Dog rabbits and ancient proverb

We have a dog, and we have lots of rabbits nearby. Whenever I take the dog for a walk it always chases the rabbits. They scatter, the dog chases one for a while, then veers off and chases another. And never catches any. Thus proving the ancient proverb that ‘the hunter who chases two rabbits catches neither’.

Sometimes I feel a bit like that with technology. I’m currently juggling that many independent languages and products that I’m not sure I’m going to catch any.

The source of much of my frustration I would say is Microsofts lack of effective action with VBA. It hasn’t been updated for years, leading one to suspect its past its peak. And yet no realistic alternative is anywhere to be seen, leading me to wonder where on earth I should be investing my efforts.

And I don’t just mean within Microsoft technologies. If they don’t sort out a viable VBA replacement (soon), that has all the things that are good about VBA plus some even better stuff, then I can foresee some opportunities in Excel alternatives.

I read a great article recently saying there are no .net experts in the world. Its not possible, the technology is moving that fast no-one can realistically keep up. Maybe we’re all chasing too many rabbits?

Or maybe its just more of what Joel calls fire and motion?

Are you finding the same thing? too many possible choices? uncertain about future technologies directions?



13 Responses to “Dog rabbits and ancient proverb”

  1. Biggus Dickus Says:


    That article by Joel is FRIGHTENING !!! I have found myself falling into the same unproductive funk from time to time and it is VERY frustrating. Thanx for that link for sure…..

    I learned long ago not to chase ANY technology. I have forgotten tha names of lotsa programs I learned over the years that NEVER MADE ME A PENNY !!! So today I wait for a technology to really catch a strong foothold before I move….

    And so – I have stuck with VBA for 13 years now since Excel 5 shipped. Frankly doing endless VBA is getting boring, like you get when you any one things too long (see Joel’s blog). But it is still the tool I choose and will stay that way until something provides me with as many available desktops, as much functionality and as much efficiency and ease of use and deployment. I HOPE we don’t get pushed off of VBA with no acceptable alternative but it just may happen one of these years.

    Unlike you Simon, I refuse to look at alternatives only because at this time and for the foreseeable future I believe there will be enough VBA/Excel/Access work to keep the money flowing….. I can’t do everything for everybody and also I enjoy having a life (although I wish I had a dog to walk at this point in my life but that’s another story)….


  2. Ross Says:

    Total, I’m not even a professional developer, but as we speek I’m looking at C++, C# and VB.Net and VSTO, not getting anywhere quickly. I keep meaning to write a post about all this new, easier faster technology, but i never have the time!
    Right now, I’m trying to write a demo VSTO addin, but i can even get it to add a bloody right click menu button- I know that I will work it out in a minute or a couple of hours or a day or 2, but why is it this hard?…
    Maybe I’m think (likely), maybe the technology is not quite as straight forward/ quick as we are lead to believe? Developer centric programing… yeah right! [/winge]

  3. SPG Says:

    Yes this is a problem.
    But things will settle down. (eventually)

    MS is not keen on VBA – macro virus problems and conflicts with the whole MS Office as a platform philosify (sic). It will be gradually phased out and will become more of a legacy system. For example Access will be supported by VSTO in the future (all the Office elements are being ported over to VSTO one by one)

    VSTO thank god is now fully intergrated into Visual Studio 2008. Code only runs in a managed secure environment.

    Excel 2003 etc are supported so this means you can develop Office 2003 and 2007 using one dev environment.

    Deployment issues are also being addressed.

    I am currently running VS 2005 Pro with VS 2005 SE on Vista and there
    are problems with Add-Ins created – you have to mess around with the registry and roll outs are not easy (frameworks, primary interops, etc)

    I won’t bother with Office in VS 2005 – too patchy.

    I will however be using VS 2008 and future versions as my main strategic dev tool for the next decade.

    I will continue with VBA (bread and butter) but my preferred language is C#.


