Design Con 2015

Visual Basic tool adds graphical debugging

-August 16, 2001

Version 3.0 of Softwire, the graphical application-development package for Visual Basic, offers several new features, the most notable of which is probably its visual debugger. With earlier versions of the package, debugging usually involved dealing with the text-based code underlying the graphical applications that developers create. Now, you can debug applications from within the diagrams that represent them. You can set breakpoints or stop program execution simply by clicking on the control pins and wires in the diagrams.

In addition, you can now use Softwire to create reusable ActiveX DLLs (dynamic-link libraries), which also lend themselves to the creation of hierarchically structured programs. This version of the package adds 31 controls, many of which target database development. Although Softwire is branching out beyond the disciplines in which it started—data acquisition and control—it is by no means abandoning its original focus. One of the new controls in Version 3.0 creates and displays histograms and dynamically updates them in real time. Softwire costs $495. Users of earlier versions can update to V3.0 for $199.

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