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Compiling to Native Code

Although P-Code has its advantages, the capability to compile to native code is an advantage that most VB6 programmers put to good use, especially because it permits additional optimizations. This discussion focuses on the basic compiler options for native code.

Visual Basic versions 5 and 6 have the capability to compile native machine code into the EXE files it produces. Like the applications normally produced with other language compilers that produce Windows programs (for example, Visual C++), VB programs require library files. The difference is that a compiler such as Visual C++ can create completely independent EXEs—if the programmer is willing to write all the program’s interface code from the ground up. VB can’t do that.

Why is native code important? You already know the answer: speed. As hardware has become faster and operating systems have grown more sophisticated, programmers feel the need to produce applications that can keep pace. In a world in which desktop computers featuring 200+MHz Pentium processor chips and 32MB+ RAM are becoming commonplace, and developers routinely produce Internetenabled programs, your applications absolutely must be fast if they are to be taken seriously.

To compile to native code, open the Project Properties dialog box and make sure that the Compile to Native Code option button is selected. When you do, additional choices on the dialog box become available. The following sections look at these choices.

  1. Basic Optimizations
    Optimizing for Fast Code
    Optimizing for Small Code, No Optimization
    Favoring Pentium Pro, Creating Symbolic Debug Info
    Results of Basic Optimization

  2. Advanced Optimizations
    Assuming No Aliasing
    Removing Array Bounds Checks
    Removing Integer Overflow Checks, Removing Floating-Point Error Checks
    Allowing Unrounded Floating-Point Operations, Removing Safe Pentium FDIV Checks


  

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