Developer

Become acquainted with the Friend keyword in VB6

When writing property procedures and methods for a VB6 class, you can use the Friend keyword when you want a property or method to be accessible to other objects in the project but not to the project as a whole. Peter Aitken provides an introduction to the Friend keyword.

When writing property procedures and methods for a VB6 class, there are three keywords that you can use to control access to the property or method. Two of these are straightforward and easy to understand:

  • Public: There are no restrictions on access.
  • Private: The property or method is available only from within its own class.

The third keyword is Friend, and its use and meaning are not well understood. You use Friend when you want a property or method to be accessible to other objects in the project but not to the project as a whole. Or, within a component, objects can access each other's Friend members, but the program that is using the component cannot.

For instance, suppose you're writing a component as a DLL or ActiveX, and there are several objects in the component that need to communicate with each other. However, you don't want this communication channel to be available to the program that is calling the component. This is perhaps the most common use of Friend properties and methods.

Friend properties and methods are not part of a class's interface. Also, they don't appear in the type library of the class, and they aren't included when you implement an interface using the Implements keyword.

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