… so we know where we are going.

I’ll be starting several, to some extent interlinked, new themes in this blog over the coming weeks.

- Firstly VBA Classes. Regular readers may have noticed that my VBA code tends to be class-free. The main reasons for that is that I haven’t seen the benefit of class based code for what I have been doing, and when I have looked at implementing classes I have found the documentation confusing and I have gone back to my old ways. For reasons discussed below I have now decided that the time has come to learn the class based approach seriously, so what I plan to do is implement a “Units” class which will allow “units aware” calculations to be easily implemented in VBA. This will also be incorporated in the Eval spreadsheet, allowing units aware calculations on the spreadsheet with no VBA coding.
- One of the main reasons for the new interest in classes is that I will be looking at the use of VB.Net with Excel, and since VB.Net follows the “object-oriented” approach more completely than VBA it makes sense to adopt the use of a class based approach at the same time. The use of VB.Net will include both writing VBA routines to interface with compiled VB.Net dll routines (as I have previously done for Fortran and C++), and also using Add-in Express to write VB.Net code that works directly with the spreadsheet.
- On the engineering side I will continue to work on Excel versions of the ALGLIB library and also start a series on using an Application Programming Interface (API) to link Excel to a finite element analysis program. The program I will be using is Strand7, but the methods used should be applicable to other programs with similar functionality. Strand7 has recently had a major new release, including a greatly expanded API. This provides another incentive for adopting the class based approach, since I will be re-writing much of my API library, and the use of class based code should allow this to be done more efficiently.
- I will also be returning to the Excel frame analysis spreadsheet, and the plotting spreadsheet which have been presented here previously, to incorporate additional functionality and links to compiled routines for better performance.
- The reinforced concrete analysis spreadsheets will also be further developed, with further developments of the crack width, time related strain, and moment-curvature analyses, and also analysis of differential strain effects and composite construction.
- Finally, the general science related posts will continue, featuring interesting and entertaining (I hope) applications of some of the Excel analysis tools featured on the blog.

Any other topics you would like to see covered here? Let me know.

You should take a look at the open source ExcelDNA http://exceldna.typepad.com/ as an alternative to tools such as Add-in Express. It’s simple, fast (at heart it’s a C add-in), powerful and free!

Tom

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Thanks for the suggestion, but I’ll stick with Add-in express for the blog because:

1. The suppliers provided a free copy on condition that I did a review of it.

2. Ross Mclean is covering ExcelDNA in some detail at Methods in Excel: http://www.blog.methodsinexcel.co.uk/

I will have a look at it though (I didn’t realise that it is free!)

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Tom – see today’s post:

https://newtonexcelbach.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/excel-alglib-c-and-exceldna/

also, having had a look at your blog, I really must get into power pivot.

One of these days :)

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ExcelDNA is a gem; but PowerPivot is a game changer, best thing to happen to Excel since the introduction of PivotTables …

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