ClassViewer Product Review
“I don't use many 3rd party products for my personal use as I tend to be rather
rough on them<g>. Client projects are a different story.
Russell B. Eggen June 16, 2003 1:07 PM comp.lang.clarion,TopSpeed.Topic.Third_Party
But since the original class browser by Gordon Smith many years ago (which is
very good) to the one that shipped with Clarion (with source), to the internal
browser and a few others, they all pretty much looked the same.
In order for me to use any product, I don't feel I am any different than anyone
else. I have to know "what's in it for me?" and "how does this improve my
productivity?" Class browsers are hard pressed to satisfy such questions.
The one exception is Randy Roger's class browser. The first thing that strikes
you is the clean and appealing interface. So far, so good as a nice interface
invites me to hang around.
I installed this in my Clarion 6 folder. I am happy to see that Randy mostly
follows the 3rd party install standards. Only one negative here; no shortcuts
are created, thus I run from the Start/Run command.
I bring up the Clarion 6 install as that was my choice. What I was not expecting
to find was that the browser can switch to Clarion 5.5 sources and keep them
isolated! Now we are talking! I also have Clarion 5EE and Clarion 4 and the
browser easily builds class trees for each version. The browser can see which
versions I have installed on my machines. Clarion version does not matter here.
Now to the browser itself. You can filter by class category, such as ABC, Web,
Handy Tools, my class for my upcoming book, etc. Or you can see all classes. Up
to you. This is a nice feature as there can be many classes installed in libsrc.
It can also find and identify non-ABC compliant classes (and there are some 3rd
party products in this category). The browser treats them all the same.
Once you pick a class, the source for what you have highlighted, appears in a
3rd pane instantly with no flicker. It can be a property or method, protected or
private (which you can turn on or off).
You can switch views at the touch of a button, say from the class hierarchy to
method calls to just interfaces and even data structures like QUEUEs, GROUPs and
enumerated structures (like ITEMIZE).
You may even edit anything you view. And speaking of editing, you may attach
your favorite editor (mine is Textpad).
I found the help very nice and it is 32-bit help. If you highlight an ABC class,
property or method and press F1, I found a pleasant surprise. It opens Clarion's
Help for the highlighted code. In my case it was Clarion 6 help and this is most
welcome as it is already superior to the help in previous Clarion versions.
So, what good is it? Does it make you more productive? Let me answer each
It is good for navigation complex class structures and see them in the context
of how they are used at runtime. Many Clarion developers have told me in my
education classes that they need to see what is being called. This is the
typical reaction to those learning classes. This browser eases the learning
curve. So there is one excellent use for beginning and seasoned OOPers alike. Up
to you how much detail you wish to see in this scenario.
This would be a nice study aide to Bruce Johnson's ABC book. So it can double as
a nice study aide (for some strange reason, I am rather biased here <g>).
But does it make you more productive? In my case, I wish I had this when I was
writing the class for my book. I could then see how my class relations stand (or
not use editors to do searches and figure out how things related.
This browser shows you and with zero effort. You will get spoiled on that work
reduction rather quickly.
For the price offered, this is far and above more than what you pay for. This
browser is now part of my permanent tool chest. Do not leave home without this
I am not surprised this earns the first ever Lazy Programmer's Society Seal of
You have to get this product!”
LPS President and Founder