Author Topic: Win32 Programmer's Reference  (Read 4639 times)

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Mike Lobanovsky

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Win32 Programmer's Reference
« on: October 02, 2014, 06:15:39 PM »
Hi community,

I succeeded (more or less) in converting my copy of Win32.HLP to Win32.CHM.

The old original came from the Masm32 distro package but it couldn't be used e.g. on Win 7 because modern Windows platforms do not understand the old Windows 95 help file format. Another problem was that the original didn't contain the Contents pane data so I had to re-create it manually. Therefore its structure may not correspond one-to-one to what the authors meant it to be. Nonetheless it turns out quite usable, informative, and suitable for practical purposes.

There is just one drawback which I don't know how to remedy at the moment. The manual contains about sixteen thousand pages 9,000 of which (the API Reference proper) feature small popup windows that prompt which DLL contains a particular function. This is a very important piece of information but the problem is there is no free software available that can convert the old format's non-scrollable areas or popups to the .CHM format automatically. Fixing 9,000 HTML files manually to display the popups is completely out of the question at my age. The cheapest pro SW that can actually do it automatically comes from Adobe for $999. So, if I ever figure out how to resolve this issue, I will re-upload the manual here again. Until then, you will have to use it the way it is and ignore the unresponsive Quick Info buttons on its API Reference pages.

Win32.chm is sort of a tiny MSDN on your desktop. It dates back to the times of Win'95 and NT but 99% of its information is applicable to the Windows OS' of today. It can help Aurel find his way around in the Windows message pipe, Peter, to learn how to restore his DC's before deletion, and Frank, to figure out what a command line is and why it should be split, from time to time, into constituent parts.

It is also a must-have manual for more advanced users who prefer to program in the Windows SDK style more than in the restrictive bounds of classical but long outdated BASIC dialects.


Enjoy! :)

.
Mike
(3.6GHz Intel Core i5 Quad w/ 16GB RAM, nVidia GTX 1060Ti w/ 6GB VRAM, Windows 7 Ultimate Sp1)

Charles Pegge

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Re: Win32 Programmer's Reference
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2014, 11:28:09 PM »
Many thanks, Mike.

May I transfer this to a permanent link?

Mike Lobanovsky

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Re: Win32 Programmer's Reference
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2014, 11:43:15 PM »
Hi Charles,

Why not? It came to me in the open source Masm32 package. But I know that Hutch and the gang had all the license matters straightened out with MS before they ever released a single line so I don't see why this manual can't be updated to a more modern format and left open for public access in any form as long as it remains presentable enough and suitable for intended purposes.

Perhaps even John will find some spare time to have a look at it and see that millions of source code lines and thousands of features embodied in the best OS of today cannot be ignored forever if one wishes to be taken seriously in one's professional surroundings. :)
Mike
(3.6GHz Intel Core i5 Quad w/ 16GB RAM, nVidia GTX 1060Ti w/ 6GB VRAM, Windows 7 Ultimate Sp1)

Charles Pegge

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Re: Win32 Programmer's Reference
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2014, 12:07:08 AM »

Some time ago, John compacted a VB6 (2004) set of Win32 API headers into one  file of around 3Meg. It is quite a good reference too, if you know what to look for, so maybe I could post that as well. I think the best place is the /o2zips/ web folder, with links on the reference page, as well as here on the forum.

Mike Lobanovsky

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Re: Win32 Programmer's Reference
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2014, 12:39:16 AM »
Yup, I know that VB6 set very well. But Oxygen can be indeed very close to C syntactically so this comprehensive and nearly exhaustive manual is more appropriate for advanced users while the former is meant primarily for Windows newbies.

Oh, and I forgot to describe how to still get access to the DLL data for a particular function despite the unavailability of popups.

The popup data as well as an exhaustive search index are precompiled into the .CHM file. So, once you've gotten acquainted with the function in question, you can switch to the Search pane in your help browser and type or copy-paste the function name in there and hit Show. The list of occurences will have an (Untitled) entry at its top. This is the missing popup that the QuickInfo button should have displayed but currently doesn't.
Mike
(3.6GHz Intel Core i5 Quad w/ 16GB RAM, nVidia GTX 1060Ti w/ 6GB VRAM, Windows 7 Ultimate Sp1)