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Dan Appleman's Developing ActiveX Components with Visual Basic 5.0

By Dan Appleman
I've been waiting to write a book on ActiveX technology for years. True, it didn't used to be called ActiveX. Perhaps it was called OLE, or OLE Controls, or VBX, or Visual Basic Custom Controls. It doesn't matter. All along I've been working with the technology as it evolved and waiting for the right time to do a book on the subject. I was waiting for Visual Basic to mature to the point where it could be used to create these types of controls.
When I saw the beta for Visual Basic 5, I knew my wait was over, which left me with a problem. How do I write a book on this technology that will be both incredibly useful to Visual Basic programmers and also stand out from the myriad of ActiveX VB books that undoubtedly will appear on the bookshelves at the same time? How do I write a book detailed enough for the advanced programmer, but with enough scope to welcome even a beginning Visual Basic programmer to ActiveX development?
So I put on my programmer hat and thought about the things that I like and hate about technology books and quickly realized this: I hate manual rehashes.
Simply paraphrasing the Microsoft documentation is pointless. A certain amount of that is inevitable, I suppose, but at least an author should add a significant amount of new material-and, perhaps, a creative new way of looking at the technology that does not echo the manuals. I also hate having to read through things I know to find a few tidbits of new information. You know the kind of book I'm talking about, where a supposedly advanced book starts out by explaining how to draw controls on forms, click a mouse, and turn on the computer.
I knew I wanted to do a comprehensive book on ActiveX and object programming using Visual Basic. I knew I did not want to waste a lot of time rehashing the manual. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret: The Visual Basic 5.0 documentation is not bad at all. I suppose that is an odd thing for an after-market book author to say. I realized as I was reading the VB5 documentation that it would be perfect…

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