Chapter 1, Introduction to Developing Microsoft Visio Solutions

Chapter 1, Introduction to Developing Microsoft Visio Solutions

This content is no longer actively maintained. It is provided as is, for anyone who may still be using these technologies, with no warranties or claims of accuracy with regard to the most recent product version or service release.

This guide is about developing solutions—combinations of Microsoft® Visio® shapes and programs that model the real world and solve specific drawing problems.

A software solution typically combines a custom program with one or more packaged software applications. Rather than developing functionality from scratch, the solution developer uses functionality that is built into a packaged product.

A Visio solution typically combines programmable shapes—either supplied with Visio or developed for the solution—with a template to create drawings in which the shapes are used. A Visio solution might also use Automation to control its shapes and drawings. A custom program in a Visio solution can be written in any programming language that supports Automation as a client , such as Microsoft® Visual Basic® for Applications (VBA), Microsoft® Visual Basic®, or C++. Visio provides an integrated development environment for convenient development of VBA projects.

This chapter introduces important Visio features and some concepts that will help you decide how to use them. To get the most out of this chapter and the rest of this guide, you should be familiar with Visio menu commands and tools. The best way to get acquainted with these is to create a drawing or two. If you haven't yet done this, we recommend that you do it now before continuing with this guide. Also, locate the Microsoft Visio Help and Developer Reference (on the Help menu, click Microsoft Visio Help or click Developer Reference), so you can find out more about Visio functionality, the ShapeSheet® spreadsheet, and the Visio object model if you have questions about these areas while reading this guide.

If your solution will control the Visio engine with Automation, you should be familiar with the programming language you intend to use. Help for VBA is provided with Visio. For other programming languages, see their respective documentation.

In this chapter…

About Visio Solutions

Using Visio Shapes to Create Solutions

Using SmartShapes Technology to Develop Shapes

Using Automation in a Visio Solution

Planning a Visio Solution

Migrating from Visual Basic to VBA