Programing experiments

Quick Visual D update

A few last precision before launching into D coding.


Visual D configuration

It turns out that, if you have a few project which depends on each other, as in:



You don’t need to set the library path, include path, etc.… Visual D will take care of that for you!



Ha well, there is one last thing that is needed before getting started coding D like crazy, it’s good documentation!

The Phobos documentation can be found here.

Well you also need to read about D language syntax! A web exhaustive description can be found there. I should say for such task I like to have a book. I bought this one (there are not that many! ^_^).

I bought the kindle version, then I though better of it (Kindle book are not good at being read back and forth and jumping chapter like crazy, as is needed in a learning process!) and then the paper back version! I left a bad comment because it didn’t answer the question how to compile the damn thing! (which, if you have read my D post so far, we figured out by now!) but I like it, sorry about the comment.


Ho, almost missed that, when you “installed” D (unzipped it!) you also installed the offline documentation!
Check out (on your disk)



Statement of the day

Thanks to the paper version of the D language I was able to browse through all 350 pages of it in an hour (it’s just a book about syntax hey!). I discover a really interesting and innovative statement, a “using” on steroid, scope()

exert from the web site:

Scope Guard Statement

	scope(exit) NonEmptyOrScopeBlockStatement
	scope(success) NonEmptyOrScopeBlockStatement
	scope(failure) NonEmptyOrScopeBlockStatement
The ScopeGuardStatement executes NonEmptyOrScopeBlockStatement at the close of the current scope, rather than at the point where theScopeGuardStatement appears. scope(exit) executes NonEmptyOrScopeBlockStatement when the scope exits normally or when it exits due to exception unwinding. scope(failure) executes NonEmptyOrScopeBlockStatement when the scope exits due to exception unwinding. scope(success)executes NonEmptyOrScopeBlockStatement when the scope exits normally.

If there are multiple ScopeGuardStatements in a scope, they are executed in the reverse lexical order in which they appear. If any scope instances are to be destructed upon the close of the scope, they also are interleaved with the ScopeGuardStatements in the reverse lexical order in which they appear.

    scope(exit) writef("3");
    scope(exit) writef("4");


Of course there are many more interesting stuff in D, just picking! Have a Go Smile with tongue out! Pun intended!

Categories: D | Visual Studio
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Discovering D and Visual Studio (continued…)

Thanks for the feedback from the previous article, I know now that:

  • DFL should work with the BCL in D2, but it just doesn’t at the moment, due to some repository snafu…
  • Visual D had building problem due to… tool chain issues! This page about Visual D known issues explain what’s going on and how to fix it!

Hence by modifying C:\D\dmd2\windows\bin\sc.ini

To be like (changes in maroon)

version=7.51 Build 020

DFLAGS="-I%@P%\..\..\src\phobos" "-I%@P%\..\..\src\druntime\import"


I was able to make do with a much more satisfactory config:



Community support

Maybe I should mention that D, despite being a marginal language (as in: little know) has a surprisingly pleasantly vibrant community support.

Also the Digitalmars page on D is full of interesting link (particularly Tools => More Tools) but I’d like to grab the attention on 2 communities:

  • D Source forums
  • Digitalmars newsgroups (news server: news.digitalmars.com). Can be accessed with Windows Live Mail or Thunderbird for example. Just create a new newsgroup account



Initial sample reloaded

I though it might be a good idea to have DGui in my projects (i.e. as source code / solution’s project) and link my test project against it. This way I can look, play with and learn from some D code written by a more knowledgeable D programmer than I!

It turns out there are key difference with what would happen with trying to do that with C#. Perhaps it behave like it will with Visual C++, I couldn’t tell, not having using it enough…

At any rate here is what happened

  • I created a new Visual D static library
  • Created the directory hierarchy of the DGui source (it’s important for D, just like Java, it reflects package organisation)
  • Added the existing file from DGui
  • And build, successfully first try! (Nicely enough DGui has no other dependency that Phobos / BCL)


Now, when looking at the file system, there was no D file in my project’s directory! All these files in the solution explorer linked to the one and only original files.

