Migrating from a legacy technology to a modern one can be a daunting task for any company. However, it can bring substantial benefits, and one recent project we worked on proved just that. We helped a company migrate their Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) project to .NET, resulting in a jaw-dropping 900% improvement in performance. In this blog, I'll share our journey and how we achieved such an impressive feat.
Before we get into the "how", I want to briefly discuss the "why". The company we migrated the software for realized they had reached a point where VBA macros weren't going to cut it anymore. The main pain points were that the VBA project was not scalable, functionality was limited, and the performance was painfully slow. The business had experienced some growth in the last couple of years, and they were ready to create a more robust system to handle their operation. We wanted to rebuild the VBA script and focus on improving performance. By migrating to .NET, we were able to fundamentally cover the other two requirements, scalable and flexible.
At the beginning of the project, we spent several weeks analyzing the existing VBA code to understand its functionality and identify any potential issues. It was a challenging yet exciting experience, like uncovering a puzzle and figuring out how to solve it. We’ve worked with many migration projects, and none are ever the same. During our analysis, we discovered several areas where the VBA code was not efficient or was limited due to its synchronous nature, resulting in slow performance. We also mapped out asynchronous opportunities.
Once we had a clear understanding of the existing codebase, we began the process of migrating the VBA code to .NET. We used a modular approach, breaking down the existing VBA code into smaller, more manageable components that made the porting process to .NET more manageable. This approach ensured that the code was well-structured and easy to maintain. This also eliminates any issues with the business’ operation.
Of course, the migration process involved a significant amount of testing to ensure that the new .NET code was functionally equivalent to the original VBA code. We were happy to work closely with the client to ensure that the new software met their requirements and provided the expected functionality.
After we completed the first phase of the migration, we were ready to do a complete side-by-side comparison between the old and new application. The results were staggering. The new software was up to 900% faster than the original VBA code. Results varied depending on the input data, but the range typically stayed between 300% and 900% improvement. We estimate that the total amount of hours saved each year will be about 1,361 hours.
So, how did we achieve such an incredible performance improvement? Well, we took advantage of the features and capabilities of .NET. We made sure to improve memory management, utilize JIT compilation, integrate multithreading, and replace inefficient algorithms with more optimized ones.
Our journey to migrate from VBA to .NET was both challenging and rewarding. It was an opportunity to showcase our skills, work closely with the client, and ultimately achieve up to an incredible 900% improvement in performance. The key to our success was our commitment, teamwork, and willingness to embrace new technologies. We hope our story inspires other companies to take the leap and enjoy the benefits of modernizing their software.