VB Glossary

Use this glossary of key programming terminology as your starting point as you learn Visual Basic. If a term is not listed here, or you need a more detailed explanation, try consulting the online help that comes with Visual Basic: using a computer terminology dictionary, such as Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary, Third Edition (Microsoft Press); or looking at one of these computer glossaries on the Web:

CMPnet's TechEncyclopedia CNET's glossary MSDN Online Library's glossary



Abs Function: Returns the absolute value of a number. The absolute value of a number is its unsigned magnitude. For example, Abs(3) and Abs(-3) both return 3.

Abstraction: According to this object-oriented principle, an operation's complex details should be hidden from the user, and only an object's functionality is exposed to other objects. In database access, the client-side programmer never has direct access to the database. Instead, data is accessed by the front end through objects, which then communicate with the database.

Activate Event: Associated with a form and is fired when that form becomes the active window.

Active Server Pages (ASP): Web pages containing scripting code, developed by Microsoft starting with version 3.0 of Internet Information Server (IIS). The server-side execution environment executes the scripts or components on a server.

ActiveX: Technologies based on COM and DCOM, which enable software components written in different languages to work together over a network. See also: ActiveX Control, Component Object Model, Distributed Component Object Model.

ActiveX Control: A software module based on COM. ActiveX controls add user interface functions, and work by calling components that blend in with the program. You can embed them in Web pages or use them to create client/server applications that run over a network. See also: Component Object Model.

ActiveX Data Objects (ADO): Microsoft's data access programming interface. ADO is an object-based interface that works at the application level to provide data access to Visual Basic applications or any applications that support COM. Applications use this interface to retrieve and update data from a database or other data store. See also: Component Object Model, OLE Database.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute): ANSI-standard programming languages conform to ANSI recommendations. These standards are designed to eliminate variations that could cause problems in transporting programs from one type of computer system to another.

Application Programming Interface (API): An interface consisting of functions, messages, data structures, data types, and statements used by a programming language to access another programming language or program. For example, the Win32 API allows Visual Basic programmers to access functions in the Windows operating system.

Argument: A value that is passed to a subroutine, function, or method that affects the way a task is performed. Also called a parameter.

Array: A group of data elements with the same name and data type. Arrays can be multidimensional—for example, containing rows and columns. Each element in an array is distinguished by its unique location, also called an index. In Visual Basic, you can have a control array that consists of a group of form controls of the same type with the same name.

Asc Function: Returns a numeric value that is the ASCII code for the first character in a string expression.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): A coding scheme that assigns numeric values to letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and certain other characters on a keyboard.

Asynchronous: Refers to events that are not coordinated in a linear manner, such as storing and forwarding messages, or starting a new operation before completing the current one. A program sends an asynchronous query to the database and continues processing. See also: Synchronous.

Atn Function: Returns the arctangent, in radians, of n.

Back End: The database or data store that provides data to the frontend application.

Binary Large Object (BLOB): A database field holding digitized information such as text and images.

BOF Property: Returns a value that indicates whether the current record position is before the first record in a recordset. See also: EOF Property.

Bound Control: A control, usually on a form, you can link to a data source, such as a data control or recordset, and use to display that data. Textboxes, checkboxes, image controls, labels, and picture boxes are all bound controls.

CCur Function: Converts any valid expression to the Currency data type.

CDbl Function: Converts any valid expression to the Double data type.

Change Event: Indicates the contents of a control have changed. Depending on the type of control, this event occurs in response to various actions. For example, when the text in a textbox changes, its Change event fires.

Choose Function: Selects and returns a value from a list of arguments based on the index you provide to the function.

Chr Function: Returns a one-character ASCII code for an ANSI character code. For example, Chr(65) returns "A".

CInt Event: Converts any valid expression to the Integer data type.

Class Module: A template used in Visual Basic to create your own objects. Class modules can include code for methods, properties, and events. Class modules have no visible user interface.

