Introduction to Instant Vinny

Introduction to Instant Visual NPL

Instant Visual NPL (Instant Vinny) is a tool designed to help NPL developers integrate character based NPL applications into a graphical windows environment, with little time and effort. This is accomplished by adding a small number of changes to an NPL application combined with a small amount of Visual Basic form design and coding. Instant Vinny contains a quick start tutorial, providing an easy to follow, step-by-step project so you can quickly become comfortable with the concepts of Instant Vinny. Instant Vinny allows the traditional NPL developer to improve existing character based NPL applications. This is accomplished by enhancing the application to take on the typical look and feel of a Windows based program without having to understand many of the complexities of Visual Basic and Visual NPL.

With Instant Vinny you can quickly convert this screen:

To this screen:

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Differences between Instant Vinny and Visual NPL

An Instant Vinny application is an NPL program running in a special RTIWIN window that appears to be “pasted” onto a Visual Basic form. This special NPL window has no border, no title bar and no menu. It looks like a Visual Basic control, especially if the developer modifies the application’s color schemes to closely match those commonly used in Windows. The Visual Basic form is usually quite simple and is designed to use push and/or radio buttons to emulate the keystrokes typed in the NPL program. Key or key combinations used to perform certain commands or navigate the user through the NPL program are executed by clicking on the appropriate button located on a Visual Basic form. Combining this with picture boxes and other display objects enhances the appearance of the applications. However, the behavior and performance of the NPL application remains unchanged. Instant Vinny is a mechanism designed to ease the NPL developer and their applications into the Windows environment rather than a tool for developing new applications using Visual NPL.

Visual NPL allows NPL developers to create modern event driven applications that look and feel like thousands of existing Windows programs on the market today. With Instant Visual NPL, a developer can improve the look and feel of an application in a short period of time, while reducing the overall knowledge required. Once this is accomplished, they can begin to explore the Visual NPL environment while maintaining support for current applications.

Developer Knowledge

While Instant Vinny is designed to be a simple tool, some developer knowledge of certain subject matter is assumed. These subjects include:

  • a comfortable understanding of NPL
  • a comfortable understanding of NPL Release IV features (i.e. Modules and Procedures)
  • a basic understanding of Microsoft Visual Basic
  • a basic understanding of Visual NPL

Hardware Requirements

Specific hardware beyond that which is recommended for running Microsoft’s Visual Basic is not required. For best results, the product should be used in conjunction with a fast video adapter and a 17″ monitor.

Software Requirements

Visual NPL and Instant Visual NPL now support 32-bit Windows.

  • MS-Windows 3.1, Windows 95,98 or Windows NT
  • NPL for MS-Windows RunTime 5.0 for 32-bit
  • Microsoft Visual Basic version 5 for 32-bit
  • High resolution VGA monitor (development purposes)