I have about as close to zero experience with programming as you can get with a engineering degree. I've got an idea to streamline some things at my company, and want some basic advice on what I should start learning so that I can implement it.
I am envisioning a simple Windows program where the user can make selections from various options. These selections will then be used to generate a Word document once the user is finished.
Right now these documents are created by editing old ones, and cross-referencing with various reference documents so that the correct information gets put in. I'd like this program to have all of this reference information in it, so that the user can just make the selections they want (and be able to customize as need be), making the entire process more streamlined and idiot-proof.
From my very limited knowledge, Visual Basic would be the simplest, quickest way to get this done. Am I right in this? Are there any tutorials/guides that you would suggest for a beginning looking to start learning how to do all this?
(edited by samoflange on 6.9.11 1500) Lloyd: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her. Harry: That's a special feeling.
What kind of changes to the documents would it be making? Since you're dealing with Word files, I wonder if a Word template would do what you want. If not that then a macro should work. A macro is programmed in Visual Basic.
And that's really all I can add to the discussion.
I've used templates in the past and I think it would end up being too complicated for this application. The type of information to be inputted could easily be mapped as a tree where you choose one of several choices, then are prompted for more information to narrow down what would be put into the document.
Here's a rough example:
-Select One or More Type A Type B Type C Type D
(choose Type B)
-Select Range Range X, 0 to 100 Range Y, 0 to 200 Range Z, 0 to 300
(choose Range X)
---> The program should display the parameters for Type A, Range X in a text box that can be customized if desired. Upon completion, an 'export to document' button or something would be clicked on and these parameters would be put into the document at a specified location along with the choices of Type B and Range X.
There should also be option to pick more than one Type and the document created would then have more than one Type, Range, and Parameters.
Lloyd: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her. Harry: That's a special feeling.
In your copy of Word (I'm using Word 2010) you need to enable the developer toolbar. It's off by default. Go to file, options and then select Customize Ribbon. On the right tree view box, Main tabs, tick the developer node to display it and hit OK.
Hitting the far left button on the developer toolbar will open the Visual Basic editor.
There is much functionality available to you in VBA but it is very much the little brother of Windows programming though. When google searching, be sure to include VBA in your terms.
If you select Tools, References from the VBA menu, this is where you add additional libraries you may need to use, eg you can manipulate an Excel spreadsheet from within Word should you want to.
You can create and pop up forms to capture the information you need.
I'd recommend creating a template(s) depending on your needs with various bookmarks, fields, etc. pre-defined, just to make it easier to navigate your created document programmatically. After you collect the information from the user, you would spawn from your template rather than just a blank normal.
There is a USB/Serial adaptor that Radio Shack sells. I used it to connect a weather station to a PC here a year ago. It seemed to work fine other than the driver for the USB adaptor was not Windows Certified.