Class: The basic unit that defines an object. A class contains properties and methods that expose its characteristics and functionality to other classes.

Click Event: Occurs when the user presses and releases a mouse button over an object. Might also occur when the value of a control changes.

Client: A workstation or personal computer that accesses information on remote servers, then presents and manages the information retrieved from the server. See also: Client/Server, Fat Client, Server, Thin Client.

Client/Server: A two-tier computing model in which the client (a workstation or PC) requests information from the server, and the server supplies the information needed. In this type of architecture, the client typically contains all the programming logic. A local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN) connects both client and server.

CLng Event: Converts any valid expression to the Long data type.

Combo Box: A Visual Basic control that combines the features of a textbox and a listbox. Users can type in the textbox portion or select an item from the list portion of the control.

Collection: An object that stores an ordered set of items as a single unit. The items in a collection can be of varying data types (even other objects), and are related only by the fact that they are stored in the collection.

Command Function: Returns the argument portion of the command line that launches VB.

Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA): An Object Management Group standard for communicating between distributed objects. With CORBA, programs written in any language can execute from anywhere on a network and from any platform.

Compiler: Translates code into an executable file.

Component Object Model (COM): Microsoft's infrastructure for code modules that are independent of programming languages and computer platforms. The COM specification allows objects to expose interfaces that can be used by any programming language that supports the creation of COM objects. ActiveX technologies are based on COM. See also: Distributed Component Object Model.

Component: A routine or module that is ready to use with other components or programs within a larger system. See also: Component Object Model.

Concurrency: A term used when referring to data access and two users are updating the same record at the same time. This is an issue that must be handled by the programmer.

Constant: A variable that stores a value that remains constant throughout the program.

Control: A tool for creating objects on a VB form. Most controls are used to create user interface elements, such as command buttons, image boxes, and listboxes. Also: A module that enhances a program's functionality, such as an ActiveX control.

Cos Function: Returns the cosine of the angle n. The angle n is expressed in radians.

CreateObject Function: Creates an OLE Automation (ActiveX) object of whatever type you specify.


CSng Function: Converts any valid expression to the Single data type.

CStr Function: Converts any valid expression to the String data type.

CurDir Function: Returns the current path for the specified drive.

Custom Control: A reusable component that provides a discrete piece of functionality you do not have to code from scratch.

CVar Function: Converts any valid expression to the Variant data type.



Data Access: How Visual Basic communicates with a database or data store to retrieve, update, add, and delete data.

Data Access Objects (DAO): A COM-based, Microsoft programming interface used for data access. DAO uses the Jet database engine for data management, and uses Open Database Connectivity Direct (ODBCDirect) to provide access to ODBC databases. See also: Component Object Model, Open Database Connectivity, Remote Data Objects.

Data Control: A control placed on a form and bound to a data source. It provides buttons that enable you to move through the data.

Database Management System (DBMS): A software interface that handles user requests for database actions, and controls security, integrity, interactive querying, interactive data entry and updating, and independence of data in a database. It accepts requests from the application and instructs the operating system to transfer the appropriate data.

Data Environment Designer: Provides a graphical approach for generationg codeless ActiveX Data Objects Connections, Commands, and Recordsets from row-returning queries. Connects to Jet databases through a native OLE DB data provider and to other ODBC-enabled desktop and client/server data sources with the Microsoft OLE DB Provider for ODBC.

Date Function: Returns the current date from the system clock.

DateAdd Function: Returns a Variant containing a date to which a specified time interval has been added. Used to add or subtract a time interval from an existing date.

DateDiff Function: Returns a Variant containing the number of time intervals between two specified dates.

DatePart Function: Returns a specified part of a given date.

DateSerial Function: Returns the date for a specific year, month, and day.

DateValue Function: Returns the date represented by a String argument.

Day Function: Returns a whole number representing the day of the month for a specified date.

DblClick Event: Occurs when the user double-clicks a mouse button over an object.

