Visual Basic 6 Black Book

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This comprehensive guide contains 1,000 pages of everything Visual Basic 6, from programming with radio buttons and checkboxes to XOR drawings, OLE automation, DHTML page design, graphics, and Internet Explorer support. Over 800 projects are included covering Visual Basic from the Internet to the Windows Registry. The book includes a Quick Reference at the end of each chapter, making it fast and easy to look up the most common, and uncommon, Visual Basic problems.
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This comprehensive guide contains 1,000 pages of everything Visual Basic 6, from programming with radio buttons and checkboxes to XOR drawings, OLE automation, DHTML page design, graphics, and Internet Explorer support. Over 800 projects are included covering Visual Basic from the Internet to the Windows Registry. The book includes a Quick Reference at the end of each chapter, making it fast and easy to look up the most common, and uncommon, Visual Basic problems.
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Editorial Reviews

Bill Carmada
"The Testing Department is calling, and they're telling you to..." "The Aesthetic Design Department is calling. Your new toolbar looks great, but it would look even better if..."

Programming is a task-oriented business. That's why you'll love Visual Basic 6 Black Book. It contains some 600 (!) immediate solutions accompanied by to-the-point code samples.

Need to know how to filter the files your Open and Save dialog boxes display? Draw with the Windows API graphics functions? Add a new record to a DAO record set? Find all the occurrences of specific text throughout a project? Create an ActiveX document for display in a Web browser? (Or for that matter, create a Web browser?) It's here-all of it-in nearly 1,100 invaluable pages. You'll wear this book out.

Bill Carmada @ Cyberian Express

For experienced programmers and developers, provides insight, programming tips and techniques, and real-world solutions. Explains how to create such application software as graphics animation, full-scale word processors, Windows help files, setup programs for applications, and serial port communications. The CD-ROM contains an HTML editor, an image mapper, and other features requiring an installed edition of Visual Basic 6; Windows 95, 98, or NT; and 16 megabytes of RAM. No bibliography. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576102831
  • Publisher: Coriolis Group
  • Publication date: 8/27/1998
  • Series: Black Book Series
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Pages: 700
  • Product dimensions: 6.88 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 2.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Steve Holzner is an award-winning author who has been writing about Java topics since Java first appeared. He's a former PC Magazine contributing editor, and his many books have been translated into 18 languages around the world. His books sold more than 1.5 million copies, and many of his bestsellers have been on Java. Steve graduated from MIT and got his PhD at Cornell; he's been a very popular member of the faculty at both MIT and Cornell, teaching thousands of students over the years and earning an average student evaluation over 4.9 out of 5.0. He also runs his own software company and teaches week-long classes to corporate programmers on Java around the country.

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Table of Contents

Introduction ..... xxxiii
Chapter 1 Visual Basic Overview ..... 1
Chapter 2 The Visual Basic Development Environment ..... 41
Chapter 3 The Visual Basic Language ..... 81
Chapter 5 Visual Basic Menus ..... 153
Chapter 6 Text Boxes And Rich Text Boxes ..... 197
Chapter 7 Command Buttons, Checkboxes, And Option Buttons ..... 225
Chapter 8 List Boxes And Combo Boxes ..... 251
Chapter 9 Scroll Bars And Sliders ..... 281
Chapter 10 Picture Boxes And Image Controls ..... 311
Chapter 11 Windows Common Dialogs ..... 341
Chapter 12 The Chart And Grid Controls ..... 371
Chapter 13 The Timer And Serial Communications Controls ..... 405
Chapter 14 The Frame, Label, Shape, And Line Controls ..... 433
Chapter 15 Toolbars, Status Bars, Progress Bars, And Coolbars ..... 463
Chapter 16 Image Lists, Tree Views, List Views, And Tab Strips ..... 499
Chapter 17 File Handling And File Controls ..... 539
Chapter 18 Working With Graphics ..... 581
Chapter 19 Working With Images ..... 613
Chapter 20 Creating ActiveX Controls And Documents ..... 649
Chapter 21 Visual Basic And The Internet: Web Browsing, Email, HTTP, FTP, And DHTML ..... 695
Chapter 22 Multimedia ..... 739
Chapter 23 Connecting To The Windows API And Visual C++ ..... 773
Chapter 24 Databases: Using DAO, RDO, And ADO ..... 821
Chapter 25 Working With Database Objects In Code ..... 851
Chapter 26 OLE ..... 895
Chapter 27 Creating Code Components (OLE Automation) ..... 933
Chapter 28 Advanced Form, Control, And Windows Registry Handling ..... 965
Chapter 29 Error Handling And Debugging ..... 1001
Chapter 30 Deploying Your Program: Creating Setup Programs, Help Files, And Online Registration ..... 1037
Index ..... 1069
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Welcome to your Visual Basic support package. That's what this book has been
designed to be: your complete VB support package. Have we reached that goal yet?
It's up to you to decide. If what you're looking for is not in this edition, we'll work hard to make sure it's in the next–I encourage your suggestions. Please feel free to write. We'll put in the time to make sure this book is the most complete one available on Visual Basic, edition after edition. This is the book we want you to come back to
again and again.

