstage 2010, the official names of the apps will be „Excel Web App“, „Word Web App“, „PowerPoint Web App“ and „OneNote Web App“. The suite will be designated „Office Web App“.

Office Web Apps

In the rest of this article I will describe how to get access to the Office Web Apps TP from a German Windows Live account. As you probably know, I am participating in the technical preview of Office 2010. So, for testing if I can get access to the Office Web App from a regular Windows Live account, I created a new one.

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The „Project Gemini“ is the code name for an Excel 2010 Add-In, which allows the user to use real „Self Service Business Intelligence“. Gemini consists of the three following components:

An Excel Add-In with own interface and own ribbon. If you use the Add-In, you’ll be able to imports millions of rows, create relationships between them, calculate values in new columns using formulas and create attractive Pivot Charts. You don’t need to learn database query languagues like T-SQL or MDX. And, in additionl, you can publish your solutions on a sharepoint server.
There is also an Add-In availaible for Sharepoint 2010. This Add-In allows you, for example, to manage the workbooks published with Gemini, assign some rights or create more reports. Please note that the Excel Services should be installed and activated.
The last component is the new memory engine, using a column-based compression. Exactly this engine allows you quickly and easily manage and include the millions of rows.

Microsoft let me also participate to the Gemini preview; thanks for that! The Gemini Team provided to the participants some samples and tutorials for the first steps in Gemini. In these samples are included data files for use with the Microsoft SQL Server and also an Access Database for the people who have not access to a SQL Server. Throughout this article, I lean to some steps of the tutorial. For simplicity, I used the Access Database for my first steps with Gemini. Another reason is that on one hand I’m not an expert for SQL Server and an another hand, I should have to install it, which is not possible at this time.

Gemini Add-In in Excel

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