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  • Why are everybody talking about Visual Designers for PB?

    Why are everybody talking about Visual Designers for PB?
    I am using MS Developer Studio. What is wrong with that?

    In MS Developer Studio you can design a DialogBox-application in 10 minutes. After that you can use DDT to do the actual programming. I think MS Developer Studio and DDT is an excelent combination.

    The difference between having a Visual Designer included in PB and using MS Developer Studio is: ALT+TAB

    [email protected]

  • #2
    Is it twips based?
    Does it do fonts?
    Does it do colors?





    • #3
      For me "Visual Designer" sounds as "VB IDE".
      Like I understand, approx. this tries to do Chriss.
      Unfortunately I never used MS Developer Studio.
      What is it ? (may be it's the same story as with spyxx - to my surprise, two days ago I found it on VB6 Prof CD).
      In any case I'm very doubt that this product is able to generate PB layout' code.



      • #4
        I too use the MS Developer Studio. For making quick, down and dirty applications it can't be beat. Due to the fact it also creates RES files it saves one step in the conversion process as well.

        I tried using the dialog editor that comes with PowerGen and was disappointed (the dialog editor is not a PB product maybe that's why!).

        It all really depends on your programming style. DDT is more of a hassle for me. Drag and drop editors that create resource files allow me to concentrate on the program logic, not the visualization of my project.
        <b>George W. Bleck</b>
        <img src=''>


        • #5

          MS Developer Studio is the visual design tool that most pro C and C++ programmers use (if they use MS). No VB here.


          [email protected]


          • #6
            Is it part of the Visual Studio like the
            environment for Visual Basic 6.0 or another product?



            • #7
              One problem with "Dialog Editors" is that you must use the Windows Dialog Engine for the windows with your Dialog as a Resource. This does not allow for Dynamic modification of the Dialog. Also using a Dialog as a resource does not handle colors or fonts, since these must be handle in the Dialog Procedure. neither does it handle Bitmaps being loaded into the controls or even the filling of the controls with data (like a listbox or combobox).

              The DDT Visual Designer which I will release soon, will actually write code for you. Many tasks that require a good bit of coding will be done for you. Things like Tooltip creation for use with controls. Easy construction of Tab controls with each Tab display automatically handled in code.

              Visual Design is only half the process !

              To be a true RAD tool the Visual Designer must generate real working (bug free) code.

              Lastly, is the cost. Likely the Visual Designer we will release will be below $100 (somewhere between $79 to $89 hopefully). The cost of the MS Developer Studio is much more expensive !

              I also think that it is high time there were Visual Design tools made just for PB (and only for PB).

              Chris Boss
              Computer Workshop
              Developer of "EZGUI"


              • #8
                [qoute]Why are everybody talking about Visual Designers for PB?
                I am using MS Developer Studio. What is wrong with that?[/qoute]

                There are a couple very important things that were overlooked when asking this question.

                1. MSDS yes does everything you said and more, however it also is not free. If you program in PB why should you have to buy the MS suite to get the designer?

                2. To make PB a true competitor or VB, Delphi, etc.. The learning curve needs to made simplier. Once the programer, new or veteran, is comfortable with PB they can stop using the code generation of the PB Visual Designer (if they wish) and start rolling there own code.

                3. To make PB a real player in the market place. Meaning have copies of it actually show up it corporate development it needs to get RAD (Rapid Application Development). Don't mis understand this remark I am not saying that PB is not in any corporate sites. I am just saying, wouldnt it be nice to go into a book store and buy a book on "The Internals of PB and Windows", or "The Black Book on PB". The only way this is going to happen is by DEMAND. Which means it has got to get the attention of corporate IS managers.


                Peter - I am not attacking your post. This is more for PowerBASIC corporate. Which I am sure they already know most if not all.



                • #9
                  I agree with you; There is a 'real' need for Visual Design tools that are designed only for PowerBASIC.

                  Put me on your list of purchasers. I've got EZ_GUI and I love it, but a DDT tool that writes the hard stuff for me would be even better,


                  "It was too lonely at the top".


