Today was the Conference I mentioned earlier. Today I got a new webcam and some more light to get a better picture. I was just at the High-Speed-Internet place when Skype started to ring and they asked for me. I got my webcam connected and we could see each other, much better than yesterday. The people on the other side of the world used a faster computer today. Everything was fine, the Workshop was scheduled to start a quarter of an hour later, and so we decided to hang up and call again.
The time in between I used to adjust my webcam, to have the right angle and direction, adjusted all the color parameters, and at the end I thought I make a joke and put my picture inside a TV frame as I found on specials.
Then we tried to get a connection again, it was not possible to convince Skype to get a picture from my webcam. The possibility to do a video setup was gone, instead of the setup there was a link to the skype shop to buy a camera. I was happy that the audio channel worked, so we had an audio conference, for which I would not have needed all the effort to get skype installed (needs more than an hour on dial-in) and got a webcam ordered. No help, no hints, nobody did know. All video stuff had disappeared. Tomorrow I will deinstall Skype.
In my opinion Skype has a great technology, it is fabulous what they did to make audio- and video-connection work over the Internet. The audio quality is much, much better then normal telephone landline connections are, sometimes it sounds like HIFI even, and the video is good, too, much better than I expected - as long as it did work. Does not work any more. Niente.
Nevertheless, the work shop was some kind of a success. I was asked how I did it, so I had to praise the team of programmers who wrote Win32FORTH and the special person who wrote ForthForm, they really did a great job. In a few weeks, I heard, they will release version 6.13 which will work fine with Windows-Vista.
Yes, praise to these guys, they wrote beautiful readable code, remember, Forth-Code is readable and understandable, even with a minimum of commenting, if it is done properly. This is part of the Forth Programming Language, contrary to other programming languages, where the same commands are written again and again and again, and you need a lot of comments, to find out what the program was intended to do. Of course you can see there are inputs, outputs, loops and subroutines, as you can see in Forth, too, but what these constructs are really doing, to know this you need a lot of comments.
Using Forth, you can write it in a way that it comments itself. Per example, if you need a program, which opens a door, in Forth you can write: Open door, and it will work, if Door and open are defined properly. Where else can you find such an easy and convincing style?
Yes, here my answer to the question how I did it. I wrote a lot about it in this blog, but the main thing (I was newbee to the Forth Source) was using the IDE, which is part of the Win32Forth environment, searching for the text on a button or a menu, and then searching down to the modules which did the special work I looked for (This kind of search is much harder to do in any other programming language).
Then I inserted my additional code for the features I liked to have, and in most cases it worked immediately, because I really carefully looked how things worked, you can say I cloned existing modules and gave some other functionality to them.
This can be done in Forth very well. I know very well with other programming languages you need a real highly skilled programmer to achieve this. I am not a really high skilled programmer. I know what a loop is and what if else then means, and meanwhile I am patient, and I am very careful. Which other programming language allows you to insert code without side-effects? As long as I upgraded the Forth only part, everything did run on first try, only if there have been direct connections to Windows involved, I had to do some debugging, because I am not a Windows programmer (remember, this is not an application program, it is programming a tool, like part of the operating system), and as long as it was inside Forth only, I did fine with the build in Forth debugger which has a lot of features.
I could not debug Windows routines, of course, because the Windows code is top secret and undisclosed to me.
Last year December we did communicate to present the visualFORTH Alpha-Version at this conference today, it gave me the drive to do my best to have a good result, and I delivered just in time - you can read this in my recent blog pages. I did not work through nights as I did in former times (more than ten years ago), I had my decent daily routine, and still, I made it to meet our schedule.
Now I will take a rest.
There are things to do: write the Installation Manual, write the Instruction Manual, and some kind of a Tutorial. There are more than 250 links for "Forth Tutorial" on Yahoo and 350 on Google. I will look for some really good ones and will have recommendations. And the next step: The visualFORTH Beta-Version.
Take care and have a good weekend!