Understanding Variable Scope and Length in Visible Essential six

Variable Scope

The scope of a variable decides exactly where you can obtain that variable in your code. If a variable is in scope you can go through or established it can be worth. If it is out of scope you will not be equipped to obtain it.

There are 3 forms of scope for variables in Visible Essential:

  • World-wide Scope
    World-wide variables are in scope any where in your application.
  • Module Scope
    Module degree variables are in scope any where inside the module exactly where they are declared.
  • Area Scope
    Area variables are only in scope inside the treatment exactly where they are declared.

World-wide Scope

World-wide variables are out there any where in your system. Any line of code in any treatment can go through or publish the worth of the variable. While hassle-free, it is viewed as negative programming apply to overuse world wide variables and some programmers (myself incorporated) make a significant exertion to steer clear of them totally.

To develop a world wide variable, declare it in the declarations area of a common module using the World-wide or Public search term.

Module Scope

Module degree variables are out there to any code inside the module exactly where they are declared. While using world wide variables is viewed as negative programming apply, using module degree variables is not. Module degree variables permit you to share info between techniques without having exposing that info to each treatment in the application.

To develop a module degree variable, declare it in the declarations area of a module using either the Dim or Personal search term.

Area Scope

Area variables are only availabe to the treatment in which they are established. Area variables are the most restricted in scope – not even other techniques in the very same module may perhaps go through or modify community variables.

You develop community variables by declaring them with the Dim or Static search term inside the overall body of a Sub, Functionality, or House treatment.


There are a several variations from the simple scoping principles:

  • Public Variables in Class Modules
    Not like public variables in common modules, public variables in Class modules are only in scope when an item variable representing the course is in scope. For instance, you may perhaps have a CPerson course with a public FirstName variable. CPerson:FirstName is public, but it is only out there if there is an item variable primarily based on the CPerson course at this time in scope. You cannot simply declare the variable in the course module and then reference it without having 1st creating a CPerson item.
  • Public Variables in Form Modules
    While types can be thought of as getting derived from classes, Visible Essential treats types otherwise. Not like a course, you are not necessary to declare kind item variables (although it is viewed as superior programming apply to do so). If you reference a public variable in a kind from any where in your code, a duplicate of the kind is established for you by Visible Essential. As you could possibly envision, this can direct to some unintended habits if you are not conscious of it.
  • Shadowing
    If variables with the very same title are declared so that extra than one of them is inside scope when the variables are referenced, the most community duplicate is made use of. For instance, if you declare a variable named sName in a treatment, and also have an sName variable declared as Personal in the declarations area of the very same module, as nicely as a world wide sName variable declared in a different module, the pursuing principles would apply:
    • In the treatment exactly where sName is declared, the community duplicate of sName would be made use of.
    • Elsewhere inside the module with the personal sName variable the module degree variable would be made use of.
    • Code in other modules will use the world wide sName variable.

You can steer clear of the trouble of title shadowing quickly by using a naming convention that provides a prefix indicating the scope of a variable. A widespread convention is to prefix module degree variables with “m” and world wide variables with “g”. Area variables receive no prefix indicating scope.


Great programming apply dictates that you need to test to restrict the scope of your variables to the most restrictive scope you can use. If achievable, info that requires to be shared between techniques need to be passed in the parameter checklist. This is an express info sharing system and there is no question about how the treatment obtains it can be values.

For info that requires to be preserved independently of any treatment, module degree variables are the upcoming greatest selection. While module degree variables are uncovered inside the module, they are concealed to the relaxation of the application. This encapsulates info that is made use of by a module inside the module and does so privately. No code outdoors of the module is even conscious of the existence of personal module info and therefore can not alter it.

World-wide variables need to normally be avoided. While they are hassle-free for sharing info between modules, they are as unsafe as they are quick. Mainly because any treatment any where in the application can improve a world wide variable, you may perhaps have code switching globals in unanticipated techniques – major to unpredictable habits in the application and very tricky debugging.

Really don’t, nonetheless, confuse world wide variables with world wide constants. Just as it is a good idea to steer clear of the use of world wide variables, it is recommended to use constants where ever achievable. Given that constants can not be transformed at run-time, the problems of world wide variables are avoided. The primary purpose of constants is staying away from “magic quantities.” Magic quantities are values like coded property settings. For instance, a combo box can be assigned one of 3 styles: dropdown combo (a normal textual content box with a drop down checklist), simple combo (the checklist is often shown), and dropdown checklist (the user have to choose a worth in the checklist). These styles have the values , 1, and two respectively. As a substitute of using the genuine values, using symbolic constants provides a degree of abstraction to the code. For the combo box, VB supplies the intrinsic constants vbComboDropdown, vbComboSimple, and vbComboDropdownList. Applying one of these constants tends to make the code less difficult to go through simply because an English-like phrase replaces an arbitrary amount.

Variable Length

Variable period, or lifetime, implies how extended a variable exists in the existence of a system. A variable may perhaps have a period ranging from as extended as the lifetime of an application or as brief as the lifetime of a solitary treatment. Length is carefully associated to variable scope simply because the spot exactly where a variable is declared can have an impact on equally.

Normally, all variables declared at the module degree have a period of the lifetime of an application, and variables declared inside a treatment only exist whilst the treatment is executing. There are, nonetheless, a several exceptions to this basic rule.

  • Static Variables
    You can declare community variables (variables declared inside a treatment) or even an complete treatment as Static. Static variables retain their values between treatment phone calls. A widespread use of static variables is as control flags to stop unbounded recursion (a recursive functionality is a functionality that phone calls itself – if not controlled, a recursive functionality can swiftly consume all of the out there room on the stack, major to a stack overflow error), control flags for publish-at the time property settings, and so on.
  • Class Modules
    Module degree variables declared in course modules exist for the lifetime of the course objects. Recall that with classes you can not directly obtain code or info inside the module without having 1st creating an occasion of an item described by the course.
  • Form Modules
    Form modules, like course modules, call for that an occasion of the kind be established just before its code and info can be made use of. Nonetheless, VB treats kind modules relatively otherwise and will routinely develop an occasion of a kind if any propery of the kind is referenced in your code. Also recall that module degree variables in types are not destroyed till the reference to the kind item is unveiled by environment the kind to Almost nothing. Unloading a kind does not crystal clear the worth of the form’s module degree variables.


Critical principles to recall about variable scope and period are:

  • Variable scope decides exactly where in your code you can “see” a variable.
  • Variable period implies how extended a variable exists in the lifetime of a system.
  • VB’s principles for shadowing state that the most community duplicate of a variable will be the duplicate made use of.
  • Special principles apply for variables in kind and course modules that have an impact on equally the scope and period of the variables in the kind or course.
  • Great programming apply dictates that you need to test to restrict the scope of your variables to the smallest vary achievable.

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