23 February 2021

The Include directory

After installing GFA-BASIC 32 you’ll find four directories in the installation path: Bin, Doc, Include, and Samples.


The \Bin directory contains the GB32 binaries, the \Doc contains the original (German) doc-files that came with GFA-BASIC 32 back in 2001 (now obsolete because everything can be found in the English CHM helpfile), the \Include contains the Windows API include files, and the \Samples directory the samples g32 files, including the new Direct2D example programs.This time we’ll focus on the \Include directory only.

What is the \Include directory for?
The purpose of the \Include directory is to collect all Windows API definitions and declarations in one directory. Because of the huge amount of Windows APIs the definitions and declarations are split into multiple smaller include library files. These GB32 Windows API include-files come both with the source code and the compiled library (lg32) file. The organization of the GB32 include files follows the way the Windows SDK presents the C/C++ include header files. For instance, the C/C++ header file winuser.h has an equivalent GB32 include file winuser.inc.lg32. All include files follow this naming convention: name.inc.lg32.
You import a GB32 include library file using the $Library command, for instance:

$Library "winuser.inc"  ' .lg32 may be omitted

By default, the line doesn’t need to specify the full path, because the location of the \Include directory is pre-selected in the Properties | Extra tab dialog box.


You can easily add your own paths that contain your own library files. The entire string with the specified paths is stored in “lg32paths”registry key. To add a path first type a semicolon ; after the existing path and then specify the full path after the semicolon. Once a path is part of Library paths you do no longer need to type the full path in the $Library statement. Note that libraries are searched for (1) in the current program's directory, (2) in My Documents\lg32, and (3) in the paths stored in the registry key "lg32paths".

Note The \Include directory also contains the libraries gfawinx.lg32, direct2d.lg32 and variants.lg32. These are not include files and don’t have the .inc clause in their names. These are libraries that are part of the GFA-BASIC 32 updates and need an easily accessible path.

Why multiple include files?
Each include file contains only a part of the Windows API, that way you don’t need to include a single large file with many APIs just to have a few declarations. The GB32 include files only provide the APIs that are not built-in by GFA-BASIC32. (Note that the Win32API.g32 that originally came with GB is incomplete and full of errors.) Due to the amount of new APIs that come with each new Windows version, the include files in the \Include files aren’t complete either. They do however provide more declarations and definitions than the original Win32API.g32. Some of the include files are updated with the latest APIs (most specifically APIs supported by Win7 and Windows 10) like, for instance, winuser.inc.lg32. However, many haven’t been updated for a while. They tend to get an update on a ad hoc basis; when I need new APIs I add them to the include files. It is a boring job and, because of the translation from C/C++, errors are easily made. If you need an API that isn’t in one of the include library files yet, let me know (gfabasic32@gmail.com).

Contents of an include library
By default, the GB32 Windows include files only provide function declarations (Declare statements), constant definitions, and user-defined type definitions. They don’t contain executable code and besides the Declare’s they do not contribute to the size of the program. You should know that Declare-ed DLL functions are collected in a DLL-import table that do become part of the program (executable). By spreading the Declare’s over multiple include files the DLL-import table can remain small.
There is one “include” file that does contain executable code: winmacros.lib.lg32 (note the lacking .inc clause in the name). This library contains functions for often used Windows macros that are used as functions in C/C++, but are defined as macros in the C/C++ header files. Some of these function macros are collected into winmacros.lib.lg32. Among others, the library provides (Naked) functions for GET_X_PARAM, GET_Y_PARAM, MakeLParam, MakeIntResource, etc. Please take a look at the source code in winmacros.lib.g32 for an overview of the supported functions/macros.

How to locate a specific API
How do you know in which include file a specific API (type, constant, or function) is located? It might be that GB32 already supports the API as a built-in API, only function declarations and constant definitions. GB32 does not have built-in API support for user-defined API type definitions, they always have to be defined by the program or imported from an include library. The easiest way to check if GB32 supports a specific API is by using the auto-complete feature. Just type the first letters of the function or constant and check if the auto-complete pops up with the required name. If it isn’t provided by GB32 you’ll need to check the Windows SDK documentation to see which C/C++ include file provides the declaration or definition for that API and load the equivalent GB32 .inc library file.

An example of using an API
Each topic in the Windows SDK specifies in which C/C++ header file an API function, type, or constant is declared. For instance, if and API is located in the winuser.h C/C++ header file you have a big chance of finding it in the winuser.inc.lg32 file. Let’s look at an example. Suppose your program wants to process the WM_GETMINMAXINFO message. After looking up the documentation for this message, it tells you to obtain the  MINMAXINFO structure from the lParam. However, GB32 itself does not provide a definition for the MINMAXINFO user-defined type, and you need to import the type. When you go to the SDK page that describes this type you’ll find at the bottom of the page the location of the definition of this structure: the winuser.h C/C++ header file. Now you know which GB32 include library you need: winuser.inc and the program can import that library. As it happens this structure contains members of the API type POINT, which is defined in wingdi.inc. However, you won’t need to include wingdi.inc in your program, because it is imported by winuser.inc (otherwise it couldn’t be compiled). After importing winuser.inc in your program the constants and user-defined types from wingdi.inc are available as well. So, the POINT structure is available as a user-defined type in your program.

Note winuser.inc exports the constants and type definitions of wingdi.inc, but not the function declarations. If you need an API function declared in wingdi.inc you’ll need to import wingdi.inc as well. Importing both include files won’t collide with each other.

$Library "winuser.inc"
$Library "wingdi.inc"

Although both include files export the same constants and user-defined types they are added only once to the program. Now if winuser.inc would also export the function declares from wingdi.inc the internal database of GB32 may become corrupted. Therefor, winuser.inc exports all constants and types using the $Export Const * and $Export Type * statements, but the exported $Export Decl name statements must specify each exported declare separately. This is easily done using the App+E shortcut, it inserts $Export Decl lines for each Declare in the library file.

You can use the Windows API inc files to import Windows APIs easily. Because the (compiled) user-defined types are imported from a library the autocomplete function has direct access to their members and is fully operational without first compiling your program.