Monday, September 24, 2007

Programming Study

With my recently revived interest in Computer programming, I'm about ready to pick up where I left off about 5 years ago. I had taken a Windows Programming course in 1999 and didn't make it all the way through. I kept my textbook (Petzold's Windows Programming, 5th edition)began a review a couple of years later when I was living in Nebraska, (The date on my last program is September 2002). I got somewhat sidetracked and didn't get as far as I would like.

Now that my interest in the project has revived, I'm stuck without my Windows bible, which is still in Nebraska. I tried to find a copy of the Windows Platform SDK that has documentation for all the functions, but since Microsoft has gone to Windows 2000 and Vista, they're no longer making the old SDK available, so no help there. I tried locating copies of Petzold in the local libraries: No, on the public library, no on the closest University libraries. I tried locating people locally who do programming. One has left the programming field and is in Law School, and he may or may not still have a copy, and may or may not let me know if he finds it next Sunday. No on the next closest library: The nearest place that seems to is Pittsburgh, 50 miles away from me, which is rather inconvenient if I want to keep it as a reference. I tried looking on eBay to see if I could pick up second hand copy for minimun price, no luck there. Next try, Success! I can get a used copy for a reasonable price. I just have to wait a week and a half.

In the meantime, just as in writing, if you want to lern how to program, you have to sit down and practice, on a daily basis. So, I sat down and looked up pieces of all the code I have in dusty computer prograns, and came up with three versions of a basic Windows Program. I've now figured out (again) how to do one of the most basic things a program should do: Print a message on the screen. There is still a lot more I want to learn how to do, but until I can get some documentation, it's going to be very slow going. I've never quite figured out the mechanics of doing graphics in any version of programming languages I've studied: I hope to break that barrier.

In the meantime, I've been refining some of my ideas on how to do some basic physics programming: moving particles around in a space, so I've made a little progress toward one of the applications I've had in mind for a while.

No comments: