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The Holmes Page THE SOAP BOX 1997/01/15



1997/01/15: Win95 Says "ŚB{Ǒs"   I was exploring the Extended Systems' Advantage Database Server (ADS) under Windows 95 when I came across an interesting blow-up. I have to tell you, right up front, that the problem was not with ADS. It is a great tool. 
ADS version 4.21 was running on NetWare 3.11 and I was using Visual Basic 3 to connect to a data source through ODBC. I set up a data control, then added some text fields to the form. These were linked to the data control. All seemed to work well. The list of tables and fields came up in design mode, but when I ran the program -- BOOM! -- Win95 locked up tight. 
Actually, a GPF-type dialog came up. You know, the one with the button labeled "Details>>". But the title of the box was strange characters, and there was no message. Additionally, the mouse pointer disappeared and CTRL-ALT-DEL did nothing. Although Win95 did not respond even to repeated three-fingered salutes, ADS (running on NetWare) did and cleared the connection. Very neat. ADS that is. Not Win95. 
I haven't found the answer yet, but I think that it was the combination of 16-bit VB connecting to a 32-bit ODBC source. Win95, like most "modern" operating systems, is too complex and no two installations of it are configured the same. Testing all combinations of drivers and applications is impossible, so it seems that developers don't bother testing at all. 
However, GPFs are the result of a piece of sloppy source code that does not check the return value from a function. When the function returns an unexpected value, the source code does not detect it and passes it around like a hot potato. Somebody's hands get burnt eventually ... usually mine.

Next: 1997/01/29 - Modem Trouble Under Win95

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