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The Properties of a Class

Properties Fundamentals

Introduction

A property is a member of a class that acts as a relay between the class and an object outside the class, that is, an object that communicates with the class, such as providing a value to the class. As such, and unlike a regular member variable, a property can act as the "door" that validates, evaluates, accepts and/or rejects a value passed to an object of the class, or a value assigned to a member of the class.

To make a property validate the value of a member variable of a class, it must be associated to a local member variable that itself should (must) be hidden from outside the class. Such a local member can be created using the Dim keyword so that the objects outside the class cannot "see" it.

After declaring a local variable using Dim, you must then create a property in the class and set up a relationship between both so that the property can play its role.

To create a property, you use the Property keyword. With regards to their roles, there are three types of properties.

Practical Learning: Introducing Classes Properties

  1. Start Microsoft Access
  2. From the resources that accompany these lessons, open the Employment Agency file
  3. On the Ribbon, click Create and click Class Module
  4. Type Dim hSalary As Double
  5. In the Properties window, click (Name) and type SalaryEstimation

Read-Only Properties

A property is referred to as read-only if its role is only to make available the value of the member variable it represents. To create a read-only property, use a formula as follows:

[Public | Private | Friend] [Static]Property Get property-name() As data-type

End Property

The Property Get expression is required. It is followed by the name of the property and empty parentheses. You must also indicate the type of value the property must produce. The creation of a property ends with an End Property line.

The section between the Property Get line and the End Get line is the body of the property. In it, define what you want the property to produce. Because this property appears like a function, to indicate its return value, before the last line, assign the return value to the name of the property. The simplest way consists of assigning the local variable to the name of the property. Here is an example:

Public Property Get HourlySalary() As Double
   HourlySalary = hSalary
End Property

When the clients of a class access a read-only property, they can only retrieve the value of the property but they cannot change it. Therefore, if you create a read-only property, you should provide the ability to specify the value of the member variable. To do this, you can create an appropriate method whose role would only be used to initialize the property.

Once a read-only property has been created, other classes or procedures can read its value.

Practical Learning: Introducing Read-Only Properties

  1. To create a read-only property, add the following code:
    Public Property Get HourlySalary() As Double
       HourlySalary = hSalary
    End Property
  2. To have a method that can specify the value of the local variable, add the following method:
    Dim hSalary As Double
    
    Public Property Get HourlySalary() As Double
       HourlySalary = hSalary
    End Property
    
    Public Sub Create(ByVal salary As Double)
        hSalary = salary
    End Sub
  3. Return to Microsoft Access
  4. In the Navigation Pane, right-click Example and click Design View
  5. In the Tools section of the Ribbon, click View Code
  6. In the Object combo box, select Form and implement the event as follows:
    Private Sub Form_Load()
        Dim se As New SalaryEstimation
        
        se.Create 24.95
        
        txtHourlySalary = se.HourlySalary
        
        Set se = Nothing
    End Sub
  7. Return to Microsoft Access and switch the form to Form View

    Read-Only Properties

  8. Save and close the form
  9. Return to Microsoft Visual Basic and access the SalaryEstimation file
  10. To create more read-only properties, change the contents of the document as follows:
    Dim hSalary As Double
    
    Public Property Get HourlySalary() As Double
       HourlySalary = hSalary
    End Property
    
    Public Sub Create(ByVal salary As Double)
        hSalary = salary
    End Sub
    
    Public Property Get WeeklySalary() As Double
        WeeklySalary = HourlySalary * 40
    End Property
    
    Public Property Get BiWeeklySalary() As Double
        BiWeeklySalary = WeeklySalary * 2#
    End Property
        
    Public Property Get MonthlySalary() As Double
        MonthlySalary = WeeklySalary * 4#
    End Property
    
    Public Property Get YearlySalary() As Double
        YearlySalary = MonthlySalary * 12#
    End Property
  11. In the Project window, double-click Form_Salary Summary
  12. In the Object combo box, select cmdEvaluate and implement its event as follows:
    Private Sub cmdEvaluate_Click()
        Dim estimate As SalaryEstimation
        Dim hr As Double
    
        hr = CDbl(txtHourlySalary)
        Set estimate = New SalaryEstimation
    
        estimate.Create hr
        
        txtWeeklySalary = estimate.WeeklySalary
        txtBiWeeklySalary = estimate.BiWeeklySalary
        txtMonthlySalary = estimate.MonthlySalary
        txtYearlySalary = estimate.YearlySalary
        
