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My opinion about Visual Designers

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  • My opinion about Visual Designers

    I think a lot of PB users would like a VB IDE eq. for PB.

    The part i really hate in VD's like VB and Borland is not being able making use of a combination of forms and using createwindow API togheter.
    VB will not 'see' a control created with the Windows API.

    Maybe i'm the only one but i love this low level Windows way(wndproc, select cases etc..)
    If you learn how to use the wndproc, it's in fact rather simple. (mostly)

    Sure i can add a usercontrol on a VB form wherein i place a control from a DLL or so.

    I think an evt. VD for PB should produce plain winapi statement so, that afterwards controls could be removed or added etc..
    The system should be 'aware' of the changes (or: not care at all).
    I.o.w. it should not have any impact on the VD code and vice versa.

    What do you think?

    [email protected]

  • #2
    I agree that "any" Visual Designer should support integration of
    standard API code.

    This is why the Visual Designers I (and have already) am developing
    support integration of API code. I will also be releasing designers
    that produce both 100% SDK style code and 100% DDT code.

    If VB continues to go in the direction it is, likely many VB programmers
    will jump ship and think seriously about using PB. I use to be a VB
    programmer, but I now use PB 100%.

    Backward compatibility of the language, as well as having a Rich command
    set, makes PB very powerful. While I have nothing against runtimes
    (grin), I do believe a runtime shouldn't rob you of the raw power
    available with low level windows programming.

    Chris Boss
    Computer Workshop
    Developer of "EZGUI"


    • #3
      Hi Chris, Edwin

      An nice feat would be that the Visual Designer would work in two
      ways - Chris, here is another neat idea !! - meaning that you
      would give it some code that encompasses the controls and would
      'reverse-engineer' the dialog box from it. This is relatively easy
      to do with Ez-GUI as a DLL version but also possible with SDK and DDT
      style coding.

      Just a thought.


      So here we are, this is the end.
      But all that dies, is born again.
      - From The Ashes (In This Moment)


      • #4
        IMO Visual Basic is a standard that employeers look at. If I
        told my current and future employeers that I nolonger program
        in Visual Basic *BUT* I program in Powerbasic, then two things
        will happen: My Employeer will think that the speed of creating
        applications will be the same with PowerBasic vs Visual Basic.

        That is definetly wrong. Using SDK slows down development.

        I hardly use VB anymore, but with those crunch projects I don't
        hesitate to work in VB. I think the way the market is I will
        be forced to work with the new version as well.

        My employeer doesn't care about how many files or the overhead
        a Visual Basic project produces. What matters is how fast I can
        make it. When time isn't a prioirty PB is my number one choice.

        VB users don't concern themselves with SDK style programming.
        That is why I think PB was right with the invention of DDT.

        I think the best way to approach this would be to have a
        visual designer that makes .DDT files that can be included into
        your .BAS file, and you simply write code for the callbacks. Similar
        to SDK programming and a .RES dialog.

        [email protected]


        • #5
          My concern is that an evt. future designer will most likely be incompatible with hand coded/add controls and eventcode.

          Logically this is, for me, the winapi but it could be another system.
          If VB was more aware of additonal coding techniques to add and remove controls, it should be no problem.
          But we just banned VB and the compagny is using borland.
          I don't programm in borland (yet).
          I preffer PB.
          At the moment AND VERY UNF. PB can not compete these kind of RAD tools (Visual design/event code)
          I don't mind to use winapi, it's versatile and does not really care about changes in run-time.

          A mixture in VB or borland is not very likely.

          NOTE: This subject is ABOUT the mixture of generated code and hand written/added code!

          For example:

          I wrote some SDK code to get all my needed thingies done, color font handles etc..
          But also the tabindex.
          When i add a control using CreateWindow sep. from this SDK code, i still need to execute a small procedure to make my SDK system aware of the new control.
          This is something i wish to prevent somehow.

          Therefore this discussion for evt. future designers.

          I don't think SDK will slow development, no knowledge does...
          A combination of a good designer with a standard wndproc is sufficient to me.

          I know programmers wo like VB but don't ask them to build things themselves, they don't know anything in fact.
          Well, that's a bit hard but i meant on winapi level of course.
          It's the drag&drop generation i'm affraid. (And i don't like it)

          [email protected]


          • #6
            Gregery has a very valid point !

            Development speed is important. This is why RAD tools are a must,
            IMO. The question is, do you write everything at a low level (API)
            or do you write everything at a high level (ie. EZGUI - runtime) ?

            My answer is "both" !

            If time is critical, then using a runtime tool like EZGUI allows
            you to develop apps nearly as fast as you can with VB, yet allows
            integration of pure API code when needed.

            If time isn't critical, then my (yet to be released) Visual Designers
            that produce 100% SDK or DDT code can be used.

            Why limit yourself to one style of coding !

            Some of my EZGUI customers have reported that my Freeware DDT designer
            is their prefered tool for many apps. They can produce the code
            for the GUI quickly and yet still have small apps with no runtime.
            One customer even said he was making the "C" programmers at work
            jealous, since he could produce tiny apps (and fast) like C, but
            very quickly (as if he was using VB), when he used my Freeware DDT

            Many new tools are on the horizon for PB and many of them are RAD
            tools. RAD is obviously a must in todays programming market, but
            RAD doesn't mean you have to lose the Power found in PowerBasic.

            What is needed, is more PowerBasic specific tools ! As more third
            party developers create PowerBasic specific tools, the more productive
            we all can be.

