Office Scripts: Is it the beginnings of the end of VBA era?


It has been quite some time now a lot of talk around the future of VBA. Here comes the Office Scripts in Microsoft Office web apps like Excel (in its preview) with two important features to seed the beginnings of the end of VBA era: 

  • Actions recorder: Mimicking VBA macro recorder functionality
  • Automation scripting: Mimicking VBA scripting

Office Scripts is based on below technological features:

  • JavaScript/TypeScript: The web’s ubiquitous scripting language also used for writing office scripts.
  • Asynchronous Programming Model: The popular roots of asynchronous programming can be traced to AJAX. When we talk about processing on the web, it has to be either light-weight or asynchronous owing to the constraining factors like limited network bandwidth, computing resources, etc., This is more relevant to Microsoft Office web apps like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc., Hence, for Office Scripts, Microsoft decides to let run the office automation scripts and the office web app in two different processes and let the communication between these two processes happen asynchronously. Technically, the choice makes absolute sense.
  • Functional Programming Style: JavaScript is a scripting language for the web whereas Office apps users are more accustomed to writing functions (like functions in Excel, Power Query, Power Pivot, etc.,). Implying the need for making the most of functional programming style of JavaScript for Office Scripts. Hence, every office script is encapsulated in a function (named “main” in preview) and the keyword “let” used for declaring variables (like PowerQuery’s M scripting).

In it’s preview, the Office Scripts definitely seems promising and sounds like a giant leap forward for Office apps automation. It’s time now for VBA users to start learning JavaScript/TypeScript as it definitely seems like Office Scripts is the beginnig of the end of VBA era.

Stay tuned for more learning on Office Scripts..!! Happy Learning..!!

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