OfficePalooza

via Tony’s Microsoft Access Blog

binder clippy

OfficePalooza appears to be an opportunity to sharpen your VBA skills.

OfficePalooza is a two-week event (April 20 – May 1, 2009) that is open to just about everyone around the world. (Technically we’re supposed to be targeting what our marketing team likes to call “Advanced Business Users,” but even if you don’t think you’re one of those you’re still welcome to play along. And if you are an Advanced Business User maybe you could answer a question for us: what the heck is an Advanced Business User?)

By “play along” we mean that we’re going to present you with a set of challenges, and you’ll have to use Microsoft Office 2007 VBA to solve those challenges. When you think you’ve solved a challenge, follow the instructions on the challenge page and send in your solution. It’s that simple.

Not for everyone, though. From the official rules

§ You are NOT a resident of the province of Quebec, Canada.

Binder Clippy (pictured) is the cousin of the infamous Clippy. You see, the Ribbon is too fat to be held by a paper clip, so they had to upgrade to a binder clip.

As a VBA developer, I have to say that I’m pretty pleased to see MS devoting resources to getting people interested in VBA. I guess I can put off learning C# one more year.

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11 thoughts on “OfficePalooza

  1. Interesting… the link takes forever to load then times out with “We are currently unable to serve your request”. I wonder if the site got overrun by VBA users?

    Or maybe the first challenge will involve a heavy dose of elegant error handling and application.wait commands?

  2. To me that shows how MS really feel about VBA, they think it is kiddies stuff. Shame on them!

  3. All right I’ll ask:

    Why Quebec, Canada?

    I’m glad they made it a separate clause from the axis of terror!

    Ed

  4. They probably don’t want Dave and Debra to win all the prizes.
    Marge: Exhausting. It took the children forty minutes to locate Canada on the map.
    Homer: Marge, anyone can miss Canada, all tucked away down there.

  5. I agree with Bob, the whole thing reads like it is aimed at SpongeBob viewers. It’s a shame that when they finally reach out to advanced business users, they leave it to Quebec summer interns.

    What’s the point of solving trivial problems to enter sweepstakes? I much prefer the approach taken by the Euler problems, which set a real challenge, and which allow you to discuss your solutions with other developers, so you really learn something. That is the key, to draw developers into a dialogue, which will not only create a community that has been lacking, but will help Microsoft learn more about them and what they need.

  6. Their purpose may be just to get VBA programmers to purchase Office 2007.
    The keyring is a real enticement.

    Maybe packaging Office 2007 with a downgrade option to Office 2003 might sell more product. I assume that approach is working with Vista.

    (last time I checked Ebay, Office 2003 was getting higher bids than Office 2007)

  7. Why not Quebec? They have different contest rules that make it difficult to run one. I haven’t read a summary of what these differences are, but I know that many contests in Canada exclude Quebec.

  8. Hmm, I thought it was good till I read happy Bobs comment and he has point.

    Of course its kiddies stuff – no grown up would use that Toytown interface, right?

  9. Just FYI–Quebec has a provincial gov’t. department that regulates contests, among other things (the Régie des alcools, des course et des jeux) and you have to pay them 0.5% of the value of the prize for a contest that’s open to people outside Quebec, if the prize is worth at least 100$. You have to pay them 10% if the contest is just for people in Quebec! Too much bureaucracy!

  10. If MS markets VBA as a kiddie scripting language, I’m fine with that. I’m long past the point of believing they will grow the language or the IDE. For now, I just want them to keep it alive. I expect no more, and I’ll probably get no more.

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