Chapter 14. Application Settings

More than seven score years ago, President Abraham Lincoln began his famous Gettysburg Address with “Four score and seven years ago . . . “. Why this poetic reference to the founding of America 87 years earlier? He could have started the speech with “Last week, I was talking with members of my cabinet” or even “These three confederate soldiers walked into a bar . . . “. But he stuck with the decades-old anecdote.

Lincoln understood that his listeners, as humans, had a tie with the past, a fondness for the familiar, a love of fast sports cars, and a desire to see the stability of a former era restored. This is how people are. They like peace, not war. They like the status quo, not change. They like dinner on the table when they return home from a hard day at the office. They like short lines at the amusement park. They like seeing their favorite football team win once again.

People like to know that things are configured in a way that makes sense to them, set up in a way that is familiar and known. They expect this in life, and they expect this in their software. That’s why Visual Basic includes features that let you maintain user-specific and application-specific settings, to give the people what they want.

A Short History of Settings

Since that short yet dynamic speech by Lincoln, programmers have sought a convenient way to maintain configurable values in their applications. In the early days of MS-DOS development, it was a configuration free-for-all; ...

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