Microsoft Excel VBA and a great new book

I have exchanged a number of emails over the past couple of years with Stephen Bullen. He and I met up at an event here about 18 months ago, and what struck me is how sweeping his thoughts are about Office development generally. Sure, he's an Excel expert, but he's not a one-trick pony (although, most people would love to know that one trick!). And, I don't always agree with him. For example, if I have the time, I will share my strong disagreement with some of the things he has said in a post where he claims that the future of VBA and .NET for Office developers is not clear. For the record: it's clear, and I will explain why. BTW: Stephen, when are you going to go serious with a regular blog, bro? I think yours would be worthwhile.

Anyway, he was a principal author of a great book: Professional Excel Development from Addison Wesley.

His publisher sent me a copy, and I just had not had the time to look at it. I finally set aside some time to give it a thorough exploration. What stands out in my mind is that the sweeping knowledge he has of Office development really shows in this book.

He covers a number of topics that, while covered in different places, are rarely aggregated in a single tome as in this one. He covers Command Bar handling, writing Add-ins, VSTO, VB6, XML and Web services, VBA performance, Windows API calls, and Userform design best practices. There are other topics, but you can see that for the most part the ones I have listed are NOT really specific to Excel, although he gives each of them a clear Excel focus. If you consider yourself a developer mostly for Microsoft Word- you should still get this book.

 Rock Thought for the Day: My team bought me a DVD as a present: Metallica- Some Kind Of Monster. What interests me most is the in-studio footage. I have spent loads of time in the studio (I was a sound-man for live shows for a band in the eighties), and I have respect for studio work. It becomes magical when a producer approaches the studio as another instrument in itself.

Rock On

Comments (3)

  1. Thanks for the mention! For what it’s worth, there are a few sample chapters available to read on my web site, at That page also contains a synopsis of each chapter and links to the book’s pages on and, which both have numerous reader reviews.

    As for a blog, I occasionally contribute to the Daily Dose of Excel at, but don’t have the time or dedication to post regularly enough for one of my own.

    As for being wrong about the clarity of VBA and .NET for Office, I eagerly await your well-informed explanation.

  2. Russ Ramirez says:

    I recently came across a news item about the petition to have MS continue support of VB classic. My favorite line from the public reaction to this story was "grow-up and move-on". I spend way too many hours programming Excel in VBA while my partners have been able to spend all their time coding WIndows or web apps in VB.NET and C# from within VS.NET – while making fun of me of course. I nicknamed the VBA environement the OG/2000 (think caveman) as it is pre-Bronze age. Don’t get me wrong, in many cases, I can deliver apps much faster in VBA when it’s THE tool to use for the situation. However, VSTO is a godsend. At 46, I could easily stay with the past and what I’m comfortable with, but this industry can be very cruel to those who don’t keep up.

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