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September 21, 2005

Microsoft Announces VSTA and VSTO 3.0 at PDC05

Posted by David Hunter at 3:13 PM ET.

Hopefully my last catch up item from PDC05 – Visual Studio Tools for Applications was announced in last Wednesday’s Keynote:

VSTA is a .NET version of its Microsoft’s application scripting tool, Visual Basic for Applications, the same programming engine that let you customize Microsoft Office in the pre-.NET era. VBA licensees ranged from commercial vendors who wanted to give developer-users maximum control over manipulating their applications, to in-house applications where the end-user wanted maximum control over how to manipulate the application at run time.

VSTA will ship in the Office 12 timeframe. It relies on the same scripting engine that will power Office, but developers who integrate it will have considerable choice over what aspects of the engine are available to which users. For example, developers might allow end users to take advantage of in-house scripts, but not to alter them once created.

You will see a handful of important differences between VSTA and its VBA predecessor. First, you’ll be able to program against VSTA using Visual Basic and C#; VBA, as its name suggested, could be programmed against only with Visual Basic. Second, implementations you create with VSTA will sit side-by-side with VBA-created solutions; they do not interact in any way. If you have an application that integrates VBA, you need to upgrade the application to VSTA to take advantage of VSTA in that application. KD [Hallman, general manager for Visual Studio Tools for Office] cautioned that the upgrade experience of moving to VSTA from VBA will be considerably easier than moving from VB to VB.NET, saying that Microsoft learned quite a bit from watching customer efforts to migrate their applications to .NET previously, knowledge that will make it easier to make a transition this time around.

VSTA is a “cousin” of Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) which provides similar functionality for Microsoft Office and whose version 3.0 corresponding to Office 12 was also previewed at the PDC.

As for the venerable VBA, Hallman is quoted as saying “Microsoft will continue to support VBA indefinitely.”

Filed under Conferences, Office, Office 2007, PDC05, Tools, VSTA, VSTO

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One Response to “Microsoft Announces VSTA and VSTO 3.0 at PDC05”

  1. Microsoft willing to license Office 2007 UI -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] There’s more by following the link, but you get the idea.  All of this begs the question of why one would want to use the Office UI in the first place since the usual route of developers enamored of Office is to use the Visual Studio tools for creating applications for Office itself (e.g. Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office (VSTO), not to mention VBA and VSTA) and that is separate from this license. From the Q&A at the first link: [...]

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