DDB Function: Returns the depreciation of an asset for a specific period using the double-declining balance method.

Deactivate Event: Occurs when a form is no longer the active window.

Debug: To detect, locate, and correct logical or syntactical errors in a program's code.

Default Property: When an object is accessed, this property is used automatically if no property is specified. VB objects usually have a default property. For example, if you access a textbox without specifying a property, it will use the Text property. For instance, x = txtName is the same as x = txtName.Text.

Deferred Integrity: A conceptual protocol that assumes the success of a piece of work but checks its success later. Writing a check at a store and receiving your merchandise, while the actual transfer of money occurs later, is an example of deferred integrity.

Design Time: Term describing changes you make to your program through the VB IDE when the program is not running. The opposite of run time. See also: Run Time.

Dir Function: Returns the name of a file or directory that matches a specified pattern and file attribute. Can also return the volume label of a drive.

Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM): Microsoft's counterpart to CORBA, DCOM facilitates remote object distribution over networks and the Internet. This distributed object technology provides additions to COM. See also: Component Object Model, Common Object Request Broker Architecture.

Distributed Processing: Spreads the functionality of a program across different machines. For example, UI code is on the client machine, data access components reside in an MTS server, and the database is on another machine.

Dockable: A window is docked when it's anchored to the edge of the host window instead of being able to move around freely.

DoEvents Function: Causes Visual Basic to yield execution so Windows can process events.

DragDrop Event: Occurs when a drag-and-drop operation is completed as a result of dragging a control over a form or control and releasing the mouse button.

DragOver Event: Occurs when a drag-and-drop operation is in progress.

DropDown Event: Occurs when the list portion of a combo box is about to drop down.

Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE): A mechanism supported by Windows that enables two applications to exchange data continuously and automatically.

Dynamic HTML (DHTML): HTML tag enhancements enabling Web pages to function more like software. Enables you to change HTML tags dynamically using a scripting language.

Dynamic Link Library (DLL): Enables you to bind code to one of many executables at run time rather than at link time, creating an environment in which many applications can use the same code base.

Early Binding: Assigning types to variables and expressions at compilation time. Early binding is usually more efficient than late binding because it reduces the time required to set or retrieve a property value. See also: Late Binding.

Encapsulation: The grouping of subroutines and variables together in a class.

Enterprise Edition: Version of VB for development teams creating robust client/server or Internet/intranet apps. Includes all features of the Professional Edition, plus Microsoft SQL Server Developer Edition, Visual Modeler, Microsoft Visual SourceSafe, and Windows NT Option Pack.

Environ Function: Returns the string associated with an operating system environment variable such as the PATH statement.

EOF Function: Returns a value indicating whether the end of a file has been reached.

EOF Property: Returns a value indicating whether the current record position is after the last record in a recordset. See also: BOF Property.

Err Object: An intrinsic VB object that contains information about runtime errors. This information can be accessed by its properties such as Number, Description, and Source.

Error Event: Occurs only as the result of a data access error that occurs when no VB code is being executed. This event is associated with controls that access data, such as the ADO Data control or the DataGrid control. This event fires when a non-VB error is generated such as an ADO error or perhaps a memory error.

Error Function: Returns the error message that corresponds to a given error code.

Event Handler: Subroutine called directly from VB in response to events associated with a particular object.

Event Procedure: Contains code that is executed when an event occurs, such as when the user presses a mouse button.

Event: Occurs as the result of an action performed by the user or the program. For example, when the user presses the left mouse button over a button control, the MouseDown event is activated and the code in that event procedure runs. When an object's event occurs, VB calls the associated event handler.

Event-Driven: An application driven by input from the user or other application. VB is an event-driven language. See also: Procedural.

Exp Function: Returns the constant e raised to the power n.

Fat Client: In a client/server environment, a client machine that contains the program logic and performs most or all of the application processing while the server performs little or none. See also: Fat Server, Thin Client.

