VBA for Excel

VBA for Excel, Less Popular than Before

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One of the programming languages that often taught for data science is Visual Basic for desktop applications. While useful on a resume, it may be less useful in the future of data science.

Microsoft introduced the event-driven programming language Visual Basic for computers with the Windows operating system back in 1992, according to Wikipedia. It was initially designed for quick learning.

Since that time, numerous companies have employed Visual Basic in countless applications. Microsoft came out with version 6.0 in 1998. Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), a dialect of Visual Basic, is used to create macros within popular Windows applications such as Microsoft Office.

In about 2001, the company introduced Visual Basic.net, a more object-oriented form of Visual Basic for distributed applications that also had a steeper learning curve.

In 2008, Microsoft stopped supporting the Visual Basic 6.0 IDE. However, the company’s Visual Basic team reportedly still supports VB 6.0 up through Windows 10, and Windows Server 2016.

Blog author, Charles Williams pointed out in comments about this article that Office 365 for Mac gets much closer to Office 365 in its functionality. He also mentioned that Office 2019 for Mac has somewhat of a misleading name implying that it has the latest version when the most up to date version is Office 365.

In 2010, Microsoft added VBA 7 to extend features and offer 64-bit support. While VBA 7 is still “maintained” for Microsoft Office for Windows machines. There are signs that the company’s support for the language is waning. This declining support is especially evident in the latest versions of Office 2019 for Mac.

Office Javacript API and VBA Comparison

While the business world will probably not abandon VBA for decades, Microsoft seems to be moving away from it. Some have suggested that VBA could be supplanted with the company’s cross-platform compatible, Office Javascript API.

This may or may not be true, because the Javascript API is not as readily used on multiple platforms as you might think, because it requires access to the internet, and Node.JS has to be running. It also suffers from very poor performance, and can only work on a single workbook at a time, according to Charles Williams in his blog post about making Excel work faster.

While VBA will likely slowly decline in its level of adoption and go virtually extinct like Fortran and Cobalt, its influence on the programming realm will be seen for decades to come.


Wikipedia contributors. (2019, August 10). Visual Basic. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:29, September 17, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Visual_Basic&oldid=910170583

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