You’ve no doubt seen the news from WWDC today. Yes, it is true — the MacBU is halting development on Virtual PC and is discontinuing support for Visual Basic in the next version of Mac Office.
I’m sad to see VPC go. It was an amazing product to bring into the MacBU back in 2003 (I’d used it myself since version 2 when it was made by Connectix) and it still has features that Parallels doesn’t have. The biggest thing Parallels lacks is the ability to script the main app and the virtual machines. VPC let you query VM state, launch programs inside it, define shared drive mappings, and all sorts of other great stuff via AppleScript. You can’t do that yet in Parallels. Hopefully they’ll add scriptability someday soon. Them or VMWare!
I’m not so sad to see VB go. That code has been a major headache to maintain over the years. Lots of people are bemoaning the sudden lack of cross-platform scriptability, but to be bluntly honest, VB for Mac Office hasn’t been remotely compatible with VB for Win Office for years. Even back in Office 98 the VB IDE for the Mac had several major features cut compared to Win Office (watchpoints, etc) and the object models for the two platforms have diverged wildly in the 10 years that have gone by. I’d like to blog more about VB, but not tonight. It’s a long and sordid tale.
One positive thing that seems to have been lost in the rabid chatter about VPC and VB is that Mac Office has finally made the complete switch to Xcode! The last major checkin happened on Friday afternoon, and all of MacBU is finally switched over. Yay! That only took a month and a half longer than I guessed, back in early June… We’re still not ready to ship yet; we’ve been working on lots more than just the recompilation and those changes are not yet complete. I myself am hip-deep in the new file-format-converter compatibility work that we’ve announced.