Saturday, June 22, 2013

Primitive tools

I bought a compiler today. I have been using the PureBasic 5.11 demo for a few days now. It's missing a lot of things I take for granted from using Visual Basic 6 since the 1990s. That was Windows and now I'm using Linux Mint 15rc. It's the simple things that confound you. The terminology is almost completely different. What I used to call a textbox, PureBasic calls a StringGadget. A simple matter of right justifying numbers isn't available. I will have to kluge (in this case pad with leading blanks if I can find an appropriate event that doesn't make things strange.)

I don't have decades to make things work against a moving target. I am going to have a product so I can have some kind of income and I am going to do it in less than a year. I'm getting too old and feeble to do anything else.

Some of the programming concepts that we still can't get right were figured out in the middle of the last century. Some of the things Microsoft did right with VB even Microsoft can't get right anymore.

I just spent the whole day working on just one form. This should not have taken me more than 20 minutes and would not have if I'd done it in VB. It's done as far as look, but I had to compromise on that as well. No grid gadget. No grid? I mean, no grid? With VB, if you didn't have what you need, some enterprising programmer would build it and sell it to ya. So I'm going to fake that too.

At this rate it will take me about two months just to build all the forms I need. [Update: I blew through half of them today... who needs a forms design tool?! It's time to find some nice splash screen art. That's when it starts to become real.] That's not counting the logic underneath which I used to do faster than I could do the look of the forms. Not now as nothing is hooked up automatically, everything is done manually. [That's happening faster now as well. I'm getting used to working past the quirks of this tool.]

Even though I'm breaking things down into dozens of files, logically it's all one big file without the scoping rules I'm used to. Blank stares all around when I try to explain to 'programmers' why this is important. [...and I've run into this issue already because I used the same name in two different places making a button not work that was working fine before. It only took a few seconds to fix.]

This first project is so I have some income starting next year. Project two will be to make tools so I don't have to go through this again. I'm going to be real cranky for the next year. [Bipolar might be the better term?]

UPDATE: In another coding discussion someone brought up the point that direct access to a SQL database is a problem because data is being sent unencrypted. In particular, the connection string would give anyone that read and understood it complete access to my database (both data and structure.) Not sure what to do about that (and don't really want to think about it yet.) The thing is, I expect to be able to mix encrypted and unencrypted data. People do financial transactions all the time. I need to be able to do financial transactions as well. I'll figure it out and if the institutions that do such things wants my business (not me particularly but business in general) they'll help.


Arizona CJ said...

I hope all is going well in your project.

I do read your programming posts, but I don't know enough to meaningfully comment. I haven't coded since I was in college and that was for DOS based machines and Win 3.1 (Ugh, I feel old).

I'm totally outdated and have forgotten a great deal, but I wanted to mention a trick I used on the off chance it's useful.

I was writing a program that was intended to be a database for horse statistics and other data for a customer. I couldn't get a decent entry cell layout (I wanted a grid based one) so, not knowing what else to do, I set it up so that the entry cells were on a blank screen, and created a background image that looked like what I had in mind. It actually worked, though all I can remember of how I did it was it was in a bit of C and mostly VB.

I would have no clue how to do that (or much of anything) today.

ken_anthony said...

That's a good tip. When what you need isn't native to your language, you end up doing a lot of weird things to make things work.

When you get down to it. All a computer program is, is a bunch of colored dots on a screen and perhaps some vibrations by turning a current on and off through an electromagnet. I don't do sound, generally. So for me it's all just dots.

The funny thing is, no matter how high level your language is, you often have to work with just the dots.

I appreciate the support. Programming is a lonely business before the fame and riches.