Give the VBA IDE a major overhaul finally
It's been over 20 years since the VBA IDE was created in its present form. MS has since created a number of modern and efficient development environments. Even if the VBA environment has long been referred to as outdated: it is simply the everyday reality for the majority of professional Office developers (especially all serious Access developers). I can not imagine that it lacks capacity to MS to bring the VBA IDE into a more contemporary form.
To insist that it would not be worthwhile to invest in an improved IDE, is roughly as if an automaker refuses any further developments in the wheels for 20 years, with the note that they would someday replace all wheels by air cushions.
I am thinking about things like "real" IntelliSense (comparable to that in current Visual Studio languages), extensive auto code completion, syntax checks that support the coder and do not hinder him/her, a much better integrated help system, refactoring tools, etc..
In other words: Not a newly decorated IDE, but simply an up-to-date developement tool like those in modern IDEs (Visual Studio, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA etc.). I do believe that this would not be "old wine in new bottles" but a valuable "productivity tool" for all Office developers.
Michael Flynn commented
Please. Looks at MZ-tools as a place to start as well. Finding event callers, finding strings across all modules, etc.
Add git integration would be huge too.
Kiril Proykov commented
Add a bit of color to the IDE. Coding a lot in VBA and looking and this old interface can really put your mood down. Especially after working in VS, VScode, PyCharm, etc.
Rubberduck is great, it would be nice if integrated as many people write.
You should consider Git integration (there are also add-ins that support that).
Finally, a message broker integration and you end up with a modernized language that will keep us shut for the next 10 years.
I began using Office (Excel, Word, ppt, Access) VBA when it first became available in 1994. Have used it as my only scripting language ever since. From semiconductor design and fabrication, to statistical analysis, to modeling and simulation, medical device testing, US Army quality systems, NATO Coalition counter-IED intelligence cell in Afghanistan, NATO Command dashboard, analytical chemistry measurement uncertainty analyses, and now manage the whole state of Virginia HCBS Medicaid Waiver program data services and operational needs analyses using Excel VBA.
I have been looking at office-js (trying to find the future of VBA) and then found this list. PLEASE DO NOT ABANDON the simplicity and effectiveness of VBA! PLEASE DO NOT replace VBA with office-js!!! IF MS does this, MS is abandoning software development. Someone like Rubberduck will have to _interpret_ VBA into office-js. Really?
Bill Gates came up with the world's best language 30 some years ago. MAKE IT EVEN BETTER!!!
Adding my vote on this as well, developing VBA since 2007!!!
Darren Aitken commented
Yes...please update this!!!
Been an expert daily user for well over 15 years and pretty much built my career on VBA and the VBE window...now sort of regretting it in todays world. I feel left behind and let down by Microsoft; MS Office is literally THE daddy used by virtually every company in the world...what do we get? A 20 year old, dreary grey looking, massively lacking in modern functionality IDE to use. Thanks.
A better debugging experience would improve productivity no end. Simple things like being able to expand and collapse blocks of code like in Visual Studio, a rich intellisense so I can get to exactly what I need within objects and their methods. Being able to see references against User defined Functions and methods (like in Visual Studio...seeing a light grey message above a function or procedure I've created that says 2 other procedures use this would be fantastic).
It does not need absolutely everything Visual Studio has. It needs to be brought into the year 2019 though...and fast.
We're in the world of touch screens and portability so would love an updated IDE along with vastly improved controls for userforms that incorporate the abilities of touching screens as well (XAML is incredible...all you need is the .Net framework installed and you get super rich GUI abilities).
A lot of what we build for companies heavily rely on the controls (listboxes, calendars, buttons, etc) Microsoft have provided; today I'm developing stuff using controls with basic functionality and look like they are from Windows 98. It's shocking we still have only this to work with! No wonder people jump ship and chase other technologies and products.
Come on Microsoft...you are better than this...seriously!
Mark Freeman commented
Excel VBA IDE as is is not "bloat ware" which is why it is so effective....NET is huge and over built...is bloatware...
For Excel VBA...we need updated Activex controls like fixing Calendar (duh!) which is missing (what???) and an option to embed .NET forms (do NOT replace existing forms which do work ok)...or just add more form controls and artwork options to existing user form framework...possibly allow basic HTML syntax...just to allow HTML paste ins...update ActiveX IE browser control...for more automation...maybe support Chrome and Firefox just because... let's start with a robust Calendar !