        Set estimate = Nothing
    End Sub
  13. Return to Microsoft Access
  14. In the Navigation Pane, double-click Salary Summary
  15. On the form, click Hourly Salary and type a number such as 25.85

    Read-Only Properties

  16. Click the Evaluate button:

    Read-Only Properties

  17. Save and close the form

Write-Only Properties

A property is referred to as write-only if the clients of the class can change the value of that property but cannot read its value. The formula to create a write-only property uses the Let keyword as follows:

[Public | Private | Friend] [Static] Property Let property-name(ByVal value As data-type)

End Property

This time, the property must use a parameter, passed in its parentheses. Here is an example:

Class Module: TimeSheet

Dim mon As Double

Public Property Set Monday(ByVal d As Double)

End Property

The minimum operation you can perform with a write-only property is to assign it a value that would be provided by the outside world. To do this, you can assign the argument to a local member variable that the property represents.

Practical Learning: Introducing Write-Only Properties

  1. On the Ribbon, click Create and click Class Module
  2. To create write-only properties, type the following code:
    Dim mon As Double
    Dim tue As Double
    Dim wed As Double
    Dim thu As Double
    Dim fri As Double
    Dim sat As Double
    Dim sun As Double
    
    Public Property Let Monday(ByVal value As Double)
        mon = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Let Tuesday(ByVal value As Double)
        tue = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Let Wednesday(ByVal value As Double)
        wed = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Let Thursday(ByVal value As Double)
        thu = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Let Friday(ByVal value As Double)
        fri = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Let Saturday(ByVal value As Double)
        sat = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Let Sunday(ByVal value As Double)
        sun = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Get TimeWorked() As Double
        TimeWorked = mon + tue + wed + thu + fri + sat + sun
    End Property
  3. In the Properties window, click (Name) and type TimeSheet
  4. In the Project window, double-click Form_Time Sheet Prepation
  5. In the Object combo box, select cmdCalculateTimeSheet and implement its event as follows:
    Private Sub cmdCalculateTimeWorked_Click()
        Dim ts As New TimeSheet
        
        Dim mon As Double, _
            tue As Double, _
            wed As Double, _
            thu As Double, _
            fri As Double, _
            sat As Double, _
            sun As Double
    
        mon = CDbl(txtMonday)
        tue = CDbl(txtTuesday)
        wed = CDbl(txtWednesday)
        thu = CDbl(txtThursday)
        fri = CDbl(txtFriday)
        sat = CDbl(txtSaturday)
        sun = CDbl(txtSunday)
    
        ts.Monday = mon
        ts.Tuesday = tue
        ts.Wednesday = wed
        ts.Thursday = thu
        ts.Friday = fri
        ts.Saturday = sat
        ts.Sunday = sun
    
        txtTimeWorked = ts.TimeWorked
    
        Set ts = Nothing
    End Sub
  6. Return to Microsoft Access
  7. In the Navigation Pane, double-click Time Sheet Preparation
  8. In each day text box, enter a number between 0 and 24 in increments of 0.50

    Write-Only Properties

  9. Click the Evaluate button:

    Write-Only Properties

  10. Save and close the form

Read/Write Properties

A property is referred to as read-write if it allows external objects and/or procedures to read its value or to change it when necessary. To create a read-write property, you must implement both the Property Get and the Property Let properties, and both properties must have the same name. Each of the properties uses the formulas we reviewed above:

[Public | Private | Friend] [Static]Property Get property-name() As data-type

End Property
[Public | Private | Friend] [Static]Property Let property-name(ByVal value As data-type)

End Property

When implementing the property, provide the necessary functionality in the Property Get and the Property Set sections as we reviewed them.

