PenRight! for Windows
From Pen Computing #5 June/July 1995
The marketplace for PDAs, pen based computers and mobile computing
platforms is being defined by the people who write application software for the industry.
Development tools attract developers to any particular platform, great tools attract great
developers. PenRight! for Windows is just such a great tool.
As with the previous generations of PenRight Corporation's software
development kits, the PenRight! for Windows tool allows the programmer to not worry about
what the target platform of an application is. By providing an absolutely consistent look
and feel for everything from the Zoomer to the Pentium, PenRight levels the playing field,
bringing pen enabled application development into the hands of anyone who has written some
C language code, the lingua franca of today's desktop computers. PenRight! allows mobile
computing platform developers to leverage this huge pool of programming talent onto mobile
Well over a thousand vertical applications on a large variety of platforms have been created using PenRight Pro! Many of the developers of these applications were looking at porting their apps over to the fast growing community of Windows based pen computers. So the move to MSWindows is a no-brainer for the aggressive PenRight Corporation. PenRight Corporation has essentially added a vast new marketplace for its development tools, Microsoft Windows.
By producing applications for the two most popular computer
operating systems in the world, PenRight! for Windows has placed itself squarely in the
major leagues for pen enabled application development.
The best part of this is that PenRight! for Windows will move an application's source code over from PenRight! Pro DOS to MSWindows or, demanded by quite a few shops, DOS DPMI platforms. Further, PenRight! Pro will produce source code for both Windows platforms, and non Windows platforms from the same work files. This is a life saver. Sad to say, some mobile platforms are gone, such as Compaq's pen based Concerto laptop. Software specific to any platform is a white elephant before it is even completed! Companies that have software developed for a specific PDA or mobile computer are at risk of customers switching to newer, cheaper platforms as the PC wars move down to the handheld arena.
The project created or imported into PenRight! for Windows can run on all the platforms currently supported by PenRight! Pro, while also producing code for Microsoft Windows. This allows companies to invest in a single source code base, while deploying systems on a multitude of platforms. That's the kind of leverage that today's change or die world demands of software developers.
PenRight! for Windows cross platform capability is a big bonus for
software developers. It means a scientific calculator I wrote for the Tandy Zoomer will
now run under Microsoft Windows, with almost no further effort on my part beyond clicking
a button in the PenRight! for Windows application. That's a big gift to a small software
developer who cannot afford to hire an army to staff a department for every device and
hardware platform out there.
Along with the trademark Graffiti single character cell data entry
window, PenRight allows text to be entered anywhere on the screen and still recognized by
the Graffiti recognizer. Another small departure from the Graffiti standard is a
horizontal line drawn from right to left across any number of characters will erase all
the characters under the line.
A Visual Pen Computing Toolkit
The Integrated Graphical Environment runs as an MDI, or Multiple Document Interface, application, allowing for simultaneous editing of multiple projects and multiple views of the same project. A Project Window supports a graphical tree of everything in the developer's application. This includes databases, forms, and code. This is a sort of schematic view of the application, where every form, or screen, gets its own icon. Starting from an icon called Start, you draw lines by dragging the mouse to connect one form with another. For example, a button labeled "Help" on a form could be connected to a form designated to display help text.
Double-clicking the mouse over practically anything in the Integrated Graphical Environment launches a Code Editor window. This window contains all the code written by the programmer, or by PenRight! for Windows itself. The Code Editor sections code up into specific Events and Functions. An Event can be a ButtonPress or ListScroll, or any event PenRight! Pro has a built-in understanding of. A Function can be anything the programmer wishes to create, such as a function to compute the square of a number, or look up a name in a database, or anything else. Programmers experienced with object oriented programming's notion of a browser window will appreciate this window immediately over a plain vanilla text window such as the NotePad program that comes as an accessory in MS Windows.
Associated with every form, button, text field or other visual object in the project is a Hierarchical Property Sheet. This is a particularly useful idea. Associated with any drawn object comes a bevy of information that is often hard to get a single view of. A simple line of text, such as, "Enter your first name:", contains the following properties: ID, left, top, height, width, text, color, font, font size, font style, and pattern. Each type of visual object has its own properties, and some properties-such as the font, font size and font style-form their own subgroup. The Hierarchical Property Sheet, activated by means of a popup menu when the user presses the right mouse button, provides a very smooth editing environment for this disparate information.
PenRight! Corporation is targeting the commercial vertical market
application developer who needs to do mobile data collection. So a database suite of
services has always been part of the PenRight programming tools. So it is with PenRight!
for Windows. The user merely clicks on the toolbar's Create Database icon, and a database
icon is added to the project. Double clicking on this icon brings up a database schema
manager window. This window controls the layout of a database table needed by the
application. The database files are laid out in the PC world's ubiquitous dBASE file
format, understood by practically all database manager software. - Bob Besaha
- Bob Besaha
All contents ©1995-1998 Pen
Computing Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized reproduction in any form is strictly prohibited.
Contact the Pen Computing Publishing Office for reprint information.