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The Codesmith's Library

Secrets of the OS/2 Warp Masters

Written by Carsten Whimster


Secrets of the OS/2 Warp Masters

This is the only OS/2-specific book I have left. There doesn't seem to be a lot out there any more. Here are the chapters:

1.  Fonts: A Professional Touch
2.  Threads: Utilizing the Power of Multitasking
3.  Resource DLLs: Developing Multilingual Applications
4.  OS/2: WinOS/2 Communications
5.  High-speed OS/2 WinOS/2 Communications
6.  MAking Your Applications Look Professional in Half the Time
7.  DosDevIOCtls: Communicating with System Peripherals
A.  About the Disk
    About the Authors
This book is quite well written, and has some very useful and important information for OS/2 developers. Nonetheless, I feel that it falls a little short of excellence. Let us take a closer look.

The preface contains the source code for the skeleton of a basic PM application. The authors explain that it isn't the purpose of the book to teach this material, so the code is presented with few comments, and then it moves on.

Chapter 1 covers the use of fonts. Basically, what is presented is how to use outline fonts, as well as a brief intro (fleshed out later)_to the font dialog. Both sizes, colours and other font topics are covered. The chapter is short, but to the point, and an example application is given.

The second chapter covers threads, how to program them, and when they are used to best effect. Suspending and resuming threads is also covered in the sample program. Again, the code is well-written, and the key points explained well, but not a lot of time is wasted on details, and the chapter is short.

The third chapter could be put well to use by several OS/2 authors I know of :) Resource DLLs are not well understood, judging by the growing pains of authors trying to internationalize their applications. Again, the explanations in this book are thorough and competent, and if you wish to internationalize your application, I would recommend this book for this chapter alone. This chapter is a bit longer, and the examples are more extensive.

The next two chapters cover WinOS/2 communication methods, and as such I am going to brush over them lightly here. WinOS/2 is more or less dead now that Win32 has been around for close to 4 years. Sure, there are companies and individuals using it here and there, but in general this part of OS/2 does not see much use or interest any more. Named pipes and DDE are covered in chapter 4, and shared memory mechanisms in chapter 5. These topics may be of use in general, but here they are focused on WinOS/2. There is some good background material on various low-level OS/2 topics in chapter 5.

Chapter 6 covers both user-programmed dialogs, and the system dialogs. Using these two types of dialogs, applications can quickly gain some polish.

The final chapter is quite short, and gives an introduction to using DosDevIOCtls to gain access to peripherals, with the example covering the serial port.


This is a good book. It explains some key areas well, and has useful information, but for the fairly high price it doesn't give a lot of material. Furthermore, two big chapters are focused on WinOS/2, which is not as relevant as it once was. My final judgement is that if you need a good book specifically on one of the topics covered in this book, go for it. Otherwise, you may want to look at other books which are better deals and cover more ground. I give it an 8/10.

Secrets of the OS/2 Warp Masters, Sullivan, et al.
  • Wiley, ISBN 0-471-13171-7, $44.95 USA, $62.95 CAN
  • Intended audience: Intermediate to Advanced OS/2 Programmers
  • Mark: 8/10

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