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Book Review: Debugging Visual Basic - Troubleshooting for Programmers

Wouldn't it be great if every program you created worked perfectly from the very first time? Unless you're coding "Hello World" programs for a living, don't expect that to happen very often. The authors, David Jung and Jeff Kent, take on the crucial but seemingly unpopular subject of debugging and troubleshooting techniques for VB. This book is a hands-on, example-driven resource that will teach you how to create error-free code by applying it's troubleshooting techniques to your projects.


Wouldn't it be great if every program you created worked perfectly from the very first time? Unless you're coding "Hello World" programs for a living, don't expect that to happen very often. The authors, David Jung and Jeff Kent, take on the crucial but seemingly unpopular subject of debugging and troubleshooting techniques for VB. This book is a hands-on, example-driven resource that will teach you how to create error-free code by applying it's troubleshooting techniques to your projects.

Although many VB books contain an obligatory debugging chapter or two, this book is unique in that it entire contents focus on troubleshooting techniques. The intended audience spans the entire skill spectrum, from the beginning Visual Basic programmer all the way to advanced coders.

Something else worth mentioning are the three helpful icons that are used throughout the book.

  • Error Watch: You'll find this icon used to indicate areas of programming that are likely to contain logical or syntactical errors.
  • 24x7: This icon is used to indicate sound programming practices that should be adopted to ensure robust and stable apps.
  • Design Tip: This icon is used to point out better programming practices that'll help you avoid developing bad coding habits.

Each chapter can be read as a self-contained resource. The book is divided into four main parts and we'll visit each one below to give you a small taste of what to expect.

Part I: Coding Development Skills (Chapters 1-2)
I've always thought it strange that so few Visual Basic books speak about the issues that developers must consider before a single line of code is written. Thankfully, the first two chapters of this book are devoted to "Program Design and Management" and "Software Release Methodology." Readers will find helpful guidelines for designing, testing, releasing, and rolling out an application.

Part II: Debugging VB (Chapters 3-12)
These 10 chapters represent the very heart of this book. Readers will learn debugging techniques using the built-in debugging tools in the Visual Basic IDE (Integrated Development Environment). Helpful examples are included throughout the book. Starting with debugging basics, you'll be shown error handling and trapping methods, conditional compilation statements, and optimization and tuning techniques. The final chapter of this section covers package and deployment considerations, including ways to avoid "DLL Hell."

Part III: VBA and Automation (Chapters 13-14)
You Office and VBA developers haven't been forgotten, either. You'll find specific error handling and optimization methods for VBA. Attention is also given to database issues such as ADO's own set of error messages.

Part IV: VB and the Internet (Chapters 15-16)
The last chapters explore Internet programming with VB6 and the next generation of Visual Basic. You'll learn about design guidelines and optimization tuning for IIS and DHTML applications using VB6. The authors then look in their crystal balls and tell us what language enhancements we can expect in the next object-oriented version of VB.NET.

This is a great book to have within arms reach for easy reference. A recommended read by SearchVB.com.

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