Visual Basic is easy to learn, intuitive in its approach and the IDE is packed with any number of useful tools to help make the developer's life easier- -except the developer's life could always be made easier.
The aim of this handy little desktop manual is to help on that very point as it imparts a range of techniques and handy hints on how to extend the existing IDE to suit the developers own tastes.
The book is divided into two sections, the first dealing with the mechanics of creating VB add-ins either as EXEs or DLLs and shows how to access the functionality of an add-in through the VB IDE.
Part Two delves into the Visual Basic Extensibility Model, uncovering the methods and attributes used in accessing the UI and controls necessary to make add-ins useful to the end-user.
This book is most definitely not a beginner's introduction to the world of Visual Basic, it's aimed squarely at the enthusiast and the professional looking to simplify the working environment provided by Visual Basic.
Covering versions five and six of the language, it's clear yet examples prove the icing on the cake of a truly informative book on a neglected subject. For once, this book really could change your life (working life that is...)
Most developers can think of dozens of ways in which they'd like to modify Visual Basic's integrated development environment (or IDE) in order to work more productively. These enhancements can range from simple items (like determining the version of Visual Basic for Applications used by the IDE, or clearing the Immediate window) to much more involved ones (like developing a utility that allows the tab order of the individual controls on a form to be set easily). Just as the major Microsoft Office applications expose their functionality through their object models, Visual Basic's development environment also exposes its functionality through the Visual Basic Extensibility Model. Unfortunately, though, the model is poorly documented and poorly understood. And most programmers simply don't have the time to sift through the documentation and experiment using trial and error to extend the IDE. This text addresses this lack of documentation by showing how to develop add-ins for Visual Basic Versions 5.0 and 6.0 and by providing numerous coding examples of simple but useful add-ins. The book is divided into two parts.
The first part, Add-in Basics, discusses the mechanics of add-in creation. This includes such topics as: retrieving a reference to the VB IDE; registering an add-in; activating an add-in; making an add-in's functionality accessible through a menu option or toolbar button; and debugging an add-in. Developing an add-in requires creativity, since it requires a programmer to both identify a shortcoming of the IDE and implement some means of enhancing it. The second part of the book, The Extensibility Model, prepares you for this creative part of add-in development by focusing on the VB IDE Extensibility Model. Individual chapters provide in-depth coverage of specific categories of objects, such as user interface objects, project-related objects, and form and control objects.