Latenite, VS 2005 and two screens.

Monday, 31st October 2005

Long time no update...
I haven't done any more work on FireTrack, that is now officially a dead project. sad.gif

Rearranged PC

I spent some part of this weekend rearranging my PC so I could take advantage of my DVI port. With a DVI→VGA adapter I could connect up the other 17" monitor that was currently going unused on my PS2. I also had a new second-hand (new to me, that is) VCR to throw into the mix - here are the results! (Hover for notes).

show_ps2.jpgAn image

Once again, I'm astounded as to how expensive cables are on the high street (last time it was a USB cable that threw me - £14 in Dixons, I ended up getting it for 99p on eBay). To connect the VCR to the VGA box I needed to convert the only output it gave me, SCART, to something usable - S-Video or composite. The only cable Dixons sold that converted SCART to composite out cost a whopping £39.99... no thanks! Maplin wasn't so bad, a two-way (switchable) SCART→S-Video/composite was only a tenner. Only thing left for me to get is a new VGA cable from my PC to the VGA box - my current cable is thinner than most serial cables I have! (In the photo of the VGA box, it's the one on the left) Needless to say, the image is very fuzzy and there is serious ghosting.

Visual Studio 2005

I recently received the Beta 2 in the post, and I'm (generally) highly impressed. However, I've run into a number of oddities along the way, not to mention some infuriating bugs. The worst is the image resource editor for adding images to menus and the like. Add a couple of images, set the image on a menu item and watch as it erases all your menus, adds them all back again before crashing with the error message:
vs_error.gif which point the IDE closes.
Another oddity is that after such a crash my program started crashing when it closed. The error was in this code (added by the form designer);

protected override void Dispose(bool disposing) {
	if (disposing && (components != null)) {

base.Dispose(disposing); was causing the error "Cannot access a disposed object. Object name: 'SplitterPanel'." I have no idea what would cause that, or which object "SplitterPanel" is at all. Changing the problematic line to this.Dispose(disposing); fixed the problem, but if anyone could shed light onto why this code was failing I'd be very grateful!

My only other major beef with VS2005 is that while most of the visual style bugs have been ironed out, some still remain. The worst one for me is the TabControl, as aligning the tab buttons to anything other than top results in some very odd results. Are MS ever going to decide on a consistent theme? rolleyes.gif


Latenite is back in redevelopment - hopefully this version will be released! I have completely rewritten it from scratch in C# (previously in VB.NET) - for one weekend's work, it's not looking too shabby.

Click for bigger.

Yes, it looks like a direct rip-off of VS, but is geared towards Z80 editing. I'm sticking to making it look/work like a simplified VS, as that seems to be the best way for things to work (after all, most image editing apps feel like variations on a theme of Photoshop). Some new features:

  • Fully XML-based help system makes help files considerably more manageable. HTML-based help viewer (rather than RTF) allows for better presentation and slicker (working!) hyperlinks.
  • Error logs are also returned as XML for neatness.
  • Compilation is now based around a bunch of sensible environment variables (the old system used a cryptic set of command-line arguments - %1 to %5). For example, this is the script for generic TI compilation:
    devpac8%1 "%SOURCE_FILE_NOEXT%"
  • Ability to undo more than one edit and redo again! - This is a big one! (A new class that just adds to the )
  • Sexy icon laden menus. If you create a compile script and save a PNG in the same folder with the same filename (so ZX Spectrum.cmd with a picture of a speccy as ZX Spectrum.png) it appears on the build menu.
  • Faster and more accurate line selection.

There is still a lot (of very dull stuff, no less) to do - project organisation, settings saving/loading, text search... Bah. One day!

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