VSTO & .NET & Excel

February 26, 2010

Interim Solution: COM Shim Wizard for Excel 2010 64-bit

Filed under: .NET & Excel, COM Add-ins — Dennis M Wallentin @ 7:52 pm

For some days ago Misha Sheerson published an article about using the present version of the COM Shim Wizard for the coming Excel 2010 64-bit. This is an iterim solution and we should expect a new updated version of the COM Shim Wizard when Excel 2010 has been launched.

I must admit that I have been worried about what will actually happen, especially if we consider MSFT strong commitment and focus on VSTO. It’s good to see that MSFT has not forget the group of developers that still create custom solutions based on the Shared Add-in in Visual Studio.

For more information please see: Taking COM Shim Wizard to 64-bit

Kind regards,
Dennis

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10 Comments »

  1. Thanks for pointing this out Dennis. I don’t know when I’ll need to port to 64 bit, but the time is likely around the corner…

    The magic of .NET is that we can compile to ‘AnyCPU’ and it “just works” on either 32 bit or 64 bit, which is beautiful. Unfortunately, the COM shim is another story, but Misha’s article looks excellent.

    Some day we’ll all be using Excel 2003 and above, and from that point we’ll be able to use VSTO for all our needs… but until that time, standard managed COM add-ins will still be needed.

    Thanks Dennis, good post,
    Mike

    Comment by Mike Rosenblum — February 26, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

  2. >>It’s good to see that MSFT has not forget the group of developers that still create cus…

    it’s good news Dennis, but isn’t the com shim wizard a none official release? Really you should be thanking Misha!

    Comment by ross — February 26, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

  3. Mike,

    I do agree with You. The transition period will challenge us in many ways.

    Another area is drivers to connect to various databases. ODBC 32-bit drivers and OLE DB 32-bit Providers will not work in a 64-bit environment.

    In my opinion; in the end we all will be using VSTO 😉

    Ross,
    I’m *very* thankful to Misha (I made a comment in his article) 🙂

    Since MSFT has put us all in a less good position with the reason why we need to shim solution I can only see it as a must that MSFT provides us with a COM Shim Wizard also for the 64-bit environment. In other words, as long as the Shared Add-in is available in the VS package then it must exist a COM Shim Wizard.

    Kind regards,
    Dennis

    Comment by Dennis Wallentin — February 27, 2010 @ 2:10 am

  4. If I were cynical about it, I’d say that 64-bit Windows was the final nail in the VB6 coffin. But when I’m running my new laptop with Windows 7 (64-bit), I enjoy all that extra RAM. Progress always comes at a cost.

    Comment by Jon Peltier — February 27, 2010 @ 7:23 am

  5. Jon,

    As far as I can remember 64-bit Windows version have existed since Window 2000. But with Windows 7 it’s now more available to the end users.

    We don’t need to cynical because moving from 32-bit to 64-bit makes it possible to dump a lot of “junk” and makes it more possible to push for .NET.

    Kind regards,
    Dennis

    Comment by Dennis Wallentin — February 27, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  6. Dennis –

    64-bit has not been generally available until recently, and the need for it (>2.5 GB of RAM) has also been available only recently. My first laptop with the juice to run 64-bit Windows is only half a year old.

    I mentioned the cynicism only because I still recall vividly the heated arguments when vb.net came out and was only somewhat back-compatible. I don’t have a strong stake it it, having only used VB6 for a handful of marginal uses.

    I’m running out of excuses not to teach myself .net.

    Comment by Jon Peltier — February 27, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

  7. Jon,

    I have a strong feeling that when Excel 15 is available then we all will be forced to use .NET 😉

    Because I use a large number of VmWare configurations I have been running 64-bit versions, XP, Vista and now Windows 7, for a longer time. By overcoming the RAM limitation I can run some configurations at the same time.

    Yes, there was a widely discussion when VB.NET was launched and when MSFT decided to drop its support for Classic VB.

    For me Classic VB is still useful but my main focus is on .NET.

    Kind regards,
    Dennis

    Comment by Dennis Wallentin — February 27, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

  8. Hi Jon,

    I think the difficulties in migrating from VB6 to VB.NET was not by design. It’s just that the differences between the two at a fundamental level, especially with respect to forms and garbage collection, made the gap difficult to breach. If you look at the Microsoft.VisualBasic namespace, it seems that 99% of the VBA language has been replicated. That last 1%, however, can still bite you, so a direct copy-past from VBA or VB6 to VB.NET will frequently not work without manual cleanup.

    Hey Dennis,

    > “I have a strong feeling that when Excel 15 is available then we all will be forced to use .NET”

    Unless Excel 15 were only provided in 64 bits, I really don’t think this would be true. Look at how long Excel4 macro support has gone on. So I would fully expect VBA to absolutely be 100% viable in Office 15 and for many more versions, even as .NET increases its usefulness. VB6 is another matter, and will only be viable for 32 bit Office solutions, of course (as it is now).

    Comment by Mike Rosenblum — February 27, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

    • Mike,

      True, but even if VBA will be available for several versions in the future it will not be an excuse for true Excel developers to not start to learn .NET 😉

      Kind regards,
      Dennis

      Comment by Dennis Wallentin — February 27, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

  9. I couldn’t agree more Dennis. Once you start using .NET it’s almost impossible to imagine going back…

    That said, every once in a while I have to do a project in VBA and my reaction is usually “wow this is nice, I forgot how easy this is, and it works great.”

    An odd contradiction, I know, but for larger projects there is no doubt that .NET is much better, and I would never go back. For smaller projects and ease of deployment, however, VBA is still king.

    Comment by Mike Rosenblum — February 27, 2010 @ 9:45 pm


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