Win32 Programming

Written by Kimberly Clark
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The term, "Win32" refers to the Windows Application Programming Interface (API), which can be used to write 32 bit Windows applications. Thus, Win32 programming is the process of developing applications that meet the Microsoft Win32 API standards. Win32 is automatically built into several operating systems such as Windows 95 and Windows NT, so programs developed in Win32 should operate very well in these environments.

Dynamic Link Libraries

Most of the functionality contained in Win32 applications is actually located in an external file called a dynamic link library (DLL). When the application is started, it creates a static link to the DLL. However, to perform an operation, a dynamic link to the DLL must also be established.

The good thing about linking applications to DLL files is that DLLs can be accessed by several different applications at the same time. This keeps developers from having to incorporate the same functions over and over into different programs. Although many of these DLLs come preloaded with the Windows operating system, most programmers prefer to develop their own DLL files.

A major advantage to Win32 programming is that it practically ensures that your application will run on all Win32 operating systems. Plus by creating Win32 applications, the developer is able to take advantage of all of the features that are typically included with Windows operating systems. Windows management, memory management, graphics, and security features are just a few examples of things developers can include in their Win32 applications.

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