Friday, April 13, 2012

Excel, VBA and Software Development tools Intro.


This blog introduces readers to all the information in regards to Excel, VBA, Software development and thinking tools encouraged for communicating with others.

For Excel
I am excited to have found a very helpful online community resource called GCFLearnFree.org
(1998- present day) "GCFLearnFree" [accessed 13 June 2012] is a free online learning course for the general population. Excel 2007 and Excel 2010 lessons are available.

For VBA
To save my time reinventing the wheel, I took a look on the Internet of what other websites offered in regarding teaching VBA.

Peter (1997present) from his website "Excel Macros Programming" [accessed 13 June 2012] has been teaching VBA for all versions for a general audience in positive tone & approach as Peter's (1997) profession as an accountant/businessman by trade. Therefore, I feel it is a good cover point in knowing the basics and simple programming tasks such as modules, functions to simplify complex calculations and procedures.

Chip Pearson  (1997-present day), "Pearson Software Consulting, LLC" [accessed 13 June 2012] explains VBA classes including how to construct them. Pearson (1997) uses the context of business employee to guide the readers about classes.

David Horowitz's contribution to Cimaware software website (2000present) "Using Classes in VBA | Expert Zone" [accessed 13 June 2012]. Frankly, I found it helpful when someone provides a different context learning classes which Horowitz (2000) used information about dogs. I got the point very quickly there.

Bruce McPherson from his Excel Rambling site (2011–present) "Excel Liberation" [accessed 13 June 2012] provided great contributions to eggheadcafe (2000present day) [accessed 13 June 2012] for .net developers and extend Excel VBA for integration of other emerging techolongies such as javascript. Bruce (2011) has a no nonsense and to the point approach. Mcpherson (2011) [accessed 13 June 2012]  showed what you really need to understand and learn about VBA then expand that approach about classes [accessed 13 June 2012].

Classes are a means of describing objects related to the real world. I would like to take advantage of using classes to describe the business, associated business practices with modern programming software practices.

For software development
I am inspired by the following books from Head First series, published by O'Reilly Media.

Software Development by Dan Pilone; Russ Miles (2008) 
· Object-Oriented Analysis & Design by Brett D. McLaughlin, Gary Pollice & David West (2007) here
· Design Patterns by Elizabeth Freeman, Eric Freeman, Bert Bates, Kathy Sierra, Elisabeth Robson (2004) here

For other topics
Edward de Bono (1992) developed a thinking tool that was later published into a book titled Teach your Child How to Think. The book is available from Amazon here and has been very helpful for me to discuss ideas in later blogs.

Varing points of view in regards to the content will be highlighted. There is a total of 7 attention directing tools along with 6 coloured thinking hats to show different types (or ways) of thinking. The table below summarises the tools available in no particular order. I'll describe the tools when we use them.

The table below has been developed from Edward de Bono's book Teach your Child How to Think (1992)
Name of Tool Meaning and purpose of tool
Attention directing tools
CAF – Consider all factors Used to increase the scope or widen the topic at hand.
APC – Alternatives, Possibilities, Choices Instead of moving forward, we go sideways or in parallel of the topic.
OPV – Other People’s Views Recognising that thinking affects people, we need to see their values.
C&S – Consequence and Sequel If an action is taken now, what consequences will occur in the future
PMI – Plus, Minus & Interesting A method to explore each part before making judgements
AGO – Aims, Goals and Objectives A means to break down a problem into smaller parts to be achieved.
FIP – First Important Priorities Which part do we get to do first?
Types of thinking (6 thinking hats)
White Hat Facts, figures and information
Red Hat Emotions, feelings, hunches and intuition.
Black Hat Caution, truth, is this safe to proceed?
Yellow Hat Advantages, benefits, savings
Green Hat Suggestions, new different ideas
Blue Hat Thinking about thinking. The approach of thinking.


In conclusion, I have discussed what Excel does, what VBA does, how to do classes in VBA, where I received ideas for software development and suggested some ideas explaining how to think about problems.

Til then,
Peter.