Who Should Read This Book

This book is aimed at professional software developers. The VBA language is the most widely used rapid application development, or RAD, language in the world, and in addition to the millions of developers now using VBA, many more developers are coming into the VB arena from other languages, such as C++, not so much to replace those skills, but to augment their personal toolkit and to enhance their career opportunities.

This book is a reference work and not a tutorial, so, for example, I won't explain the concept of a For...Next loop; as a professional developer, you already know this, so you don't want someone like me insulting your intelligence. But I will detail how a For...Next loop works in VB, how it works in practice, what the alternatives to it are, how it can be used to the best advantage, and what pitfalls it has and how to get round them.

I also hope this book will be the main reference for experienced VB developers who are upgrading to VB6. I have spent several months working with VB6 in order to become familiar with and fully document the important new language elements and object models within it. Here again, though, if you're a VB developer upgrading to VB6, you don't want to be led by the hand like a newbie through the additional functions and object models; you know that your familiarity with the VBA language means that you can pick up the new features of VB6 quickly. You just need to know how this stuff works in the real world, and you'll be off and running.

An Emphasis on Professional VB Development

Because the VBA language is increasingly important for creating mission-critical applications, I have concentrated where appropriate on using language elements in a multiuser environment, detailing points of particular note for when you are programming components destined for an n-tier application model and for use within environments such as DCOM and Microsoft Transaction Server. In the same vein, I have also noted any differences found using language elements in NT and Windows 95.

Another pet peeve of mine is the readability and maintainability of VB code. Most corporate VB applications are now created by development teams rather than an individual programmer. It's therefore important to ensure that any member of the team can get up to speed quickly when maintaining your code, and of course that you can understand what it was you where trying to do when you wrote the code several months earlier! With this in mind, I have also noted—where necessary— tips to improve the readability and self-documenting character of your VB code.

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