Portable 'Visual' programming language

Discussion in 'Computer Games and General Discussion' started by CannonFoddr, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. CannonFoddr

    CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

    Sep 23, 2006
    Sitting by computer
    OK.. I did ask in another post what the developers actually use... But so many to choose from I couldn't really decide on what I'D like to use if I started up Programming again.
    Many years ago (~20) I tried programming with Delphi (v3) and really liked the way you design your programs GUI, Doubled click to open the appropriate section - and the way of 'accessing' the GUI components was simple(ish) (e.g. 'Textbox1.value =' to read the contents, Checkbox1.hide - to 'hide' it from view etc)

    Now onto the 'crunch'

    - I like a programming language similar to Delphi's 'Visual' approach but to be as 'portable' as possible, so I can tinker with programs in work (where I CAN'T install anything on the PC that I use due to the draconic IT department restrictions) & @ home

    So I've been searching the Net for alternative 'portable' programming languages - & I keep seeing 'Portable Visual Basic 6' pop up in the results

    Is 'Visual Basic 6 Portable' actually Legal ?? - what I mean is Did M$ actually make a Portable visual programming language ??
    (I don't mind using 'older' version of software - I'm only expecting to make 'simple' programs)
    Or is this an illegal version that's been modified by 3rd parties against M$ permissions to make it 'Portable' ???

    Can anyone tell me ??

    FYI - I know I can get M$ 'Visual Studio Express' for free - but that's not Portable (but is tempting, just because it's free & there's sooo many tutorials etc on the Net)

    I've also been trying out 'AutoIt' which is quite portable, but not very 'visual' - which I'm finding it hard having to code virtually everything by hand (& I know about kodu GUI designer - but this doesn't allowing 'coding' from within it, & has limited 'component' support - it doesn't even have a Colourpicker for F**K sake)

    Perhaps I'm actually doing it all wrong (don't forget I'm self teaching myself) but it seems I've got to 'create' a '$variable = GUICommand' to do anything with the GUI components, & it seems I have to write 2-3 lines of code for just one 'action' on a component & it getting rather confusing (my current experimentation is ~250lines long & all it does is hide/show certain compnents depending on the contents of a DropDown Combo Box)

    So if anyone can Confirm/Deny the existance of 'Visual Basic 6 portable' - Or suggest an alternative 'portable visual' language, I'd appreciate it
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    I would have suggested autoIT but you have dismissed it, allow me try and convince you otherwise.
    First none of these simple languages will ever make for anything speedy, tight or anything like that but you have already accepted this so that is OK.

    Visual basic (well most BASIC type languages) has long been blasted for placing people in your position and making it harder to shift between languages or appreciate a more bare metal type of coding.

    Visual programming languages as you define them have had a bit of a resurgence of late but still nothing major beyond flash (which is evil).

    Also "portable" as it pertains to programming languages usually refers to the ability of a given language, development environment or set of libraries to allow porting to other operating systems. AutoIT (although it plays well enough with WINE) and visual basic/studio (ignoring mono) are fairly far from portable in that sense. Indeed for a given language I could throw examples either way of portability as you define it and more examples of other things (many do not get along with having directories with a space in them- "portable" but likely to fall foul of your restricted PC).

    Also if I were to guess you are throwing yourself into the coding; you have an idea and then find yourself looking at a blank screen in your chosen text editor.
    If you are in this position stop, get out a pad and paper and then thrash the entire application out however you like on said pad and paper, generally speaking unless you are debugging something coding should just be a matter of typing something in like you did your post in this thread and while you probably can just jump into it when you get good chances are it will still benefit from a sit down to work out what needs doing.

    Similarly when doing things like building websites people will tend to be given an "entire" site set up for playing with a couple of aspects. A similar thing might be good here- batchDPG is a notable application made in autoIT, I am having a bit of trouble tracking down the source right now as the domain seems to have gone (you can read the sources to my mod of it though: http://www.4shared.com/file/amYJkjTs/FAST6191s_batchDPG.html ). Your 250 lines does sound excessive as well- the entire batchDPG source (well my hackjob to it) file is some 340 lines long.
    You can do many things here but first I suggest you cut down the application to a bare bones GUI that does nothing other than look pretty and expand it from there to also look pretty but do other things (radio buttons, dropdown menus, text boxes, selection boxes......).
    Next make an utterly useless frontend for a command line program (maybe even command) that consists of two or three parts.
  3. CannonFoddr

    CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

    Sep 23, 2006
    Sitting by computer
    Thanks for the tips Fast6191
    No I haven't 'dismissed AutoIt', just find it seems more 'long winded' to do stuff than Visual programming

    - You are right though, I've got an idea for an app & I did plan some of it on paper (not the actual coding but what I'd like/need in the program,how I wanted it to look + a few notes on naming the variables etc) & then started AutoIt to practice on

    I've been reading the AutoIt Website, looking at the commands & then experimenting with them (the commands) to 'create' the look of the app - that was the easy bit ('The bare bones that look pretty')

    On expanding it (getting the controls to actually DO something) - that's where it started getting hard, & the code getting longer.

