Code you write is twice as sweet as code purchased.

Color Of Money

“Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.” – Paul Newman

At this point you may be asking yourself, “David, why should I bother learning all of this stuff? I don’t have the slightest idea how to write VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) code.”

Why Learn VBA?

There are many reasons to learn VBA.

First, if you are a geek like me, you actually enjoy learning and using code. I first learned the term Homo Logicus while reading Jeff Atwood’s excellent blog Coding Horror. I’ll paraphrase and describe it as someone with an insatiable need to understand how things work. Sometimes I can’t believe people pay me to work on puzzles all day long.

Second, VBA is ubiquitous and applies to many functions of an administrator’s job. Microsoft Office is a completely different world when you incorporate VBA programming. You’d be amazed at what you can do with it in Excel.

Third, unlike many other add on products for Made2Manage, VBA is absolutely free. You can install it from your Made2Manage install CD and assuming you’re on support you can download the latest version from M2M Expert .

Finally, let’s assume that you’re not one of the tribe of Homo Logicus and you don’t find coding fun. You should still learn to do your own customizations or hire someone on staff to do so. The reason is accountability. Many years ago, before I had VBA experience, my employer required a customization. It should have been fairly simple, but rather than working through the problem myself, I deferred to an “expert.” I want to make it clear that this person was not a Made2Manage employee, but they were a certified solutions provider. Essentially, the customization was supposed to update all line items of the sales order with the correct ship to address and ship date at a single click. Anyway, when we received our VBA customization, it worked but it took 30 seconds for a process that I felt should have taken less than 5. I reviewed the code and found it riddled with problems. After being shown his mistakes, the contractor fixed them and sent us another bill for the corrections. Even after these corrections we were left with code we couldn’t use and were given a bill twice the size of the original quote.

Moral of the story, if you’re a Made2Manage Administrator take the online classes, post in the forums, ask for sample code, and view later posts to this blog for help.

Paying for code is not nearly as satisfying as creating it yourself and seeing it work. Also, if you created the code yourself and a problem occurs in testing or even in the production environment, you are in a much better position to fix it if you wrote it yourself.

What if I don’t have the resources to hire a Homo Logicus?

Then if you must customize Made2Manage you will have to contract with someone to do it. I’ll give some pointers as to how to pick someone, how to draft a statement of work document, and proper testing procedures in a future post.

Also, I will provide the code I wrote to accomplish the customization I listed above as well as explanations for how the VBA works in a future post as well.

1 comment to Code You Write is Twice as Sweet as Code Purchased.

  • Jason Griffith

    VBA is easy to learn, and has a huge array of possible uses in a number of different applications. Most commonly I find myself writing VBA code for Excel, particularly in relation to reports generated from ERP systems, but it is used throughout the Microsoft Office suite and other applications as well (such as M2M, obviously).

    In my opinion, Excel is the most powerful tool that Microsoft has ever created. By itself, it’s a very cool program, but when you include VBA your options are nearly limitless. When you throw Access into the mix, combining true database functionality into it, it just multiplies.

    As David’s example points out though, because a lot of it is so easy to do, you can often find someone who claims to be an expert on the subject only to find out that they’re still wearing that white belt that David mentioned before, expecting that black dye they soaked it in to cover for their mistakes. If you take the time to learn VBA, then you’re never going to regret it. But, you may very well regret it if you do not.

    VBA – Learn it, live it, love it. Or at least try to find yourself someone who does.

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