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Wes Peterson
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Wes Peterson

Wes Peterson's Resource Links

15 Resource Links (interesting resource pages and websites).

These Resource Links are organized by our community groups then by our knowledge base sub-topics.

Note: A resource link is a recommended website, area of a website, or a specific page. In general, these links lead to information. Post links to products, a product page, download file, or a download library of files to our File Library (do not post here).

Group: Pascal and Delphi Coding

Topic: Delphi for Win32

Book: Delphi 2007 for Win32 Development Essentials -

Bob Swart, affectionately known by some of us as "Dr. Bob," has long been a great resource for details about Delphi development.

I'll never forget how, when I first had to write a Windows service in Delphi, Dr. Bob's articles provided the most lucid explanations about all the ugly details of Windows Services.

Swart, being a well recognized Delphi authority, I'll read any thing the good doctor publishes. I'm drooling to get my hands on this one.

Book: Delphi 2007 Handbook -

Marco Cantu's previous Delphi Books have long been a staple in my personal library, and I expect this new one will live up to Cantu's fine reputation.

Marco's Delphi 5 books were watersheds in my Delphi career, and I'm eager for my copy of this new one to arrive.

DelForEx: A Delphi Code Formatter -

Having consistently formatted source code makes life so much easier.

At Prestwood, we are often asked to enhance, update, and maintain Delphi applications created by somebody else. Some of it is well formated; lots of it is just horrible. Before I even start trying to understand the existing code, I let DelForEx have a run at it. And, man, does it ever make a difference.

But it's not just handy for cleaning up somebody else's code. Often, while working on my own code, I'll rearrange blocks of code by cutting and pasting. Often the indentation is way off. DelForEx fixes it pronto.

DelForEx is a free plug-in for the Delphi IDE. Highly recommended. Combined with GExperts, it turns your IDE into a real powerhouse.

GExperts -

I recommend GExperts for one simple reason: I'm addicted; I can't live without it.

GExperts is a collection of incredibly useful plug-ins for the Delphi IDE. There are too many to list, so I'll mention just a couple of my favorites:

Replace Components: Select one or more controls on a form, choose GExperts "Replace Components," and you're presented a dialog that allows you to select a replacement component from a very smart drop-down. As GExperts replaces the selected component(s), it also preseves as many properties as possible.

Component to Code: Select a component on one of your forms or data modules, select GExperts "Component to code," and all the code necessary to create that component in explicit code is magically placed on the clipboard.

MessageDlg builder: While in the Delphi code editor, simply hit Crl-D. GExperts pops up a dialog in which you can type in text to be displayed, choose which buttons to include, choose an icon for your MessageDlg, and even test it. Clicking OK inserts the appropriate MessageDlg call right into your code.

Oh. Did I mention that GExperts is free? Don't start Delphi again without first downloading and installing GExperts. You'll be hooked, too.

Magazine: Blaise Pascal -

With the demise of Delphi Informant, we've gone quite a while without a good, English language Delphi periodical.

It's exciting, then, so see the appearance of an English edition of Blaise Pascal, especially given it's lineup of writers; Nick Hodges, Bob Swart, Kim Madsen, Julian Bucknall, Jeremy North, and Hallvard Vassbotn. That's a virtual "who's who" of the lofty world of Delphi gurus.

A quick, simple, free registration gets you access to a PDF version of one issue. Check it out!

Group: VB.Net Language

Topic: Tool Basics

Telerik Extensions for ASP.NET MVC - Free -

Telerik is one of the leading makers of components for .NET programmers, so it's a pleasant surprise to see them offering a set of extensions for Microsoft's ASP.NET Model/View/Controller (MVC) framework.

This set of extensions includes a Grid, PanelBar, TabStrip and Menu.

These extensions are offered under GPLv2.

Group: Coding & OO

Topic: General .Net Concepts

ASP.NET Interview Questions -

Although titled "Interview Questions," this article provides a good list of ASP .NET concepts in an ordered, question and answer format.  Working through it would be a good way to bone up - or refresh - your understanding of ASP .NET.

The answers are brief and concise;   and several contain links to additional information.

