Visual Basic 6: Error Coding and Layering

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9780130172273: Visual Basic 6: Error Coding and Layering

Provides concrete strategies for excellence in Visual Basic development, architecture for easier development and maintenance, and breakthrough solutions for managing Visual Basic 6 enterprise projects. Softcover. DLC: BASIC (Computer program language).

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Review:

Visual Basic 6: Error Coding and Layering is a short, ambitious book designed to increase the productivity of the working VB programmer. It's filled with useful tips and sample code, centering on ways to promote better error handling.

This book is useful in two ways. First, it compiles dozens of tips for writing better VB code--from improving error handling to writing code that is more reusable and "safer." These tips are supplemented by short "hit lists" of dos and don'ts. The focus on preventing, anticipating, and then carefully handling VB errors makes abundant sense. While more advanced programmers might quibble with some of the book's methods, the text is based on a good grounding of expertise in getting control of sometimes unwieldy VB code.

But Error Coding and Layering's aim is much broader than improving VB error handling. It presents the Safe Programming Framework (SPF) with guidelines and sample code to show how to write reusable, robust VB code that processes all errors reliably. This framework is a prelude to a larger strategy called the Layered Architecture Development System (LADS), a design architecture that goes beyond Microsoft's three tiers to create no less than five layers--which can lead to even more maintainable systems. (Following these guidelines, for instance, you can easily add or delete fields in a database without breaking existing code.)

Of course, each organization must decide whether or not to adopt these more global solutions. But even if they don't, any VB developer or manager can benefit from this cleanly written, briskly paced text. Visual Basic: Error Coding and Layering has plenty of useful advice. --Richard Dragan

Topics covered:

  • Guidelines for improving the corporate software process with Visual Basic
  • The Smart Coding Triangle (reuse, error coding, and standardization)
  • Barriers to improvement
  • Tutorial and tips for better error coding in VB
  • Explicit coding techniques
  • Code recommendations
  • Error traps and handlers versus in-line error handling
  • Error prevention
  • Types of errors
  • The Safe Programming Framework (SPF) for improved reusability
  • Sample SPF design and coding guidelines
  • Building layered applications (the user, business, data, user connection, and data connections layers)
  • Layered Architecture Development System (LADS): a custom guideline for distributed VB applications
  • Managing and improving software quality with LADS
  • VB naming conventions

From the Inside Flap:

PREFACE Coding Smarter

This book will help you improve the quality and productivity of your software development effort. By the time you finish reading it, you will know how to code smarter and to participate in a team effort to code smarter. You will have a better appreciation of the problems and pitfalls associated with Visual Basic programming and the common causes of project failure. You will also have a clear understanding of how to avoid those problems and to ensure the success of your project in the long term as well as in the short term. This Book Is for You

If you have anything to do with computer programming, this book is for you. Whether you are an analyst, a programmer, a manager, or a related professional, you will find value in this book. Regardless of your experience level, from student to senior developer, this material is at the appropriate level for you. No matter what type of project you are involved in, this book will be applicable.

The scope of this book is broad, from general philosophies to specific lines of code. While many of the general approaches and attitudes presented in this book hold true no matter in what language you are developing, the specific problems and solutions detailed in this book are designed for Visual Basic development.

This is not another "learn Visual Basic" book. It does not simply rephrase and repackage information found in help files and computer books. It presents new and uniquely valuable strategies to overcome coding problems that plague virtually all Visual Basic programs. While it is not a programming book, it does teach programming techniques. It deals with the process of Visual Basic programming as opposed to the language details.

While this is not a management book, it does discuss management issues. While it is not a book about testing, it does deal with testing issues. In short, this book covers all the topics that are vital to a successful team program development effort. It sets an ambitious new standard of excellence for Visual Basic applications, and provides simple (and, in retrospect, obvious) techniques for achieving that new standard of productivity and quality.

This is not a neutral book detailing a specific technology or documenting the latest API or object model. On the contrary, it is a passionate book dealing with both technical and nontechnical issues. Sometimes, it may hit close to home. It may expose flaws in the attitudes and techniques that you may have been using for years. If it does, it will have succeeded in half its mission. If it succeeds in showing you how to overcome those flaws, then it will have succeeded completely. Getting the Most from This Book

To get the greatest benefit from this book, it is essential that you read it straight through as though you were reading a novel. If you are used to reading technical books by browsing the contents or index and jumping from topic to topic, that approach will not work. Both the conceptual and the practical ideas build progressively through the course of the book, each flowing from previous material. Like a novel, it builds to a climax, at which point you may wonder how you can possibly improve your coding practice in spite of all the formidable antagonists. In the end, it reaches resolution, however, and shows you how you can overcome all obstacles by adopting relatively simple coding approaches.

It is also recommended that you read it at least twice. During the first reading, you may come across suggestions that you question. That is good, but file them away and continue reading. Then go back and read it again. Suggestions that you might reject or question during the first reading may seem more appealing after you see how they fit into the complete picture. During the second reading, you can selectively incorporate the suggestions into your own work, adapting them if necessary to your particular situation. Acknowledgments

Thanks to J. Kevin Meadows, Ed Stegman, Edward Michelic, Marcie Gill, and Bill Munro for reviewing the manuscript. Thanks also to David Johnson for contributing illustrations. A big group thanks to the entire staff at WinResources for their support and encouragement. Finally, thanks to Waterside Productions and Prentice Hall for making this book a reality.

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