Microsoft to Offer New Code Every Month

Microsoft Corp. is establishing what is essentially a code-snippets-of-the-month club for corporate developers writing applications that build on Microsoft Office 2000 and Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). The new service, called the Code Librarian Update, will consist of free monthly updates to a Microsoft Web site of code libraries from third-party software companies with VBA-embedded products. The site address is http://msdn.microsoft.com/officedev/downloads/codelibrarian.asp.

Lest anyone conclude this move, which was announced at last month's Office Deployment and Developer Conference in Phoenix, is a step by Microsoft (www.microsoft.com) toward open source, there are caveats. Users will only be able to view the libraries via the Code Librarian, a searchable database of prewritten code in Microsoft Office 2000 Developer. The Code Librarian consists of hundreds of reusable code snippets that can be dragged and dropped by developers writing applications using Office and VBA.

The first add-on library comes from Visio, an ISV acquired last year by Microsoft that markets business drawing applications. Redmond predicts additional libraries will be offered by ISVs including WRQ Inc. (www.wrq.com), Lawson Software (www.lawson.com) and Elsinore Technologies (www.elsitech.com). Microsoft says other ISVs are eager to be included, as well.

Dave Edson, technical product manager for developer tools at Microsoft, and a technical evangelist for Visio, explains how the Code Librarian Update could affect Visio. "We see Visio as a great graphics front end to all forms of data," he explains. "People don't necessarily know how to transfer that data back and forth between applications." With the appropriate code snippets, developers can drag and drop the code for transferring data between Visio and the three major Microsoft Office applications -- Access, Excel, and Word.

About a quarter of Visio development scenarios are used with Office, and about 57 percent of Visio developers use VBA automation, according to Microsoft.

The Visio library includes about 100 functions, with a size of about 1.4 MB. It can be compressed to about a 100 KB for download. According to Microsoft, there are about 2.6 million developers targeting the Office environment.

[TOC] Microsoft, ISVs update Office Code Librarian

[Optional pullquote] Code Librarian Update will consist of free monthly updates to a Microsoft Web site of code libraries from third-party software companies with VBA-embedded products.