Visual Basic

The Object Browser

The Object Browser provides a fairly quick way to scan the contents of a code module. To assist with the scanning process, it is helpful to add a short description to the routines. To do this, select Procedure Attributes from the Tools menu. A description can then be entered that will appear at the bottom of the Object Browser window whenever the routine is selected. The drawback with this is that there is only a limited amount of space available here, and complex functions might require more information to be made available; however, it is possible to use the size bar in the Object Browser window to extend the viewable area. For the lazy ones among you, you can in fact enter procedure attributes directly in the code window. You do this by entering the attribute in the procedure-for example:

Attribute GetUserPrivilegeFlags.VB_Description = "My description"

The line will be highlighted as a syntax error; however, if you save and reload the file, the Attribute line disappears and the description shows up in the Object Browser. Remember that the success of any base code template will be affected by the level of documentation.

Help Files

One approach that we use at TMS is to create a developer help file for the base code. This enables a structured view of the base code to be created. We generally create one help topic per code module, which contains the name and a brief description of each function within the module. Any function that requires more information can be linked to its own help topic, which can provide any detailed information to the developer. This approach has the benefit that keywords can be added to all of the topics, allowing for a search of the information by the developer.


Using HTML is a similar approach to using a help file, but this approach has the added benefit of being viewable over the company intranet. It also has the benefit of being maintained centrally; when the base code is changed, the developers will immediately have the updated documentation available.