Hence, I shouldn’t change the import file path of my test project. For the record they remained pointing to




Updating the dependencies

But I still needed to point to my build version of DGui, hence change the library path of my test project. And I also need to set my test project to depends on my (local) dgui project.

Right click on project => Project dependencies => select dgui


image image

Set the library search path to the project build location: C:\Dev\DTest\dgui\Debug.


F5, it builds and run!

Now for the surprisingly good part, in my test app, if I F12 on one of the class I use, VS actually goes there!

But no method list (yet?).

Just for fun I added a “std.stdio.writeln("hello");” in initialization looking method (I still knows nothing of D, hey!) and .. it printed!


Getting rid of the console

I’m trying a GUI sample, yet I have a nagging MS-Dos console appearing every time I run. To get rid of it I should pass a special flags to the linker (in Additional options) so it will mark the executable as being a windows application (i.e. no console attached!)





A brief look at the source code

So far I haven’t coded anything yet! Just wanted to feel comfortable with the development experience… But will post about source code next time!

Anyhow, below is the source code of my test app (straight from events.d in DGui’s samples):

module events;

import dgui.all;

class MainForm: Form
    private Button _btnOk;
    public this()
        this.text = "DGui Events";
        this.size = Size(300, 250);
        this.startPosition = FormStartPosition.CENTER_SCREEN; // Set Form Position
        this._btnOk = new Button();
        this._btnOk.text = "Click Me!";
        this._btnOk.dock = DockStyle.FILL; // Fill the whole form area
        this._btnOk.parent = this;
        this._btnOk.click.attach(&this.onBtnOkClick); //Attach the click event with the selected procedure
    private void onBtnOkClick(Control sender, EventArgs e)
        // Display a message box
        MsgBox.show("OnClick", "Button.onClick()");

int main(string[] args)
    return Application.run(new MainForm()); // Start the application

The exciting things I can see from a quick look at the source is that D supports properties, events and DGui looks quite similar to WinForm!

Except for the lack (at the moment) of designer Sad smile 

Ho well, I just plan to make simple wizards anyway…

Categories: D | Source Code
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D for .NET programmer

Recently it appeared to me that, with D, I could finally write solve a long standing problem, that is write a good advanced installer.

What appealed to me where the following features:

  • Statically linked. Produce an exe with no dependency! (Save for win32 that is, fair enough!)
  • Elegant syntax on par with C# and Java
  • Compile time executable code, making it easy to include “resource” files (zip and include file to install inside the installer)
  • Finally with a nice IDE and GUI library (almost as good as a slim WinForm)
  • Can directly call into C (I plan to call into the MsiXXX function) at no cost!

So I started to try to use it.

Ho boy, just having 1 program, using 1 custom library to compile was quite an odyssey! Hopefully this blog entry could save future language explorer!


1. Installation

First thing first, you’ll need to download and installer the D SDK (the compiler, linker, runtime library, etc… The whole shebang!) That can be found there:


Unzip the latest version of DMD somewhere, you are done! Now that was easy.

And if you heard about DM / DMC, don’t worry about it. It was for D1, just ignore it.


2. IDE

Well, arguably you can go with the command line. The compiler flags and linker flags are simple enough. Yet I’m too spoiled by VS, I need my IDE!
In fact, on the D2 page, following the Editor link on the left (in Tools), I found 3 which were attractive: D-IDE, Entice and Visual D.

D-IDE is cool because it’s C# but that’s about it (it’s still basic and buggy, sadly).

Entice is a GUI designer. It was exciting at first, but I deleted it in the end because it is used for DFL or DWT which both requires to overwrite the base runtime library (aka Phobos). Which I don’t quite feel like doing yet.

And, finally, Visual D, a plugin for Visual Studio. Create D projects in Visual Studio, yoohoo! Download and install it now.



3. My first program

You can create a new module with Visual D (new D project), press F5, and voila, hello D world!


Now I wanted to create a GUI Hello world!

I had a look at DFL and DWT. DFL looks lighter / smaller and good enough for my need. Yet they both required Tango, which seem to be a popular D BCL (aka Phobos) replacement. Well that ended it for me. Tango might be popular but I’m not going to replace my BCL when I can’t even compile a(n advanced) program yet (you’ll see my library trouble next).