Fat Server: In a client/server environment, a server that contains the program logic and performs most or all application processing with the client performing little or none. A thin client is the fat server's counterpart. See also: Fat Client, Thin Client.

Field: One of several pieces of data that make up a record.

FileAttr Function: Returns file mode or operating system file-handle information about an open file.

FileDateTime Function: Returns a string indicating the date and time a specified file was created or last modified. For example, you can use this function to determine whether a file was opened to input data or append data.

FileLen Function: Returns a Long integer that indicates the length of a file in bytes.

First In, First Out (FIFO): A queue in which elements must be removed in the same order as they were inserted.

Floating Point: Mathematical operation based on a number expressed as a whole or a fraction, such as 1.5 or 3.421.

Focus: The active object. For example, typed keys are directed to the window that has focus.

Form Module: Contains the code associated with a form object. It can also contain form-level declarations of constants, variables, and external procedures.

Format Function: Formats a number, date, time, or string according to instructions contained in a format expression. For example, Format(MyTime, "hh:mm:ss AMPM") returns "05:04:23 PM".

FreeFile Function: Returns the next valid unused file number.

Front End: The part of an application users see and interact with. It can contain user interface elements as well as code.

Function: A subroutine that returns a value. It can also take arguments.

FV Function: Returns the future value of an annuity based on periodic, constant payments, and a constant interest rate.



GetAttr Function: Returns an integer that indicates the attributes of a file, directory, or volume label. Can also return attributes such as whether the file is read-only or hidden.

GetObject Function: Retrieves an OLE Automation (ActiveX) object from a file.

GotFocus Event: Occurs when an object receives focus, either by user action such as tabbing to or clicking on the object, or by using the SetFocus method to change focus in code.

Graphical User Interface (GUI): An object-based screen display that enables the user to manipulate a mouse to point and click on graphical representations of programs and files. Windows has a GUI; DOS has a command-line interface.

Handler: A routine to manage a common condition or operation, such as error recovery or data movement.

Hex Function: Returns a string that represents the hexadecimal value of a number argument.

Hour Function: Returns a number between 0 and 23 representing the hour portion of the specified time.

IIf Function: Returns one or two parts depending on the evaluation of an expression. For example, the syntax IIf(TestMe > 1000, "Large", "Small") evaluates the first argument and if it's true, returns the string "Large" and if it's false, returns the string "Small".

Independent Software Vendor (ISV): A vendor that develops software. This signifies that the vendor specializes in software, not hardware.

Input Function: Returns characters read from a sequential file opened in Input mode.

InputBox Function: Displays a prompt you specify in a dialog box, waits for the user to input text or choose a button, and returns the contents of the textbox. An efficient way to get user input without creating a separate form and writing code for it.

InStr Function: Returns the position of the first occurrence of a string within another string.

Int, Fix Functions: Return the integer portion of a number.

Integrated Development Environment (IDE): A set of integrated tools for software development, run from within a single user interface. These tools can include a compiler, debugger, and text editor. When you open VB, you are in the VB IDE.

Intrinsic Control: A control that always appears in the VB toolbox (such as the combo box, the data control, or the frame controls) and cannot be removed.

Intrinsic: A control that HTML supports directly, without requiring VBScript for implementation.

IPmt Function: Returns the interest payment for a given period of an annuity based on periodic, constant payments, and a constant interest rate.

IRR Function: Returns the internal rate of return for a series of periodic payments and receipts.

IsDate Function: Returns a value indicating whether an expression can be converted to a date.

IsEmpty Function: Returns a value indicating if a Variant variable has been initialized, and only works with variables of the Variant data type.

IsNull Function: Returns a value indicating whether an expression contains a Null value. Will return False if the expression contains a zero or an empty string.

IsNumeric Function: Returns a value indicating whether an expression can be converted to a numeric data type.



KeyDown Event: Occurs when the user presses a key while an object has focus.

KeyPress Event: Occurs in the object that has focus when the user presses and releases any ANSI key on a keyboard.

