mardi 27 janvier 2009

StatEL pour les utilisateurs de Mac OS X : qu'en est-il d'Excel 2008 ?

Pour la sortie de son dernier Pack Office pour Mac OS X en 2008, Microsoft a préféré le délester du module VBA (Visual Basic for Applications). Pour celles et ceux qui ne sont pas familiers avec ce nom, il s'agit ni plus ni moins du langage de programmation qu'utilisaient jusque là tous les utilisateurs de Word, Excel, Powerpoint... pour mettre au point leurs propres macros destinées à simplifier certaines tâches répétitives, ou pour effectuer des manoeuvres spécifiques.

Sans VBA, plus de programmation possible. Du même coup, pas de StatEL non plus sur la version Excel:Mac 2008. Les utilisateurs de Mac OS X qui veulent utiliser StatEL doivent disposer d'une version Excel X (version 10) ou Excel 2004 (version 11). Il est toutefois possible d'installer Excel 2008 en plus d'Excel 2004 sur son Mac, StatEL ne fonctionnera que sur la version 2004.

Est-ce du coup la fin de l'existence de StatEL sur la plate-forme Mac ? Que nenni!
Devant la levée de boucliers et les clameurs de protestations qui se sont multipliées face au retrait du langage de programmation sur leurs logiciels de bureautique, et donc l'impossibilité pour tous les Macophiles d'utiliser leurs anciennes macros, il semble bien que Microsoft soit décidé à faire machine arrière.

L'information n'était pas aisée à avoir, mais voici le message que j'ai reçu d'une chargée de communication chez Microsoft France :

En ce qui concerne le support de macros VBA sur Office Mac, ce langage sera à nouveau supporté sur la prochaine version d’Office Mac, actuellement en cours de développement et qui sera disponible d’ici 2-3 ans. Il n’y a pour le moment aucun projet de développement rapide d’une mise à jour permettant le retour de VBA sur la version actuelle.

Q. Will you include VBA support in future Office 2008 for Mac releases?
A. The Mac BU understands that VBA support is critical for some users and we will be delivering support in the next version of Office for Mac.

Q. Are you recommending that customers who need VBA support stick with Office for Mac 2004 and wait for the next version?
A. Office 2008 for Mac allows Mac users to work smarter and more efficiently with tools that are simple, intuitive and easily discovered and includes many functionality advancements over Office 2004. These advancements include native OpenXML file format compatibility with Office 2007 for Windows, and Office 2008 is a Universal application which supports the processing improvements of the Intel platform. New features include the Elements Gallery, Document Elements, Publishing Layout View, My Day, OfficeArt, SmartArt Graphics, Ledger Sheets, Building Charts and a revamped Toolbox. To take advantage of these advances while still maintaining the ability to run VBA macros, users can run Office 2004 and Office 2008 for Mac side-by-side.
Many users access VBA macros only in one application of the suite, for example, Excel for Mac; in these instances, only that application would be run concurrently. Users can open documents containing VBA macros in both products.

Q. What about users who do not require cross-platform functionality?
A. Users can use AppleScript to migrate VBA macros that they wish to continue using and adapt to their workflow. While AppleScript is not a cross-platform solution, it is the Apple standard scripting language on Mac OS/X and may be appropriate for some automation tasks. Microsoft has provided resources to help developers with this task on www.microsoft.com/mac.

Q. What is happens when a user tries to open a file with VBA?
A. While VBA macros within files will not be accessible and cannot be viewed or modified, the files themselves can be edited without affecting or changing the macros.

Q. Why can’t you just update Office 2008 for Mac to include VBA support?
A. Transporting VBA to the Intel platform is a time intensive process and it makes more sense to build it in to the next version of Office for Mac. This will allow the Mac BU to meet its development cycle for the next product.

Q. I’ve heard that Windows Office team is moving away from VBA?
A. While I can’t comment for the Windows team, I can tell you that the Mac BU wants to provide the best compatibility experience and VBA is part of that for a select set of users so we are bringing back VBA support in the next version of Office for Mac.

Q. What version of VBA bring back – is it the same version as in 2004?
A. The Mac BU is still determining the exact version, but I can tell you that users will have the compatibility level that was provided in 2004 and probably will see an increased level.

Q. Will you be continuing and expanding your support for other Macintosh automation technologies, for example Apple Script and Automator, in the next version of Office for Mac?
A. Yes, we will continue to expand the support for these important Apple technologies in the next version of Office for Macintosh.

Q. Will the removal of VBA in Office 2008 for Mac cause problems for cross-platform compatibility?
A. No. We are committed always to delivering seamless cross-platform compatibility and will continue to do so. In developing Office 2008 for Mac, we worked to ensure that files were compatible across platforms, including the Microsoft Office System 2007. Although VB macros within files will not be accessible and cannot be viewed or modified, the files themselves can be edited without affecting or changing the macros.

Q. Did you remove VBA due to security concerns?
A. No. Transporting VBA over to the Intel platform would take more than two years of development time. The impact of this intensive transition would have ultimately lead to a delay in the release of Office 2008 for Mac. Since there are viable alternatives available to the developer community, we decided to remove VBA script support. However, we have plans to deliver support in the next version of Office for Mac.

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