MS-Access / Getting Started

Class Events

There are two very important built-in events that accompany every Access class module: Initialize and Terminate. As you'll soon see, these two events provide invaluable assistance in many object-oriented programming projects.

Using class events is one thing that's completely different from using standard code modules. Not only do class modules maintain their own data states, but they provide events that offer a great deal of control over how the data is initialized and cleaned up within the class.

The Class_Initialize event procedure

Very often, the property variables or other resources used by a class need to be initialized, or set to some beginning state. Other than adding a method to trigger initialization, it might not seem obvious how to add initialization operations to your classes.

For example, let's say you create a class module that needs to have a recordset open the entire time the class is used. Perhaps it's a class where the data needs to be frequently selected from a database. Frequently opening and closing connections and recordsets can be an unnecessary drain on performance. This is especially true when the selected data set doesn't change from operation to operation. It'd be much more efficient to open the recordset one time, leave it open while the class is being used, and then close it at the conclusion of the session.

That's where the class's Initialize event comes in. The Initialize event fires whenever an object is instantiated from the class module. In the following consumer code example, the Class_ Initialize event procedure runs when the object is set to a new instance of the class:

Dim objProduct As Product
Set objProduct = New Product

Select Class from the object drop-down list in the VBA editor, and then select the Initialize event from the Events drop-down list. You don't have to do anything else other than add the code you want to run when an object is instantiated from your class module. Figure below shows an example of a Class_Initialize event procedure in the Product class.

The sequence indicated by the numbers in Figure below are:

  • The object is instantiated in (A). Before this statement is completed by the VBA engine, the Class_Initialize event is invoked.
  • Notice that Class_Initialize (B) is a private subroutine. It's owned by the class, and executes independently of the consumer code. No arguments are passed to Class_Initialize.
  • In C, execution is passed back to the consumer code when Class_Initialize ends.
  • Finally, at D, execution recommences in the consumer code at the statement following the object instantiation.

The Class_Initialize event procedure runs whenever an object is instantiated from the class module.

Event Procedure

In this small example, you'll notice that numeric property variables are set to -1, rather than VBA's default of zero for numeric variables. This is because certain logic in the class module uses -1 to determine when certain states - such as when the user is entering a new product - are in effect.

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