Chapter 2. Preliminaries

In this chapter:

  • What Is a Programming Language?

  • Programming Style

We begin with some general facts related to programming and programming languages to give the main subject matter of this book some perspective. After all, VBA is just one of many programming languages and anyone who wants to be a VBA programmer should have some perspective on where VBA fits into the greater scheme of things. Rest assured, however, that we will not dwell on side issues. The purpose of this chapter is to give a brief overview of programming and programming languages that will be of interest to readers who have not had any programming experience, as well as to those who have.

What Is a Programming Language?

Simply put, a programming language is a very special and very restricted language that is understood by the computer at some level. We can roughly divide programming languages into three groups, based on the purpose of the language:

  • Languages designed to manipulate the computer at a low level—that is, to manipulate the operating system (Windows or DOS) or even the hardware itself—are called low-level languages. An example is assembly language.

  • Languages designed to create standalone applications, such as Microsoft Word itself, are high-level languages. Examples are BASIC, COBOL, FORTRAN, C, C++, and Visual Basic.

  • Languages that are designed to manipulate an application program, such as Microsoft Word, are application-level languages. Examples are Word VBA, Excel VBA, and PowerPoint ...

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