Welcome to the Almost Complete Reference (ACR)! This section is supposed to be used as a reference for the tutorials, but you can come in and look around too. (Just make sure you don't go overboard and print out the entire section) The topics are all arranged in alphabetical order, so as to make searching easy. Happy Reading!
ActiveX ControlsActiveX, created by Microsoft, is a fun and well, not so fun, control which can be used on Internet pages. Like Java, it has the ability to make Internet pages interactive and fun, but can take quite a bit of effort to write. Find out more from the Microsoft site at www.microsoft.com.
Array TypesArrays are essentially a data types which simulate tables - one-dimensional, two-dimensional, whatever. Arrays are extremely useful when you need to transfer a lot of information at one go.
Bar CommandThe Bar command draws a bar on the screen. It accepts four parameters - the co-ordinates of the top-left corner and those of the bottom-right corner. Whoo, now that's scary...
BASIC LanguageBASIC stands for Beginner's All-Symbolic Instruction Code - a no-brainer programming language used for simple programs. BASIC generally has a simpler syntax, but the price is that your code generally becomes almost unreadable. It was only when Microsoft revamped the language and gave it some flair did people really start to pay attention. Historical note: In the old days, almost all programs were written in BASIC because it was the only language around then - it must have been difficult!
Bill GatesFor those who have been gone from the planet for the last century or so, Bill Gates is the CEO of Microsoft - and the richest man in America. (Don't confuse him with Bill Clinton, that's the President of the United States...) Microsoft was co-started by him, and well, look where it is today. Oh, I wonder how he does that...
Borland InternationalBorland International was, and still is, the best company dealing with language compilers in the world today. Although it also publishes other programs, Borland is most well known for its compilers, and was also the creator of Turbo Pascal, the compiler which popularised Pascal as a programming language.
The Case StatementThe case statement is used to replace massive numbers of if statements. By comparing a value to a list of constants, case decides which code is run, which is not. Simple as that.
Circle CommandThe circle command accepts three parameters, two for the coordinates, one for the radius. (No, you don't need a degree to understand this, just Primary 6 knowledge.)
C LanguageThe predecessor to C++, this slightly less powerful language is still widely used today. Originally created by At&T, it has become one of the most important languages in the world. (For programming, that is.) People say that the only reason why C hasn't died out is because C programmers felt that C++ was too powerful for their needs. Wait a minute - is there any logic here?
C++ LanguageLike Pascal, C++ is another language programmers use to create programs. Although similar to Pascal, C++ is slightly harder to learn, but is signifigantly more powerful. (Notice that there's always a price to pay for everything?) As mentioned above, it seems that the reason why C++ isn't taking over the world is because people felt that C++ was too powerful for their needs... huh?
Const KeywordThe const keyword is used to declare constants - values which never change and can be represented by somrthing else. Just by declaring constants in the const section, you will be able to use that term thoughout the entire program. Great fun! Constants also help make code easier to read and debug by replacing meaningless values with meaningful names. That's what constants are for.
Dispose CommandThe dispose command is used to remove space created by the new command. By providing it with the pointer name, the dynamic space will be removed instantly. Notice that you don't have to worry about getting rid of normal variables - that's done automatically.
Ellipse CommandThe ellipse command accepts four parameters like the Bar command, except that it draws an oval. Ooo, isn't that beautiful?
The For StatementThe for statement makes a counter loop upwards or downwards from a certain specified number to another. This feature makes it possible to repeat a portion of code and have avariable which changes on each turn. Very useful - but you'll have to think of course.
GetMaxX, GetMaxY CommandsGetMaxX is the command which passes the maximum X co-ordinate for the screen and GetMaxY does the same for the Y co-ordinate. Ahh, power in Graphics...
Hungarian NotationHungarian Notation is the use of prefixes, and sometimes suffixes, to identify a variable's data type. This method of naming is used excessively in Windows, which makes it absolutely neccesary to learn it. Thankfully, with Delphi, you don't have to care a bit, but a little knowledge helps...
The If-Else StatementThe If-Else statement is the simplest example of decision-based control flow. It tests a condition, and if it is true, a block of code will execute. If it is not, you can either specify it to do nothing, or make it run another block of code. As we've said before, it is simple...
InitGraph CommandInitGraph is the command which initializes the graphics drivers for your computer. You pass it three variables, one for the driver, another for the mode, and the third which is the path where the BGI files are stored. Yes, that's how you do it...
