14 passing parameters by reference and modules
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14 – Passing parameters by reference, and Modules. Session Aims & Objectives. Aims To introduce the idea of passing by reference the idea of modules Objectives, by end of this week’s sessions, you should be able to: pass parameters by reference

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Session aims objectives
Session Aims & Objectives

  • Aims

    • To introduce the idea of passing by reference

    • the idea of modules

  • Objectives,by end of this week’s sessions, you should be able to:

    • pass parameters by reference

    • appropriately split a program into multiple modules

Variables and memory addresses
Variables and Memory Addresses

  • The computer keeps track of where variables are stored in memory by using memory addresses.

  • Every byte (position) in memory has a memory address:

  • In the above example the variable identified by the name x is stored at location 63542 (this is the address of the first byte of data allocated to the variable x)










Parameter passing methods
Parameter Passing Methods

  • There are 2 ways to pass parameters to functions and procedures:

    • Passing by Value: a literalvalue is passed from the call to the definition (you have already used this)Sub p1(x As integer) …End Sub

    • Passing by Reference: a variable’s memory address (a reference to the variables position in memory) is passed from the call to the definitionSub p2(ByRef y As integer) …End Sub

Why pass by reference
Why pass by reference?

  • It allows the value of the passed variable to be changed

    • i.e. it allows functions and procedures to change the value of things passed to them

  • Normally parameters are for input data – only functions can output data via the return value

  • Pass by reference allows data to be input and output via parameters

Example change the value
Example: Change the Value

Dimy As Integer

Dim b As integer

Sub P1(x As integer)

x = x * 2

End Sub

Sub P2(ByRef x AS integer)

x = x * 2

End Sub

y = 11

b = 12

P1 y' What is the value of y?

P2b ' What is the value of b?

Pass by Ref

What can be passed
What can be passed

  • Pass by value – both literals and variables can be passed (variables are substituted by their value)p1 y ' This is fine. p1 21 ' This is fine. 

  • Pass by reference – only variables can be passed (in fact the variable’s memory address is passed)literals cannot be passed – they have no memory addressp2 y ' This is fine. p2 21 ' This generates an error. 

Example pass by ref vs function
Example: Pass by Ref vs. Function


var x: integer


x: integer


Sub P2(ByRef x AsInteger)

x = x * 2

End Sub

Function F2(ByVal x As integer) AsInteger

F2 = x * 2

End Function

Dim b As integer

b = 4

P2b ' What is the value of b?

b = 4

b = F2(b) ' What is the value of b?

Pass by ref vs function
Pass by Ref vs. Function

  • a procedure that changes the value of a single parameter is equivalent to a function,

    • the procedure P2:P2bwas equivalent to:

    • the function F2:b = F2(b)

  • However,

    • F2 is far more explicit,

    • P2 is a bit cryptic: not obvious that value of b changes

      • this makes code difficult to read, which can lead to errors

Example total
Example: Total

Dim Nums(1 To 5)AsInteger

Dim tot As integer

Function Total() AsInteger

Dim tmpTot As integer

Dimi As integer

tmpTot = 0

For i = 1 to 5

tmpTot = tmpTot + Nums(i)


Total = tmpTot

End Function

Nums(1) = 23

Nums(2) = 17

Nums(3) = 28

Nums(4) = 12

Nums(5) = 25

tot = Total() ' What is the value of tot?

Example average
Example: Average

Dim ave AsDouble

Function Average() AsDouble

Dim tmpTot AsInteger

Dim i AsInteger

tmpTot = 0

for i = 1 to 5

tmpTot = tmpTot + Nums(i)


Average = tmpTot / 5

End Function

ave = Average() ' What is the value of ave?

Two results
Two results?

integer (total)


double (average)

  • Total and Average functions share a lot of code

  • Useful to combine them

  • Problem:

    • a function can only have 1 output

    • This:is not possible (in VB, or Delphi anyway)

Example total and average
Example: Total and Average

SubTotAve(ByRef T As Integer, _

ByRef A As Double)

Dim I As integer

T = 0

For i = 1 to 5

T = T + Nums(i)


A = T / 5

End Sub

tot = 0

ave = 0

TotAve tot, ave ' What is the value of ave and tot?

var T: integer


var A: double

Multiple modules forms
Multiple Modules Forms

  • Projects can contain many modules/units

    • form modules (*.FRM)

      • Click the Project menu

      • Click the Add Form menu item

    • code modules (*.BAS)

      • Click the Project menu

      • Click the Add Module menu item

  • Modules

    • divide your code into separate parts

    • available to other forms and code modules

Public private
Public & Private

  • Private – can only be used in current module

  • Public – can be used by any module

  • Used for:

    • module level variables (instead of dim) Private x As Integer

    • procedures and functions (start of declaration) Private Sub Display() … End Sub

Example employees v3
Example: Employees v3



Option Explicit

Private Sub Form_Load()

curEmp = 1


End Sub

Private Sub btnNext_Click()


curEmp = curEmp + 1


End Sub

Option Explicit

Private Type TEmployee

Surname As String

Forenames As String

Salary As Double

End Type

Dim Employees(1 To 10) As TEmployee

Public curEmp As Integer

Sub EmpDisplay()

frmMain.lblEmpNum.Caption = curEmp

frmMain.txtSurname.Text = Employees(curEmp).Surname

frmMain.txtForenames.Text = Employees(curEmp).Forenames

frmMain.txtSalary.Text = Employees(curEmp).Salary

End Sub

Sub EmpStore()

Employees(curEmp).Surname = frmMain.txtSurname.Text

Employees(curEmp).Forenames = frmMain.txtForenames.Text

Employees(curEmp).Salary = Val(frmMain.txtSalary.Text)

End Sub

Employees v3

Multiple forms start form
Multiple Forms: Start Form

  • To set the start form:

    • Click the Project menu

    • Click the Properties menu item

    • Click the General tab

    • Click the Start up object list

    • Select a form

Example multiple forms
Example: Multiple Forms

  • Show method – displays form

  • Hide method – hides form

Modules sharing
Modules: Sharing

Project A

Project B

Module 1

Module 2

Form 1

Form 2

Form 3

Form 4

  • Can share modules between projects:

    • Click the File menu

    • Click the Add File menu item

    • Select the module file

    • Press the [Return] key