Press Release

Automate the maintenance of your Visual Basic projects

Have you ever worked on a VB application developed by someone else? Or on an application written 6 months ago? If you have, you know how difficult it is then to make modifications in the code.

How does this application work? How do you test the application’s behaviour after you have made a modification, such as modifying the structure of a table? This is all about Impact Analysis … You know; Those tedious analyses we rarely make. Only they are the only way to reduce the risk of mistakes while maintaining applications and therefore the only way to reduce the costs related to maintenance.
Thanks to Visual Expert you will be able to achieve complete impact analyses on any VB objects in a few clicks (graphical objects, functions, variable…)

Visual Expert also allows you to explore swiftly the application’s code (far more quickly than with the VB explorer), it enables you to display the structure of this code and most of all it allows you to generate complete technical documentation for your projects (HTML or RTF format).

Finally Visual Expert can also audit your code to control the different elements’ naming rules and to detect the dead code of the application. This isn’t a tool especially dedicated to quality auditing but it has features which can be useful.


Analysing your project

Before you can explore it, Visual Expert will analyse your code. A wizard will help you declare your project and define the list of VB elements you wish to be analysed. You may take the elements one by one or import your complete VB project’s file. I strongly recommend you to use the latter. Visual Expert will then launch your project’s code analysis. You can then almost instantly explore your code in the Graphical Interface.

Exploring the code

Visual Expert’s graphical interface has three different parts; a tree view, displaying the structure of the application, a “source code” view and a “detail” view displaying information about the element selected.

Visual Expert’s graphical interface has three different parts

The tree view

The tree view allows you to navigate in the structure of the application: for each item (a method, a form, a property for example) you can select one or more links (for example: for a method: the method called or the calling method; for a form, the list of controls).

This way of exploring the code is efficient and fast but needs a bit of time to get used to (there are several different lists of links offered). Once you have been trained you will never be able to look for “who uses what?” or to locate a method again without Visual Expert...

Thanks to the tree view Impact analyses are neatly displayed; you will find all the scripts referring to such property or such method in a few clicks …

The source code view

The source code’s display allows you to navigate in the code of the application directly as you would in an HTML page. The code is coloured and the referenced methods are hyperlinks.

Visual Expert’s graphical interface has three different parts

If you click on these hyperlinks you will immediately see the method’s code. “Next” and “Previous” buttons enable you to come back to code you have already displayed. This view is very useful to navigate directly in the source code of your application.

The « detail » view

This view displays information on the element selected in the tree view. This information includes the complete name of the source file, the date of the first modification, the type of components, etc. But you can also find information on the dead code of the application (unused variables, for examples) or again on the quality of the code (see if the naming rules are respected, the use of global variables …).

The association of these three views is particularly efficient to navigate in the application.


It is easy to go from an impact analysis to searching for a bug in the code.

Recently I was reading an article saying we spend 50% of the time looking for the code to modify, 30% modifying it and 20% of the time testing it. Visual Expert allows you to reduce the time spent in the search phase. Also it will give you a better result than whatever you would have found on your own. How much time have I spent in the VB search window!

Generating technical documentation

Visual Expert allows you to generate technical documentation on your application. It is possible to generate technical documentation in RTF format (useful for printing) or HTML (useful to transfer the documentation via Internet). The documentation you obtain is pretty complete.


Not only does it contain classic information about the elements of your application (such as the list of controls and methods) but it also gives you information on referenced or referencing components. Visual Expert will also display the forms of the applications and their preview. It is a pity that the screen shot should be in the BMP format because the pictures are heavy and non compatible with Netscape.

Visual Expert can analyse these comments including your own information in the documentation (this may remind you of Javadoc, for those of you who know Java)


Visual Expert is a tool which judiciously completes VB’s features. VB is indeed perfectly conceived to develop an application but gives little help on the maintenance aspect.

You will save precious time using Visual Expert. Moreover if you are in need of source code documentation for your projects Visual Expert will generate in a few minutes what it usually takes us days to finish.

Thanks to Visual Expert you can focus on your new project, VB.NET or else.