            Chris Boss
            Computer Workshop
            Developer of "EZGUI"


            • #7
              On the other hand, if PB provided a rich set of screen construction
              tools (DDT) which allowed me to totally abandon API coding, then
              they might be able to create a source language which could be easily
              ported to LINUX, or any other platform they choose to target.


              John Kovacich
              Ivory Tower Software


              • #8

                Mij opinion is that Borland Delphi OOP programming 100% and PowerBasic is ready to build
                an Visual Designing and OOP Programming
                Let's work guys!
                And PowerBasic is very fast then VisualBasic because PowerBasic is
                an project of Turbo Basic of Borland International
                I have Turbo Pascal, Turbo Basic

                OOP programming have most advantage:
                - you can building classes
                - you can update simple your class in an application (dll-file)
                - you can build very large programms
                - you have inherired and polymorfm

                That my reason voor the new version like Borland Delphi

                - PowerBasic for Windows is the name

                1. Graphical User Designer/IDE/Debugger/Compiler/Builder in one application
                2. Templates
                3. Forms
                4. Units sure
                5. Projects
                6. Using SDK, WinAPI and DDT code
                7. Create Custom Controls
                8. Build-in controls like Delphi with tab-tables


                I think $300.00 is not expensieve



                • #9
                  RAD and Visual Design are not necessary the same thing. If the programmer
                  can look at code and visualize the screen design then all that is needed is
                  an editor with good text substitution (macro) capability.

                  This is how I achieve RAD. Simply type CreateWindow (or CW) then press a function
                  key and the text instantly explodes into the 20-30 lines of the API call with
                  comments and “to do” placeholders which I replace with the appropriate values.

                  It is quick and eliminates typos. The placeholders tell me what to do so I hardly
                  miss anything. The same applies to callback functions, event handlers, error
                  trapping and so on. In most cases I have the skeleton of the program created
                  quicker than it takes to load VB!

                  More importantly I create the macros myself. They are in effect my personal
                  “meta-language” and I have total control over it. I can change anything I want
                  without waiting for a vendor to come up with the goods.

                  Of course I acknowledge that visualizing a screen design by looking at pure
                  text is not for everyone but I think it is a skill that one can learn and is
                  extremely useful and liberating. If one could master such a skill then all that
                  is needed is a good editor.

                  One of the items in my wish list is a PB editor with good text substitution



                  [This message has been edited by Siamack Yousofi (edited December 28, 2000).]


                  • #10
                    I complete agree with previous speaker. A good editor is the key
                    to it all. One that can handle whole projects, have fast and smooth
                    syntax coloring, unlimited undo/redo, have a library of ready-made
                    routines easily accesible and is fully configurable, since we all
                    work in different ways. Since I'm one of those stupids who always
                    believe we can invent a better wheel, I'm actually trying to write
                    one on my spare time here..

                    Visual Design is only a fraktion the entire process of creating an
                    application. I can actually wrap up a dialog just as fast through
                    SDK or DDT, as in VB/Delphi. Sometimes even faster, since the code
                    way gives me complete control of placements, etc, whereas dragging
                    controls around sometimes makes you drag them around forever, only
                    to finally end up in the first place again..



                    • #11
                      Visual design tools are by no means new, the ancient Microsoft Dialog Editor
                      was an amazing RAD tool in its time and dialog editors will still do the job
                      in terms of development time. If you look at the range of application types,
                      a window with a menu, toolbar and status bar is not drawn any faster in a
                      graphics design tool than it is in code.

                      It is essentially dialog style applications that benefit from graphics design
                      tools. Much of the push for "Form Editors" and the like come from users who
                      still write in Visual Basic and write dialog style applications. There would
                      be little doubt that VB is a very user friendly front end creator but it falls
                      down very badly in code access, code design and low level power and this is not
                      without good reason.

                      To structure an application to fit the multi-window style editor in VB, the actual
                      code turns into a cluttered mess and it badly misses the performance of a true
                      compiler because of it. The rough distinction is between front end friendly and
                      back end friendly, VB is the first, PB is the second but PB will deliver in
                      performance terms where VB will not.

                      With current technology, an application of the dialog style can be developed in
                      a compiler very quickly, a dialog editor is a true visual design tool which is
                      fast to use and it has the added advantage that the RC format is one of the few
                      interface standards that works across windows programming languages.

                      When a "Form designer" differs from the RC format, it must produce its own and
                      that limits its usefulness. RC format is compiled by the resource compiler into
                      a RES file then converted to a module that is linked into the EXE file. Visual
                      designers cannot normally do that so the code cannot routinely be re-edited in
                      the same manner as a resource file.

                      Front end generators are a different animal, they can be used to create the
                      interface and dial up the startup code for an application but they cannot
                      normally re-edit the code after. VB does its own binary creation which is
                      different to RC format. Where I see the difficulty with the current crop
                      of visual designers is in them being able to re-edit the code they generate.

                      Until they are able to build their own binary code, they will tend to remain
                      interesting accessories but not true visual designers. In the mean time, the
                      RC format will more or less do it all and it is re-editable and recompilable.


                      [email protected]

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



                      • #12
                        Have any of you had a look at or used the "FREEWARE VISUAL DESIGNER" by
                        The Great Guru Ed. Turner? at I think
                        you would like what you see. And it's free.



                        • #13
                          I just had a look at MetaFourGL for Windows 4.0 and my impression so far is very good!
                          Note however that it uses SDK, not DDT.

                          Colin Schmidt & James Duffy, Praxis Enterprises, Canada

                          [This message has been edited by Colin Schmidt (edited January 10, 2001).]