KeyUp Event: Occurs in the object that has focus when the user releases a key.

Late Binding: Also called dynamic binding, this links a routine or object at run time. Late binding is less efficient because of the overhead of binding while the program is running. See also: Early Binding.

LBound Function: Returns the smallest available subscript for the indicated dimension of an array. This function returns the lower limit of an array and can be used with UBound to find the size of an array. If you create an array of elements from 1 to 100 LBound(Array) returns 1. See also: UBound Function.

LCase Function: Returns a string in which all letters of an argument have been converted to lowercase.

Learning Edition: Version of VB designed for students or hobbyists learning Visual Basic.

Left Function: Returns the left-most n characters of a string argument.

Len Function: Returns the number of characters in a string expression or the number of bytes required to store a variable.

LinkClose Event: Occurs when a DDE conversation terminates.

LinkError Event: Generated when an error occurs during a DDE conversation. Recognized as the result of a DDE-related error that occurs when no VB code is being executed. The error number is passed as an argument.

LinkExecutevent: Occurs when a command string is sent by a destination application in a DDE conversation. The destination app expects the source app to perform the operation described by the string.

LinkNotifyvent: Occurs when the source has changed the data defined by the DDE link, if the LinkMode property of the destination control is set to 3 (Notify).

LinkOpen Event: Occurs when a DDE conversation is being initiated.

Load Balancing: A computer system, network, or disk subsystem's fine tuning, which more evenly distributes data and processing across available resouces.

Load Event: Occurs when a form is loaded.

LoadPicture Function: Loads a picture into a form, picture box, or image control.

Loc Function: Returns the current position within an open file.

LOF Function: Returns the size of an open file in bytes.

Log Function: Returns the natural logarithm of a number. This is logarithm to the base 2.718282.

LostFocus Event: Occurs when an object loses focus, when a user tabs to or clicks on another object, or by using the SetFocus method to change focus.

Mail Application Programming Interface (MAPI): A programming interface that enables an application to send and receive mail over the Microsoft Mail messaging system. Use MAPI to create messaging and workgroup applications.

Metadata: Data that describes data.

Method: A task an object can perform. Unlike a subroutine, methods are internal to an object. However, they can be public and available to other objects, or private and available only to the object. Often methods perform a task related to that object. Use this syntax to call the GetCustomer method on a Customer object: Customer.GetCustomer.

Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS): Supports transaction-based applications on LANs, the Internet, and intranets. It serves as the infrastructure for a multitier system, and it hosts business logic written as ActiveX Server components.

Mid Function: Returns a string containing a specified number of characters from a string.

Minute Function: Returns a number between 0 and 59 that contains the minute portion of the specified time.

MIRR Function: Returns the modified internal rate of return for a series of periodic payments and receipts.

Month Function: Returns an integer between 1 and 12, inclusive, which represents the month of the year for a date argument.

MouseDown Event: Occurs when the user presses a mouse button.

MouseMove Event: Occurs each time the user moves the mouse pointer to a new onscreen position.

MouseUp Event: Occurs when the user releases a mouse button.

Multitier: An application architecture in which the application logic is contained in more than one logical or physical tier.

Now Function: Returns an encoded value representing the current date and time. This function is most useful as an argument for other system clock functions.

NPer Function: Returns the number of periods for an annuity based on periodic, constant payments, and a constant interest rate.

NPV Function: Returns the net present value of an investment based on a series of periodic payments and receipts and a discount rate.

N-Tier: Also known as three-tier, a three-way interaction in a client/server environment, in which the client stores the user interface, application servers store most business application logic, and a database server stores the data.



Object Model: The structural foundation of an object-oriented language, design, or application. Comprises an object architecture's description, including details of the object structure and interfaces between objects.

Object: A unit in VB that can encapsulate both code and data. This can be a user interface element or have no user interface. VB can have properties, methods, and events.