                  • #10

                    We'll I've purchased just about every Visual DDT & Designer out there. And ---->Not one of them measure up to a complete usable program. So I've put them all on the shelf, until a time comes where I can remind myself why I purchased them in the first place!

                    Cut & Paste, Fix errors, more cut and paste,
                    and trial & error.
                    I can cut & paste on my own. I can code and fix on my own.
                    I can place labels and controls exactly where I want them
                    and they don't move, resize or look awkward!

                    The list goes on.

                    And I reject the idea of having to purchase Visual Studio, just to create PowerBasic resources! Resources can be created with many inexpensive tools, including the ones provided by PB.

                    Currently I use the Resource Workshop. WYSIWYG!

                    As far as my DDT Coding, we have to see what the designer have in the future. But as for now, I do my own code & fixit, which allows me to learn to tweek my functions the way I want them to be.

                    My $0.99 worth



                    • #11
                      I have a few problems with a number of the things that Chris has said,

                      One problem with "Dialog Editors" is that you must use the Windows Dialog
                      Engine for the windows with your Dialog as a Resource. This does not allow
                      for Dynamic modification of the Dialog. Also using a Dialog as a resource
                      does not handle colors or fonts, since these must be handle in the Dialog
                      Procedure. neither does it handle Bitmaps being loaded into the controls
                      or even the filling of the controls with data (like a listbox or combobox).

                      Any window / dialog / control can be "Dynamically Modified"
                      MoveWindow hDlg,tx,ty,lx,ly,%TRUE
                      ShowWindow hCtrl/hDlg,SW_HIDE / SW_SHOW etc...

                      Code to set the font in controls that accept fonts.
                      SendMessage hCtrl,%WM_SETFONT,hFont,%TRUE

                      Code to load a bitmap in a Static control in a dialog box.
                      SetWindowLong hStatic,%GWL_STYLE,%WS_CHILD or %SS_BITMAP or %WS_VISIBLE
                      hBmp = LoadBitmap(hInstance,ByVal 2)
                      rv& = SendMessage(hStatic,%STM_SETIMAGE,%IMAGE_BITMAP,hBmp)

                      NOTE : You can put controls on TOP of the static control.

                      Colour in Dialogs and controls.

                      The dialog engine in Windows allows the PowerBASIC programmer to produce
                      the smallest, clearest and most flexible code for dialog style

                      I consider it a mistake to "talk down" one of the very good performers in
                      the Windows operating system when it has the power to do almost anything.

                      Dialog editors have been around for a long time and they produce a
                      standard windows RC file that can be modified manually with things like
                      menus, or RES files if there is no menu to edit. The performance with a
                      true dialog resource based EXE is very good in terms of both size and

                      You may have to forgive me for pushing the POWER aspect of PowerBASIC
                      but this capacity already exists.

                      The development of new products that support PowerBASIC is something that
                      will be welcomed by many but it needs to be based on fact related to the
                      operating system capacity, not commercial hype to get some form of
                      advantage. This detracts from the actual advantage of well written
                      aftermarket products.


                      [email protected]

                      hutch at movsd dot com
                      The MASM Forum - SLL Modules and PB Libraries



                      • #12
                        Michael, so far i agree.
                        Better take a closer look to DDT and adapt a little.

                        I can build a good (prof.) app using a single DDT dialog.
                        (And a few floating around ...)

                        While we don't have an integrated dev. tool for pb yet, there's only struggle with additional tools.
                        Might be succesfull but still a pain.



                        • #13
                          While the Dialog engine in Windows has many advantages (so I don't "knock it"), extra steps are involved in creating a Dialog, generating the resource file, recompiling the app to test small changes.

                          When we use actual API or DDT code to create our Dialogs, it becomes easier to go back and modify the Dialog manually and the recompile.

                          I know my concepts of Visual Designer won't please everyone , but each is entitled to a viewpoint.

