Technical Information

A number of people have asked how TClockEx works, how they can get hold of the source code, and so on. If you are curious to know how it works, read the help file! A nice explanation has been in there since the very first version. Since many have asked, I use the Borland C++ 5.02 compiler. The code is a mixture of C and C++.

The source code is generally not available unless you're waving vast sums of money at me. Just because the end product is free doesn't mean my work is worth nothing.

For advanced users, there are some hidden options that you can play with. Not for the faint of heart, and definitely at your own risk.

A warning to fellow developers

There seems to be sudden interest in modifying the clock window for all sorts of reasons. It's understandable I suppose because this is something new and might grab users' attention, now that tray icons are boringly common. The problem here is that taskbar space is a very limited commodity, and users are already complaining about the proliferation of tray icons with no useful function. Imagine how much more annoying it would be if every program added entire words and phrases to the clock panel, instead of just a simple 20x20 icon!

The bigger problem

There is a bigger problem that comes with modifying the taskbar clock as TClockEx does. Only one program at a time can do it, otherwise they would almost certainly conflict with each other. Microsoft left no API that allows programs, which customise the clock window, to co-exist.

What this means is that if you write such a program, your user is going to have to make a choice between your program and TClockEx. More importantly, if lots of people write programs like this, then your user will have to choose ONE out of all of them. Users don't like this! They usually don't understand why, and they consider it rude when you say they can't use "Product X" if they also want to use "Product Y". It doesn't bother me if someone chooses another program over TClockEx, since I'm not making money out of it anyway, but if you were intending selling your program, this is the kind of thing that turns people off.

A possible solution

In the latest version of TClockEx, I added "user-defined" display elements and a DDE interface for third party applications. The idea is that instead of writing a program that modifies the clock directly, you can have your program access the DDE link and let TClockEx do all the display work for you. It'll also save you a lot of coding. Of course it means that your users must also be running TClockEx.

If you want to know more about user-defined elements, please get the latest version of TClockEx and have a look in the help file. Developers can find out more about how this works here.

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