VB Macros and the Evolving Sophistication of Online Apps

A long time ago, I had a boss who did his main programming in Excel, except that he never thought of it as programming. He could do absolute magic with Excel, and would challenge engineers to match his productivity with the hottest programming language of that time, C++. Inspired by him, I even thought up my first start-up idea: building Excel based business applications. Just a few weeks ago, one of my investor friends was showing off his collection of Excel macros, with as much pride as he would show off his wine collection. Knowing people like that is why I am personally so thrilled with the VB macro support we unveiled in Zoho Sheet this week.

Excel macro programming (basically VB packaged with Excel) is perhaps the most under-rated languages out there. It embodies advanced functional programming techniques, yet remains extremely accessible. People who never think they have any interest in programming nevertheless churn out amazingly complex “personal apps” on Excel.

Zoho Sheet brings VB macros to the cloud. We have also launched a Wiki for people to share their macros, and learn from other people’s work. This is only the first step for us. We intend to support VB macros across the Zoho suite, particularly in Zoho Writer, and Zoho Creator. Eventually, our goal is to enable VB applications to move to the cloud easily.

Our support for VB macros is an illustration of the growing sophistication of online applications. The rapid evolution will continue, and within one, perhaps two, years online apps will look even richer than desktop apps in terms of functionality, while retaining their inherent collaborative advantage.

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