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Mistral Associates - News August 2022


bug_42x24.gif bug_42x24.gifBugs happen!

Bugs happen! Any developer pretending they don't is only deluding themselves. However this wasn't so much a bug we just dealt with but more a programming anomaly. An anomaly caused by Microsoft making unnecessary Windows, 'Critical Upgrade', so called 'improvements'. Without warning and without thinking through the consequences! It needed overcoming and improving by us nonetheless.

In common with virtually all user operable PC software, Mistral's programs are launched from a Desktop icon. In Mistral's case clicking on this opens a form on the desktop known as a Program Group. Larger software systems, or Apps as nerds and children like to refer to them these days need them. Again in Mistral's case, we try and make our Program Group forms comprehensive, informative and even entertaining. "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" as the saying goes!

In Mistral's larger program compendium the Program Group also includes an 'Always on Top' feature.

Activating 'Always on Top' makes the Mistral Program Group form dominant such that it will always appear visible over the top of any other App running and visible on the Desktop at the same time. Mistral's Program Group form is intentionally kept compact so as to make this feasible; And useful!

It is not unusual for an engineer to be working with many programs at the same time and being able to see a Program Group allowing App launches instantly at all times, and without having to contend with the frequent idiosyncrasies of Microsoft Windows unexpectedly hiding things when you least want it to, is certainly useful.

However, up until now, using 'Always on Top' in some Mistral default Program Group forms meant that the launched App gets concealed behind the Program Group form. Windows had aggravated seeing the simple solution to this by discontinuing showing the App is open on the bottom Tool bar, when the App is running. This following yet another Microsoft unnecessary improvement which did nothing of the sort. If the small icon indicating that the App is actually running as it should then the user would realise all they had to do is slide the Program Group away to left or to right, so as to reveal the open App. One of Windows' improvements defeated this!


To overcome the problem Mistral now forces an App form to appear slightly to the right of and below the Program Group form. Thereby making it obvious the App has opened as it should. Users then have options of sliding the Program Group form away to one side, or toggling off 'Always on Top', or even closing the Program Group, leaving the selected App still running.

A simple and effective solution? Yes, simple to say it but one which took over a week of program coding work, testing, re-compiling thousands of system files, and server uploading to achieve. At a four figure cost!

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Finally, don't forget that all Mistral's larger systems feature switching between its larger, illustrated Program Forms and the ultra compact 'Menu Strip'. This can be dragged and dropped with the Mouse to either the top or bottom of the screen, and thus well clear of any other currently running Apps.