The Esstu Pack


VX-REXX Tips & Tricks

VX-REXX is my favorite graphical programming tool. I have tried many other tools such as VREXX, VisPro REXX, GPFRexx, DrRexx, Borland C++ for Windows, Visual Age for Java, Visual Age for Basic, Liberty Basic, TruBasic Bronze (didn't like the Basic ones much!), and many others, but I still think VX-REXX is the best. In my exploration I have discovered some useful techniques, many not mentioned in the documentation, others perhaps not thought of by the documentation author(s). In case they can be of value to someone, I have included them here for all to see.



Anyone who has used a preprocessor (eg the C Preprocessor, PPWizard.CMD, etc) will appreciate the value of the #include directive. For those of you who haven't, it instructs the preprocessor to embed another file into the source.

Well, in case you haven't guessed by this time, VX-REXX supports #include! The implementation isn't strictly as per other preprocessors, and as far as I know no other commands are supported, but this makes possible rather nice features.

The filename can have quotes around it (single or double), but not angle brackets as far as I know.

When VX-REXX embeds the file into the source, it adds several lines around it to mark the location. These lines are as follows:

/* Including file 'filename' */

[contents of file]

/* End of included file */

Note that there is a blank line before and after the file, and another blank line after the last comment.

Sometimes (I'm not sure when or why), VX-REXX modifies your own source file to include the file referenced. This may not be a problem if you just wanted to save typing, but on the other hand it might be very annoying, if the included file might change. To undo VX-REXX's changes, I wrote a proglet to deinclude files. If it's useful, use it; if not don't.

Auto-Increment Version

Tired of having to manually bump the version number each time you build an EXE? Try this: a dialog box asking how major the change is, and then it handles the version for you.

To install the AutoIncrement macro, perform the following steps:

  1. Download the ZIP file
  2. Extract the two files into a directory which will be searched for by VX-REXX. Possible options (in order of my preference; you may disagree here):
  3. Add the following line to your PROFILE.VRM (in the Macros subdirectory):
    This command will activate AutoVersioning for this session of VX-REXX. If put it in PROFILE.VRM it will be executed every time VX-REXX starts, thus enabling AutoVersioning in every session.

When successfully installed, it will change the behaviour of Make Exe, and add a new menu item Autoversioning... to the end of the Project menu. This new menuitem is used for setting up AutoVersioning. Selecting this brings up a simple dialog allowing you to enter the initial version number.

Once set up, AutoVersion will activate every time you build an EXE, prompting for a type of increment - Major, Minor, Revision, or None. If you click OK, the version is increased by the specified amount (no increase for None), and the original Make Exe routine is called. If you click Cancel, no EXE is built.

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