                          I think if PowerBasic felt that the Dialog Editor to Resource file method was the cleanest and best way to create Dialogs, they would not have created DDT. While I am sure that some may have their likes and dislikes about DDT, there is one thing that I absolutely agree with. By adding to the Basic Language command set Dialog and Control creation commands, PowerBasic greatly increases the Power of their compiler. The keyword in DDT is the first word "Dynamic".

                          Dialogs that are resources are not truly Dynamic in the same sense as are Dialogs created using DDT.

                          Of course very advanced programmers can use the Windows Dialog engine using in memory Dialog Templates, which is definitely Dynamic and a very powerful tool, but few do since it would be a lot of work.

                          In the future likely Powerbasic itself, will create their own Visual Dialog Editor and I doubt it will depend on the use of resources (except for say Bitmaps in resources).

                          What I would like to see is the improvement of DDT and the ability to embed resources directly into our program using a simple compiler directive without the need to compile a seperate resource file.

                          Imagine having DDT improved and then having a command like:

                          #AddResource "MyBitmap", "MyBitmap.bmp"

                          Since DDT handles Menus very well (much easier than the API), can create Dialogs and controls Dynamically, the need for a seperate resource file would be eliminated (plus an extra step in compiling the resource).

                          From the early DOS Basic days, Basic (not C or Pascal or other langauges) programmers have been used to working with a single source code file and possibly a few include files for convenience of declaring procedures and functions. Basic programmers like to work fast.

                          Likely my different views about how to impliment GUI design and code design and how the Basic compiler should handle things, comes from a single fact about myself:

                          I am a long time BASIC programmer and I only program in Basic !

                          Programmers who have experience in C or Pascal, think differently than Basic only programmers. In the old DOS Basic days we had to take heaps of criticism from C programmers who said Basic was a toy and not a real programming language. Even now we (Basic only Programmers) get criticised because we find the API a bit overwhelming and because we long for the simplicity of the DOS Basic days. I have always felt that Basics strength lied in its very small command set and that you could write most anything using that command set.

                          While of course with Windows the command set must be larger, it is still the dream of at least some Basic programmers to have everything they need found in the command set of the language.

                          I guess the only reason that I even have replied to this thread, is that the question posed seems to treat "any" PB only Visual Design tool as a threat. I would never tell programmers who use a tool like MS Visual Studio or Borlands Dialog editor successfully, to not use them. If they have the money to buy the tools and it works for them, great. I just find it strange that some seem threaten by the small group of us who would like to see Visual Design tools just for PB.

                          I have been amazed at the interest in a DDT Visual Designer. While DDT is not my cup of tea, I have chosen to convert my tool to a DDT designer for them. That is what they want.

                          Now before you "freeware" developers jump on me and say, "he just wants to make a buck", all I can say is that programming is my living. I have a wife, one dog and 6 cats to feed (no kids yet). I don't work for a company and get paid a check so I can then spend my free time writing Freeware. I am not a high paid programmer making 50,000 or 100,000 dollars a year. Actually, I am a self taught programmer (started in 1975 learning programming) and since I have some health limitations I live a very simple, slow paced life and can only work parttime now. I am not rolling in the dough at the expense of PB programmers.

                          Chris Boss
                          Computer Workshop
                          Developer of "EZGUI"


                          • #14

                            Let's refresh the air!

                            My comments concerning Visual Studio, was for those who
                            can not afford such a package. I own it, but beginners
                            can't afford to fork out hundreds of dollars and to just
                            use it for a resource tool. Many of us programmers probably
                            own most of tools out there and probably spend a few
                            thousand a year just to keep up. (I know I do! $$$)

                            So, when someone new guy ask about resource editors, I
                            don't send him to microsoft, I direct him to a source
                            that will at least allow him to make choices, which will
                            be based on what he can afford as he looks at his options.

                            As far as the DDT and Visual Designer Tools, these program
                            work correctly and do what they were designed to do. I, in
                            no way, am saying that these products are bad!

                            However, in my humble opinion, these products are great for
                            a single dialog.

