Microsoft Licenses VBA 6.0 To Software Vendors - InformationWeek

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Microsoft Licenses VBA 6.0 To Software Vendors

Microsoft said yesterday that Visual Basic for Applications 6.0, the version of its programming language that is included in Office 2000, is now available to software vendors who have licensed VBA for use in their own products.

The new release of VBA has some features that Office 2000 has not yet taken advantage of, including the ability to write multithreaded applications, according to Microsoft officials.

More than 150 third-party independent software vendors have licensed VBA for use as a scripting/macro programming language in their own applications. Microsoft officials say more than 80 applications from independent vendors that use VBA 5.0, the previous version, are shipping.

VBA 6.0 provides support for the Component Object Model add-in architecture supported by Office 2000. The architecture provides a standard way for users and software vendors to write their own add-ins for Office 2000 and for their own applications.

VBA 6.0 also includes support for "signed" VBA applications, which can help IT managers and users avoid so-called "macro viruses," such as the Melissa virus that recently hit many E-mail systems. Melissa took advantage of the macro programming capability in Word and the Outlook personal E-mail client to cause those applications to send a huge number of E-mail messages, clogging mail systems and bringing many to their knees.

Using the security signature features in VBA 6.0, software vendors can include capabilities in their applications that would refuse to execute any macro program that wasn't authenticated via a digital signature. IT staffers can use those capabilities to specify that only "signed" programs be allowed to be executed, thus blocking viruses such as Melissa.

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