Practical Learning: Introducing Read/Write Properties

  1. From the resources that accompany our lessons, open the Geometry1 database
  2. Ribbon, click Create and click Class Module
  3. To create read/write properties, type the following code:
    Dim dLen As Double
    Dim dHgt As Double
    
    Public Property Get Length() As Double
        Length = dLen
    End Property
    
    Public Property Let Length(value As Double)
        dLen = value
    End Property
        
    Public Property Get Height() As Double
        Height = dHgt
    End Property
    
    Public Property Let Height(value As Double)
        dHgt = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Get Area()
        Area = dLen * dHgt / 2#
    End Property
  4. In the Properties window, click (Name) and type Rhombus
  5. Return to Microsoft Access
  6. In the Navigation Pane, right-click Diamond and click Design View
  7. In the Controls section of the Ribbon, click Image and click the form
  8. From the resources that accompany these lessons, select and open Rhombus.bmp
  9. On the form, right-click the Calculate button and click Build Event...
  10. Double-click Code Builder and implement the event as follows:
    Private Sub cmdCalculate_Click()
        Dim p As Double
        Dim q As Double
        Dim area As Double
        Dim r As New Rhombus
    
        p = CDbl(txtLength)
        q = CDbl(txtHeight)
    
        r.Length = p
        r.Height = q
        area = r.area
    
        txtHorizontal = r.Length
        txtVertical = r.Height
        txtArea = area
        
        Set r = Nothing
    End Sub
  11. Return to Microsoft Access and switch the form to Form View

    Read-Write roperties

  12. Click Length and type a number such as 318.77
  13. Click Height and type a number such as 179.63

    Read-Write roperties

  14. Click the Calculate button:

    Read-Write roperties

 
 
 

The Types of Properties

Introduction

So far, we created properties that supported decimal numbers. Indeed, any primitive data type can be used to create a property. This includes natural numbers and strings.

Practical Learning: Introducing Read/Write Properties

  1. From the resources that accompany our lessons, Open the Road System1 database
  2. Ribbon, click Create and click Class Module
  3. To create read/write properties, type the following code:
    Dim name As String
    Dim length As Single
    Dim summary As String
    
    Public Property Let RoadName(ByVal value As String)
        name = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Get RoadName() As String
        RoadName = name
    End Property
    
    Public Property Let Distance(ByVal value As Single)
        length = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Get Distance() As Single
        Distance = length
    End Property
    
    Public Property Let Description(ByVal value As String)
        summary = value
    End Property
    
    Public Property Get Description() As String
        Description = summary
    End Property
  4. In the Properties window, click (Name) and type Road
  5. In the Project window, double-click Form_Examination
  6. In the Object combo box, select cmdDescribe and implement the event as follows:
    Private Sub cmdDescribe_Click()
        Dim rd As Road
        
        Set rd = New Road
        
        rd.RoadName = "I-76"
        rd.Distance = 434.87
        rd.Description = "From an interchange with I-71 west of Akron, Ohio, east to I-295 in Bellmawr, New Jersey."
        
        txtRoadName1 = rd.RoadName
        txtDistance1 = CStr(rd.Distance) & " miles"
        txtLocation1 = rd.Description
        
        Set rd = New Road
        
        rd.RoadName = "US 322"
        rd.Distance = 494
        rd.Description = "From Cleveland, Ohio east to Atlantic City, New Jersey"
        
        txtRoadName2 = rd.RoadName
        txtDistance2 = CStr(rd.Distance) & " miles"
        txtLocation2 = rd.Description
        
        Set rd = Nothing
    End Sub
  7. Return to Microsoft Access
  8. In the Navigation Pane, double-click Examination

    Read-Write roperties

  9. On the form, click the button:

    Write-Only Properties

  10. Save everything and close the form

An Object as a Property

As seen for a primary type, a property can use a class type. For example, you can pass an object to a class as property. In this case, you would create a property using the Set keyword. The formula to create a write-only property for an object uses the Set keyword as follows:

[Public | Private | Friend] [Static]Property Set property-name(ByVal value As data-type)
    Set value = something"
End Property

Once again, you should first declare a local variable. This time, it should be a reference to an object. Then, in the body of the property, you can assign the argument to the local object using the Set operator. Here is an example:

Class Module: Employee

Option Compare Database
Option Explicit

Public FirstName As String
Public LastName As String

Class Module: Payroll

Dim empl As Employee

Property Set Member(ByVal value As Employee)
     Set empl = value
End Property

Because you are using a reference type, it is a good idea to initialize the object when the class will be accessed and to de-allocate its memory when it will not be needed anymore. This can be done as follows:

