The material in this book pushes the perceived limits of what you can do with Visual Basic. Visual Basic offers a powerful development environment for virtually all types of applications, components, and tools. Yet, much of the time, all that we hear about are Visual Basic's limitations—what you can't do. Each of these "can'ts" is used to prove the inferiority of Visual Basic and the superiority of the critic's favorite development environment or programming language. For instance, Visual Basic is seen as grossly inferior because it can't be used to create standard Windows dynamic link libraries (a contention, by the way, that is completely untrue). Also, how many times have you heard a "real" programmer complain about the absence of pointers in Visual Basic? (This charge, by the way, is also untrue.) Similarly, Visual Basic's strength as an application development package is turned into a weakness by its critics; they argue that, while you can create applications quickly, these applications can't be tightly integrated with the Windows shell, since shell extensions can only be written in C++. Along with most Visual Basic programmers, I accepted that contention for a long time; this book, however, shows that limitation to be false and, in the process, implicitly shows that Visual Basic is a great tool for developing COM components of all kinds.
But I'm not going to lie to you. In order to accomplish some of the things we need to accomplish in this book, we have to take some very, very sneaky steps. But in my opinion, that's what makes VB so much fun. In one sense, this book is for the "hacker," the person who likes to get under the hood and explore the dark catacombs beneath the language. In another sense (hopefully), this book is a testament to just how flexible Visual Basic can be.
So, with that said, I have not tried to write a literary masterpiece. I just wanted to write a really neat book. I hope you enjoy it.