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Understanding Project Groups

Developers often work with multiple projects simultaneously. The two most common reasons to group projects together are

  • The projects depend on each other (such as an application and an ActiveX control that it uses).

  • The projects are multiple, independent parts of a large development project (such as an order-entry system and an HR application both being built for the same company).

Project groups have become necessary because each Visual Basic project does not exist in a vacuum, but rather must coexist with other applications. As the software industry continues to mature, you will see more and more development with multiple, interdependent projects.

Project groups provide several benefits over the more traditional singleproject model:

  • All the individual projects you have placed into a group are opened and closed together, reducing the time spent getting ready to work and the time getting ready to quit.

  • Opening all the projects together enables you to work with them inside a single instance of Visual Basic.

  • If the projects are directly related (through references), you can execute and debug them together (as discussed in more detail in the section titled "Using Project Groups to Debug an ActiveX DLL").

The individual projects are not modified just by being part of a project group. They are still stored individually on disk. The group file (*.VBG) merely contains links (using relative paths) to each member project (*.VBP). The contents of a sample *.VBG group file are shown here:


Each project can belong to a number of groups, in combination with other projects, and can still be opened directly, as an individual project, at any time. The only limit on combining projects is that a project can only be in a project group once; multiple copies of a given project within the same project group are not possible.

  1. Creating Project Groups

  2. Building Multiple Projects


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