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  • How do you use the installed SDK files?

    For awhile now, I've had the following two CD's installed on my machine:

    1. Microsoft Platform SDK, February 2003 Edition (Windows 2003 Server)
    2. Microsoft Platform SDK, Windows XP Service Pack 2, August 2004 Edition

    After installing, I spent a lot of hours browsing and viewing files, but the value I got in return was zero, so I stopped.

    Several questions:
    1. Are these sufficient? Or are there other SDK installations or versions of them that I should have?

    2. How do you use them? Is there an "access point" that I missed? Is there some Outline or Table of Contents? Is there a way to search?

    Thanks for any hints you can provide!
    -John

  • #2
    After reading your post, I went and installed the "Set up Windows API help.exe" file, found on my PBWin9 CD.

    It basically installs a 24MB help file, called win32.hlp.

    It looks to be a very good read, starting on page one and using the >> to walk through. Especially now that I've read what I have in the PB Help file, as well as following the reference through MSDN, I'm in a better position to appreciate the win32.hlp file, and to figure out what parts are important to me.

    However, the file is dated 1998. Surely there's a more recent copy?

    Off I go again to MSDN to check it out.

    Comment


    • #3
      At this MSDN Page, I found the following note.

      http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/d...ng=en#filelist

      ''''''''''''''''

      NOTE: This version of the Platform SDK has been superceded by the Windows SDK for Windows Server 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5. This version of the Windows SDK is available as either aThis edition of the SDK replaces the previous SDKs for Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 and can be used to develop applications for those platforms.

      ''''''''''''
      I guess I'll download the newer one as a web install and see what it has.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the links; I'll update over the weekend. (Why not? There's no football till August...)

        However, be warned - the SDK installations are much more than just the help file - each is around 900MB - EACH!!!

        Also over the weekend, I'll try to find some kind of "entry point" into them...

        Comment


        • #5
          I have Microsoft Platform SDK, Windows XP Service Pack 2, August 2004 Edition CD. It is still available here http://www.qmedia.ca/launch/psdk.htm.
          There are more recent editions too but this one is fine for my needs.

          I didn't install the whole thing, just the documentation with some sample code from the Core SDK (used Setup - 'Custom Install').

          Setup creates a shortcut "Platform SDK Documentation" which launches the 'Document Explorer' interface.
          Navigation of the info is via menu options View - Navigation / Contents, Index, Search and Favorites.


          My prefered method of accessing the info though, is via a third party program "H2Viewer" http://helpware.net/mshelp2/h2viewer.htm

          It's a free replacement for Document Explorer which has the adavantage that it can be called with command line parmameters not available with Document Explorer.

          That has allowed me to setup a toolbar button in the editor that I use (EditPlus http://www.editplus.com ) which lets me access context sensitve SDK help from within my editor.

          FWIW The setup for the toolbar button I use is.
          Code:
          Command:  C:\H2Viewer135\H2Viewer.exe
          Arguments:  /XNav /appid EditPlus /helpcol MS.PSDKXPSP2.1033 /filterquery /Search $(CurSel)
          Where $(CurSel) is a placeholder for highlighted text in my program source code.


          BYW José once posted.
          Using COM, it is easy to create an instance of Microsoft Document Explorer and display the topic, ..

          If you want to take on that challenge, there is info regarding the COM interface provided by MDE on the Helpware website.
          Rgds, Dave

          Comment


          • #6
            This is just a suggestion so you can take it for what its worth. The newer Microsoft documentation is overwhelming. Better plan on good health and living 'till at least 150 - maybe even 200 to get through it. Long before then though it will be obsoleted by even more voluminous documentation (all of which raises the interesting observation that they can probably produce technologies & documentation faster than you can learn it. After all, you are only one person whereas they are thousands). What you need is a method of putting it in context. That is, getting the big picture - so that you can safely ignore what doesn't apply to your immediate needs - which is probably most of it.

            I've actually come to really like the format of the Windows Api documentation. Once you understand the flow of logic necessary to get an app runing, it basically comes down to correctly calling and constantly re-using a relatively small handful of functions. I'd estimate maybe 25 core functions, and maybe another 25 you occasionally use, and then every now and then a new one. And you don't need to pour through gigabytes of Microsoft's docs to find those functions.

            A really excellent place to start is RegisterClassEx(), CreateWindowEx(), and ShowWindow(). When you get to the documentation for these functions you'll see the name of the function, very exact descriptions of each and every parameter with various cautions, and the function return value. With complicated functions such as the first two listed above, the docs run on for five to fifteen pages. With most Windows Api functions though two pages is normal.

            As for the 'putting it in context' part I'd say a good basic Windows tutorial such as Petzolds plus working with translations of these programs into PowerBASIC. That will help with the translation of C to PowerBASIC. There is a definite and unyielding pattern to it. Once you know what you need, you go right to the function you need to use, examine it, then code it. Those docs are mostly reference material.
            Fred
            "fharris"+Chr$(64)+"evenlink"+Chr$(46)+"com"

            Comment


            • #7
              There are just so many functions, structures and constants in the WinAPI that there is no way to 'learn Windows' from catalogs of same, regardless of how-well indexed or organized.

              Better I think to start with a book (Petzold's are nice) and then select your reference material based on what you are going to use.

              What I have is the MSDN library which was installed as part of a subscription product. However, after the spring 2003 release, which changed the whole format and made anything NOT "dot net" impossible to find, I canceled my subscription and went back to what I use today: the October 2002 release.

