UK Excel Developer conference date and location

November 30, 2011

the date and location for this event is now sorted:

Wednesday 25th Jan, all day.

and the location is here:
Skills Matter

This is the same venue as the last event as they looked after us so well.
We will go to the local pub for dinner, which also worked well last time.

So get the date and location in your diaries.

I’ll put up a book/pay link over the weekend.
I’ve only booked a medium sized room, so once its full we’ll have to stop taking bookings. I.e. book early…

The plan is for another smallish informal event with around 30 or so people.

I hope to see you there.




UK Excel Developer Conference London January 2012

November 22, 2011

08:30 – 08:45
Tea, coffee, small talk and any nice biscuits anyone brings
08:45 – 09:15
The Excel Window
Excel is the window to most corporate data, and most corporate logic.
This session looks at trade offs you make by placing different elements at the various layers.

Simon Murphy
09:15 – 09:45
Keeping track of development with working papers.
Branched arguments and conclusions from an Excel Workbook – a
management concept in VBA

Stephen Allen
09:45 – 10:00
Questions and answers & Tea and Coffee
10:00 – 11:15
Will Self-Service BI Happen?
– Excel as the BI presentation layer
– PowerPivot as an end-user tool
– Bringing it all together.

Bob Phillips
11:15 – 12:15
VBA to ExcelDNA The trials and tribulations of migrating from VBA to and ExcelDNA.
– Writing VBA UDFs that convert to C# and C++
– Using ExcelDNA to create XLLs
– Running VB.NET without Visual Studio

Mike Staunton
12:15 – 13:30
Dinner/Lunch PUB
13:30 – 13:50
Managing the development process
Excel Development is RAD.
What does that mean?
how does it impact project management and planning?
The good and bad of RAD
And how to maximise one and minimise the other

Simon Murphy
13:50 – 15:05
The .NET hammer: VSTO for Excel
Compared to other Excel automation approaches, VSTO (Visual Studio Tools
for Office) is heavyweight. We’ll illustrate some of its benefits (full
access to all the power of .NET, modern IDE and development languages, team
development, testable code, automated deployment), and discuss when using
VSTO is and isn’t a good idea.

Mathias Brandewinder
15:05 – 15:30
Break Questions and answers over Tea and Coffee
15:30 – 16:30
VBA to C : Pratfalls and Perils
– Stories based on a c++ newby’s efforts to convert 10K lines of VBA UDFs to
C++ XLLs.
– Demonstrations and examples using Visual Studio 2010 and Planatech XLL+

Charles Williams
16:30 – 17:30
The FAST spreadsheet modelling standard
An industry proven, easily accessible, collaboratively developed, set of guidelines and recommendations to facilitate building robust spreadsheet models efficiently.

Morten Siersted
17:30 – 18:00
Questions and answers and general lurking and conf close
18:00 – late
    Drinking and arguing    

UK Excel Developer Conference 2012

November 6, 2011

Its happening in London towards the end of Jan 2012.

More details to follow, but expect a rich technical program.

Current outline here.



Excel User Conf London 7-8 Oct 09

September 29, 2009

The next UK Excel User Conference will take place next week at Microsoft London.

Its two days, Wednesday and Thursday.

Its a re-run of the April event for those that missed out that time

Fuller details including an agenda are here.

If you are going I look forward to seeing you there.



October 2009 Excel User Conference

August 9, 2009

We will be running the second 2009 Excel User conference, at Microsoft London again.

More details soon (like the date)



UK Excel User Conference 2009

December 6, 2008

London, April 1st and 2nd.

Nick Hodge has all the details here

1 or 2 days (up to you) of quality Excel content delivered by Experts, and all for FREE.

Microsoft have kindly offered to host the event at their London event venue.

See you there



UK Excel User Conference 2009 content

September 26, 2008

Please leave a comment listing the topics you would like covered and what level.

Also note if you think it is more suitable for a one day event or more in depth coverage over a 2 day event.

If you would be interested in presenting then drop me a line.

If you would like to sponsor the event then let me know too.

Also if you have any ideas for improving previous conferences then leave a comment

and finally for the 1 day free event – London or Reading?



Conference Feedback

December 16, 2007

Finally got all those feedback forms entered and analysed.

In most areas the results were either 4’s or 5’s (out of 5) so that is very encouraging. Basically the presenters and the content were very well received. As this is the core reason for attending its great that the attendees were so pleased.

The main areas for improvement were around pre-conference admin and information. Part of the issue here was the last minute nature of the event – we only had about 6 weeks from confirmed date/venue till event. As we are already planning for next year, this stuff should be much better organised.

Thanks a lot to all those who took the time to fill out the forms, they will help us make the event even better next time.

As usual leave any other feedback or suggestions for 2008 somewhere on this site and we will find them and consider them.

If you didn’t come this time, but are considering 2008, then you’ll be pleased to hear this years delegates rated the event so highly. We hope (and plan) to do even better next year so watch this space for dates and venues.



Conference Report Day 3

December 10, 2007

The Saturday session was targeted at developers.
Again the day went well and the feedback was very positive.

The first session was on the future of VBA
The session started old-Skool when I demoed recording XLM macros in Excel 5 on Windows 3.11. The XLM life story is probably our best guide to what may happen to VBA. The future of VBA is a concern for many developers, not just from a career point of view but also from a maintainability of current projects POV. We discussed what people thought might be key influencing factors and timescales.

The second session was a led discussion around programmability
We looked at VSTA in Infopath, VSTO in Visual Studio 2008 and discussed how these might impact our projects. We also had a candid discussion about security. This was an extremely useful session for getting a feel for the consensus view on some of these topics. Rather than being a one way ‘I think this’ presentation everyone chipped in with what they thought, what they had seen etc.

The afternoon started off with a look at xlls.
These are the recommended technology for writing Excel add-ins. They have some major benefits over VBA based xla’s (speed mainly), and some significant drawbacks (they are harder to write (well)). I walked through a demo VBA version I had built to explain the concepts and then went though the code of some xlls I have written. I also demoed some of the commercial tools in the area that take away all the C API pain. My performance demo was 266ms for a set of VBA functions down to 13 ms for the xll equivalent. (as a matter of interest the XLM version was 26ms, and whilst a bit more ugly than VBA, its not that much harder to write.)

The second session was a led discussion around data and Excel alternatives
We had a good chat about the ways people are using external data in Excel. And some great insight into some of the issues with certain providers. Essbase got a mention as a couple of us work with it regularly. We also had a look at OpenOffice Calc, and a discussion of where that was at in relation to Excel in enterprises. We also had a chat about Office 2007, with some of the attendees part way through roll-outs or pilots. Almost inevitably we touched on corporate culture, which so often seems to get ignored, but can have a dramatic effect on the work we do and the way we do it.

We also found time to discuss next year and what people would like to see and do.

Finally a few of us retired to the pub to watch the footie, have a drink and eventually go for a (delicious) curry.

Overall an excellent event I reckon, I’m already looking forward to next year. Hope to see you there.

Conference Report Day 2

December 10, 2007

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.