Office 2013 RT excludes programming features by ThinqLinq

Office 2013 RT excludes programming features

When I started my programming career, I started with writing Access applications with VBA. While I have moved away from these applications for the most part, I occasionally find the need to come back to office automation tasks in Excel, Word and Access. When reviewing the version of Office that comes with the new Surface tablet running Windows RT and Office 2013 RT, I checked out the developer tool bar to see what it offered. Here’s the new toolbar in Excel 2013 RT:


As a point of reference, here is the toolbar as it appeared in Excel 2010:


Notice here that the Code (including VBA and Macros), Add-ins, and Controls sections have been removed from the RT version of Office. I suspect the issue here is that VBA is really locked into the x86 architecture. Since Windows RT runs on the ARM rather than x86 processors, the amount of effort to migrate this functionality was not worth the effort.

As a result, if you have Office solutions that you want to continue to use on the new platforms, be careful what features you use. If you need to continue building solutions based on office, I suspect that support will be added for the new Office app model based on HTML and JavaScript. While we’ve heard rumblings for some time on the impending demise of VBA, this appears to be a clear sign that continuing to invest time and money on extending the old VBA based solutions appears to be a dead-end solution in the new tablet/mobile world.

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