Office 2013 RT – No macros, no issue?

The news that certain functionality, such as macros and VBA, is being "dropped" from Office 2013 for Windows RT is causing a degree of criticism but is it justified?

Microsoft Office 2013Windows RT is the consumer version of Windows 8 which does not have the traditional desktop meaning all applications will be Metro or "Windows 8-style UI" apps.

Due to the different technologies employed, Windows 8-style UI apps are more akin to web pages than traditional desktop applications so a different approach must be taken when writing them.

As Mary Jo Foley wrote over at ZDNet yesterday:

"Microsoft is looking for developers to 'think different' when developing apps for Office 2013"

Macros and add-ins are being replaced by the new "could app model" for Office 2013 and the obvious desire from Microsoft is that all developers will ultimately move in this direction even if using Office in a "desktop environment".

Horses for courses

As the Windows RT variant of Windows 8 is being pitched as the "consumer" version of the new operating system (as opposed to Windows 8 Pro) the inference is that those using it are less likely to have complex documents requiring more business-like functionality so is this a case of horses for courses and ensuring you are using the right technology for your needs?

I can't help but feel that the response has been an over-reaction especially when considering the direction Microsoft wants to take with the new more cloud-based version of Office.

  1. Alex says: #
    Macros and VBA are the only reason I use Microsoft Office. It's a powerful development platform that if sent to users of Office Products, I can be reasonably assured they will run. Without these, I see zero reason to choose Office over Google Docs.
    1. Colin says: #
      Don't forget that this is only the RT (Metro or ModernUI) version of Office and that there is the alternative of Office Apps. The main "desktop" version will be unaffected but the move is towards the Office Apps direction so it might be worth seeing how they compare.
  2. Steve says: #
    So no Internet connection means reduced functionality. A pointer to a web based app means you are tied to the web. No more working on a flight unless you pay the exorbitant cost of wifi.
    1. Colin says: #
      I'd imagine that the road warrior would be using Windows 8 Pro and the desktop version of Office so, for now, wouldn't come up against this issue but it's an interesting point for the future if macros are completely abandoned in favour of Office Apps in all versions of Office. I don't know if there is any caching of Office Apps (I would certainly hope so) to avoid this kind of problem.

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