Programming Windows 95by Charles Petzold
Updated for the 32-bit world of Windows 95, this Charles Petzold bestseller is the best-known, most widely praised, and most widely used how-to programming book on the planet. For a generation of C programmers, "look it up in Petzold" has been the final word on questions about programming for Windows. In this thorough revision, Petzold reveals many valuable new
Updated for the 32-bit world of Windows 95, this Charles Petzold bestseller is the best-known, most widely praised, and most widely used how-to programming book on the planet. For a generation of C programmers, "look it up in Petzold" has been the final word on questions about programming for Windows. In this thorough revision, Petzold reveals many valuable new insights, augmented by key contributions from programming expert Paul Yao. Still the comprehensive reference and tutorial to the core areas of programming for Windows, PROGRAMMING WINDOWS 95 is now a 32-bit book with 32-bit programs on CD-ROM, covering new Windows 95 topics such as multithreading; GDI and OLE enhancements; preemptive multitasking; printing and memory (both completely revamped); and the new user interface.
The Book That Time Forgot
When the first edition of Charles Petzold's Programming Window s appeared in 1988, it was the answer to the prayers of Windows software developers everywhere. Programming Windows didn't go into a lot of depth on any given topic, but it was elegantly written, logically organized and presented, its explanations were lucid, its code was solid and well-documented, and it had extraordinary scope -- almost every nook and cranny of Windows programming was at least touched upon. In a very short time, Charles' work became the gold standard for Windows developers, and so it remained through the second and third editions, released concurrently with Windows 3.0 and Windows 3.1 respectively. Although other Windows programming books eventually appeared, none was ever in the same league with Programming Windows or sold a fraction as many copies.
Usually tools and systems sell the books about them, and not vice versa. But I think it's fair to say that Programming Windows contributed very significantly to the credibility and success of Microsoft Windows. If developers had been forced to rely solely on the incomplete, inaccurate, and frequently nearly incomprehensible systems documentation produced by Microsoft -- not to mention the buggy and baroque example programs provided with the Windows SDK -- the delay in the appearance of most shrink-wrapped applications would have been much greater, and the barrier to entry for casual C programmers of freeware and shareware would have been nearly insurmountable. I know that I personally owe a great deal to Charles' fine book, which sustained me through many dark days of struggling with the system's idiosyncracies while developing my own company's first Windows product.
Unfortunately, while Windows itself has dramatically grown and evolved, Programming Windows has failed to keep pace --Programming Windows 95 is philosophically and structurally little changed from the previous three editions. True, the graphics chapters have been consolidated and moved to the front of the book, the memory management and printing chapters have finally been completely revised, and new chapters on the common controls, multithreading and multitasking, and OLE have been added (apparently written by Paul Yao, whose name is on the spine of the book but not on the cover or title page). But many example programs and some entire chapters are barely different from those found in the original Windows 2.03 version of the book. The code is still written in straight C with lengthy switch statements for message processing, MFC is ignored, and an alarming number of important Windows-95 programming issues are simply not mentioned at all. The organization of the book is no longer a good fit to developers' needs either, given the near-ubiquitous use of visual development environments, wizards, and application frameworks.
In retrospect, Charles has been sending us signals for years that his heart really isn't in it any more. (I suspect a lot of the responsibility for this can be laid at the door of Microsoft's shameful treatment of OS/2 and Presentation Manager, but that's a subject for another essay.) For example, the memory chapter in the second edition was still heavily focused on real mode segment management and discussed protected mode almost as an afterthought -- even though protected mode operation and its relief of application memory constraints was easily the most important new feature of Windows 3.0. Similarly, the third edition for Windows 3.1 barely mentioned the common dialogs and the DDE management library, and completely neglected the new printing functions such as StartDoc() and StartPage(), even though these represented extremely important extensions of the traditional Windows API and helped position programmers for easy migration of their applications to WIN32. In short, both the second and third editions appeared to be hurried and largely superficial updates of their predecessors. Regrettably, the Windows 95 edition didn't get the total overhaul it deserved, either.
Although Programming Windows 95 is beautifully written, edited, and produced, and I feel quite sure that programmers will buy it religiously out of respect for Charles' reputation and the previous editions, the present book definitely falls in the category of "nice to have" rather than "must have." In an era where applications must run under both Windows 95 and Windows/NT and must support OLE, drag-and-drop, the system registry, and smooth installation and de-installation (among other forbidding complexities) to get the coveted Microsoft seal of approval, no developer can afford to write Windows applications the old-fashioned way any more. Life is too short! Programming Windows 95 is useful in much the same sense that Adrian King's Inside Windows 95 is useful -- it provides a broad perspective on how the system works. But professional programmers seeking practical guidance on how to write modern Windows applications must look for it elsewhere.--Dr. Dobb's Electronic Review of Computer Books
Meet the Author
Charles Petzold wrote the classic Programming Windows®, which is currently in its fifth edition and one of the best-known and widely used programming books of all time. He was honored in 1994 with the Windows Pioneer Award, presented by Microsoft® founder Bill Gates and Windows Magazine. He has been programming with Windows since first obtaining a beta Windows 1.0 SDK in the spring of 1985, and he wrote the very first magazine article on Windows programming in 1986. Charles is an MVP for Client Application Development and the author of several other books including Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software.
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