Lots of BitCollectors software and website updates

Alejandra and I have been quite busy over here at BitCollectors over the last couple of months.  We have re-done our website at www.bitcollectors.com, updated our blogs at blog.bitcollectors.com, made several software updates, and even released a couple of new projects. See below for further details on the updates.

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QFG Character Editor setup file and QFG2 characters supported

I’ve had the code written for a while for a setup project and QFG2 support in my QFG Character Editor but I wanted to finish up support for changing the amount of money the character has before publishing it.  Since I haven’t had a chance to make those changes, I figured I should go ahead and just build what I have and share it online.

So here it is, QFG Character Editor v1.5 with support for importing/exporting characters from Quest for Glory 1 and Quest for Glory 2.

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QFG Character Editor (Web App)

I’ve finished the functionality for my Quest for Glory character editor web application.  I have the source code checked in to my github page, and the app is hosted over at: qfg.bitcollectors.com.

This currently only supports QFG1 (aka Hero’s Quest) characters, but I still plan on getting QFG2 characters implemented someday – hopefully soon.  Please let me know if you find any issues.

Please note, I renamed the GitHub repository to BitCollectors.QfgCharacterEditor and I will be renaming the solution and projects soon.

Click here for the code

Click here to run the web app

Update (11.19.2013): there is now an official project page for this application.  To keep up to date on the latest releases, please check out
www.bitcollectors.com/Project/QfgCharacterEditor

Resources for UI Automation and simulating user input

An important part of my job is to be able to interface our product with third party UI’s. Typically, I know virtually nothing about the UI before I begin the project, only that I will need to enter data into different fields.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a list of my “goto tools” to help me assess each application. Behold:

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UIAutomationLib on GitHub

I created a new repository on GitHub called BitCollectors.UIAutomationLib which contains an XML driven .NET library for automating keystrokes and mouse clicks on just about any UI.  I’ve used this on several applications, including apps running through Terminal Services and Citrix.  It’s quite powerful, but I’m not claiming it’s the best solution for native Win32 apps (although it might be the easiest to use).  If you’re interfacing with a native Win32 app and you don’t mind writing a little code, you might want to look in to using Microsoft’s UI Automation framework.  Their framework lets you get a handle on a control and populate a text box or simulate a button press directly on the control.  My library simulates key strokes and mouse clicks, so it doesn’t really work at the control level.

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ProjectConfigSync Project on GitHub

I’ve created a small project which parses .SLN and .CSPROJ files and allows you to compare and merge project settings across multiple configurations.

This has been a very handy tool for me.  We have a Solution here at work that has about 25 projects, and often times we’ll have an ANY CPU platform configured to build for X86 in one project, but configured to build for ANY CPU in another configuration.  This lets me quickly identify where bad misaligned configurations exist in my project files.

I haven’t yet published a setup project, but I have checked in the binaries under the bindebug folder.  Please feel free to post any bugs or feature requests.

The Git repository is located at:
https://github.com/aplocher/BitCollectors.ProjectConfigSync

Hide Welcome Screen Users posted to GitHub

If anyone has a suggestion for a better name than “Hide Welcome Screen Users” please feel free to drop me a line :).

Basically it’s just a very small tool written in C#/.NET that allows you to hide users from the Welcome Screen in Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008 R2.  I needed to create several users that performed system tasks, and it was annoying to see them on my Welcome Screen every time I booted up.  There’s an easy way in the registry to prevent specific users from showing up there, so this tool is basically just a small tool that edits those registry keys.

It’s checked in at: https://github.com/aplocher/Welcome-Screen-Hide-Users.  Please let me know if you find any issues with it.