Exploring A Bunch of Retro Programming Tools (Mailcall #1)

Since starting this channel, I’ve received some donations, some very generous viewers have made donations to the channel, including a full set of Borland C++ 2.0 floppy disks, the Borland Brief text editor, a literal copy of DESQView, and a sealed in box copy of Visual C# 2003. I’ve been figuring out how to do a mailcall properly, so here’s my first attempt at doing so.

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Blog: https://casadevall.pro

Borland Brief is a full screen text editor which was very popular in the late 80s and early 90s as a macro based system. While I know that Brief was indeed sold as an independent package, I don’t know if it was included in Borland C++ of this era.

As for Borland C++, this version is for both DOS and Windows. Interestingly, its from 1991, and targets Windows 3.0, and not the much more common 3.1. As a result of it’s early status, it doesn’t include the famous Borland OWL (Object Windows Library), and while there’s a specific version of Turbo Debugger for Windows, it obviously doesn’t work off Windows 95.

DESQView on other hand was one of the earlist, and most popular multitasking environments for DOS, and competed with Windows and DR-DOS in this area. Made by the world famous Quarterdeck Software, DESQView became less and less relevant as Quarterdeck lost ground to Windows, and eventually disappeared. I’d love to find a copy of DESQView/X and explore full X11 capability under DOS.

Finally, rounding out the set is a boxed copy of Visual C# 2003. Here we talk a bit about Microsoft’s .NET environment, the broader Visual Studio .NET, and how this version was a significant departure from the “classic” Studio versions of the past, and how it was the start of the Shell environment that followed.

After compiling some Hello World programs, we took the board for a quick spin to modern Windows 10 to see if we have working backwards compatibility:

Interesting Timestamps:

Music provided under license by Epidemic Sound (https://www.epidemicsound.com/) with the following tracks in order:

#vintagecomputing #retrodevelopment #borland #mailcall #desqview

source by NCommander

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Devin BARTON

Devin BARTON

I am an avid Linux lover and open source enthusiast. I use Ubuntu and believe in sharing knowledge. Apart from Linux, I love classic detective mysteries.

19 thoughts on “Exploring A Bunch of Retro Programming Tools (Mailcall #1)

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    April 21, 2021 at 8:07 am
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    So, one slight mistake, the donation was sent in by Fnord666 (three 6s)I apparently wrote it wrong in the script. I'll give a formal apology here in the next video since they gave their blessing to publish this with the mistake.

    Still, my bad!.

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    April 21, 2021 at 8:07 am
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    Love seeing these old IDEs – I first started programming in the early 2010's, so these are tools I've never seen used before. Learning about old dev environments is exactly the kind of hyper specific niche only possible on YouTube haha. Think I might track down a copy of VS 2003 myself, or perhaps an old iso since MS no longer sells it, and tinker with it too, or perhaps VS 6.0 (I think it was 6.0?) for Win9x. I've used Win9x a fair amount as an end user, but come to think of it, I know next to nothing on how 9x programs were actually written or the quirks for developing for it…

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    April 21, 2021 at 8:07 am
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    Interesting, first time I heard of Borland BRIEF. I used Nortons Commanders builtin editor back then, there you saw in the last line what F key had one function.

    In my area Borland C++ was not very popular, unlke Borland Pascal, which was the absolute standard. Many game developers used Watcom C++ back then I heard. (I myself started with C++ only in Windows times much later, on DOS I only used Borland Pascal).

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    April 21, 2021 at 8:07 am
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    When I first studied programming, 2005 we where using Borland C, and worked fine. Version 3 sort of comes to my mind, but the UI was the exact same, so might have been 2?. We where using Windows 2000, so not only works on 9x, but seems to work on the NT kernel too! and that was a time where XP was unable to properly run DOS games. Also, 2005 was when I first heard about .NET, described as "An easy C". As I dropped out and rejoined my studies after 15 years, now we don't have C, but we do C#. I don't feel it to be like C, but weirdly reminds me of a less fun version of Pascal.

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    April 21, 2021 at 8:07 am
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    Thanks for bringing me back to 2003! VS .net 2003 was my first ide i loved to use. I user every version of tbe ide since tben and never was dissapointed. It is true: most of the 2003 programs written in .net still work today. Many of them even without changes. The only culprit were dpi and activeX / COM.

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    April 21, 2021 at 8:07 am
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    Borland Turbo C, which was the ancestor of their later C++ products, is a wonderful bit of software. I still run it on an original IBM 5150 for coding MIDI applications!

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    April 21, 2021 at 8:07 am
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    I have a couple shelves full of 80s and 90s desktop publishing software for Mac. I don't have any use for it, but I can't stand to throw them away. Does anyone know a good place to donate it? Anyone want it?

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  • Avatar
    April 21, 2021 at 8:08 am
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    That Visual Studio was what I first learned to code in professionally. ☺️ I remember loving it. 😅

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    April 21, 2021 at 8:08 am
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    I'm probably dating myself but I used to run RBBS with DoubleDOS back in the day. Desqview was considered a pretty major improvement over DoubleDOS but both were considered marvels of the day since you could continue to use the computer and perform administration in a background window while users utilized the BBS in the primary window.

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  • Avatar
    April 21, 2021 at 8:08 am
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    Love that thumbnail and the video quality, where do you get the thumbnail inspiration?

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    April 21, 2021 at 8:08 am
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    When debugging graphical programs, it was very helpful to have both a monochrome and colour video card; that way we could run the debugger on the monochrome display while the program performed graphics on the colour display. This was possible because MDA/MGA/HGC used a different memory address than CGA/EGA/VGA.

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