                            In a large project, from a users point of view, and as an
                            active programmer, the time spent to fix many of (what I
                            call problem areas), just to get the foundation working,
                            spends more precious time than doing it from a resource

                            To me this is not a wish list!

                            For a Visual Designer that will adventually make it in this
                            market place, it is vital that the follow be applied:

                            (1) Using a VD/DDT Program:
                            <a> User creates his design.
                            <a> VD/DDT generate a .inc file
                            <b> VD/DDT generate a .bas file

                            (2) User compiles and program runs!
                            <a> User verifies his design.
                            <b> All controls are visually correct.
                            <c> All controls function properly.

                            If a VD/DDT can not do what's listed above, then a person
                            might as well use a resource editor to accomplish his task.

                            I know it's going to get better! However, talking about a
                            program is one thing, using it speak volumns!




                            • #15

                              From my own experience of PB (yes, that would be all six months of it) I have found that just plunking down the DDT is by far the fastest and easiest way to create a good looking dialog. Picture what you want to make in your mind, or just sketch it quickly and roughly on paper, then code it. You can also very quickly compile to see what you have so far since PB compiles so quickly.

                              You’ll probably find that after a short time (ie some practice) you will be able to simply picture something in your mind, and then type out the DDT. Of course you can speed up your coding by having a calculator right be side you to add up the locations and sizes of the controls. Also, get very comfortable with copy and paste as well as lining up your commands so you can easily change numbers for location and size.

                              If you are adding multiple controls that are more or less similar, place the DDT commands in a FOR NEXT with STEP loop that will lay them out for you as they will probably be laid out in some sort of columns and/or rows.

                              The reason this is possible is that the DDT commands all follow the same style for parameters (thank you PB). Thus you don’t really have to memorize that much.

                              Finally, for those who hate math with a passion, or don’t like a lot of typing, or don’t like to picture things: I would then of course recommend something like a visual designer that produces pure DDT code… This way you could still easily (and quickly) modify the DDT code if something needed to be changed.

                              Just my thoughts on the subject,
                              Colin Schmidt

                              Colin Schmidt & James Duffy, Praxis Enterprises, Canada


                              • #16
                                Chris, Colin

                                I agree with both of you! DDT will only get better and more powerful with each release. Some programmers feel more at home with text based development others with visual tools. If a visual tool generates 100% DDT then we have the best of both worlds.

                                In addition to what Colin suggested, using programmable text editors we can improve our efficiency by a degree of magnitude. DDT is clean and consistent so with text substitution macros we can eliminate typing mistakes and speed up development to equal the speed of visual designers. Those of us that can visualise our screens and write text can use a good text editor others can use visual designers.

                                Chris, you are on the right track now and can count on my $$$s for the DDT version as well as future SDK version of your tool. The trick is ‘no runtime DDLs’ just clean tight code.



                                [This message has been edited by Siamack Yousofi (edited March 26, 2000).]


                                • #17
                                  A Dialog Editor (be it DLGEDIT, Resource Workshop or Visual Studio) in conjunction with PowerGEN is a powerful set of tools - this is not a new idea, and PowerGEN certainly allows a programmer to "validate" his/her design with multiple dialogs, controls, etc.

                                  This combination gives you an SDK-style application template. The ability of PowerGEN to create complex application templates is (generally) more a factor of the 'power' of the dialog editor in use - Those with V.S can create more complex dialogs than those using the 'basic' DLGEDIT editor.

                                  With the advent of 'free' tools such as RC2DDT, etc, it is still quite possible to create complex apps but by generating DDT- style code. Simply start with the resource editor to create your interface (just as with the PowerGEN approach), but use a tool like RC2DDT to generate the code to create your DDT interface.

                                  As these two 'sets' of tools stand today, you can achieve plenty and the cost is reasonable - a 2nd hand copy of MSVC++ will get you Visual Studio, and there are cheap "learning C" compilers around too which can get you a copy of Resource Workshop (RW has even been on BC4.5 given away on cover-CDROM's with some magazines like PCPLUS (UK mag) ).

