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Issue 4.2


APIViewer 2004

Issue: 4.2 (November/December 2005)
Author: Brian Rathbone
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,286
Starting Page Number: 8
Article Number: 4202
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Full text of article...

Do you find yourself searching for Windows API constants, declarations of functions, enumerations, types? If you answered yes, then APIViewer 2004 is for you. Brought to us by the folks at ActiveVB, this free utility makes finding these things quick and painless.

The current Win32 API database includes over 6000 subs and functions, 53000 constants, and 400 types -- that's a lot of useful information at your fingertips. In the time I have used APIViewer 2004, the type OSVERSIONINFOEX is the only thing I have found missing from the database.

When first launched, the user is presented with empty lists and grayed options; the provided Win32 API database must be opened manually. For those who use the same database repeatedly, as I do, an option exists to have the database load automatically.

Sifting through all that information could be time consuming, but APIViewer 2004 provides a tidy and efficient interface. You can browse by data type or search the database.

Also, if you want to look at all of the constants that start with WM_, for example, you can type WM_ into the editfield, which will navigate you to that section of the list. Considering the 53000 items in the list, this can save a significant amount of scrolling.

APIViewer 2004 also allows you to place multiple items, of any type, on the clipboard simultaneously.

If, for example, I needed the declaration for GetVersionInfo, the value of the constant FORMAT_MESSAGE_FROM_SYSTEM, and the composition of type OSVERSIONINFO. With APIViewer, I just locate each item and double-click, placing them in the list of things to be sent to the clipboard. The cut and copy buttons make it easy to place the entire list on the clipboard.

Targeted at Visual Basic users, APIViewer 2004 formats declarations for VB, and some tweaking is required before the output can be used in REALbasic. For constants, at least, you can turn off the "Declare constants explicit" option, which saves a few strokes of the delete key.

Advanced information is available on functions and subs, including which platforms a given function or sub is compatible with.

The compatibility check function inspects a Visual Basic project and flags functions that are not supported on all platforms. This could be handy for determining the system requirements of VB code, perhaps code you plan to port to REALbasic.

Translation files are available in: Spanish, Danish, Russian, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, and French.

The built in help system is limited to release history, command line options, and contact information. In truth, I never looked at the help until I decided to write this review; the interface is fairly self-explanatory.

Auto-update is visible in the interface but not yet implemented; database updates would be nice in the future.

The help menu includes links to some helpful sites. The KPD-Team link, in particular, points to a site that is an excellent companion to APIViewer 2004. The API List contains additional details and sample VB code.

If you plan to work with the Win32 API, then APIViewer 2004 will make a great addition to your toolkit.

End of article.