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.NET Hobbyist Programmer Staying Confused in a Busy World

I was doing some design research several months ago when I started collecting samples of the exposed object models of published programs.  My intent was to study them and see how others had designed their interfaces.  My next major project (if I ever get the time to start it) will likely have a macro requirement, so I wanted to create my design to allow easy macro functionality later.

A reasonably good automation explanation showed up on MSDN recently by Omar Al Zabir: “Implement a Microsoft Word-like Object Model for Your .NET Framework Application.”  The simple example he provides is not particularly applicable to my scenario, but he got me looking at the Word object model.  I know that Word has had a long evolution, and it is reflected in its highly complex object model.

What about other programs?  All show varying degrees of complexity.  I went through the Microsoft stable and found the object models for the following:

This leads to an interesting problem.  I wanted to keep notes on my future design.  My problem was that there was no really easy outline-based note taking program.  Word can do everything, but the only way to hide the details of lower levels in an outline is to play hidden text style games -- not good.  OneNote should be the obvious tool, but it too fails.  There is no way to hide single branches of information, just entire levels.

The only solution that I like is a very old VB3 PIM program from NetManage (written by Arabesque, damn them for selling it) called Ecco Professional 3.03 (design description, Google search).  It handles the data the way I want, giving me the ability to collapse any branch at any level.  Of course, it has an archaic interface by today's standards and is no longer supported.  Has anyone seen an equivalent to Ecco Pro?

Posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005 6:40 AM Programming , Software | Back to top


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