“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.
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 question.
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 one!
I am not surprised this earns the first ever Lazy Programmer's Society Seal
You have to get this product!”
“Sometimes you stumble into 3rdParty Vendors that maintain an unusual high standard both on the products they deliver and on related customer treatment. Keystone by Randy Rogers entered our "hall of fame" this week.
We have joined the beta program for Classviewer. This has, during the time we have participated, become an insane strong product for finding the path through the myriad of properties and methods inside the Clarion Class Library. In fact, it is so good that we are seriously considering to use this tool to maintain our classes instead of the tool we use today (not written, but I was talking about my heavily modified ObjectWriter which does a good job - now). One of the features we like best is the possibility to add comments to method we tend to use, typically when does it suit to write code in the corresponding embed. In addition it opens the Clarion help for the methods and starts an editor for the inc or clw on the correct line. It shows which class is calling what and you only need to right click a method to find all classes calling this.
Enough about that. We thougt this was so good that we wanted to see what else Keystone had to offer, and bough the CoolTips, which simply is a wrapper to the Windows Common Controls Tip. Here you can change the ordinary, boring ToolTip with BallonTip and put Tip on controls that usually doesn't support it. Nice. Now, this template wasn't too easy to implement. You had to choose every singe control in an application and specify type of tip for these . With some thousands of controls in an application this tend to get boring. In addition runtime translation was not supported because the code was generated to early. Therefore we modified the template to support runtime translation and only needed to add one template to change ordinary tip with balloon tip throughout the entire application. The changes we sent back to Keystone explaining what and why and reported a couple of bugs. Randy made some modifications, included the latest class definition and sent an upgrade to his customers. Now the template worked 100% as we wanted and we were of course satisfied.
But the history doesn't stop there. As thanks for the "help" we got Keystone's ScreenCapture tool which is rated 5 stars on ClarionShop. And that it is worth. Implemented in any application it can print the screen directly to printer, save windows in file and save a given selection of a window. Suddenly our job with documenting our applications was made 25% easier and the customers no longer have to use Alt-PrtSc. Cute.”