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Can anybody point me in the direction of any good books for VBA for AutoCAD? I'm a beginner here and need some direction. I have the AutoCAD 2006 VBA book but I'm looking for something newer. I feel I know basic code and the VBAIDE prertty well but I need something with lots of code!!!

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I would agree with A.Buckingham - I would choose LISP over VBA, but then there are rumours that LISP may soon be dropped also... So maybe you might want to investigate ObjectARX...

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Here’s another thread that discusses the current state of affairs with regard to the AutoCAD api’s. Even though the thread is mostly speculation, there are a couple of posts by Autodesk personnel which state pretty clearly the ultimate (if not necessarily imminent) fate of VBA.


Comments by other posters to that thread implied a similar fate may be in store for Lisp. The Autodesk personnel didn’t confirm this, though they didn’t go out of their way to deny it either.

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For the sake of clarification; my understanding of ObjectARX is that it is the core AutoCAD functionality made available by Autodesk.


Given that AutoCAD is written in C/C++, those are the languages with the most direct access to the ObjectARX and offer the most capability (custom objects and entities, for example). They also demand the most from programmers as all aspects of memory management must resolved explicitly.


The .NET languages (Managed) benefit from a good bit from the memory management made available by the .NET framework – thus one of the more difficult (time consuming and error prone) aspects of coding is removed. I’ve heard from sources within Autodesk (it may have been either Kean Walmsley or Fenton Webb) that implementing the ObjectARX via “Managed Wrappers” for .NET is a relatively easy process. In fact, I believe they described the process as “largely automated”. This implies that new functionality will be exposed quickly.


Part of the problem, I believe, with LISP and VBA is that the functionality requires more effort to be made ready for public consumption. If Autodesk persist with this yearly release cycle, they may not have the resources to continue exposing all the new functionality.


I’ve gone the C# route and find it quite impressive. Conceivably, any of the .Net variants will offer as much, so it really becomes a matter of preference. The .Nets are a bit of a handful and require a sizable early commitment. After that “hump”, however, I actually think it is easier (certainly compared to VBA) for some of the demanding task we routinely ask of AutoCAD.

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Many thanks for the explanation Seant, your time is much appreciated.


I have spoken to a few people about C/C++ and they echo your thoughts on memory management, very time consuming and error prone.


But judging by your recommendations, it seems that .NET is the most accessible way to go.


I suppose having some background in LISP/VBA programming must aid the user when trying to learn new languages such as .NET/C/C++, etc etc but I can see how there is still a mammoth "hump" to get over before one becomes competent.. :P


Thanks once again,



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Thanks for all the replies. It defintely gives me something to think about. I'm new to programming so I'm not sure what direction to take as far as language but I need to learn something. I've work with the Lisp in the past but don't particularly like the language. I want to learn something that's a bit more versitile towards other programs as well, such as C+.

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The thing I like about lisp is that it seems to be more direct to

autocad drawing than the other languages while the others languages

seem to be more useful for programs other than AutoCAD.

I hope the quit droping that stuff because of what I have written

in the past. I have lisp routines that I have written with AutoCAD

version 11. I still use them and I don't want to rewrite or give them


As for as the new versions of CAD. It seems like they are just adding

more and more useless icons to fill up the screen and confuse the


Thank you,

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I echo your thoughts Muck, - I have only ever used ACAD '04 (and feel it is the best version imo!), but I have heard about the addition of the "ribbon" and other new icon type upgrades....


I mostly use the command line to invoke commands anyway, so icons aren't a big thing for me.

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Since Ive got 20+ yrs into different "basic"'s, Im moving to VB.net; will port existing VBA into VB6 apps run from the outside, until I get up to speed in .net, and hopefully VSTA will be ready by then.


Ive heard that LISP will *never* be dropped, but it will be placed into maintenance mode, with no upgrades/updates available.


I work in a CAD office, not a development house, and my company will never spring for software development tools. Something handy, free, and *interpreted*, is what they want. In my personal situation, if I didnt have so much invested in various 'Basics', id be looking to learn LISP.

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