Custom AppWizard – Programmer’s About Box

This article was contributed by Tom Archer.


Like most authors, I try and include a lot of demo applications with my books and
articles. It was in the writing of one of my books that I realized that
it would be really cool if all of my demo applications were to contain an
About box that displayed certain information about me. Then I began to think,
Wouldn’t it be even better to have a button on the About box that allows the user
of my application to automatically go to my web page simply by clicking on a button?

The only problem left was that I had to remember to put this code into
every sample application I wrote. Knowing my luck, I just knew that the
coolest application in the book would be the only one I’d forget to put
the About box on! So, I struck on the idea of learning how to write a Visual
C++ Custom AppWizard. Since then (I wrote this AppWizard about 2 years ago),
several authors (including Paul DiLascia) have
written the so-called “hyperlink control” and as a result more and more developers
are including About boxes with hyperlinks to their home pages. For this reason, I
finally decided to go ahead and post this article that provides a Custom AppWizard
that automatically generates an About box for every application created with it.

Installing and Using the About Custom AppWizard

Simply download the .awx (Custom AppWizard DLL) into your Visual C++
template folder. It couldn’t be easier to use! After that, any time you
create a new project, you will see a new project type of “MFC AppWizard (exe) –
About box” (see image below). Selecting this project type will, along with the
standard AppWizard dialogs, present you with a dialog that allows you to
enter your name, your web page URL and any general description. This description
can be about the program or anything you like. For example, if you are a consultant
and you want to advertise your services to anyone who is using your app, you could
include information about yourself on the About Box. The Custom AppWizard will do the
rest for you. When you run the application and select the About box menu option (SDI
and MDI) or click the About button (Dialog app), you will see the information you
entered for the app.

Persistent Settings

Another neat feature I added recently was the ability to save the settings. After
all, if you just want to put generic information like your name and URL in the About
box, why should you have enter that every time you create a new project. Therefore,
every time you create a new project, this information gets saved to the registry just
in case you want to re-use it.

More Details on Writing Custom AppWizards

I think that the code is pretty clear
and it should be really easy to search and
replace what you need to customize the dialog to your particular situation. However,
if there’s enough interest I will post details on the exact mechanics of writing
a Custom AppWizard.


Download source for the Custom AppWizard – 320Kb
Download only the Custom AppWizard DLL (.awx) – 220K

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