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Microsoft KB Archive/170156

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Knowledge Base

INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 12: Transaction Server (MTS) Issues

Article ID: 170156

Article Last Modified on 5/12/2003


  • Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Learning Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Enterprise Edition

This article was previously published under Q170156


The information below includes the documentation and workarounds for Visual Basic 6.0. This information can also be found in the README.htm file that ships with Visual Basic 6.0 on the Visual Basic 6.0 CD-ROM. Please see the REFERENCES section of this article for a list of the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles relating to the Visual Basic 6.0 readme.

Following is a list of all parts of the readme file:

Part 1.  Important Issues - Please Read First!
Part 2.  Data Access Issues and DataBinding Tips.
Part 3.  Control Issues.
Part 4.  Language Issues.
Part 5.  Samples Issues.
Part 6.  Wizard Issues.
Part 7.  Error Message Issues.
Part 8.  WebClass Designer Issues.
Part 9.  DHTML Page Designer Issues.
Part 10. Extensibility Issues.
Part 11. Miscellaneous Issues.
Part 12. Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) Issues.
Part 13. Dictionary Object.
Part 14. Visual Component Manager.
Part 15. Application Performance Manager.


Building and Debugging MTS Components in Visual Basic 6.0:

Visual Basic 6.0 supports the debugging of Microsoft Transaction
Server (MTS) components, but there are several issues to keep in
mind. The following issues apply only to MTS components running
in the debugger.

Windows NT 4.0 SP4 Required

MTS debugging support requires Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4
(SP4) or later. MTS debugging is not supported under Windows 95
or Windows 98.

MTSTransactionMode Property

Visual Basic 6.0 introduces a new MTSTransactionMode property on
classes that allows you to set the Microsoft Transaction Server
(MTS) transaction support required for the class. The values for
this property are equivalent to the property in the MTS explorer.
However, the names of these properties in the Visual Basic IDE
are not exactly the same as the names used in the MTS explorer.
The mapping of names is as follows:

   VB Property Value                Option in MTS Explorer

   0 - NotAnMTSObject               N/A
   1 - NoTransactions               Does not support transactions
   2 - RequiresTransaction          Requires a transaction
   3 - UsesTransaction              Supports transactions
   4 - RequiresNewTransaction       Requires a new transaction

The Transaction attributes of a class are imported into MTS only
if the component is added to a Package with the Add File utility.
If the component is brought into a package via the registered
component list, the MTS attributes are not reflected in MTS

Enabling MTS Debugging

To debug MTS components with Visual Basic 6.0, set the
MTSTransactionMode property to a value other than 0-
NotAnMTSObject. When you hit the F5 key to begin debugging,
Visual Basic will now activate your component inside of the
Microsoft Transaction Server run-time.

Single Client, Server, and Thread

Debugging is supported only for a single client and a single MTS
server component at a time operating on a single thread. For
situations requiring multiple clients or MTS servers or multiple
threads, you should debug the Visual Basic component in the
Visual C++ development environment. For details on debugging
Visual Basic components in the Visual C++ environment, see the
Visual C++ documentation.

Build Requirements for Debugging

To build and debug an MTS component in Visual Basic, you must
build your component into a DLL and set binary compatibility on
the project. If you do not set binary compatibility and you add
interfaces to, or remove them from the component, these changes
may not be detected by MTS.

Debugging Limitations on Class_Initialize and Class_Terminate -

You should not put code in the Class_Initialize and
Class_Terminate events of an MTS component that attempts to
access the object or its corresponding context object. The Visual
Basic run-time environment calls Class_Initialize before the
object and its context are activated, so any operations that
Class_Initialize attempts to perform on the object or its object
context will fail. Similarly, the object and its context are
deactivated before Class_Terminate is called, so operations that
this method attempts on the object and its context will also

You should not set a breakpoint in the Class_Terminate event of
an MTS component. When the debugger reaches the breakpoint, it
will attempt to activate the object, an attempt that will fail
and cause Visual Basic to stop.

Watching MTS Objects

During debugging, do not watch object variables returned from the
MTS run-time, including return values from SafeRef,
GetObjectContext, CreateInstance, and other functions that return
objects wrapped by MTS.

To simulate the run-time environment more effectively, the
Microsoft Transaction Server run-time pauses operation each time
that Visual Basic breaks in the debugger. Internally, Visual
Basic makes method calls on objects that are being watched in the
debugger. Because the MTS run-time is paused as you look at watch
variables, the calls that Visual Basic makes to these objects may

If you do add MTS-wrapped objects to the watch window or watch
via other means, it may cause an inconsistent state to be
detected by MTS and the process will be terminated.

Registration and Debugging

The debugging facilities in Visual Basic allow an MTS component
to be debugged without being installed in the MTS explorer. When
you start debugging, Visual Basic will automatically call into
MTS to run your component in the MTS run-time.

Depending on your debugging requirements, you may also want to
install your component into the MTS explorer. There are a few
issues to keep in mind when doing this. If you make changes in
the Visual Basic IDE in your component's interfaces, class names,
project names, transactional support or other settings, there may
be mismatches between the configuration data in the MTS explorer
and the actual configuration running in the Visual Basic
debugger. It is also possible that the component could be
launched in MTS while you are debugging it. Further, if you
export a package while you are debugging a component in the
package, MTS will treat the Visual Basic development environment
as the component.

These problems can be avoided by making sure the component to be
debugged is not registered in the MTS explorer. As noted later in
this section, if you change the configuration of an installed
component in the debugger, you may have to remove and reinstall
the component.