PowerCommands for Visual Studio 2008 -

According to Microsoft, "PowerCommands is a set of useful extensions for the Visual Studio 2008 adding additional functionality to various areas of the IDE. The source code is included and requires the VS SDK for VS 2008 to allow modification of functionality or as a reference to create additional custom PowerCommand extensions. "

If you've previously worked with Delphi and GExperts, you know how helpful some extensions to your IDE can be.

This free download, from Microsoft, adds some really useful functionality to the VS2008 IDE.  Check it out.

Group: DBA, Databases, & Data

Topic: Desktop Databases

Icon plug-in for Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro -

When we create applications, we usually need one or more icons. We'll definitely want a main program icon - in several sizes. We may also want another icon for our setup program.

Sometimes our client supplies icon files, but often they do not.

There are some great tools available for creating and managing Icons. One of my favorites, IconLover, is available at the site this link is about.

But most out-of-the-box, general purpose graphics editors lack support for the Windows .ICO file format. The solution is at this link, and it's free: It's a plug-in for Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro (even some version of Photoshop Elements).

At the bottom of this link's page, you'll find an entry for "Icon Plug-In for PhotoShop." Simply download the zip file, unzip, and follow the instructions in the ReadMe.txt file.

Your favorite, general purpose graphics editor will now be able to deal with ICO files!

Group: Windows Users

Topic: Windows Vista

Ultimate List of Free Windows Vista Software from Microsoft -

Free software from Microsoft?  For Vista?

You bet. Check this link for many titles.

For similar XP offerings, see the link below.

Topic: Windows XP

Ultimate List of Free Windows XP Software from Microsoft -

Do you want free software? You know you do!

Did you know that Microsoft offers tons of free software? Most of us know of a few free titles, like the Express editions of Visual Studio and SQL Server.

But there's more, much, much more.

At this link you'll find a great compilation of free software offerings from Microsoft.

For similar Vista offerings, see the link below.

Group: Computer Industry

Topic: IT Water-Cooler for Power-Users

Top 10 Things That Annoy Programmers -

I recommend Kevin William Pang's article because, among several other good things, he points out what is probably the number one killer of programmer productivity - interruptions.

Group: Technical Writing

Topic: MS Compiled Windows Help (.CHM)

Help and Manual: A great authoring tool -

Help and Manual is a mature, and reasonably-priced, authoring tool for WinHelp, Compiled HTML Help (CHM); plus PDF, and Word documentation.

Under the covers, your authoring project is maintained in XML.

It can convert existing help and documentation from a number of formats, and it is very author-friendly.

HelpScribble - an amazing tool -

We're all familiar with program help systems. At Prestwood, of course, we need to author them for many of the applications we create.

There are many help authoring tools available, and HelpScribble is one of my two favorites.

Now, even though you may not need to create program help systems, help files, on their own, can be a great way to organize and convey all manner of information. Because they can contain a table of contents, an index, search capabilities, hyperlinks from one topic to another, and embedded graphics, they can be a wonderful way to document many kinds of complex information - say a training manual for new workers - in just about any industry.

The people at Just Great Software like to say that, "If you can scribble, you can create help systems." They're right: HelpScribble makes it about as easy as it could get. Naturally, HelpScribble includes an extensive help system of its own, which will teach you everything you need to know.

HelpScribble can produce

  • WinHelp (.hlp files),
  • Compiled HTML Help (.chm files),
  • Rich Text Format (.rtf files) for printed manuals, and
  • Multi-page HTML output - suitable for web help.

At only $99, this is one of the best software bargains I've encountered.

You can read all about HelpScribble, and download a free trial here:

Group: Website Owners

Topic: Website Owners

Pixeur by Veign -

Whether you're designing web sites or desktop applications, it's frequently convenient to "borrow" a color from something that's displayed on your screen.

There are many "color picker" utilities that do this but, with the advent of Vista and even more so Windows 7, some of the old standbys just don't work.

Pixeur is a free, but best of breed, color picker.  You just drag it's little picker over the color you want and the color; and several types of color codes, display as you drag. When you release your mouse button, the exact color you were over is locked in the display, ready to be "lifted" for any purpose you please.

Pixeur displays color values as:

  • HSB: Hue, Saturation, Brightness,
  • RBG: Red, Green, Blue,
  • CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Key (black)
  • Web-friendly Hexadecimal: #61d6fy for example

A convenient "Copy" button will copy the hex value to your clipboard.

As you work, Pixeur can even maintain a list of colors you've picked.

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