C++/win32 Capabilities

What can win32 do? What is it used for?

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3 Replies - 922 Views - Last Post: 07 October 2010 - 06:45 PM Rate Topic: -----

#1 surreal_kc  Icon User is offline

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C++/win32 Capabilities

Posted 07 October 2010 - 03:38 PM

I am now stepping up from DOS windows to win32 applications. I am understanding the code, but i am not understanding win32 itself. Here are a few question i hope some of you can answer.

- What is win32 exactly?
- What can win32 do?
- Can i make 2d games inside a win32 application? (As in having a frame rate, a background, and NONE-flickering graphics)
- Should i learn win32 before learning how to use OpenGL? Or can i skip straight to OpenGL?

If you wish to just send me to a link you found on Google that works, however, the more questions you can answer here the better off i am in the end.

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Replies To: C++/win32 Capabilities

#2 JackOfAllTrades  Icon User is online

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Re: C++/win32 Capabilities

Posted 07 October 2010 - 03:49 PM

This is the most commonly used tutorial for Win32 Programming in my estimation. We also have a bunch of great tutorials by Martyn.Rae in our tutorials area. The canonical dead tree book for Win32 is whatever the most recent edition is of Charles Petzold's book.
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#3 Oler1s  Icon User is offline

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Re: C++/win32 Capabilities

Posted 07 October 2010 - 04:30 PM

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What is win32 exactly?
Windows 32. Ok, that isn't helpful, but the problem is people (ab)use the term win32 for a number of meanings. Here are a sample of contexts the term is used:

- To refer to the Windows API. Which means whatever functionality Windows exposes to developers. You can see MSDN for more information.
- To refer to a program that uses a GUI. Usually, it means a GUI made directly with what the Windows API gives you. There are aspects of the API for creating and managing GUI elements.
- To refer to using anything within the Windows API. For example, the networking aspects of the Windows API.
- To differentiate from Win16. Some time back, it was 16-bit computing only. Consequently, the operating system and API was built around that mentality. Win32 differentiates from that Win16, and you can, if you pay attention, see elements of that in the current Windows API.

Mostly, people abuse Win32 in the first two contexts. Often you can replace "Win32" with "Windows" and the meaning is preserved, with better technical accuracy.

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What can win32 do?
So you probably meant to ask, "What can one do with the Windows API?" The answer is a variety of tasks, that are all because Windows is capable of doing so. One of them is creating GUIs. In general, there are mechanisms to create and manage processes, to establish sockets for network communication, to work with devices connected to the computer, to create things like threads and pipes, and so on. See MSDN.

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Can i make 2d games inside a win32 application?
Yes.

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Should i learn win32 before learning how to use OpenGL?
You need to learn some GUI toolkit or abstraction layer before working with OpenGL. OpenGL is only considered with the pipeline to take some commands and create some rendered result from them. It doesn't deal with issues like "where is going to be rendered?" and "how to handle user input?" and so on.

So you need to pick some API that can handle creation of windows, user input, and so on. The Windows API can do so, of course. But it can be any other API that deals with the relevant aspects. So libraries like SDL and SFML, which handle window creation and user input will also work.

You just need something.

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Or can i skip straight to OpenGL?
No, from above.
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#4 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: C++/win32 Capabilities

Posted 07 October 2010 - 06:45 PM

View Postsurreal_kc, on 07 October 2010 - 04:38 PM, said:

- What is win32 exactly?

I've always understood win32 to be the API Microsoft provides to developers.

View Postsurreal_kc, on 07 October 2010 - 04:38 PM, said:

- What can win32 do?

If what I said above is true, then the answer to this would be "100% of the contents of MSDN".

View Postsurreal_kc, on 07 October 2010 - 04:38 PM, said:

- Should i learn win32 before learning how to use OpenGL?

OpenGL isn't part of the the win API, so I don't think either work with one another directly.
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