Conference Report Day 2

Friday: Conference – Advanced, Add-ons – Intermediate.
Again the feedback was very positive all round.
The first session was Andys session on Excel Charting.
Andy took us through a range of different ways to present information on charts. In each case explaining the logic behind it as well as the actual steps to create the chart. Although the demo was on 2003, he explained where Excel 2007 was different.
I learnt a load of stuff in Andys talk last year, and I learnt a load of new stuff this time around.
Next up was my Excel VBA design tips
This covered a range of areas from IDE setup to design, class, named ranges etc. I demoed some of the hard to maintain code I have worked with in the past. The session was a bit of a challenge as I had pretty much lost my voice, but I think I scraped through. (apologies for the squeaking!)
After dinner Charles went through UDF performance
Charles had an example of performance improvement step by step from someone he had helped from a newsgroup posting. Sadly I can’t remember the numbers, but it was big from 20 second to 0.04 or something. He also took us through some of the underlying issues like the VBA call overhead, and ways to minimise that. He had also created several new UDFs to demonstrate how a bit of domain knowledge can enable you to create functions that perform better than Excel native ones. He also discussed some of the issues in creating and deploying professional UDFs.
Last slot of the day was Nick on Data Interchange
Nick took us through some of the many ways of connecting Excel up to external data sources. One of the big features in Office 2007 is Sharepoint integration and Nick demoed some of the ways they use that at his firm. By choosing the right structure in Excel 2007 (which seemed to be tables, tables, tables – now what was the question?) exposing and synchronising data with external sources (eg sharepoint lists) is almost trivial.

The addon classes were Charles on Optimising Calculation speed and Bob on VBA Tips and Techniques.

The day finished with some general questions and answers, mainly about which pub to go to before our planned Chinese meal. (which was excellent btw)

One point worth mentioning was during a couple of sessions I spotted presenters and delegates huddled around laptops in the foyer. There aren’t many opportunities to get such one to one focussed advice from the top folks in the country, this is surely one of the hidden benefits of conferences such as this. We are wondering about formalising this somehow for the 2008 event – any suggestions as to how are welcome.

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