Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Concerning Yourself with the End User
Documenting the development effort
Putting a spreadsheet application together is one thing. Making it understandable for other
people is another. As with traditional programming, it’s important that you thoroughly document
your work. Such documentation helps you if you need to go back to it (and you will), and it helps
anyone else whom you might pass it on to.
You may want to consider a couple of things when you document your project. For
example, if you were hired to develop an Excel application, you may not want to share
all your hard-earned secrets by thoroughly documenting everything. If this situation is
the case, you should maintain two versions: one thoroughly documented (for your own
reference) and the other partially documented (for other users).
How do you document a workbook application? You can either store the information in a
worksheet or use another file. You can even use a paper document, if you prefer. Perhaps the easiest
way is to use a separate worksheet to store your comments and key information for the project.
For VBA code, use comments liberally. (VBA text preceded with an apostrophe is ignored because
that text is designated as a comment.) Although an elegant piece of VBA code can seem perfectly
obvious to you today, when you come back to it in a few months, your reasoning may be
completely obscured unless you use the VBA comment feature.
Distributing the application to the user
You’ve completed your project, and you’re ready to release it to the end users. How do you go
about distributing it? You can choose from many ways to distribute your application, and the
method that you choose depends on many factors.
You could just hand over a CD-ROM, scribble a few instructions, and be on your way. Or, you may
want to install the application yourself — but this approach isn’t always feasible. Another option is to
develop an official setup program that performs the task automatically. You can write such a program
in a traditional programming language, purchase a generic setup program, or write your own in VBA.
Excel 2000 and later versions incorporate technology to enable developers to digitally sign their
applications. This process is designed to help end users identify the author of an application, to
ensure that the project has not been altered, and to help prevent the spread of macro viruses or
other potentially destructive code. To digitally sign a project, you first apply for a digital certificate
from a formal certificate authority (or, you can self-sign your project by creating your own digital
certificate). Refer to the Help system or the Microsoft Web site for additional information.