Review – vbWatchdog – professional error tracking tool

As a VBA Developer, I am always interested in the latest technologies in the VBA world. This is not that difficult, as far as there is not plenty of new stuff there, thus whenever I see something interesting, I try to obtain it for a review at my site ๐Ÿ™‚

About a week ago I have noticed the vbWatchdog and I have kindly asked the development team to provide me with a license for a review. They have agreed and here comes the review.

First, what is vbWatchdog about and what does it do? This is something I have taken from their site:

vbWatchdog is a code library specifically designed for the VBA and VB6 programming languages. ย The product enhances key areas of the VB language by offering:

  • Full access to the call stack (current procedure and module name, etc)
  • Ability to trap errors at a global level for logging or handling of errors
  • Methods to help determine the exact line of code that caused an error, without any alterations to your existing code.
  • A HTML-based Error Dialog that provides access to all of these features.
  • When iterating through the callstack you can dump the live values of variables from procedures on the stack. (Handy when trying to figure out the source of errors when not being able to debug remotely)
  • Under the Access Runtime environment, unhandled VBA errors can be prevented from causing the application to quit (and global variables values retained).

In other words, it seems to be an advanced error-tracking tool for VBA. Something that the Visual Basic Editor does not provide. Thus, after some 20 minutes fighting to install it, I have managed to do so. If you want to run it, after installation, you should go to “Add-Ins” and then press “Add vbWatchdog to this project”.

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Then 5 new classes appear in the project like this:

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What you can do with them?

Well, actually you should not do anything. You simply add the code from GettingStarted, then you run the EnableWatchdogย function and you get the following:

  • An error message with more information than the standard one from the beloved VBEditor:

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  • A notepad track of the error messages in my document folder. The contents look interesting:

All errors that have happened between 9. April and 3. April are kindly tracked there. ย With the comment for the errors ๐Ÿ™‚

As an error-related tool, vbWatchdog, mimics well the logic of Visual Studio for the try-catch-finally,ย which is somehow missing in the VBEditor. Thus, the following code presents some expected message boxes:

Like this (hopefully you have seen a msgbox before, but still):

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Another option the tool comes with is the option to see the code numbers. Really nice feature for those, coming from the so called “Real world of programming” to the VBEditor:

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I have appreciated it! Somehow, any upgrade to the VBEditor is like a present for me! ๐Ÿ™‚

vbWatchdog has also other features, like VariableInspector and callstack reader, which you can see at the web site itself. Furthermore, there is an option to prevent MS Access from quitting, when an unhandled error appears there. The price of the software is between 185 and 215 EUR for a single developer. A free trial version is available on their web site for testing purposes. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have added vbWatchdog to the list of the Professional VBA tools here.

Pretty much that’s all! I am really happy, that people all over the world code in VBA and make useful software for it! Thus, if you think that you will need an advanced error-tracking tool – my advice is definitely go for it! ๐Ÿ™‚

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