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Dan Appleman's Win32 API Puzzle Book and Tutorial for Visual Basic Programmers [Paperback]

Dan Appleman
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 3 1999 1893115011 978-1893115019 1

The key to accessing the power of every operating system is its application programming interface (API). Visual Basic can access only part of the Windows API without special help. To write the most powerful possible programs, VB programmers need to work with all of the API. The big problem for VB programmers in trying to do so is that all of the available documentation on the Windows API is written for C++ programmers. In other words, the directions for using the API is written in a language that VB programmers don't understand.

Dan Appleman's Win32 API Puzzle Book and Tutorials for Visual BasicProgrammers shows VB programmers how to turbocharge Visual Basic by teaching them how to understand Microsoft's documentation to control the entire Windows API. Appleman's unique puzzle format includes 32 sample programs that almostbut don't quitework. Each puzzle has a solution with an in-depth explanation of the problem, why it occurs, and why the solution works. By avoiding the usual dry "lecture" style so common in technical books, this guide will keep you awakein fact, some of the puzzles may keep you awake nights searching for a solution. And when you've finished, you'll have an understanding of the technology that will qualify you as a true API guru.

With a writing style that combines technical competence, humor, and a bit of "attitude," Appleman proves once again in this long-awaited complement to his previous bestseller, Visual Basic Programmer's Guide to the Win32 API, that learning advanced technology can (and should) be fun.

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Product Details

Product Description

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Dan Appleman's Win32 API Puzzle Book and Tutorial for Visual Basic Programmers provides 32 challenging programming "puzzles" that will test the skills of any intermediate or advanced Visual Basic programmer.

The problems start simply enough, with puzzles that look at the basics of Win32 API C API calls, such as retrieving error messages and graphics. However, the book quickly approaches tougher terrain, offering a series of problems on the Windows Registry. Other problem topics include programming with Remote Access Services (RAS), networked drives, and the DEVMODE structure (for polling printers and other devices). Finally, the toughest problems involve ActiveX programming and cover how to work with Global Universal Identifiers (GUIDs) and drag-and-drop file operations.

The back of the book contains hints for each puzzle, as well as complete solutions and comments. The author provides a tutorial on various aspects of VB Win32 C API programming, including C to VB data types, parameter passing (by value and by pointer) and some excellent material on how the call stack works for Windows DLLs. Two final sections discuss the Win32 Service API (for starting and stopping Win32 services) and how to access the Windows NT Event Log.

In all, this book provides expert knowledge on getting the most out of VB Win32 C API calls in a format that is always challenging and often entertaining. --Richard Dragan