Object-Oriented Database Management System (OODBMS): A sophisticated database management system that manages objects (units of code and data), based on object-oriented concepts. Useful for data with complex relationships that a relational DBMS would find difficult to process. OODBMSs can handle multimedia data types. See also: Database Management System, Relational Database.

Object-Oriented Programming (OOP): A programming technique that enables you to work with self-contained collections of data structures and routines that can interact with other objects.

Oct Function: Returns text that represents the octal value of a number argument.

OLE Automation: Creates programmable objects and applications other apps can call. It is the first step toward producing truly reusable software components.

OLE Control: Custom control with a visible interface, now called ActiveX control. See also: ActiveX Control.

OLE Database (OLE DB): Microsoft's programming interface for data access. This low-level interface is similar to ODBC, but works for all data source types. OLE DB is a COM-based object model. See also: Component Object Model, Open Database Connectivity.

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC): A database programming interface developed by Microsoft that provides a common interface to databases. VB communicates through an ODBC driver to the database.

Operator: A symbol used to perform an operation or comparison on a value. Arithmetic operators: +, -, *, / and ^. Logical operators: And, Or, and Not.

Paint Event: Occurs when a form or picture box is notified to repaint its display.

Parameter: A value passed for processing to a subroutine or function. For example, in the function call Str(459), the number 459 is a parameter passed into the Str() function.

Partition Function: Returns a string indicating where a number occurs within a calculated series of ranges.

PathChange Event: Occurs in a FileListBox control when the path changes by setting the FileName or Path properties.

PatternChange Event: Occurs in a FileListBox control when the file-listing pattern changes by setting the FileName or Pattern properties.

Persistent Data: Data that the computer retains from session to session, stored in a database, on disk, or on tape.

Persistent Object: An object that exists after the program that created it has been unloaded. The object is stored for later use.

Pmt Function: Returns the payment for an annuity based on periodic, constant payments, and a constant interest rate.

PPmt Function: Returns the principal payment for a given period of an annuity based on periodic, constant payments, and a constant interest rate.

Procedure: See Subroutine.

Procedural: An application run sequentially in which the user must follow a predefined path. Many DOS programming languages are procedural. See also: Event-Driven.

Professional Edition: VB for Windows application development, meant for individual developers' use. It enables programmers to create applications for Microsoft Windows 95, 98, and NT. Among other features, it includes a native-code compiler, ADO, integrated professional visual database tools, automatic data binding, the Data Environment Designer, and the WebClass Designer.

Program Statement: A phrase in a high-level programming language, such as VB, that translates into one or more machine-level instructions after program compilation.

Project: Contains the files associated with a program you develop using VB. The project file usually ends in VBP and can be viewed in the Project Explorer.

Property: A named attribute of an object that defines the object's characteristics such as size, name, or state. You can change an object's properties either in Visual Basic's Properties window at design time, or by accessing an object's property from VB code at run time.

PV Function: Returns the present value of an annuity based on periodic, constant payments to be paid in the future, and a constant interest rate.

QBColor Function: Returns the RGB color code corresponding to a color number.

Query: A statement that interrogates a database and extracts data for later use.

QueryUnload Event: Occurs before a form or application closes. When an app is closing, the QueryUnload event occurs first in an MDI form and then in all other forms.

Queue: A temporary holding place for data.

Rapid Application Development (RAD): Developing and implementing computer systems in segments, instead of waiting until the entire project is programmed before implementing it. Developed by James Martin, RAD uses tools such as visual programming and GUI builders to speed prototype development.

Rate Function: Returns the interest rate per period for an annuity.

Record: A collection of one or more fields containing related information.

Recordset: A set of records in memory returned from a stored procedure, table, or query, selected from a data source.

Registry: A Windows 95, 98, and NT database that stores information about the hardware and environment configuration of the PC it has been installed in. Replaces INI files and MS-DOS configuration files from Windows 3.x.