Component Changes Made During Debugging

In Visual Basic, you can modify transactional attributes on an
MTS component during debugging. Visual Basic does not register
these changes in the MTS explorer. If during debugging you make a
source code change that requires Visual Basic to generate a new
CLSID or ProgID or that changes the transactional attribute of
any MTS class, you must use MTS Explorer to delete and reinstall
the package containing the class. If you have set binary
compatibility for the component, you will be warned that changes
have occurred.

Starting Debugger While a Component is Running in MTS

If you are running a component outside the debugger and then
decide to begin debugging, an instance of the component may still
be running in MTS when you start it in the debugger. MTS will
detect this condition and attempt to silently shut down the
instance it controls. To avoid this problem, remove the component
from the MTS explorer before you begin debugging.

Debugging Unregistered MTS Components An MTS component can run in
the Visual Basic debugger without having been registered in the
MTS catalog. In this case, the component will not be visible in
the MTS Explorer. It is preferable to debug components that are
not registered, as it avoids a number of problems discussed
elsewhere in this section.

Deployment and Debugging

To properly deploy an MTS component, you need to build the
component as a DLL, be sure the component is not running in any
debug session, and then run the Package and Deployment Wizard.
The component can be open in Visual Basic, but it cannot be
active in a debug session.

MTS Components in Debugger Run as if in Library Package

The MTS run-time environment treats Visual Basic components being
debugged as if they belong to a library package, even if the
components are registered with MTS as belonging to a server
package. Library packages do not support component tracking, role
checking, or process isolation.

Because MTS components being debugged behave as if they are in a
library package, you cannot do security debugging in the Visual
Basic development environment. Remote activation of the debugged
component will use the security attributes of Visual Basic.

Remote activation of a component running in the MTS run-time
environment (mtx.exe), however, will use the security attributes
set up for the particular package in the MTS explorer. To debug
security issues, you should use the Visual C++ development

Component Failure Causes Visual Basic to Stop Running

An MTS component being debugged runs in the same process as the
Visual Basic development environment, so a component failure will
also cause Visual Basic to stop running. Also, the MTS run-time
environment automatically shuts down the run-time process when it
detects an inconsistent state internally. In these cases, MTS
will display a dialog box explaining the situation, the Visual
Basic window will disappear, and an event will be recorded in the
Windows NT system log. Check the Windows NT Event Viewer as well
as other topics in this document for possible explanations of the

No Support for Transacted Web Classes

Transacted Visual Basic Web Classes are not supported in Visual
Basic 6.0.

RunWithoutContext Registry Key Is Ignored

Visual Basic 6.0 ignores the RunWithoutContext registry key. This
key is no longer needed with Visual Basic 6.0's integrated
debugging of MTS objects, as the functionality provided by the
context object is now available during debugging.

Using IObjectControl

If you need to execute code during startup and shutdown of your
MTS object, you should implement the IObjectControl interface
(from the Microsoft Transaction Server Type Library) and use the
Activate and Deactivate functions. These functions are called by
the MTS run-time during startup and shutdown of your object.
Using the IObjectControl functions is preferable to using
Class_Initialize and Class_Terminate due to the limitations
described below.

You can place code that accesses the object context in the
Activate and Deactivate functions. However, due to the way that
the MTS run-time activates objects, you should not put
breakpoints on IObjectControl::Deactivate or

Debugger May Reactivate Objects Released by MTS

Visual Basic 6.0 may reactivate MTS objects while you are
debugging single-step through a client. Because of the way that
Visual Basic 6.0 discovers information about objects, this is
expected behavior. For example, consider the following code:

   Dim x as object
   Set x = CreateObject("MyApp.Class")
   Set x = Nothing

If the x.Test method calls SetComplete, MTS immediately frees x
from memory, but x has not yet been set to Nothing. When x.Test
returns, the Visual Basic debugger calls QueryInterface on x for
the IProvideClassInfo interface. The context wrapper associated
with x creates a new instance of MyApp.Class to service the
QueryInterface call. As a result, you will see this uninitialized
object in the debugger after x.Test has returned. This object
appears only in the debugger and is removed by the subsequent
instruction to set x to Nothing.

What are the differences between using Visual Basic's "New" operator,
Visual Basic's CreateObject API, or GetObjectContext.CreateInstance?

If a Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS) component calls "New" to
instantiate another component in its same DLL, Visual Basic uses its own
internal class instantiation mechanism. It will not use Component Object
Model (COM), and thus the component will not run under MTS.

CreateObject, just like GetObjectContext.CreateInstance, maps to
CoCreateInstance, which uses MTS due to the registry entries for MTS
components. However, context will not flow in the CreateObject case. This
means it will not be possible for a parent MTS component, such as a
business object, to enlist the (data) components it creates in the same


For additional information, please see the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

170164 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 1: Important Issues [ASCII 150] Read First!

170163 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 2: Data Access/ Databinding Issues

170162 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 3: Control Issues

170161 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 4: Language Issues

170160 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 5: Samples Issues

170158 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 7: Error Message Issues

189539 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 8: WebClass Designer Issues

190249 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 9: DHTML Page Designer Issues

170154 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 10: Extensibility Issues

170157 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 11: Miscellaneous Issues

170156 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 12: Transaction Server (MTS) Issues

191792 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 13: Dictionary Object

191791 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 14: Visual Component Manager

191790 INFO: VB 6.0 Readme Part 15: Application Performance Explorer

Keywords: kbinfo kbregistry kbreadme KB170156