Book Review: Murachs Visual Basic 6


Intelligent Solutions Inc.

Version Compatibility: Visual Basic 6


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Most of the sections and many of the chapters in Murach's Visual Basic 6.0 begin with the words "How To". This illustrates the general nature of the book: It is a hands-on, task-oriented manual and reference that will get programmers up-and-running with Visual Basic very fast.

According to its introduction, the book is best suited for programmers who have programming experience with another language, or for absolute beginners who are comfortable with an accelerated pace. However, because the book takes a detailed step-by-step approach to everything it teaches, I would be less cautious about recommending it to absolute beginners. It would be especially useful for those who have dabbled with VB, but no experience as of yet with database programming.

The book contains lots of exercises and sample code to walk the reader through common programming tasks, such as building a user interface, debugging an application, creating MDI parent and child forms, building Active X components, using databound controls, and much more. Much of the book's focus is on database programming, with 7 of its 15 chapters covering this topic. This reflects one the book's major strengths: it focuses on real-world programming tasks, the type programmers face in the workplace environment.

The book is clearly written and there are many examples. There are also many good charts and diagrams that offer very clear explanations of concepts that often confuse beginners, such as cursor and locking options in ADO.

The book does not cover certain areas that I believe are important for serious developers to understand. For instance, there is little or no coverage of object-oriented programming concepts, best practices, code reuse, or software/system design. As mentioned, the book is very hands-on, almost to the point of excluding mention of any theoretical points (for example, there is extensive coverage of how to create class modules and Active X components, but very little in the way of when and why you'd want to do so). For these reasons, I would recommend that, after becoming familiar with the tasks this book covers, readers step back and delve into material that covers software development on a more abstract level. But for beginners or near-beginners who want to get started immediately, this is probably as good a book as is available.