    One of the 'problems' is the 'hiding of controls' I mentioned (I want this to keep the interface uncluttered depending on what's selected in the dropdown box)
    - In Delphi you could define a 'group' that contains multiple controls & if you hide JUST the group you hid all the controls in one go [That's one line of code)
    - with AutoIt, I could only figure out that to hide a group of controls, I had to do it one @ a time (that's 1 line of code per component)

    Another is that
    - In Delphi - if you create a spinbox, it comes automatically with a label and a textbox & is classed as just 1 component (1 line of code)
    - In AutoIt - it seems you have to create the three components seperately (3 lines of code)

    So If I had 2 spinboxes with labels & inputs each , that's 6 lines of code in AutoIt, but in Delphi it would've only been 2

    Also one problem with your suggestions is I don't think I could have a commandline version of the App & have a GUI for it, since the App is mainly Graphical in nature anyway (FYI - It's a type of 'Skin Previewer' that I would like to make)

    Guess I have to actually read more tutorials & example coding (& practice more) before I actually attempt a fully fledged program

    Thanks again
  4. Jotokun

    Jotokun GBAtemp Regular

    Sep 22, 2008
    United States
    You could try Visual Basic.NET or C#. Since you need a portable IDE to use, I recomend sharpdevelop instead of visual studio. Its a very full-featured open source clone, and once you install it on a home computer you can edit a settings file and copy it to a thumb drive where it'll run perfectly fine on other computers. Programs it makes can also run on non-windows computers through the mono framework, although some functionality doesnt work there.
  5. CannonFoddr

    CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

    Sep 23, 2006
    Sitting by computer
    @ Jotokun: Sounds interesting - may just give that a try when I get home
    Just a quick question though - It 'supports' C# & VB.Net, doesn't that mean it'll need those installed on the PC to work ??

    If so I may have trouble in work 'cos I'm not 100% sure WHAT's installed there - as mentioned the 'draconic IT department restrictions' are so bad I can't even access the 'Control Panel' > 'Add/Remove' by right clicking 'My Computer'

    ... Oh hang on - I figured a way to find control panel by 'other means'....

    ..... Yep - 'MS .Net Framework 3.5 SP1' is installed - so that shouldn't be a problem then - just gotta install it @ home & do this setting you talk about - which I've found @ http://laputa.sharpdevelop.net/SharpDevelo...emoryStick.aspx
  6. GentleFist

    GentleFist Newbie

    i tried c# is very easy and it needs less time to get into in my opinion so its really good
  7. CannonFoddr

    CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

    Sep 23, 2006
    Sitting by computer
    Well I've been having a play with 'sharpdevelop' (for ~3hours now) and it seems to be just what I asked for BUT.....Now I can't decide WHICH to go for

    AutoIt - 'cos it's seems faster to startup/compiling/running, seems responsive when 'programming', a little 'tricky' to get things done though, seems to produce larger EXE files after compiling
    SharpDevelop - 'cos It's taken me less time to (re)create the App's form then it did in 'AutoIt' (Just click/drag/drop/resize - finished), creates smaller EXE files, yet the interface seems 'sluggish' etc, However it DOES seem to have a 'Convert' function to change coding to other languages (C#,Python,Ruby,Boo) which seems to also creat smaller EXE (in the case of C#)

  8. UltraMagnus

    UltraMagnus hic sunt dracones

    Aug 2, 2007
    have you looked at java? Netbeans IDE for it lets you draw WYSIWYG GUIs
  9. CannonFoddr

    CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

    Sep 23, 2006
    Sitting by computer
    Many thanks for all the suggestions - I think I'm gonna stick with #D (for now that is)

    Why.... Couple of reasons

    + I've managed to 'recreate' everything I'd already done in AutoIt PLUS added additional controls - AND got them to Hide/Show as & when needed through a Dropdown box - in ~8hr 'development time', where it took me ~20Hrs doing it in Autoit

    + Because I'm using 'vb' in #D, I'm 'familiar' to the programming structure, since it's VERY similar to Delphi's way of programming (from what I can remember from 20yrs ago)

    + When 'Compiled', the EXE produced by #D is