I've used Visual Basic back before version 1 even came out publicly and have written many books on the program. I put Visual Basic to work for a very wide range of uses day after day; in fact, it's is my favorite programming package of all, and it comes close to being my favorite program period. But I've never written a book on Visual Basic as complete as this one and never included as many features, documented or undocumented, examples, and tips in one volume.

This book has been designed to give you the coverage you just won't find in any other book. Other books often omit not only the larger topics, like deploying your program after you've created it and creating Help files, but also the smaller ones, like covering in depth just about every control that comes with Visual Basic, including the ActiveX controls–from the MS chart control to flat scroll bars, from the serial port comm control to the Internet transfer control.

Reluctantly, I must admit that it's impossible for one volume to be utterly comprehensive on the subject of Visual Basic (impossible because it's not physically possible to bind a book that big yet), but we're trying our best. It's true that some specialty books might have more coverage on a few topics, but if you want to see more on a particular topic, write in and we'll work seriously on adding more of that topic to the next edition.

How This Book Works

The task-based format we use in this book is the one most programmers appreciate because programming is a task-based business. Rather than reading about subjects in the order the author thinks best, you can go directly to your topic of interest and find the bite-sized nugget of information you need, such as opening an FTP connection, adding a Web browser to your program, supporting online user registration from Visual Basic, adding a method to an ActiveX control, creating an error handler, flipping or stretching an image, opening an RDO database connection, playing CDs from the computer's CD-ROM drive, and literally hundreds of other topics.

And best of all, there's a working example in code for almost every programming topic in the book. The actual process of programming is not abstract; it's very applied. So instead of vague generalities, we get down to the specifics–all the specifics–that give you everything you need to understand and use Visual Basic.

In the old days, programming books used to be very top-down, with chapters on subjects like conditional branching, loop structures, variable declarations, and so forth. But who sits down to program by saying, "I'm about to create a conditional program flow branch"? Instead, programmers are more interested in performing useful tasks, like adding buttons, menus, list boxes, or toolbars to a window; creating graphics animation; creating dialog boxes; creating setup programs; working with files; supporting online Help; and so on. And this book is written for programmers.

Because this book is written for programmers, each chapter is broken up into dozens of practical programming tasks. After selecting the chapter you want, you can turn to the table of contents, or to the first page in that chapter, to find the task you're interested in. Hundreds of tasks are covered in this book, chosen as those that programmers most want to see. In addition, this book is filled with nearly 800 examples, covering just about every Visual Basic programming area there is. These examples are bite-sized and to the point, so you don't have to wade through a dozen files trying to understand one simple topic. And they're as comprehensive as we could make them, covering every programming area in the book.

Besides programming tasks and examples, the book also has overviews designed to bring all the pieces together into a coherent whole, giving you the entire picture. The first chapter is designed specifically to give you an overview of Visual Basic itself, along with some of the best programming practices to use, including those recommended by Microsoft. Every subsequent chapter starts with an overview of the subject it covers before digging into the specifics, making sure we never get lost in details. We'll also see discussions on best programming practices, program design, program testing, what makes a professional Windows application professional, and much more, as befits a book that wants to be your complete Visual Basic support package. In addition, the CD that accompanies this book holds the code for all the major projects we develop. To open and use a project, look for the Visual Basic project file (for example, browser.vbp for the browser project) and open that project file with Visual Basic.

Besides the code from the book, note that the CD has hundreds of megabytes of tools and software, ready for you to use.

What's In This Book

Just about everything we could write about Visual Basic is in this book, and that's a lot of ground to cover. From language reference to ADO database handling, from creating Web browsers to dragging and dropping data across applications, from email applications to multimedia players, from creating ActiveX controls and ActiveX documents to setup programs, it's all here.

Here's some of what we'll see how to create in this book:

• ActiveX controls

• ActiveX documents

• ADO, DAO, and RDO database applications

• Multimedia AVI, MPG, WAV, and MID players

• CD players that play CDs from the computer's CD-ROM drive

• Bitmapped menu items

• Full Web browsers

• Pie charts, line charts, bar charts, and others

• Code clients that call methods in programs like Microsoft Excel

• Code components (OLE automation servers)

