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Steps to Implementing an Active Document

The following points give an overview of the general steps you need to take to set up your own Active Document application:

  1. Initiate a VB ActiveX DLL or VB ActiveX EXE project based on one or more UserDocument objects. You might want to also convert an existing VB Standard EXE to an ActiveX project.

  2. Create your own properties for your ActiveX project. Implementing these custom members is almost identical to the techniques for implementing custom members we discussed in Chapter 13, "Creating ActiveX Controls."

  3. Provide for data persistence. This concept is very similar to the concept of property persistence as discussed in Chapter 13.

  4. Design and implement your Active Document application's menu system. Besides creating the menu with the techniques discussed in Chapter 3, "Implementing Navigational Design," you will need to determine how your Active Document application's menus will coexist with the container application's menus.

  5. Program specific Active Document features that make your Active Document aware of and able to react to its container.

  6. Provide for the environments of specific container applications. To some extent an Active Document application must be aware of the specific object model of its container. Because different containers can have differing object models, you'll need to learn how to detect which container currently holds the Document. You'll need your application to act differently depending on which container it detects.

  7. Provide document navigation. Different container applications' object models will provide differing techniques for moving between Active Documents. You must program effective document navigation for the different types of containers.

  8. Test your Active Document application with possible containers. This usually involves running the container application while your Active Document application is in VB's design mode.

  9. Compile and distribute your Active Document application bearing in mind special considerations for Internet distribution. Again, Active Document application compiling and distribution is quite similar to the compiling and distribution of ActiveX controls, as discussed in Chapter 13 "Creating ActiveX Controls".

Each of the previously listed steps is discussed in the remaining sections of this chapter.

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