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[IMAGE] Windows Programming with Shareware Tools Table of Contents


Chapter 0 - Introduction

Chapter 1 - Design, Documentation, and Analysis tools

Chapter 2 - Communications and Networks

Chapter 3 - Graphics

Chapter 4 - Database

Chapter 5 - DLL Custom Controls

Chapter 6 - VBX Custom Controls

Chapter 7 - Strings and Text Processing

Chapter 8 - Voice and Sound

Chapter 9 - Help development tools

Chapter 10 - Install builder tools

Chapter 11 - Batch languages

Chapter 12 - Spy tools

Chapter 13 - Project tools

Chapter 14 -- Shareware Registration Services for Users and Authors

Appendix A - Contents of the CD-ROM
Appendix B - Online sources for Programming tools
Appendix C - Hints on contacting shareware authors
Appendix D - How to submit your own shareware tools for future editions
Appendix E - MegaPost delivers your shareware to dozens of BBSes

How to Read this book

This book is intended to be mainly a reference work. You've purchased this book because you want to have immediate access to the best Windows shareware programming tools but you don't want to spend hours tracking them all down. The book provides thorough reviews and the accompanying CD-ROM makes them instantly accessible.

Several of the early chapters (2, 3, 4, 7, and 8) explore specific application areas, such as Communications and Networks, Graphics, Database, String/Text Processing, and Voice and Sound. You may prefer to jump immediately to the chapters which address the functionality of your projects. For example, if you've been struggling with your own in-house developed graphics library, see Chapter 3 on Graphics.

Custom controls provide easily integrated and significant improvements in user interface and functionality. For C/C++ developers, DLL custom controls (chapter 5) are an important resource. Visual Basic programmers will find products usable in their environment throughout the book. VBX Custom Controls (chapter 6) includes more than two dozen VBXs that can add significantly to your user interface and functionality.

Eventually, all well-behaved Windows applications require help files and an install program. You may be persuaded to try some of the programs presented in Help Development Tools (chapter 9) and Install Builder Tools (chapter 10).

Batch languages for Windows (chapter 11) provide an old metaphor with new user interface components and capability for control and communications. If anything, the graphical environment of Windows has increased the demand for these solutions from support professionals.

Last, there are general purpose development tools such as the Modeling, Design, and Analysis Tools (chapter 1) and Spy Tools (chapter 12). I'm confident that these two chapters will offer you significant help, regardless of your application.

If you're planning on becoming a new shareware author yourself, I strongly recommend the Project Tools (chapter 13), Shareware Registration Services for Users and Authors (chapter 14) as well as the a thorough reading of the appendices "D" and "E".

Although a few stalwart readers will read nearly cover-to-cover, I strongly urge you to skip around and browse as you see fit. Keep the book on your shelf of reference materials. The next time your manager walks in and says "Hey, wouldn't it be great if we could do....", have this collection of the world's best shareware tools at your fingertips.

The remainder of this chapter will acquaint you with the accompanying CD-ROM, .ZIP files, and a handy ZIP/UNZIP program. Also, if you've never registered shareware before, please review the brief explanations at the end of this chapter.

What is Shareware?

Paul Mayer, author of GRAB Plus, describes shareware in plain English:

"Shareware distribution gives users a chance to try software before buying it. If you try a Shareware program and continue using it, you are expected to register. Individual programs differ on details -- some request registration while others require it, some specify a maximum trial period. With registration, you get anything from the simple right to continue using the software to an updated program with printed manual.

Copyright laws apply to both Shareware and commercial software, and the copyright holder retains all rights, with a few specific exceptions as stated below. Shareware authors are accomplished programmers, just like commercial authors, and the programs are of comparable quality. (In both cases, there are good programs and bad ones!) The main difference is in the method of distribution. The author specifically grants the right to copy and distribute the software, either to all and sundry or to a specific group. For example, some authors require written permission before a commercial disk vendor may copy their Shareware.

Shareware is a distribution method, not a type of software. You should find software that suits your needs and pocketbook, whether it's commercial or Shareware. The Shareware system makes fitting your needs easier, because you can try before you buy. And because the overhead is low, prices are low also. Shareware has the ultimate money-back guarantee -- if you don't use the product, you don't pay for it.

