What is the PowerBASIC COM Browser

The PowerBASIC COM Browser is an application that exposes the data stored in a type library and generates PowerBASIC Compatible source code for this data. A Type Library is a block of data which describes one or more COM Object Classes.

If you are unfamiliar with COM programming, you may wish to review the COM Programming section in the PowerBASIC For Windows Help file to gain an insight into COM programming concepts before reading this topic.

A Type Library is usually supplied by the author of the COM server. It's frequently supplied as a standalone data file with a file name extension of TLB.  The data can also be embedded as a resource in the associated DLL, EXE, OCX, etc. The PowerBASIC COM Browser is used to extract information about a COM Object to allow you to use these classes in your program.  Generally speaking, a Type Library usually supplies specific details about every Method and Property, and the parameters of each of them.  This would include the names, data types, return values, and more. The Type Library may also offer information about related equates, User-Defined-Types, and more.

The PowerBASIC COM Browser can be launched from the Tools menu in the PowerBASIC IDE, launched as a stand-alone application by double-clicking PBROW.EXE in the \PB\BIN\ folder, or run from the command-line by typing PBROW.EXE (and then press ENTER).

When launched, the PowerBASIC COM Browser offers a straightforward user interface, with which you open specific type-library files or choose from a list of registered libraries.

Before we start, we should first clarify a few terms so avoid confusion:

COM Object

An instance of an initialized COM library or application.  COM Objects usually come in EXE (out-of-process), and DLL, or OCX formats (in-process).  These discussions pertain to COM libraries that act as COM Servers, regardless of whether they are in-process or out-of-process Servers.


A type-library is a file that contains a database or data dictionary describing the Interfaces and Interface members exposed by a COM Object.


See Also

The PowerBASIC COM Browser user interface

The PowerBASIC COM Browser Tutorial

What is an object, anyway?

Just what is COM?

What are Type Libraries?