VB6 Debugger View As Hex tooltips

Author: Dave
Date: 05.22.18 - 7:59am

The VB6 IDE is still a great development environment, however it is old and does not have some modern niceties.

Some things can be added on with plugins such as tabs for the code editor, class view type treeview, Find all search and even mouse wheel support! (really showing your age there vb)

one small feature I have wanted for a long time is the ability to view numeric values as hex. For some projects this is mandatory and you end up having to keep entering ?hex(myVal) in the immediate window over and over again at breakpoints. I want them in the mouse over variable tool tip.

Soo..i spent a day poking around in a debugger and figured out a fairly simple way to do it.
You can find the source code here

The short story is..tooltips are registered early and then wait. they callback the parent app when they detect a dwell and the parent window fills in a structure they pass to it with the text to display. Tooltips use SetWindowPos to finally show up to the user.

I hooked SetWindowPos and can read the text with GetWindowText, but the tooltip window does not respond to SetWindowText. From here I had the hwnd, so chose to subclass the window and owner draw it from my hook if I determined there was a value i wanted to override with my own display.

options were:
  1. subclass main window and watch for tooltip callback that sets initial text
  2. subclass tooltip window and custom draw
  3. display my own custom floating window with no border and never show real tooltip
  4. somehow get ahold of the NMTTDISPINFO struct from the tooltips hwnd

More reading MS ToolTip Reference. Forum thread here.

So anyway..it worked still experimental but looking forward to it. Right now you have to inject it into the IDE process manually but I will add a loader to one of my addins soon.

I will make a video soon of IDE addin's I use to make life better in the VB6 IDE.

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