Relational Database: A database or database management system (DBMS) that organizes data and relations between the data in tables made up of columns and rows of data (Visual Basic refers to columns as fields, and rows as records). Relational databases enable the definition of data structures, storage and retrieval operations, and integrity constraints. Certain fields may be designated as keys, which means that searches for specific values of that field will use indexing to speed them up. Records in different tables may be linked if they have the same value in one particular field in each table.

Relational Database Management System (RDBMS): See Relational Database.

Remote Data Objects (RDO): Microsoft's programming interface for data access from Microsoft, used in Visual Basic to access remote ODBC databases. RDO was a precursor to ADO. See also: ActiveX Data Objects, Data Access Objects, Open Database Connectivity.

Remote Data Services (RDS): Microsoft's programming interface for data access to Internet or intranet data from ActiveX-enabled browsers.

Reposition Event: Occurs after a record becomes the current record.

Resize Event: Occurs when a form first appears or the size of an object changes.

Resource File: Contains bitmaps, text strings, or other data you can change without editing code.

RGB Function: Returns a long integer representing an RGB color value.

Right Function: Returns the right-most n characters of a string argument.

Rnd Function: Generates a random number between zero and 1. This function can be used to find a random number within a range of numbers; for example, Int((6*Rnd)+1) returns a number between 1 and 6.

Row Locking: A method to ensure the same record in an RDBMS is not being accessed simultaneously.

RowColChange Event: Occurs in a grid control when the currently active cell status transfers to a different cell.

Run Time: Describes the condition of operations executing while a program is running. Opposite of design time. See also: Design Time.



Scalability: An application's ability to expand or handle additional users.

Scroll Event: Occurs while a user drags the box on a scrollbar.

Second Function: Returns a number between zero and 59 that contains the second portion of the specified time.

Seek Function: Returns the current position in an open file.

SelChange Event: Occurs in a grid or rich textbox control when the selected range changes to a different cell or range of cells.

Server: A computer in a network shared by multiple users and provides requested information and services (such as Web pages, files, and print services) to a client. See also: Client, Client/Server, Fat Server.

Sgn Function: Returns an integer indicating the sign of a number; -1 if n is less than zero, 0 if n is zero, and +1 if n is greater than zero.

Shell Function: Runs an executable program from within a VB application. For example, Shell("C:/WINDOWS/CALC.EXE", 1) launches the Windows calculator.

Sin Function: Returns the sine of the angle n. The angle n is expressed in radians.

Single Tier: A driver designed for use with DBMSs. The SQL statement issued to the ODBC driver is converted to low-level instructions that operate directly on the database files.

SLN Function: Returns the straight-line depreciation of an asset for a single period.

Source Code: The uncompiled VB statements that make up a program.

Space Function: Returns a string consisting of a specified number of spaces.

Spc Function: Skips a specified number of spaces in a Print # statement or Print method.

Sqr Function: Returns the square root of n.

Standard Module: Can contain public or module-level declarations of types, constants, variables, external procedures, and public procedures.

Statement: A descriptive phrase that generates machine language instructions in the computer.

Stored Procedure: One or more SQL statements stored and run as a single unit in a database.

Str Function: Converts a numeric value to a string.

StrComp Function: Returns a Variant that indicates the result of the comparison of two string arguments.

String Function: Returns a string whose characters have a given ANSI code or are all the first character of a string expression. The statement String(5, "*") returns "*****".

String: A data structure composed of a sequence of characters.

Structured Query Language (SQL): A database sublanguage used in querying, updating, and managing relational databases. An accepted standard of database technology, SQL can be embedded in applications.

Subroutine: A unit of source code that a program can call from other parts of the source code. After a subroutine executes to completion, Visual Basic passes control back to the code that called the subroutine. Synonymous with procedure.

Switch Function: Evaluates a list of expressions and returns a value or an expression associated with the first expression in the list that is true.

SYD Function: Returns the sum-of-years' digits depreciation of an asset for a specified period of time.