Shareware is provided at no charge to the user for evaluation. Feel free to share it with your friends, but please do not give it away altered or as part of another system. The essence of "user-supported" software is to provide personal computer users with quality software without high prices, and yet to provide incentive for programmers to continue to develop new products. If you find the program useful and that you're using shareware and continue to use shareware after a reasonable trial period, you must make a registration payment to its author."

How to Submit Your own Shareware Tools for Future Editions

Categories of Interest

Even though the nature of a book is necessarily a static document, I am very eager to include a wider range of programming tools in each successive edition. Specifically, I'm hunting for innovative products in the following categories:

If your product fills a unique category not listed above, it may still qualify if it is related in some way to the software development process. Perhaps the only category I'm unwilling to consider at this time are "Programmer's Editors".

Marketing Methods of Interest

At this time, I will accept only submissions that fit the freeware or shareware model of marketing. For these purposes, freeware is considered any software which requires no license fee from the end user. Freeware which includes source code will receive the highest priority in my scheme of evaluation for inclusion.

Shareware for these considerations must fulfill the following minimum requirements:

Authors who are members of the Association of Shareware Professionals (ASP) will receive the highest consideration. Contact the ASP on their website or CompuServe (GO ASPFORUM) for membership details.

Shareware which provides source code to the licensee after registration will receive more consideration than shareware without source availability.

Platforms of Interest

A program targetting at least one of the MS Windows runtime environments is eligible. Such a program would either run natively in or target output for use with one or more of these:

At this time, the only firmly excluded platform is programs that run solely on and target for MS-DOS runtime mode. Programs that run on OS/2 must also run on some version of Windows. Products that have a Win32 version will receive higher consideration than those that don't. At some future time, products dealing exclusively in Windows 32-bit environments (Win32s, Windows 95, and NT products) will be spun off into a separate book. Such a book would feature "32-bit" prominently in its title.

Development Systems of Interest

This book intends to encompass widest array of commonly used development systems. Though none has yet been intentionally excluded, some common development systems are listed below:

Files to Submit

Please include all of your files in a single .ZIP archive if possible. Multiple .ZIP archives are acceptable if it would not otherwise fit on 1.44MB media. DO NOT include a registered version of your software unless it is requested. This is to protect you from accidently putting your registered version onto the CD-ROM. Sending a license key in a separate file or email is acceptable.

How to Send Your Submission

Although you may contact me by email prior to submission (Internet address SYSOP@HAL9K.COM), there are three basic submissions methods you can choose from:
  1. MAIL IN: the simplest method is to copy your submission onto a diskette in .ZIP compatible format and send it by postal mail along with an Author's Release Form (see below)

            Victor R. Volkman, Attn: New Submissions
            P.O. Box 130206
            Ann Arbor, MI 48113-0206
  2. FAX IN: The faster I receive the Authors Release Form from you the more time I have to work on reviewing your product and thus produce a more accurate review. The form is included on the following page and you may simply fax it in if your software is available by Internet FTP. The form also appears on the CDROM in the file SUBMIT.TXT. Fax it to +1 313 663 6861.

  3. UPLOAD IT: First time callers to the HAL 9000 BBS may upload files and leave me a brief message. This must also be accompanied by a faxed or postal mailed Author's Release Form. Call the HAL 9000 BBS at +1 313 663 4173, speeds up to 28.8k, or telnet to
    =================== AUTHOR'S RELEASE FORM =======================
    This form authorizes Miller Freeman to distribute your submission in the
    next edition of "Windows Programming with Shareware Tools" by Victor R.
    Volkman.  If appropriate, your submission would appear on CD-ROM in this
    book.  In addition, excerpts or abstracts of your documentation may also
    appear in the book.  We can not distribute your submission without this
    The submitted materials are (check only one):
    ____(My Public Domain)
    Written by me and hereby placed into the public domain.  Permission is
    hereby granted to Miller Freeman to distribute the submitted materials on
    media accompanying the book described above.
    ____(My Shareware)
    Written by me and protected by certain copyright restrictions clearly
    specified in the files constituting the submission.  Permission is
    hereby granted to Miller Freeman to distribute the submitted materials,
    without royalty or other compensation, and to charge their normal
    distribution fee for such distribution, provided that my copyright
    restrictions are included unchanged in each copy distributed.

    This page maintained by Victor R. Volkman
    Last updated on 3/11/96