Seria fantástico e penso que muito auxiliaria comercialmente todo o Office, quer para as suas aplicações comerciais/profissionais, quer académicas. A linguagem VBA é fantástica e acessível, sendo a sua interligação ao Excel igualmente fabulosa. Só lhe falta, mesmo, mesmo, mesmo, um IDE à altura ...
Definitely supporting this move!
Totally Support this Wish!!!
Vinny James commented
RubberDuck is ok. Visual Studio Code integration would be awesome!
I use the VBE with RubberDuckVBA every day at work. I also use Visual Studio code. I would like an editor like Visual Studio Code with the VBA code analysis from RubberDuckVBA.
Jason Woolf commented
To be honest i'm glad they have left it alone imagine having that useless ribbon system where you need to three or four clicks to do something where you previously only needed to use one or two! Much better to use an addin like MZtools or add your own extensibility see this . . . http://www.cpearson.com/excel/vbe.aspx
its also a great idea to have the sublime text editor open so you can cut and paste between sublime and VBA IDE if you need to do some bulky multi-line editing or writing etc
D.L. Owen commented
VBA is not dead.
You know what is dead? Many "new" replacement technologies Microsoft encouraged us to use instead. Anyone else waste time learning Lightswitch, Access Web Apps, PowerApps, Store add-ins, etc? Adoption was not great and in some cases the whole solution got deprecated. These things will never replace the macros and add-ins and Access applications people depend on daily to run the world. Millions of users deserve better than what Microsoft if offering. We can't keep pretending the VBE isn't a critical application in the 2019 enterprise.
It needs updating.
Rubberduck is great. And it's free. My vote is not particularly to get microsoft to upgrade the VBE but to allow people to use what editors they want to use "integrated" into the VBE so that copy/paste back and forth isn't necessary.
@Bill S - whining or otherwise, stating "learn to code" doesn't, in fact, encourage anyone to so do. I mean, apply that to being an artist. I realize a pencil isn't broken and it's dead simple to whip up a drawing, but does that really justify shunning people for insisting on raising the bar and going to a wacom since that's pretty much the norm - egads man, learn to freakin' draw and take your plebeian stench with you!
Over time, iterations of Office have brought more capability to the apps overall, so it makes absolutely no sense why there wouldn't be improvements on the IDE. It could be as simple as replacing it with VS Code or patching in to VS Code.
Too often i hear people, usually long time coders, say "there is nothing wrong with it" and while that's true - that doesn't mean it couldn't be better.
Bill S commented
While the IDE could use improvements rendering it competitive to a lot of other IDE's, I find a lot of comments here in nothing but a bunch of whining, because it is still easier and faster to whip up an Access Application than any other. How much intellisensing does one really need... Learn to Code!
QUACK QUACK commented
This is what the VBA Rubberduck project is all about. They should be sponsored by Microsoft as an official plugin. I would love to see it accepted and integrated.
Jim Conrad commented
Could VBA be connected to "Visual Studio Code" tool? Maybe a keyboard shortcut would take the existing code and open it in VSC, then return it to VBA when complete?
I spend 5-8 hours per day in the VBE, meaning I spend 8-10 hours per day wishing I could write VBA in VS!
Rodger Beard commented
Most of all, I would like to see a migration path from MS Access using SQL Server to VB 6. Starting with some sort of integration of MS Access into Visual Studio.
But within the current VBA UI, how about style sheets to apply color coloring, auto indenting, etc. according to customizable rules? Redgate does this very well with their SSMS addin SQL Prompt.
How about applying above to those super ugly, almost impossible to read SQL statements that display when you click RecordSource or RowSource in a form's properties or the SQL view of saved queries?
When I want to debug anything complex,especially queries I've developed with the Design UI but need to debug in a SQL syntax window, the first thing I do is copy the source into NotePad++. Then clean it up so it's actually readable. Of course when I save my easy to read code back Microsoft usually does what it does, and the formatting gone.
Lately I've been saving my queries in text files until I know whatever I've working on actually works right in all conditions.
I've been a developer a long, LONG time and can't believe this is still necessary.