Jeff Webb is a SharePoint consultant and trainer who has written about computers and technology for 20 years. Among his published O'Reilly titles are Essential SharePoint, SharePoint Office Pocket Guide, Programming Excel with VBA and .NET, and Excel 2003 Programming: A Developer's Notebook. Jeff was an original member of Microsoft's Visual Basic team.
Excel 2003 Programmingby Jeff Webb
On the surface, it doesn't appear as if much in Excel 2003 has changed. There are a handful of new objects and the user interface is largely the same. But beyond a superficial glance, you'll see that there are fundamental shifts implied by the new features: Lists, XML, web services, .NET, and InfoPath build a framework for entirely new ways to exchange data
On the surface, it doesn't appear as if much in Excel 2003 has changed. There are a handful of new objects and the user interface is largely the same. But beyond a superficial glance, you'll see that there are fundamental shifts implied by the new features: Lists, XML, web services, .NET, and InfoPath build a framework for entirely new ways to exchange data with Excel. In fact, that's much of what Excel 2003 is all aboutsolving problems that deal with teamwork collecting and sharing data, programming across applications, and maintaining security.The latest in our Developer's Notebook series, this guide introduces intermediate to advanced Excel VBA programmers to the newest programming features of Excel 2003,focusing just on what's newso you can get up to speed quickly. Light on theory and long on practical application, the book takes you directly to the topics you'll want to master through a series of hands-on projects. With dozens of practical labs, you'll be able to decide for yourself which new aspects of Excel will be useful or not in your own work. And best of all, you won't have to buy an expensive revision of a legacy Excel programming tutorial to learn about the new featuresif they're covered there at all.Excel 2003 Programming: A Developer's Notebook shows you how to work with lists and XML data, secure Excel applications, use Visual Studio Tools for Office, consume Web Services, and collect data with Infopath. Each chapter is organized into a collection of labs, each of which addresses a specific programming problem. You can follow along to complete the lab on your own, or jump ahead and use the samples the author has built for you.The new Developer's Notebooks series from O'Reilly covers important new tools for software developers. Emphasizing example over explanation and practice over theory, they focus on learning by doingyou'll get the goods straight from the masters, in an informal and code-intensive style that suits developers. If you've been curious about Excel 2003, but haven't known where to start, this no-fluff, lab-style guide is the solution.
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I have not made it past the first chapter because nothing written in the book matches what actually happens. If the first chapter is this bad I do not have the time to waste on the rest.
To most Excel users, it is merely a neat spreadsheet. But to you, it is a programming environment in its own right, with a specialised UI. Viewed from this perspective, the book shows various new directions Excel has taken to increase its programmability. Perhaps the most intriguing is using it to access Web Services. There has been a huge buildup of Web Services Description Language, and a lot of speculation about what a successful Web Service would look like. Well, nothing yet has emerged as a killer app. But Webb shows how you can use Excel to dip your toes into this field. Specifically, he indicates how to hook it into the Web Services of Amazon and Google. And along the way, you get to pick up some XML. If you don't know XML, this in itself is a good way to motivate learning it. The utility of the example Web Services is that they can take some of the mystique and abstractness out of the subject, provided you spend the time to understand them. Simply as pedagogy, you can then assess future discussions on Web Services in a more experienced light. Separate from, and independent of, whether you'd ever want to use Excel to interact with future Web Services. Of course, the book describes other topics. And you may well have no interest in Web Services. But to me, this forward looking aspect is the best part of the book.