  4. Nick Hebb Says:

    > I read a great article recently saying there are no .net experts

    She makes a number of good points. I don’t think that Microsoft can continue to get away with the Fire and Motion strategy of bombarding developers with new technologies. I think ageism is on the decline in IT, and as programmers mature they’re less likely to chase a dozen rabbits.

  5. Simon Says:

    I agree the bombardment can’t continue forever. Especially as so much of it is only half baked. Once you’ve been up a few blind alleys you lose the enthusiasm for new stuff. (colour me bitter about my .net/Excel experiences so far!).
    Steve yep 2005 is a lemon, 2008 looks better so far.

  6. sam Says:

    Excel+VBA: Bread and Butter Applications
    Acess : Only for large Vol Data
    VB6(or Developer Version of Office XP) : For COM Addins (Security)

    I dont need any thing else ….

  7. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    I try to stay focus on tools I’ve decided to use although it’s not always so easy to do.

    Released 1993 and compared with .NET tools it’s outdated. Still it’s one of the platforms I use on a regular basis. DAO/classic ADO is also involved in many solutions.

    Classic VB:
    Automation of Excel (loaders and report tools) and COM Add-ins. DAO/Classic ADO is also involved here. Works well with Excel 2000 – 2007.

    The rapid development of the .NET Framework and a new version of VS make it hard to stay focused on VS 2005 & .NET Framework 2.0. The same can be said for ADO.NET vs LINQ.

    Automation of Excel and managed COM Add-ins that works OK with 2000 – 2007.

    Will probably be my next #1 platform but only when version 5.0 or 6.0 is out. OK, if I didn’t already had grey hair and not so much left VSTO would probably has speed it up…

    In the long run:
    One of my main goal for 2008 is to port myself (once for all) to the C platform. It’s attractive to direct jump on the C#-wagon but I’ve decided to take the route via C -> C++ -> C#.

    Kind regards,

  8. SPG Says:

    You’re comment
    C++ -> C#.

    I did this, got a good book that covers all 3 and read it back to front many times over a 2 year period. did some simple C and C++ (nothing special just console code). Then got the free VS 2005 Pro version and am now doing advanced C#.

    The book is called Jamsa’s C\C++\C# Programmers Bible. The C# section looks like it was just tagged on at the last minute but the C and C++ sections are from the first edition and are very detailed. A good overall view of the C platform. Simon ordered a copy of this book after I showed it to him. I prefer C# because it has evolved and everything (and I mean everything) is an object.

    On an unrelated matter seen this on the net, funny, some guy announcing that his wife is pregnant for the second time (in C#):

    using (Damon)
    Wife.Oven.Add(Damon, new Bun());

    // :)

  9. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    Thanks for the heads up on that book. Usually I try to avoid “Bible” books as they usually lack the depth. However, reading the comments at Amazon also indicates that it actually has a depth as well.


  10. Simon Says:

    Jamsa is good, especially on C
    the C# stuff is well out of date date now though, I think it was .net 1.1? unless there is a new edition.
    You wont be carrying it around with you – its big.
    Visual C++ for Visual basic devs by Locke is v. good, ideal in fact.
    I don’t think you need C or C++ though if you really want C#. I’d go (/did go) from C# to C/C++ if you need it.

  11. SPG Says:

    I’m back in Scotland.
    You still doing anything for SL?
    I will probably go back on the Scottish market in Jan.
    Got rid of my travel bug. Don’t want to leave Scotland, not even for a holiday, for about the next 5 years. (will holiday in Scotland)
    At home now, just doing VS and C# every day
    Any info on the impending release of VS2008?
    I understand that its sometime before the year end? (this year 2007)
    I still have your private email.

  12. Simon Says:

    I’ll email you directly

  13. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    Simon & Steve,

    Could You create a blogpost on the subject C/C++/C# including:
    pathways (go directly to C# or/and…)
    books on the subject
    and any additional info that You find may be useful.

    For me it would be both highly appreciated and valuable.

    Kind regards,

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