About the Author

Daniel Appleman is the president of Desaware Inc., a developer of add-on products and components for Microsoft Visual Studio, including SpyWorks, StateCoder, and the NT Service Toolkit for .NET languages and VB6. He is a cofounder of Apress, a publishing company specializing in high-quality
professional level books for computer programmers and IT professionals. He is the author of numerous books, including Moving to VB .NET: Strategies, Concepts and Code, How Computer Programming Works, and Dan Appleman's Visual Basic Programmer's Guide to the Win32 API, and he is the author of a series of ebooks on .NET-related topics.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Companion March 15 2000
As a VB programmer you should have at least 2 books on yourshelf: Dan Appleman's Visual Basic Programmer's Guide to the Win32 APIand this one. The former teaches by showing - serving as a reference book when you are trying enhance the functionality of your VB application. The latter teaches by doing - allowing your mind to actively grasp the concepts behind API calls, structures, and pointers, instead of mindlessly hacking through APIs, tossing in variables, hoping for success. The puzzles in this book allow you to learn from your mistakes. Mr. Appleman explains his own logic as he works through the problem. For me, this is more valuable than just being told the answer as many books in this genre do.
This book is vital to help train a VB programmer to become a designer, rather than a developer. It helps you understand the importance of visualizing the solution to the problem before writing a single line of code. In sports they say that you need to visualize the goal before you actually play the game. I think the same goes for coding. This book is the ideal companion for that exercise. If you are a technical team lead, go ahead and assign these puzzles to your developers so that they can not only hone their skills, but also sharpen their minds.
In addition, Mr. Appleman's writing style of light bantering and humor is a nice relief from the dry technical-journalistic writing of other Visual Basic authors.
...this book is not a can be better thought of as Ingredient Book. By understanding the fundamental ingredients towards cooking up a VB/WinAPI program, it helps you become a better chef. You need to understand what goes into a creation before you can anticipate what comes out.
...this book is not meant to serve as a comprehensive reference guide to the API. For that try Mr. Appleman's API book or Bock's Visual Basic 6 Win32 API Tutorial.. END
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book will empower you... Jan. 16 2000
When I was researching how to access HID-class USB peripherals from VB applications, I learned from the Windows 98 docs that I needed to call a series of API functions to locate the device and learn about its capabilities. Many of the calls involved passing and returning complex structures. I could find no documentation on the calls for Visual-Basic programmers. Although I had some experience with API calls, my initial attempts at calling these functions didn't get far.
Then I bought this book. First I read it straight through (though I do admit to reading each solution after the puzzle, rather than waiting til the end). Then I went back to my code with the book at hand and eventually got it all working. Plus, I understood exactly why the code had to be the way it was in order to work.
This isn't a cookbook. Thinking is required. One sentence I took particular comfort in when things weren't quite working yet was, "It is ultimately possible to handle any structure, no matter what type of data it contains." (p. 363)
This is an excellent and useful book that will enable you to do any API call that Windows might throw your way.
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Though I've often seen Appleman quoted as 'the man' I've never shared that opinion. I own the VB5 versions of perplexing and win32 api, and they are useful, but too much of those books come across as a large advert for his company. To do things Dan's way you need these 10 components that he'll sell you...
This one is a little harder to blame that way. Me, I like puzzles, so this was too much of a temptation. The layout and content of the book are quite good, I've come across the odd error, but nothing major. Unless of course you were trying to use that particular portion for the demo to the CEO ...
This is the book to pick up when you want to rest your brain from the problem you were just working on, not to help fix it, you need either his other books or Pattinson/Kurhana/McKinney etc., but to keep you focus on the problem domain, and let the background thread spin over really solving the problem.
This will no doubt help you in future problem solvings, just do not expect to pick it up and go to the index to fix today's bug for the CEO demo...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different, but worthwhile Aug. 12 1999
Despite what has to be just about the longest and worst title of any book I've seen, the Puzzle book packs some worthwhile content between its covers. The puzzles themselves were only of limited scope and interest, but the second half of the book - the tutorials - are worth the price of admission. Anyone who wants to go beyond the basics of the Win32 API and utilize exported DLL functions will appreciate the sections on DLL calling conventions, C++ header conversion, and passing structures/UDT's as parameters. If you don't own a copy of Dan's Visual Basic Programmer's Guide to the Win32 API, buy that book first. It's an absolute essential for your library. However, the Puzzle book makes a nice addition as well.
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By A Customer
It is difficult for a VB programmer to translate in vb the expression of C family. Example : confusion about pointers between pointer variable and pointer ,between Vtable Interface and object structure.e.i. between contents and container. and light for object Nevertheless,is very good for stack,hexa etc and I advise further information the reading of article at and
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A leap forward for any serious VB programmer!!
Dan's Win API puzzle book was real inspiration for me.The puzzles in the text are real examples on how you should approach advanced topics for programming in Visual Basic. Read more
Published on June 22 2008 by Neil W. Fisk
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!
If you use API's, or want to use API's, then I suggest getting this book. There are so many API calls out there, that no book contains them all. Read more
Published on March 20 2000 by Eric D. Burdo
4.0 out of 5 stars It is a useful book in programming
You cann't programming a good VB without it
Published on Jan. 23 2000 by licheng
1.0 out of 5 stars Unclear on the concept
There's something fundamentally wrong with the concept of a puzzle book for an application programming interface. A book about an API should yield clarity, not puzzles.
Published on Nov. 16 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent way to teach all of the api's at once
Another Appleman must have! Definitely 5 stars. And to be honest I think the person who complained about how few api's were covered misses the point of this book. Read more
Published on June 24 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars Limited in APIs included - Not worth the money
I was very disappointed in the small scope of the book. Very few APIs were included. Of course, the ones I needed were not in the book. For me, a total waste of money. Read more
Published on June 3 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book by a great man.
Dan Applemans style is hard yet solvable. Being a friend of his i read a lot of his other books. All of those are good
Published on April 24 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This book is a good companion for his Win32 API book. The book is entertaining ... and it makes you think. Read more
Published on April 7 1999 by
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