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Issue 11.6 ('Apple About Boxes')
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We Want Your Tips!

Win fame and prizes by submitting your Xojo tips to xDev

Issue: 11.6 (November/December 2013)
Author: Markus Winter
Author Bio: Markus is a Molecular Biologist who taught himself REALbasic programming in 2003 to let the computer deal with some exceedingly tedious lab tasks. Some call it lazy, he thinks it smart. He still thinks of himself as an advanced beginner at best.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 5,882
Starting Page Number: 70
Article Number: 11614
Related Link(s): None

Excerpt of article text...


We've all been there. We bang our head against a problem. Reading the documentation and trawling the Internet for hours hasn't brought us any closer to a solution. We are still stuck, deeply frustrated and hyped up on too many cups of coffee at the same time, when it finally happens: a kind soul, a heavenly messenger (often named Charles) finally answers our plea for help on the newsgroup or in the forum and posts a solution: a simple sentence, or a piece of code, and everything falls into place (although if your heavenly messenger was indeed named Charles then his advice often requires intense contemplation). And with deep gratitude you think: "Aaaaargh! Couldn't you have posted that five hours ago! And why is this not in the documentation!"

Well, we are here to change that, and we need your input for it. A new column is coming. It is a Tips & Tricks column, and we are looking for your best tips and tricks: things you picked up, advice you were given, all the stuff you wish you had known before you started. It could be a piece of code, it could be a habit, it could be a simple explanation. Anything that helped you become a better programmer qualifies.

For example I still remember the transformative effect that one little sentence had on my programming habits: "Why don't you just store the object itself in the RowTag of your ListBox?" Maybe it is because I grew up with procedural programming and not OOP. Maybe it is because I'm not a native speaker of the English language and names can be deceiving. But till then I had only associated a text marker of some kind with the word "tag". And the name and its associations somehow had taken precedence over the academic knowledge that a RowTag holds a variant. That little sentence completely changed my outlook on programming and how I used the ListBox.

Speaking of the ListBox: my favourite tip deals with speeding up the ListBox:

"Having to display a lot of data in a listbox, and the listbox seems slow? Then don't move the data to the listbox at all. Instead (if possible), add a unique keyvalue to the rowtag only. Then move the rest of the code to the listbox.textPaint and listbox.backgroundPaint events. That way the rest of the data is retrieved only if and when it needs to be displayed."

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