272 internautes sur 275 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
William A. Huber
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Needing to finish my first Excel add-in, and frustrated by the incompleteness and obscurity of MS's help system, I picked up this book after reading warm recommendations from readers of earlier versions.
If you have never programmed Excel before, but have programmed a tiny bit in some other language, and do not have great ambitions for software development, this might be a fine text. It is quite readable and full of useful information. Walkenbach introduces VBA quickly, which is great, but so quickly he forgets to say what most of the language constructs do. His approach to teaching the Excel object model is to provide several fairly well written examples of little macros and utilities, each one with a clear English explanation. Unfortunately, if the technique you need does not appear in any of these examples, you are out of luck, because his explanations are neither extensive, detailed, nor thorough enough to impart a good understanding of what is going on. This, coupled with Excel's erratic behavior (mis-type a property name and watch your user form mysteriously disappear, for instance), makes it very difficult to become independently productive without spilling a lot of sweat and tears.
The book's strengths include the numerous and well-organized examples provided on the companion CD; the occasional sidebar that offers first-hand knowledge of bugs, inconsistencies, and strange design; fairly broad, if incomplete, coverage of the major aspects of Excel VBA programming; and very clear indications of differences among various Excel versions (97, 2000, 2003 mainly). Walkenbach is obviously an expert and has been so for a long time.
The weaknesses become apparent in contrasting this book with, say, Roman's text (O'Reilley). Where Walkenbach gives a macro to display all the icons associated with the several thousand Excel 'FaceId's, Roman publishes the complete table as an appendix. Where Walkenbach loosely skims over the properties of many key objects, such as ranges and charts, Roman takes the time to provide a terse but useful description of nearly every property, as well as a very illuminating diagram of the object hierarchy. Where Walkenbach completely omits to describe how VBA works, Roman actually offers a deeper explanation (showing how object references are arranged in memory, for instance, and describing exactly how a for..next loop is executed). Boring stuff for some, maybe, but a huge time saver for those who appreciate that the details matter. For someone who either has a lot of programming experience, or who plans to develop more than toy utilities or one-off apps in Excel VBA, Roman's approach is much more useful than Walkenbach's.
If Walkenbach is appropriate for your background and ambitions, then you will probably agree it is a four- or five-star effort. Otherwise, you will likely be somewhat disappointed and, like me, will quickly find yourself looking for another book.
130 internautes sur 140 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I first heard of John Walkenbach this past summer. I work for a large Financial Services firm in New York City, and our employees use his Excel Add-in extensively. I purchased his book on Power Programming VBA in an effort to learn how to program Excel, and, now, I feel duty-bound, to give you some feedback.
It was early January of this year (2005) when I purchased "Excel 2003 Power Programming". At first I was skeptical. The book arrived, 1000 pages thick, and I do not like wordy books, but having heard of his reputation, I began, what became, a spell-binding read. So intrigued was I by his clear, insightful, and sprightly method in reaching the heart of VBA and its practical Excel uses, that I went back to Amazon and purchased two of his other books: "Excel 2003 Formulas" and "Excel Charts". I have almost completed them, too, and I am reeling with amazement at this man's work and knowledge!
Firstly, the author is one terrific writer who arouses your interest and is able to convey Excel's object structure and its related programming concepts in a way that few others can (especially, if you are new to programming). The writing balance is perfect: not too wordy, not too concise. Secondly, the author's possesses a world-class knowledge of Excel and how to make full use of it. (As I understand, Dr. Walkenbach has written 30 books over the last decade on Excel alone!). Thirdly, the author offers you many superb practical examples - page after page. This greatly aids your understanding and inspires your imagination. Fourthly, the book is packed with Excel tips and tricks that will, sometimes, fascinate you or humble you if you considered yourself an Excel expert. (This is even more applicable to his book on Excel Formulas).
I have read or perused a number of the well-known Excel VBA Programming books, but I have, so far, seen nothing that comes close to this author's book in terms of clarity and rich content. Beyond Excel, John Walkenbach's brilliant presentation is a lesson to all book-writers on how to present material to learners!
The following were some of the highlights for me. The author shows in detail how to write custom functions; how to build a Wizard; how to build self-expanding or interactive charts (animated charts too!); how to build a progress indicator to show the progress of a long macro; how to transfer ranges into an array, manipulate it, and back; how to make a spreadsheet appear in a dialogue box (or user form); how to produce complex user forms; and the hidden details behind Excel events. The author's explanation of Excel Add-Ins in Chapter 21 is so clear that, after reading the material, I was able to create one in minutes! In Chapter 23, the author gives you his personal technique (and code) for automating the building of menus in Excel. The author also shows you how to build your own objects (if you don't understand this now, you will), and how to manipulate files in your computer from VBA.
Accompanying the book is a CD with a treasure-trove of practical demonstrations, bonus utilities and more. The plethora is organized by chapter, so you can read through the book and see the concepts in action. I guarantee you that this CD alone (and those that accompany his other books) outclasses those available with competing books. An e-book is also included so you can print out any chapter to read on the train etc. The author, to his credit, also takes extra care to make his VBA code very readable and understandable (unlike other VBA books that I have read or perused).
The author's creative side will probably rub off on you, as you watch him produce an exact replica of Microsoft's functions (using VBA instead of C) and do some other sportive exercises that demonstrate so well the power of VBA! (If you read his book on charts you will sometimes not believe it until you see it.)
Dr. Walkenbach goes further and outdoes Microsoft at their own game! On Page 508, he unveils his enhanced version of Excel's Form utility. (See Data > Forms... on the Excel menu). His improved version adds a lot of needed features to Excel's native version. Throughout the book, the author brings up Excel's limitations that present a challenge to professionals. Instead of bemoaning Microsoft's shortcomings (a pet peeve for other authors), he whips out a trick or three to overcome the impasse. (For example, creating a chart in a dialogue box, P. 499.)
Dr. Walkenbach comes across as wanting to share with you his full knowledge, in order to turn the ordinary, but proficient, Excel user into a "power programmer". Furthermore, the author allows you to buy the full source code of his award winning "Power Utility Pak", which he sells for a living! Truly great teachers derive satisfaction from giving you their full knowledge, and that is the case with John Walkenbach, a magnanimous and dedicated author, an "Excel Legend" - in the words of Bastien Mensink developer of ASAP Utilities ([...]
Who should NOT buy John Walkenbach's book?
That's right, I said it! And here is the answer. If you are an experienced programmer or academic looking for a more theoretical approach, or want an Excel-programming Reference book (that covers all or most of the objects in Excel's Object Structure with its thousands of properties and methods), or just want a little more computer science, then you are simply at the wrong book-stand. However, out of the vast majority of Excel users, for those who wish to rapidly become Excel programmers, this book (and his others) are the crème-de-la-crème. Taking myself (an ordinary Excel user) as an example, I gained such a wealth of knowledge from the author's books in the last three months that I now find myself floating effortlessly through Microsoft's Excel Object Model and Help topics, and going a step beyond his books.
I hope this addresses the subjective critique emerging from one or two reviewers (and, perhaps, from a few more intelligent-but-not-so-wise ones to come.)
Regarding the art of book writing, let us take, for example, a subject such as physics. Which of two equally capable authors does more collective good, one who writes a perfectly logical treatise which is only understood by a few with a mind or drive to understand, or an author who takes the former and puts it forth in an exciting manner so that his readers' minds fill with knowledge?
Einstein said: "I have no special gift - I am only passionately curious"
Perhaps you will agree with me that it is of greater good to create curiosity that to simply feed it.
Thank you Dr. Walkenbach!!!