Cross-application coding and other questions

Here’s some questions for any of you that do (or perhaps would like to do) Office development. They are more targeted at non-professional developers using VBA (how many of them read my blog?) but even if you’re a seasoned pro and you feel like answering, more power to you (and me! Ha!).

Your answers (and other comments) are much appreciated :-) and can be used by Microsoft in future products etc. etc. etc. Obviously this will be a very un-scientific poll (assuming there are any replies ;-) ) but it should still be interesting.

Anyway, here goes:

1.      Do you have a need for building solutions that span multiple documents? For example, moving data between a weekly report and a monthly rollup report in Excel

2.      Do you have a need for building solutions that span multiple applications? For example, integrating data from Excel into a PowerPoint presentation

3.      If you are doing either of these things already, do you have the code in multiple places and rely on events or cross-customisation calls to do the integration, or is all the code in one place and it “drives” the other document / application externally? For example, if you had a solution with two Word documents, the code could be split between both documents and you relied on the Open event or explicit cross-document macro calls, or it could all be inside the main document

4.      If you answered “Yes” to either question 1 or 2, but you’re not doing this today, is it because you don’t know how? Or you know how, but it’s too hard? (What makes it hard?). Or for some other reason?

5.      And finally, do you (or your users) call macros from one document in the context of another document? For example, in Excel you might have a UDF (User Defined Function) defined inside one workbook, but the user calls that function from another workbook

If you do answer, it would be really cool if you could also say whether you’re a full-time coder or not, what tools you use today (VBA, VB6, VSTO, JScript <g>, etc) and how many people tend to use your solutions.


Comments (5)

  1. Oops, sorry. I pushed enter too early.
    1. Hmm, I don’t know for now, but since it is yes to Q No.2 for me, the answer may be yes.
    2. Yes. My recent project needs input in Excel and output in Word.
    3. In my recent project, I placed every code in Excel project. Excel instantiates Word, open up a document, fill in some data using SelectSingleNode, and so on.
    4. N/A
    5. I have seen someone is doing it, but I have not done it. I feel very weird to do so because I don’t think I can rely too much on macro code, because every office worker can accidentally "fix" it.

    I am not a full-time employee, but my job is to code (I would say I am an independent develoer). I am using VBA and VSTO today. My first VSTO solution is the sample application that will be downloaded from Microsoft web site, so I don’t know how many users will use it.

    Thanks for the great blog!

  2. Peter says:

    Thanks for your replies!

  3. Ron Lamb says:

    I have a complex need that requires the use of Word in outline mode to create a tree structure of information, Word in normal mode to add attributes for each line of the outline, then pass the word file (copy & paste at the moment) to excel where I structure in the form that Visio Org wizard uses to do an autolayout of shapes), then a complex change of the way Visio lays out shapes to the shapes that I want with the original attributes that I captured in the Word document to become the custom properties in each visio shape.  My Visio shapes then display (or not as I make Visio work)the custom properties on the shapes in special places.  I’d love to know how to do all of this from one macro or VB program.  I used to program way back, but am a dilligent hacker now. I use pretty sophisticated built in functions from each program, but it would be better if the transfer of data between program and the program itself didn’t require my intervention.  Any suggestions?