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Like it, tolerate it, or do it yourself-that's what dealing with developer tools used to be. You either liked what you were given, managed with what you were given, or had to write not only the part you liked yourself, but also those features you thought were lacking. When it comes to something as complex as the Visual Basic IDE, that would be a large development effort just to duplicate what Microsoft gave you. Besides, who wants to reinvent the wheel by writing yet another editor?
Programming technology has been developed to componetize our applications and objects such that we can provide open access to other developers to enhance the feature set or functionality of the code without actually having to distribute source code. So now when we get the latest toy from Microsoft, if we find it lacks functionality or a feature that would be beneficial, we can simply write a chunk of code and add it to the application as seamlessly as though the feature were there since day one. As simple as that sounds, it is still no small task.
I'm sure I could write pages about Les Smith's decades of programming experience and knowledge. But this book isn't about programming practices. It's about writing add-ins and what you need to know to get your code connected and running in the IDE. What I can tell you about Les is that he has been writing add-ins to the IDE since Microsoft introduced it in VB 5.0. When it comes to add- ins, Les has been there, done that, and has product on the market. He already knows what works and what doesn't.
I have written add-ins before, so I know the basic ins and outs of them. I also know how frustrating it is to try to find answers to what I consider common questions when it comes to how to do something with an add-in. So, I knew what topics Les had to address in this book. This is very much a roll-up-your-sleeves- and-dive-into-it type of book. Each chapter properly builds on the previous ones. Les does a great job of taking you step by step through the process and pointing out the things to look out for.
Get it up and running-that's what it's all about. You don't have time to pore over page upon page of "noise" in MSDN to try to figure out what would take 5 minutes for someone to show you. Les has done all that work for you and has broken it down into a clear, concise, step-by-step process. This is a book you'll refer back to time and again as you write add-ins to improve on a good start.
BeCubed Software, Inc.
About the Author
Les Smith is an independent software developer. Having worked with computers for over 30 years, he has seen computers shrink from the room-filling behemoths of the early years to the small handhelds of today. His experience ranges from developing operating systems for mainframes to developing applications to developing developer tools. He has worked for a mainframe manufacturer and has made technical sales presentations to top information technology management in many of the largest corporations in America. He has had project lead responsibilities in numerous commercial and government entities, including several NASA installations.
He now contracts in application development, having specialized in Visual Basic for the past 10 years. He is also president of HHI Software, and he is the developer of such products as VBCommander and VBXRef2000. He is in the process of rewriting these products (add-ins) in Visual Basic .NET.
You can visit his Web site at http://www.HHISoftware.com or send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Technical Reviewer
Bob Flickinger attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in physics. He has been working with computers since before the Apple II. He has worked with various programming languages, including FORTRAN, BASIC, assembly language, and C/C++, and he's been working with Microsoft's Visual Basic since its initial version 1.0 release. In 1993, Bob was hired by MicroHelp, Inc., to manage their technical support team and later worked as the senior developer for MicroHelp's UnInstaller. In 1996, Bob and other developers from MicroHelp left to form BeCubed Software, Inc., where they continue to develop component tools for Windows developers.
Although this book bears my name as the author, no one writes a book and gets it published by himself. Many long hours have been spent, not only by me as the author, but also by many others.
First of all, I want to thank Dan Appleman for giving me the opportunity to write this book. I've appreciated Dan's books for years. When I submitted an outline and introduction to the book, Dan, without knowing me, said, "Let's do it!" For that chance, I am grateful.
I want to thank my project manager, Tracy Brown Collins, for her patience in trying to limit my long sentences and in teaching a technician how to make a book readable.
I want to thank my technical reviewer, Bob Flickinger from BeCubed Software, Inc. Bob has been a friend for years, and I thank him for checking the code and the book, for critiquing me when I needed it, and for making suggestions for changes and additions to the book.
I want to thank Nicole LeClerc, my copy editor, who has tirelessly and without complaint corrected my grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.
I want to thank a number of people at Apress, whom I do not know, who are responsible for getting this book to press.
Finally, I want to thank you, the readers, for buying this book. I truly hope that it will be of help to you. After all, if we go through this life without being a help to others, why do we live?
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