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Tip of the Day
Language: Visual Basic
Expertise: Beginner
Oct 1, 1996

Expanding Functionality

Question:
Our firm would like to integrate our Configuration Management tool into VB. I understand some vendors outside of Microsoft have suceeded in adding links to their product via a button in the VB (or Visual C++) toolbar and/or menu options. We have not purchased VB yet but plan to as a result of customer requests for this integration. Can you give me some idea how such an integration might be accomplished. I assume varing degrees of integration may be possible, from a simple call to the external executable thru to a full GUI interface.

Answer:
The easiest method is through the Add-In architecture. 3rd party products can add themselves to the Add-Ins menu of VB, and can respond to mouse clicks in the menu items, etc. This information, outside of 3rd party books, is available from Microsoft on their Developers' Network CDs.

As far as more complete integration, I've seen a few products do it, such as Vision Storyboard and VBAssist. They seem to be able to respond to all the various events generated by VB. I'm guessing they're using some sort of event sniffer that can listen in on VB's events and respond appropriately. I'm not sure where you would get information on this...I'm sure that you would have to contact Microsoft or do some reverse engineering to make it work like this.

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