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twinBASIC for Applications (?)


Microsoft has not modernized VBA or the development environment for many years. It is for that reason that I have supported the work of British developer Wayne Phillips on twinBASIC (tB), a modern BASIC variant with countless new features that is designed to be 100% compatible with VB6 and VBA.


For years, a few people have been asking why we always bring up this "unrelated commercial product" as a topic at Access conferences and other occasions. We have delivered two answers so far:


A) The first ever public interview with Wayne Phillips in 2022, where he stated that he definitely has plans for twinBASIC specifically related to VBA and Access.


B) The Access DevCon presentations by Mike Wolfe, where he showed that e.g. convenient add-in creation for Access is already possible with the beta version of tB.


Now, a few days ago, Wayne Phillips added


C) a proof of concept, in which he shows how twinBASIC can be integrated into Office applications to replace the VBA editor and VBA itself. Check out the short video on Reddit (linked from Wayne's X post) demonstrating the integration with an Access example:



In the Reddit thread Wayne writes about 3 potential levels how tB could be used by VBA developers:


1. Replacement of the VBA editor by the modern tB editor (based on Monaco) for the developer who writes 100% normal VBA. The end user does not notice anything.


2. Replacement of the VBA editor + use of new language elements by the developer. A transpiler then translates the tB extensions into normal VBA. Again, the end user is not involved.


3. Full use of the tB language extensions and the tB editor. This requires that at the end user twinBASIC gets installed in addition to the Office application.

Feature list on the tB website (click to enlarge)

The tBA video demonstrates just a proof of concept for the integration and version 1.0 of twinBASIC is planned for October 2024. However, with this demo Wayne shows that his project has the realistic potential to bring both the VBA editor and VBA into the modern age. Let's hope that he will realize this soon and in a way that is feasible and affordable for the broad mass of serious (not necessarily only professional) VBA developers.


If you want to keep up to date with the progress of tB, you can follow Mike Wolfe's weekly summary.

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3 Comments


K.P. L.
K.P. L.
Jun 22

Not only Microsoft! Since years twin Basic has no real functional updates.

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Gontran Harvey
Gontran Harvey
Jun 20

Thanks for this information, it looks very promising. Is it my understanding that if I'm using tb for my vba development, my end user won’t have to install TB, but if I'm using any TB specific code, I will need to install TB on all my user's computers?

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Replying to

Hi Gontran,

Maybe you have missed the middle level 2 of integration I mention in the article. A subset of the tB language features can then be used during development and is translated into standard VBA during compilation. In his linked comment Wayne describes this on the example of operators.

Only if you want to use all tB features (level 3) is it necessary to install tB on the user's computer.

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