Give the VBA IDE a major overhaul finally
It's been over 20 years since the VBA IDE was created in its present form. MS has since created a number of modern and efficient development environments. Even if the VBA environment has long been referred to as outdated: it is simply the everyday reality for all serious Access developers (to a lesser extent this is also true for the other Office programs). I can not imagine that it lacks capacity to MS to bring the VBA IDE into a more contemporary form.
To insist that it would not be worthwhile to invest in an improved IDE, is roughly as if an automaker refuses any further developments in the wheels for 20 years, with the note that they would someday replace all wheels by air cushions.
Suggestions related to VBA editor should be posted in the Office Developers User voice site here – https://officespdev.uservoice.com/
James Lee commented
Comment on an idea about VBA IDE that's under review at https://officespdev.uservoice.com/forums/224641-feature-requests-and-feedback/suggestions/15446658-give-the-vba-ide-a-major-overhaul-finally
@Mark, if those managers at Microsoft have a strategy concerning VBA in office products (let's say: announcing a modern and more powerful replacement for VBA after the next office version, like most of us expected around the 2007 version!), I would be glad to follow their path. Change is not bad at all, if there is some reasonable plan behind it. But in reality we have a complete standstill in the VBA matter for at least 16 years now (kind of a singularity in the IT industry). And Microsoft could change that with so little effort (related to the resources that this company has)...
Mark Burns commented
@Heinz, those are are great ideas, and often have been voiced by VBA developers over the years. (BTW, did you know that the folks at Summit Software, who made VBA, also made VSTA - Visual Studio Tools for Applications, which is found as a VBA replacement in older .Net-based coded Office products like InfoPath 2007?) However, in order to make those ideas anything like a reality, You would only need to do 1 thing. Make the Senior-level managers at Microsoft change their minds about their best strategic path forwards.
@Patrick: I was thinking about things like "real" IntelliSense (comparable to that in current Visual Studio languages), extensive auto code completion, syntax checks that support the coder and do not hinder him/her, a much better integrated help system, refactoring tools, etc..
In other words: Not a newly decorated IDE, but simply an up-to-date developement tool like those in modern IDEs (Visual Studio, Eclipse, NetBeans, IntelliJ IDEA etc.). I do believe that this would not be "old wine in new bottles" but a valuable "productivity tool" for all Office developers.
Patrick Headley commented
Thinking about your metaphor, the steering wheel, foot peddles and hand break have not changed significantly since they were first used. Maybe you can be more specific as to what should be updated in the IDE. With regards to the IDE, form should follow function. A new facade has no merit unless it will make developers more productive.
@Mark: Thank you for the topic link, I missed that one...
@MS: There is no rational reason for this stubborn refusal on the part of MS (at least none that MS is willing to share with its disappointed developing customers)!
Mark Burns commented
MS: NO CURRENT PLAN
In plain english, they WILL NOT be looking to revamp or improve the VBA dev environment in any serious ways at all. it sucks, but arguing against that in this forum is merely an exercise spitting into the wind coming out of Redmond.