                                  However, the free tools don't do it all for you: where PowerGEN generates a complete code template, using tools such as RC2DDT just give you the dialog code in a "bunch" - you stil have to put it all together. This is where something like Chris' DDT may come in handy.

                                  However, there are alternatives around for those that wish to stay with the "pure" SDK style approach. FOr example, James C. Fuller recently released an updated version of his 'ADP' IDE which contains an modified SDK-style code generator based on Resource Workshop resource files.

                                  So, what am I getting at? I guess I'm saying that if people want the SDK approach, then there are already at least TWO products around that will give you that ability (in conjunction with a resource editor). If you want DDT, then look for a DDT engine to help - such as the one Chris is working on, or one of the others that have been mentioned in these forums in recent months. Chris, it would also be good if you did create an SDK generator too, but you'll certainly be reinventing the wheel at some level - from what I have seen so far though, your tools certainly make it easier to add color and non-standard fonts to dialogs than most of the existing tools.

                                  There is activity on projects such as these outside of these forums too - I've seen an IDE demo posted in Usenet as late as lask week. Is Jules still working on his visual designer too? What about the generator by Steve Hutcheson (sp?)

                                  It looks like the next few months will be very interesting - it GREAT to see so much activity on tools for PowerBASIC programmers. I hope we can all benefit from the advances in 3rd-party tools as they come online.

                                  My $0.02.

                                  PowerBASIC Support
                                  mailto:[email protected][email protected]</A>
                                  mailto:[email protected]


                                  • #18
                                    While the Dialog engine in Windows has many advantages (so I don't "knock it"), extra steps are involved in creating a Dialog, generating the resource file, recompiling the app to test small changes.

                                    When we use actual API or DDT code to create our Dialogs, it becomes easier to go back and modify the Dialog manually and the recompile.
                                    I find exactly the reverse to be true. Why recompile the whole basic source just to move a button a couple
                                    of pixels. Just recompile the resource and use a tool like rsrc to add the resource to the exe.




                                    • #19

                                      Just remember that my comments are "my personal tastes' and not the Bible on the subject. I am sure some long time Basic programmers are probably like me and would like to keep the entire app in a single file and not have to hassle with external Resources, etc.

                                      I think the greatest benefit of discussions like this , is that it encourages a variety of tools to be developed. Likely programmers who feel similiar to me will gravite to tools I develop, but I know I can't please everyone. As a good example, I sent out a survey to my customers who bought Exxxx (dreaded E word) and while many of them rated it a 7 to 10 there was a small number who rated it low (one as low as a 2).

                                      Why ?

                                      Because they "think" differently than me and need tools that work the way they think. This is why it is good to encourage the PB community to develop as large variety of tools. It not only allows us to choose what works for us, but we can learn from one another.

                                      A good example is Ed Turners Visual Designer. While I think it has a way to go yet, I was extremely impressed with a lot of the features he had. The guy is a talented programmer and has some neat tricks up his sleave.

                                      Likely, rather than preface our comments with IMO (In My Opinion) we should preface them with ATMPT (According To My Personal Tastes), I think such and such.

                                      Another benefit of the different ideas being presented is that demonstrates how each programmer is pushing PB to its limits. If there were no "Leading Edge" in developing PB Tools and addons, then nothing new would come along.

                                      Let me just say, that I prefer variety over singularity. If we prefer a different method of developing PB apps, just at least give credit to those who are trying something different.

                                      James, I know you are an experienced programmer with much to offer the PB community, so keep up the good work.

                                      Chris Boss
                                      Computer Workshop
                                      Developer of "EZGUI"


                                      • #20
                                        I also use MSDS resource editor for PB Apps.
                                        The MSDS resource editor is available free of charge if you can find a copy of the July 1997 PC Direct cover disk (UK publication).
                                        This had The Microsoft Visual J++ Trial (not time limited).
                                        So for PB you get the resource editor without to much of the other stuff you might not use.
                                        Search out those old cover disks!