Code cruncher transforms Excel
TurboExcel turns spreadsheets into C++, making Excel a development tool
Excel used as an IDE might be useful, cells filled with numbers and formulae leave something to be desired as a complete programming language. It is cumbersome, if not impossible, to coax looping and decision structures from such a limited environment.
Here, VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) comes to the rescue. TurboExcel can also turn VBA into executable C++. Unfortunately, the TurboExcel documentation lists numerous limitations. For example, although you can convert functions, you cannot convert subs, which initially disappoints. Read on, though, and you find that the real value of converting VBA code is to provide the “spreadsheet programmer” with looping and decision-making mechanisms that would be impossible if unadulterated Excel were the only raw material available.
For optimal TurboExcel use, you must factor your spreadsheet into areas that are straightforward calculations and areas that involve complex decision-making. Using TurboExcel, you can then build separate executable modules of each, and reassemble the result into a newer, faster spreadsheet. If you’ve properly factored your spreadsheet, the modules you’ve created can be reused not only in other spreadsheets but called from any application that can call into a DLL.
Currently, code produced by TurboExcel only runs on Windows. However, I was told by company officials that the generated code only employs a pair of Win32-specific calls that could easily be replaced with Unix-equivalents.
If TurboExcel does provide cross-compilation to Unix platforms (and I hope it will), then it might be possible to create native add-ins for Linux spreadsheets such as StarOffice. And of course, TurboExcel-produced shared library files could be called by other applications.
TurboExcel performs its duty with laser-beam accuracy, but the price is lofty. The Personal Edition is $999 and allows you to run the generated code only on the machine that created it. If you want to run the generated code on any machine, you’ll need to purchase the Professional Edition for $2999.
If these are introductory prices, I’m not sure I want to hear what the prices will be once the introduction is over, but I hope Savvysoft keeps the cost of TurboExcel within reach of all well-deserving Excel slingers.