Finally I found DGui. Looking like WinForm. Depending just on Phobos (the BCL).

I downloaded, unzipped, copied a sample (in the sample directory) into my “hello.d” file and tried to compile.

Now the problems started…

First error would be:

Error    1    Error: module all is in file 'dgui\all.d' which cannot be read    C:\Dev\DTest\DTest1\hello.d    3


This is due to the import statement at the top:

import dgui.all;


3.a. file and hierarchy structure

D has 2 ‘code unit’ if I may call it that way. Module and package. It’s a bit like classes and packages in Java. A module is everything in one file. I’m not yet sure if the module should be named after the file it’s in, but that, at least, seems to be the convention.

The package is a folder of source code.

When I wrote “import dgui.all” the compiler looked for the module “all” (i.e. the file “all.d”) in the package (i.e. directory) “dgui”.

I need to specify the search path for those modules / packages for this to work. Go to project properties => Configuration => DMD and add the path to the source of the library.


Press F5, now we get an other error! (i.e. we progressed!…)


3.b. declaration file

So, what’s going on? And why does it look for a ‘.d’ file (a source file! I want to use the library not recompile it!)

Here is what happen, the compiler needs some declaration to describe the function that are going to be called. They could be defined inline in the program (if calling into Win32 from D for example, much like DllImport in C#), but more generally you it will look at declaration file defined by the library. There are 2 options there:

  1. Unlike C, where the developer should maintain and synchronise a definition (header / .h) and an implementation (.c /.cpp) file, D can use a single implementation file for both purpose. Hence it will look in the original D source file.
  2. If there is a need to protect some intellectual property, the developer can an generate an ‘interface file’ when compiling (ordinary D file with the ‘.di’ extension and only declaration inside) and deploy these instead of the source code.


3.c. linking

Much like C, C++ and other native environment, compiling D is a 2 stage program. First compiling the source files into object files (.o) and then linking all those files into various target (library (.lib or .dll), executable (.exe)).

But it’s all done on the key stroke of F5, hence a catch all usage meaning of compile for both compiling (making object files) and linking (creating the final output).

When I ‘compile’ now I get those kind of errors:

Error    1    Error 42: Symbol Undefined _D4dgui4form4Form13startPositionMFNdE4dgui4core5enums17FormStartPositionZv    C:\Dev\DTest\DTest1\   
Error    2    Error 42: Symbol Undefined _D4dgui7control7Control4sizeMFNdS4dgui4core8geometry4SizeZv    C:\Dev\DTest\DTest1\   
Error    3    Error 42: Symbol Undefined _D4dgui6button6Button6__ctorMFZC4dgui6button6Button    C:\Dev\DTest\DTest1\   

And so on.

'Symbol alien_looking_name’ generally mean a linker problem. It just happened that Visual D create a “buildlog.html” as well as a “$(project).build.cmd” file in the output folder. So you can see what command it ran to compile and the link the program.

Now I guess I need to include dgui.lib in my project. So go to project properties => linker and set the libraries  and search path.


Now it still doesn’t compile and give me this warning:

Warning    1    Warning 2: File Not Found dgui.lib    C:\Dev\DTest\DTest1\


I can see in the cmd file or build log that it build with the following command

Command Line set PATH=C:\D\dmd2\windows\bin;C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.0A\\bin;%PATH% set DMD_LIB=;C:\D\dgui\lib dmd …

Now I can see in D Linker’s documentation that DMD_LIB is not used, it is LIB that is used. I guess it’s a little bug with Visual D (maybe it was made for D1?) at any rate, I solved it by setting the whole path to the DGui library!


F5… build succeeded!


4. Bonus, compile DGui

Well, one could add all the file of DGui in Visual D I guess. But DGui comes with a “dgui_build_rel.bat”, I should use it, don’t you think?

Well all I had to do was to add the path to dmd.exe (i.e. C:\D\dmd2\windows\bin\) to the PATH environment variable.

As found in System Property => Advance System Settings => Advanced => Environment Variables…


Now I can just click on the bat file and… DGui build successfully, that was easy! Smile


5. Done

That’s it, I show how to install D, install a library and compile a program using it!

Categories: D | Source Code | Visual Studio
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