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"Crispen, Bob" <[log in to unmask]>
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Crispen, Bob
Mon, 13 Sep 1999 10:10:34 -0500
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> Richard L. Conn sez:
> I gave a presentation in my last class on objects and classes
> (it was an addition to the normal material in the text), and
> I think the students got it by relating to the VB environment.
> It helped a lot to point to an object on a form, point to its
> properties (attributes), and change an attribute (watching the
> object change in the process in some cases).
> It is a key to not get lost in the language as opposed to the
> ideas.
And to hammer on the point once more, to remember
that the "real code" -- what the student writes after
she writes that first line of VB code -- is the hard

Just this weekend I was working on a port of gzip
to Windows -- I'm learning the Win32 API, and
amazingly the only port of gzip to Windows is a
console app, so there's some small significance
to my little project.  I'm using Jacob Navia's lcc to do
the port, and lcc has an IDE with a pretty decent
resource editor.

To make a long story short (too late!) I got the Win32
GUI interface designed and debugged in 2 hours,
but I'm *still* working on the gzip port -- the "real
code" part where all the IDEs I've ever seen pretty
much leave you to your own devices.[1]

Never mind the snide remarks about the alleged
portability of C and why I'd have been better off
to redevelop in Ada.  I've made enough of those
comments here myself.  I fell into the old trap of
thinking that I could simply port the code without
having to understand it.  That's never worked for
me yet, so I don't know why I thought I could get
away with it this time.  Oh well.

But I find it interesting that most of my problems on
this little project haven't been with the GUI but with
the code (what the program *does*).  This after
nearly 20 years doing software and being fairly
well respected as a practitioner.

The same thing was true of my first project to
learn Windows, a USENET news reader and
attachment extractor.  On that one I ran into
exactly two major problems with the GUI.  The
first was with resizing subwindows when I got
twisted around the axle on window units versus
screen units -- a simple beginner mistake --
and the other big GUI problem was finding the
dang documentation for the common controls.
Once I found that, I typed in what I wanted to
do and went back to finding and fixing non-GUI
bugs, which once again occupied most of my
debug time.

> The "Objects and Classes" presentation is on my website as well.
I've also found that it's very helpful to explain the
way VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language)
events work by introducing classes and objects
very early on.

[1] Just to preserve a little pride here, the port
involves writing a front end to a pretty heavily
maintained program that was never intended to
have a front end, which takes pages and pages
before it gets to the point where it actually
compresses and uncompresses the files, which
has a huge pile of options, has dozens of global
variables, and which has been ported to every
computer and compiler ever made (and has the
#ifdefs and special code sections to prove it) --
except mine, of course.

Bob Crispen
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