Mar 4

Today: 04-Mar-2009: How I learned to stopped worrying and love the bomb.

Category: today

Today started with a prime VB6 annoyance: the project deciding that it didn’t want to work and wouldn’t load:

It turns out that this is a known error thanks to our friends at Microsoft with IE7: I had installed IE7 the other day but the bizarre thing that gets me is that the project worked perfectly fine the day before and then suddenly became broken for some reason. I’m not quite sure how that happens since the IE7 installation took place a week ago but that forum thread had the solution to my problem. I used the solution where in you change the reference instead of the registry hack, not sure which should have been better but it worked.

The next bit of fun I had was remembering how to quit a VB6 application. For some reason the application wasn’t quitting properly because I had forgotten to unload a form somewhere. After all of this time I’ve been used to calling a function that killed the system or halted the run loop so this was a bit of a spin for me again to have application existence controlled by a window. VB6 tries very hard to tie you to a window (or “form”) somewhere to the point that some items don’t appear to be programmatically accessible unless they exist as a ‘control’ on a form. Sucks but thats life.

With all good dinosaurs, they have issues with the modern world. The VB6 IDE is very much a dinosaur and has no mouse scroll wheel support. Thankfully someone at Microsoft realised that having the IntelliPoint software wasn’t a real fix and released an add-in that does the trick: Add-in’s in Microsoft Office and its IDE tools appear to be one of the better thought out and developed aspects of the system. The ability to extend the functionality easily I feel has been done well. I might bash Microsoft a lot for their bad stuff but there are tonnes of items that they do well too – and add-ins at a macro level I think are one of them.

Another annoyance I had today was how VB6 has a habit of dislodging files from project repeatedly and when you restart it wants save file wrong directory. Instead of automatically selecting the project file’s directory when available, it always defaults back to the program file directory instead. So you end up having to wander around the FS to get back to your project if you want to save a file after you start the IDE when continuing on an existing project. After you’ve saved one file it’ll remember the directory for the rest of the session but once you shut down the IDE and jump in again you’re back to scratch.

I’m also relearning how classes work in VB6, its been a rather long time since I’ve done work in it so I’m back to picking up things. Some stuff sticks around like using “Option Explicit” to enforce explicit variable declaration instead of the default implicit declaration on use, however some other stuff has disappeared. One of which is the use of classes within Visual Basic. Compared to almost every other language its support is beyond limited but it is still at least there I guess – so I figure I should sort of be grateful for at least that. However its still a bit sad that it doesn’t have more full support but I guess it is a bit much to ask from a system a decade old (mind you C++ is over a decade old in various incarnation and had support for objects, as did Java and I think even Python at the time but anyway).

To end with on a Joomla note, the site of the day is the Botswana government site ( It looks like a Joomla! 1.0 site and I saw it when one of the Uni’s email’s to the domain bounced and I wondered what they did. Very cool.

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