Book Reviews

A Novel Approach to Learning Visual Basic 6

Murach's Visual Basic 6's hands-on examples is the only way to learn the programming language.

If you're new to Visual Basic programming or looking for a primer on programming database applications with Visual Basic, then Murach's Visual Basic 6 is the book for you. Unlike other books, this one concentrates on Microsoft's newest data access technology ActiveX Data Objects (ADO). It also goes into great detail on how ADO integrates with the Visual Basic IDE. For those of you not familiar with ADO, it's a set of high-level interfaces that sits on top of OLE DB, which is the foundation of Microsoft's Universal Data Access (UDA) technology.

Instead of presenting facets of Visual Basic code in a fragmented manner, Murach's book presents a cogent explanation of the fundamentals of Visual Basic programming in the context of real-world application examples. As the adage goes, you don't learn to program by reading, you learn by programming. Interspersed throughout the book are a dozen sample applications that not only do a great job of showing how to program in Visual Basic, but that also present techniques for good programming skills. Of particular interest is the format of the book with figures and illustrations on the right-hand pages and text on the left-hand side--this makes the book easier to read than any programming book I've read.

One minor shortcoming is the lack of advanced COM coverage and component-based development. Although there is an introductory discussion of class modules and ActiveX components, additional chapters on how to fully leverage components would be required to be the most complete book possible.

Based on its content and design, Murach's Visual Basic 6 is one of the best books on Visual Basic programming on the market today--the treatment of how Visual Basic and ADO integrates is the best I've seen. Like other publishers, Murach has opted for a downloadable source-code option instead of a CD ( For those folks wanting to use Murach's Visual Basic 6 in a classroom setting, a complete instructor's guide is available on the Murach Web site as well.

About the Author

John V. Petersen is president and founder of Main Line Software, Inc.,a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based software application and database design firm. He earned an MBA from the Haub School of Business at St. Joseph's niversity, and is a four-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional award. John presents at industry events, writes for various publications, and is the author of Visual FoxPro 6 Enterprise Development and Hands-on Visual Basic 6 Web Development from Prima Publishing.

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