              If there is something newer or something I just can't find, I use the on-line stuff at MSDN. (Or Google).
              Michael Mattias
              Tal Systems (retired)
              Port Washington WI USA
              [email protected]
              http://www.talsystems.com

              Comment


              • #8
                That's pretty close to how I do it Michael. A large amount of MSDN materiial came with my Visual Studio 98 software, and I installed the works - several hundreds of megabytes I think. And that's what I still use. Lately, since that's so old, I've got in the habit of checking the on line versions more to see if additional procs were created or 'Ex' versions put out.

                I've only looked at the Sdk docs a few times that come with PowerBASIC, but from what I've seen the functions are all there. I see no reason why that wouldn't be quite adequate for reference purposes.
                Fred
                "fharris"+Chr$(64)+"evenlink"+Chr$(46)+"com"

                Comment


                • #9
                  I just ran across this link on Pelle's c forum.

                  http://win32assembly.online.fr/files/win32api.zip

                  James

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    >> ..on Pelle's website..

                    That's the same file that is available from PB's website http://www.powerbasic.com/files/pub/mstools/Win32.zip

                    It's also the same as Gary found on his PBWin90 CD. It's a good reference and even though a little dated can also be interesting to browse for a quick overview of a topic as Gary mentioned.

                    The SDK documentation available on CD from http://www.qmedia.ca/launch/psdk.htm is more up to date and includes topics (Winsock, WMI etc) not covered by the older win32.hlp file.

                    Of course the most up to date source is MSDN Library online: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/Library but sometimes you need an offline reference (or two!).
                    Rgds, Dave

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michael Mattias View Post
                      (...) If there is something newer or something I just can't find, I use the on-line stuff at MSDN. (Or Google).
                      In other words: you really don't need all that disk-space consuming stuff on your computer, provided that you have a fast internet connection? I've Microsoft Platform SDK for Windows server 2003 SP1 installed since August 2005, but I hardly used it. When I need to know how an API function works, I press F1 (in the PB IDE) to pop it up from Win32.hlp. In case it is not there, due to the age of the help files, I use the MSDN on-line library. And yes, now I'm reading this thread, I'm thinking of uninstalling it in order to free valuable disk space.

                      Another point that may be of interest in this context. I've also Debugging tools for Windows installed. Is that a part of platform SDK?
                      Last edited by Egbert Zijlema; 10 Feb 2009, 07:13 AM. Reason: typo

                      Egbert Zijlema, journalist and programmer (zijlema at basicguru dot eu)
                      http://zijlema.basicguru.eu
                      *** Opinions expressed here are not necessarily untrue ***

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I like the 'disk-consuming' version I have because it has an index where I can type in the first couple of letters of the function and see all of 'em and select.

                        Eg, if I want information about a message, I can type in "WM_" and get a list. Another good 'starter key' is "Get" (there's LOTS of functions which start with "get"). Available Listview notifications? "LVN_"

                        The more of the function name I can remember, the shorter my search.

                        And, oh yeah, there's inertia. When I first started creating Windows programs, I had a dial-up internet account. No way you want to try to find something at the MSDN site over a 56K modem unless you can wait till next week Thursday to find it. I'm used to this now.

                        That said, if you DO have a broadband connection, the MSDN web site has become more and more user-friendly over the years and it probably quite usable.
                        Michael Mattias
                        Tal Systems (retired)
                        Port Washington WI USA
                        [email protected]
                        http://www.talsystems.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I am stilling using the 2001 edition of the MS SDK CD and I like it. It is easy to look up info. Rather than update to a newer SDK, I prefer to use this one for my basic API queries and when I need to look up some newer API's, I just go to the MSDN web site and use the online docs.

                          The online docs are just as extensive as the CD (albeit a little slower), so I can find all the new stuff when I need it.

                          I find using the Search function on MSDN helpful. Just do a search for something you are looking for and you can save time, rather than try to traverse all the menus.
                          Chris Boss
                          Computer Workshop
                          Developer of "EZGUI"
                          http://cwsof.com
                          http://twitter.com/EZGUIProGuy

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dave Biggs View Post
                            ...

                            Setup creates a shortcut "Platform SDK Documentation" which launches the 'Document Explorer' interface.
                            Navigation of the info is via menu options View - Navigation / Contents, Index, Search and Favorites.


                            My prefered method of accessing the info though, is via a third party program "H2Viewer" http://helpware.net/mshelp2/h2viewer.htm

                            It's a free replacement for Document Explorer which has the adavantage that it can be called with command line parmameters not available with Document Explorer.

                            That has allowed me to setup a toolbar button in the editor that I use (EditPlus http://www.editplus.com ) which lets me access context sensitve SDK help from within my editor.

                            FWIW The setup for the toolbar button I use is.
                            Code:
                            Command:  C:\H2Viewer135\H2Viewer.exe
                            Arguments:  /XNav /appid EditPlus /helpcol MS.PSDKXPSP2.1033 /filterquery /Search $(CurSel)
                            Where $(CurSel) is a placeholder for highlighted text in my program source code.
                            ...

                            Thanks for the pointer to H2Viewer. I have it installed and it's a better, faster interface than browsing MSDN, even over cable... The tree of topics seems much easier to navigate than the online version.

                            I'll be deleting unneeded stuff gradually. Or else delete it all and only re-install the documentation.

                            Thanks everyone for all the other suggestions, too. Greatly appreciated!

                            Comment

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