Visual Basic 6.0 - Help and Examples

Visual Basic 6.0 may be simple to learn, but not because of its great help. Actually, the CD contains help for all the Microsoft development products (GREAT idea!!). Unfortunately, when you request help on a specific command, you have no idea which of the products the text refers to :(

The CD also contains 95 Meg of super developer's tools ... but no general documentation :(

Visual Basic 6.0

Visual Basic 6.0 comes with MSDN documentaion stored in compiled html files - *.chm which opens in HH.exe. (When running HH.exe, if you right click and select view source, you will see regular html source code including a lot of Object and JavaScript code.) One or more *.cli (compiled html index) files may be associated with each *.chm file. In order to use the help, MSDN CD #2 needs to be continuously available. When the searches are not limited to a single language, there is no way to know which language a specific example belongs to. For instance, VB and FoxPro look similar, as do C++ and Java. This is very confusing.

Loading VB 6.0 loads IE 4.7, there is no choice. (Actually, some of the DLLs may be required for the help system.) Some VB 6.0 programs that you write require that you distribute IE 4.7, otherwise, your programs won't work.


In the help, VB Samples is available in the index. When you click on the link to copy the samples to your hard drive, they are saved in a VC98/../SQL directory. When you click on the link that is supposed to explain how to run these VB samples, the help discusses C++ only! (VC98 --> C++ ... but the help is explicitly named VB Samples) BTW, these 2 samples are written in VB. Go figure.

So I tried to run Explore (one of the samples), there was a warning that it was written in an earlier version of VB and ... the libraries were missing!

On the CD, there are 44 VB samples. No explainations. No description.
Actually, descriptions are available if you enter just samples in the help search.

Extra Software

The VB 6 CD contains about 95 M of undocumented tools under I strongly suggest using which shows which dll's are used by an executable (exe, dll, ...). Running Depends.exe automatically adds a View Dependencies selection to the context menus.

There are several problems with the documentation

For instance, Spy requires that you copy files from cd:\tools\mfc to c:\Windows\System . Cool ... except that the mfc directory does not exist. However, several mfc*.dll's are in cd:\os\system and they appear to have already been copied to c:\Windows\System.

There is no indication what the boffice (BackOffice) directory is for. For instance, Winntop.htm only talks about the NT option pack and not Winntop.exe (a great piece of software).


To get help on Windows commands, the "Active Subset" needs to be Platform SDK, ... or Entire Collection not Visual Basic Documentation

One of the main problems with the help is that individual pages do not reference the applications that they apply to. When you are searching for VB help and you get C++ help instead, it should say so.

Help (Especially, the Lack of it)

The help on the SSTab Control refers you to the Visual Basic Programmer's Guide for more information. However, there is no such item.

Search help for common dialog control
You are referenced to Using Visual Basic's Standard Controls for more information. This, of course, is not found by serching the help index. Instead, you click See Also which contains the reference.

The See Also link is inconsistent - somtimes you get a selection list and other times it just opens a new page.

The VB 6.0 help says that the "common dialog control provides an interface between Visual Basic and the routines in the Microsoft Windows dynamic-link library Commdlg.dll". This, of course, is bull. Commdlg.dll is a 16-bit Windows 3.1 tool, and VB 6.0 uses the 32-bit ComDlg32.OCX instead. The help says that you need to install the Common Dialog Control, but you just better know the the real name is Microsoft Common Dialog Control 6.0.

Author: Robert Clemenzi -
URL: http:// / user / clemenzi / technical / Languages / VisualBasic / Help.htm