Synchronous: Events that are coordinated in time. Completing the current operation before the next one is started is a synchronous operation. A program that makes a synchronous query sends the query to the database and waits for it to return before continuing processing. See also: Asynchronous.

Syntax Error: A statement that violates one or more rules of a programming language.

Tab Function: Used with the Print # statement and the Print method to move to the position at which the next character is printed.

Tab Order: The order in which controls receive focus when the user presses the Tab key.

Table: A logical grouping of related information arranged in rows (records) and columns (fields), in a similar fashion to a spreadsheet.

Tan Function: Returns the tangent of the angle n. The angle n is expressed in radians.

Telephony: Converting sound to electrical signals, transmitting the signals to another location, and reconverting the signals to sound, using physical connecting wires or radio. Also refers to the integration of computers and software applications with telephone systems.

Thin Client: In a client/server environment, a client that processes only keyboard input and screen output; the server does all application processing. See also: Fat Client, Fat Server.

Third-Party Add-In: A tool for use in the VB development environment. Products in this category range from simple tools for aligning controls on forms to complex tools that create an entire app structure. Third-party add-ins are less risky than third-party controls because your application does not depend on them.

Third-Party Control: A self-contained component that extends VB app functionality, such as spellcheckers, bound combo boxes, and multimedia components.

Three-Tier: See N-Tier.

Time Function: Returns the current time from the system clock.

Timer Event: Occurs when a preset interval for a timer control has elapsed.

Timer Function: Returns the number of seconds that have elapsed since 12 a.m.

TimeSerial Function: Returns the time serial for a specific hour, minute, and second. The statement TimeSerial(16, 35, 17) returns 4:35:17 p.m.

TimeValue Function: Returns the time represented by a String argument.

Transaction: A series of programming commands performed as a single unit. If one of the commands fails, the entire transaction fails and any work done up to that point is rolled back to its original state.

Tuple: A record, or row, in an RDBMS. See also: Relational Database.

UBound Function: Returns the largest available subscript for the indicated dimension of an array. This function returns the upper limit of an array and can be used with LBound to find the size of an array. If you create an array of elements from 1 to 100 UBound(Array) returns 100. See also: LBound Function.

UCase Function: Returns a string in which all letters of an argument have been converted to uppercase.

Unified Modeling Language (UML): An object-oriented design language. UML consolidates popular object-oriented design methodologies into a single standard.

Unload Event: Occurs when a form is about to be removed from the screen.

Updated Event: Occurs when an object's data has been modified.

User Interface (UI): The portion of the program with which the user interacts, consisting of menus, screen design, input devices, and command language. Windows has a graphical user interface (GUI), compared to DOS's command-line interface See also: Graphical User Interface.

Val Function: Converts a string value to a number.

Validate Event: Occurs before focus shifts to a second control that has its CausesValidation property set to True. This event works with the CausesValidation property to prevent a control from losing focus before certain criteria are met.

Variable: A container used to temporarily hold data in the program. You can store numbers, names, and property values in variables.

Variant: A special data type that can contain numeric, string, or date data as well as the special values Empty and Null. The Variant data type is the default for Visual Basic when a data type is not explicitly declared. It is the data type that all variables become if they are not explicitly declared as another type.

VarType Function: Returns a value that indicates how a Variant data type is stored internally by Visual Basic.

VBX Custom Control: A custom control that can be used only with 16-bit versions of Visual Basic.



Weekday Function: Returns a whole number representing the day of the week.

Wizards: Question and answer dialog boxes that guide users through the process step-by-step. Visual Basic has a number of wizards such as the Application Wizard, the Class Builder Wizard, and the Toolbar Wizard.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get): An onscreen display method that shows documents and graphic characters as they will appear when printed.

Year Function: Returns the year portion of the specified date. The syntax Year("3/15/99") returns "1999".

Z-Order: A relative ordering that determines how controls overlap on a form. The first control in the form description establishes the bottom of the z-order. Controls that appear later in the form description are higher in the z-order and thus overlap controls that are lower in the z-order.



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