Microsoft adding tools, schema to Office 11

[DECEMBER 9, 2002] -- Developers of applications for Word and Excel will have new tools and XML-based schemas to work with when the 2003 version of Office is released, Microsoft announced today.

New Visual Basic and C# tools, within the Visual Studio .NET framework, will expand Office developers’ options beyond what is available with the current Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) language, according to Microsoft representatives.

But when asked if the new tools, code-named Visual Studio Tools for Office, will replace VBA, Robert Green, lead product manager for Visual Studio, answered with an emphatic “no.”

“VBA remains a very important part of the next version of Office,” Green said in a pre-briefing on the tools and XML capabilities of the next version of Microsoft Office scheduled for release mid-2003. “The VBA code you wrote in Office XP will run in the next version of Office. And VBA gains some interesting new capabilities, [including] the ability to call Web services [and] the ability to work with some of the XML features in Office.”

Added Green: “What we’re announcing today is a set of tools that lets developers using Visual Studio .NET write Visual Basic or C# code that runs behind the next version of Word and Excel documents.”

The Visual Studio Tools for Office will allow developers to take advantage of the productivity features in Visual Studio .NET, he explained. These include the Visual Studio code editor, which automatically flags errors and does background compilation as the programmer is writing code. Developers will also be able to use Visual Studio design tools for building forms and working with XML, as well as the Visual Studio capabilities for code management and debugging, he said.

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Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.


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