Line CommandThe line command draws a line from the four parameters you passed it. The first two are the coordinates for the start, the last two for the end. Yes, yes! Lines! Bwa-ha-ha-ha! (Sleep Deprivation Syndrome)
MacintoshThe Macintosh was a computer created by Apple which became famous for its robustness and user-friendliness. Remembered for its achievements in computer design, it helped prevent the PC from going into the voids of techno gibberish. Even till today, a lot of people use the Macintosh in their daily lives, and yes, Macintoshes are also known as 'Macs' - something that has lived on through the years...
MemoryMemory - the greatest thing the world has ever known. Somehow, every creature is stuck on trying to get more memory. Thankfully, I found the cure: Don't buy Windows games.
New CommandThe new command is used to make dynamic space for a new dynamic variable. It accepts a pointer as a parameter and declares space according to the pointer's data type. Oh well, what could be easier?
Null-Terminated StringAlso known as a C style string, this is probably the most complex thing you've seen so far. Pascal offers null-terminated strings with the 'PChar' type - but be forewarned, they're not so easy to work with!
Object-Orientated ProgrammingThe new wave of programming has begun with the new concept of OOP, which deals with things called objects, data types very similar to records. Now, OOP is a new sort of programming method which allows you to inherit and override procedures. Confused? Well, you don't expect us to be able to explain this all in one short paragraph, right? You'll have better luck with Day 12 - Introduction to OOP, so shoo!
ParametersTo pass a value over to another procedure or function, use a parameter. The procedure will then get the value and process it. Note that the value is copied. Any changes will not affect the actual value.
Pascal LanguagePascal is a programming language first made famous by Borland's Turbo Pascal compilers. Today, although not so widely used, it's a good thing to have Pascal somewhere in your resume if you're applying for a job which involves programming. The signifigance of Pascal has also grown since Borland released Delphi, the 16 and 32 bit programming environment for Windows. So, Pascal's not that bad a choice, eh?
Rapid Application DevelopmentRapid Application Development systems are systems which forego the tiresome and error-prone process of Windows programming, and makes it easier to produce 'quality' programs quickly - however, the first generation of RAD development systems were pretty disappointing because of their program speed. Thank god for Delphi! Without it, god knows where RAD systems would be today!
Record TypesRecords are data types which can store other values together. For instance, a student record can hold five different values representing the student's test scores. This is really useful when you need to organise information.
The Repeat-Until StatementThe repeat-until statement repeats a certain bit of code until a condition is met. Thus, the condition must be false for the loop to continue. A very close cousin to this statement is the while statement.
Set TypesSet types are just like checkboxes - they allow values to be turned on and off. For instance, you could have a set defining the properties of a character. If it's Bold and Italic, the Bold and Italic values will be turned on. Yup. It's as simple as that...
Turbo PascalTurbo Pascal is the name of the famous compiler which sold millions when it was first released by Borland. Today it still exists - and we'll be using it for this page. You can find out more about it at www.borland.com, or visit one of the many websites dedicated to distributing Pascal programs like this one. There's a lot of information out there!
Uses KeywordThe uses keyword is used to load units, little files which define new procedures, functions, variables, and constants for your program. Something like the concept of a plug-in. (You know what I mean, right?)
Var KeywordThe var keyword is used to declare variables and to specify their data types. For instance, in the var section, you could declare a variable i which is an integer. As simple as that. Hey, who said programming was difficult?
Visual BasicVisual Basic was the development system which first started the excitement over Rapid Application Development. Created by Microsoft, it probably has the largest user base because of its immense popularity and the easy-to-learn nature of the language. (And yes people, I started Windows programming this way!)
The While StatementThe while statement repeats a block of code while a condition is still true. Unlike the repeat-until statement, the while statement guarantees that the code will be run at least once. Who knows? You just might need it someday, right?
WindowsMicrosoft Windows is the 'operating system' (for Windows 3.x) which was created for the PC to make it emulate the Mac. For some reason, it became 'the standard' for all PCs. Well, we'll never understand it - so let's live with it, okay?
Write CommandWrite is the command to use when you want to print a line of text without breaks. Like the Writeln command, it can also accept variables, which make this quite an invaluable command...
Writeln CommandWriteln, which is a close cousin of the Write command, prints a line out, and then moves the cursor to the next line. This is a standard command which lets you output text to the screen. If you want to prevent the cursor from going to the next line, use the Write command instead.