Picking a Program to Create with Visual Basic

By Wallace Wang

After you load Visual Basic, the New Project dialog box appears, giving you two options. You can

  • Start writing a brand new program.
  • Load an existing program so you can modify it.

The New Project dialog box offers several choices as to the type of program you want to create. (The Learning and Standard Editions of Visual Basic do not display all the following types of programs in the New Project dialog box.)

  • Standard EXE: Creates a stand-alone program that you can copy, give away, or sell to others. Examples of stand-alone programs are Microsoft Word, Lotus 1-2-3, and Netscape Navigator. Stand-alone programs have an .EXE file extension.
  • ActiveX DLL: Creates a file that has a .DLL file extension. ActiveX DLL files are not meant to be used by themselves. Instead, these types of files contain subprograms designed to function as building blocks when creating a stand-alone program.
  • ActiveX EXE: Creates a file that has an .EXE file extension. Unlike a stand-alone EXE file, an ActiveX EXE file is designed to work as an OLE server, which is nothing more than a program designed to share information with another program.
  • ActiveX Control: Creates a file that has an .OCX file extension. Unlike an ActiveX DLL or ActiveX EXE file, an ActiveX Control file usually provides both subprograms and a user interface that you can reuse in other programs.
  • ActiveX Document DLL: Creates a file that has a .DLL file extension. An ActiveX Document DLL file is designed to help you run programs on a Web site.
  • ActiveX Document EXE: Creates a file that has an .EXE file extension. An ActiveX Document EXE file can display a Visual Basic form within an Internet Web browser.
  • AddIn: Enables you to create an addin program specially designed to work with the Visual Basic user interface.
  • VB Application Wizard: Helps you create a skeleton Visual Basic stand-alone EXE program quickly and easily.
  • Data Project: Creates a program for devising a database report, which lets you see your database information in a pretty and organized way.
  • DHTML Application: New to Visual Basic 6, this program creates a DHTML (Dynamic HyperText Markup Language) document suitable for posting on a Web site.
  • IIS Application: Creates a file for use with Microsoft Internet Information Server — another new Visual Basic 6 feature.

To choose one of these options from the New Project dialog box, just click on the option you want and click on OK.

If you choose File–>New Project (or press Ctrl+N), Visual Basic displays a New Project dialog box that does not contain the Existing or Recent tabs.

Creating ActiveX, DHTML, IIS, and Data Project files is fairly advanced, so don’t worry about such files until you figure out how to create a simple (Standard EXE) Visual Basic program first.

Loading an existing program

Most of the time you are going to want to load an existing program so you can modify it. To load an existing program, click on the Existing tab. Visual Basic displays folders so you can choose the specific Visual Basic program you want to load.

If you want to load a program that you’ve loaded in the past, click on the Recent tab. Visual Basic politely displays a list of all the programs you recently loaded. Just click on the Visual Basic program you want to edit and then click on Open.

If you choose File–>Open Project (or press Ctrl+O), Visual Basic displays an Open Project dialog box that does not contain the New tab.

If you click on the File menu, Visual Basic kindly displays a list of programs that you last edited. By clicking on one of these program names, you can load the program without going through the Open Project dialog box.