• Graphics animation

• Applications that use the Windows Common Dialogs

• Customized toolbars with embedded controls like combo boxes

• Data entry forms

• Database editing applications

• Direct connections to the Windows API

• Direct connections to code written in Visual C++

• Drag/drop operations

• Graphics applications that draw arcs, circles, rectangles, lines, and more

• Email applications

• Error handlers

• Applications that use the printer

• Word processor applications

• File handlers for text and binary data

• FTP applications

• Dialog boxes

• Windows Help files

• MDI applications

• Pop-up menus activated with right mouse clicks

• Application deployment

• HTTP applications

• Image handling: blur, emboss, engrave, flip, sweep, stretch images, and more

• OLE applications

• Applications that use the Windows Registry

• List views and tree views

• Applications that create controls at runtime

• Mouse capture

• OLE drags (dragging data between applications)

• Online user registration

• Picture clip applications

• Setup programs

• Screen capture

• Spreadsheets

• Status bars and toolbars

• Tab strips, progress bars, and others

That's just some of what's coming up. Visual Basic is a very large topic, and the topics we'll cover number in the hundreds. And if you have suggestions for more, please send them in.


What You'll Need

To use this book profitably, you should have some experience with Visual Basic–not necessarily a lot, but enough to get through Chapter 1 without trouble. We assume you have some familiarity with the essentials of Visual Basic in this book, although those essentials are not very hard to pick up. If you do have trouble with Chapter 1, you might take a look at an introductory book before proceeding.

As far as software goes, just about all you need to use this book is already in Microsoft Visual Basic (we'll use version 6 in this book). Visual Basic comes with an enormous set of tools and resources, and we'll have our hands full putting them to work.

We try to be as self-contained in this book as possible–even creating the database files we'll use in examples with Visual Basic itself, not with a database application. The graphics files we use in various examples are on the CD, and the multimedia files we'll play in our multimedia examples come with Windows. Some of our OLE and OLE automation examples use Microsoft Excel, but Excel is not essential to those examples–any OLE server and OLE automation server program will do. Note that to use email from Visual Basic, you must have the Windows MAPI system installed (as represented by the Inbox icon on the Windows desktop).

Where can you go for additional Visual Basic support? You can find Visual Basic user groups all over, and more are appearing every day. You can also find Visual Basic information (and advertising) at the Microsoft Visual Basic home page at, free Visual Basic downloads at, and technical documents (white papers) at

Although the content varies in accuracy, there are many Usenet groups dedicated to Visual Basic as well, but be careful what you read there–there's no guarantee it's accurate. About two dozen of those groups are hosted by Microsoft, including:

• microsoft.public.vb.bugs

• microsoft.public.vb.addins

• microsoft.public.vb.controls

• microsoft.public.vb.database

• microsoft.public.vb.installation

• microsoft.public.vb.ole

• microsoft.public.vb.ole.automation

• microsoft.public.vb.syntax

Other, non-Microsoft groups include some of these popular Usenet forums:

• comp.lang.basic.visual

• comp.lang.basic.visual.3rdparty

• comp.lang.basic.visual.announce

• comp.lang.basic.visual.database

• comp.lang.basic.visual.misc

And that all the introduction we need–it's time to start digging into Visual Basic. As we've said, we intend this book to be your complete support package for Visual Basic, so, again, if you see something that should be covered and isn't, let us know. In the meantime, happy reading!

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2002

    Very helpful for Beginners...Explores and Answers you Curiosity

    I got hold of the Black book from a friend of mine and this type of book is hard to find in our country and if you found it, it is very expensive here. But everything pays off... For beginners this book enhances and answers you further curoisity on the ins & outs of the Visual Basic Program. I highly recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2002

    Excellent book for beginner to intermediate VB Programmers

    I have bought over a dozen Visual Basic books over the past three years including the complete Microsoft reference, and none of them compare to this book. The Visual Basic 6 Black Book provides a detailed reference for most of the popular controls used in VB apps as well as extensive language references. I highly reccomend this book to anyone who is serious about developing Visual Basic Applications.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2001

    Book to keep by your monitor!!

    I bought the book. Couldnt seem to put it down once I got it. If you ever wanted to put together pieces of a puzzle by examples this is the book to read. Reminds me of the old days when I could get code from a magazine and put it to work right away. How about a part II??!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2000

    Very Helpful

    I read alot of books and never really get this satisfied. Usually programming books bore you with head wrenching terms and boring history about the language. This book jumps in with good examples and then elaborates into the topics that are helpful to know. Reading the first chapter alone taught me more than I ever expected a book to teach. Caution: This book assumes you understand the basic concepts of a programming language. You should read something like programming for dummies or a programming concepts book before you jump into this book. If you are going from VBScript to VB then you have no worries. If you understand any kind of programming language, then you will have no problems as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2000

    Truely Indespensable

    I have tried many different VB books and this is the only one I use continuously. The topics are well organized, and the code snippets are to the point. It is especially usefull for experienced programmers, migrating to VB, who know what they want to do but not how to do it in VB. The MSDN library has a wealth of information, but you need a book like this one to know what to look up. Since showing this book to the other VB developers on my team, many of them have purchased thier own copies.

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