Porting Word2MediaWikiPlus to VB.NET: Part 1

[This series of articles starts off with a prologue here.]

Initial Setup

First up, I’d downloaded the source code from here.  When I downloaded it the browser would only let me choose between htm, mht and txt format (I chose txt).  Then, figuring that my work would be easiest if opened the file in Visual Studio 2005 Team edition (with the VSTO SE addition), I needed to figure out what file extension I should assign to ensure Visual Studio recognized it for the kind of code that it is (and get as much of the Visual Studio Intellisense auto-completion and auto-colouring as possible).

I tried .BAS and .VBA, but neither of those extensions had any associated icons, and when I opened the .VBA, every line was displayed entirely in black.

Then, in exploring the filesystem to re-open the file, I noticed I’d created a C#–based project [since my VS2005 install is oriented to C# — having forced myself to write an app in it to prove to myself I wasn’t forever tainted by my earlier VB.NET experiences] instead of VB.NET, so I deleted that one and tried again (File > New > Project > Other languages > Visual Basic > Office > 2003 Add-ins > Word Add-in).  I chose Word 2003 because (a) that’s what I’m currently using, (b) that’s the platform I have a little experience with, and (c) it’s what most folks around the world would be using — at least, much moreso than Word 2007.  I chose to name the solution Word2MediaWiki++, to honour the fine work upon which I’m building.

[I’ve thought about whether this will become just one Project in a larger Solution, and I assume at some point there’ll be a need to rename either the Solution or this first Project to distinguish between this single piece of functionality and the overall Word-to-MediaWiki functionality.  It’s quite likely in fact, but I don’t want to overthink this or over-engineering the proceedings too badly – I have to remind myself that just getting the same functionality in VSTO add-in form is my primary goal.]

Quick Aside

I’ve done some reading about VBA to VSTO conversions in the past (while I was still at Microsoft), and I’d actually developed another Word 2003 add-in — from scratch — as a way to provide a platform for re-implementing a very comprehensive VBA macro-based application we were using.  So I already had some idea that this was possible, and that there are many resources (from Microsoft* and elsewhere) to help in making both the high-level transition and in converting many of the low-level VBA constructs.

A simple search on Google for “vba to vsto” comes up with 828,000 results, and many of them on the first page or two are good, first-person lessons.  However, the articles/white papers/blog posts I’d previously read that had given me the confidence I’m building on now include these:

Licensing

Oh, and before I actually go do any work on this code, I should double-check that the original author hasn’t put any restrictions on it (copyright, restrictive license, “all rights reserved”)…

… So according to the SourceForge home for W2MWP, this is licensed under the GPL.  It looks like I’m in the clear, so long as I publish this back out under GPL too – wouldn’t want to run afoul of the GPL police now would we?

 

Join us again – same Bat time, same Bat channel!

[*Footnote: My only gripe about Microsoft’s VSTO SE add-in work is that they’re so freakin’ focused on Office 2007 development that I have to do some serious detective work – either trolling through old VBA or pre-add-in documentation and hoping the classes are similar, or winding through the “everything is wonderful” Office 2007 documentation and hoping the stuff I need hasn’t been reinvented for the wondrous new world of Office 12.]

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