Fri, 22 Aug 2003 18:28:23 GMT

August 22, 2003.

Raymond Chen has been running a series of interesting articles about the history of Windows and its API. Ever wonder why the time zone map no longer highlights the zone you're in? Or what the BEAR35, BUNNY73, and PIGLET12 functions are named after? Or why you turn off your computer by clicking “start”? I've bookmarked his site.

In particular, “The secret life of GetWindowText” should be required reading for anyone trying to understand API lockin. Describing one aspect of this simple and fundamental part of the Windows API takes a couple of pages. And then notice the kicker:

The documentation simplifies this as “GetWindowText() cannot retrieve text from a window from another application.”

As Raymond says, “the documentation tries to explain its complexity with small words, which is great if you don't understand long words, but it also means that you're not getting the full story.” (Actually, Raymond, the documentation does tell the whole story, look closer.)

[Joel on Software]

Mr. Chen's articles are well written and informative. I'm not sure why people would actually want to use windows, but if you are going to do that, then you should at least ally your thoughts with bright people like this.