Dim empl As Employee

Private Sub Class_Initialize()
    Set empl = New Employee
End Sub

Property Set Member(ByVal value As Employee)
     Set empl = value
End Property

Private Sub Class_Terminate()
    Set empl = Nothing
End Sub

Outside the class, you can assign an object to the property using the Set operator. Here is an example:

Private Sub Command5_Click()
    Dim pay As New Payroll
    Dim staff As New Employee
    
    staff.FirstName = "Joshua"
    staff.LastName = "Killion"

    Set pay.Member = staff

    Set pay = Nothing
End Sub

Built-In Classes/Objects and their Properties

The Application Class/Object

A Microsoft Access database is an object of type Application. In your code, to declare a variable of this type, you can type:

Dim app As Application

If you want to refer to such an object outside of Microsoft Access, you must qualify it with the Access object. For example, from an application such as Microsoft Word, to declare a variable that refers to a Microsoft Access database, the above declaration would be made as:

Dim app As Access.Application

Even in Microsoft Access, you can still use Access.Application.

To assist you with getting the name of the current database, the Application class is equipped with a property named CurrrentObjectName. This property simply produces the name of the database that called it, without the extension.

To let you know the Microsoft Access version of the current application, the Application class is equipped with a property named Version. In Microsoft Access 2007, this property produces 12.0.

The Current Database

When working in a Microsoft Access application, the database that is currently opened is identified as the CurrentDb object. This object is a child of (it is a property of) the Application object. The CurrentDb object allows you to refer to the current database in your code.

One of the ways you can get a reference to the current database is to declare a variable of type Object and Set it to the CurrentDb object. This can be done as follows:

Private Sub cmdReference_Click()
    Dim curDatabase As Object
    
    Set curDatabase = CurrentDb
End Sub

Alternatively, and this is necessary if you are working outside of Microsoft Access, first declare a variable of type Application or Access.Application, then assign that the CurrentDb property of the Application object by qualifying it. This can be done as follows:

Private Sub cmdReference_Click()
    Dim curDatabase As Object
    Dim curApplication As Application
    
    Set curDatabase = curApplication.CurrentDb
End Sub

The DoCmd Object

To assist you in performing the most common operations or actions of a database (an action performed on a database is also called a command), the VBA version of Microsoft Access provides a class or object named DoCmd. This object can be used by itself or as a property of the Application class. The DoCmd class contains only methods.

Because Microsoft Access is a visual application, you will usually perform most of your operations visually by clicking, dragging, and dropping some things. Some other operations you will have to perform with code. One of the methods of the DoCmd class is called DoMenuItem. Its syntax is:

DoMenuItem(ByVal MenuBar As Variant, _
	   ByVal MenuName As Variant, _
	   ByVal Command As Variant, _
	   ByVal Subcommand As Variant, _
	   ByVal Version As Variant)

To assist you in programmatically performing SQL operations in Microsoft Access, the DoCmd class is equipped with a method named RunSQL. Its syntax is:

Sub RunSQL(ByVal SQLStatement As Variant, Optional ByVal UseTransaction As Variant)

This method takes two arguments. The first one is required and contains what you want to use. The second argument is optional and has to do with transactions.

The other methods of the DoCmd class/object are:

AddMenu ApplyFilter Beep CancelEvent
Close CopyDatabaseFile CopyObject DeleteObject
DoMenuItem Echo FindNext FindRecord
GoToControl GoToPage GoToRecord Hourglass
Maximize Minimize MoveSize OpenDataAccessPage
OpenDiagram OpenForm OpenFunction OpenModule
OpenQuery OpenReport OpenStoredProcedure  
OpenTable OpenView OutputTo PrintOut
Quit RefreshRecord Rename RepaintObject
Requery Restore RunCommand RunMacro
RunSQL Save SelectObject SendObject
SetMenuItem SetWarnings ShowAllRecords ShowToolbar
TransferDatabase TransferSpreadsheet TransferSQLDatabase TransferText

Practical Learning: Ending the Lesson

  • Close Microsoft Access
 
 
   
 

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