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can someone teach me to use MSDN?

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Seriously. Almost every question anyone ever asks here, the first one to reply says "look it up on MSDN". I personally find MSDN VERY hard to navigate, and have yet to find a single thing that I was looking for there. For an example of what I would like to look for, the other day I wanted to convert a string to an integer. I knew the function was atoi(), simply because my teacher mentioned it a year or two ago, and i remembered. But what if I hadn''t known about the function already what if I didnt know its name? What if all I knew was that I wanted to turn and array of chars into an integer? Can someone show me step by step how i would find that on msdn? I want to see the page that shows the function prototype, has explanation about what it does, and any parameters, and which header file to include in order to use it. I cant even find the page even when i know the function name, let alone when i just know what i want to do and have no idea what the function might be called or if it even exists.

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MSDN sucks.
If I search for a function.... a simple win32 function... the search returns a list of interviews with people I''ve never heard of and windows CE programming references for java. I end up using google''s search to search for all my shit and sticking "msdn" at the end of the query

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Well, converting a string to an integer is not Microsoft specific. The first thing you could do is use google for things that are not Microsoft specific. Check this out:

I typed this into the search query:
convert string to integer in C++

and voila....

http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&q=convert+string+to+integer+in+C%2B%2B

There is very little excuse for not being able to find available information with the powerful tools out there. As a programmer, finding the information is should be your most inportant skill.



[edited by - bslayerw on August 15, 2003 12:09:03 PM]

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MSDN Library online search tool is shit (http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/)

Go to google, click in the blank field, type "C convert string to integer". That should get you started.

Regards,
Jeff

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Another thing you can do, since a couple people mentioned Google, is use the site: attribute to specify that you only want to search msdn.microsoft.com (if you want to). Then you can use the full Google search capacities only searching the MSDN and find something close to useful.

Example:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=convert+string+to+integer+site%3Amsdn.microsoft.com

Edit: Link-ified the Google link



"Back to the code mines... ka-chink... ka-chink..."
Tachyon Digital - Down for the summer, be back in the fall.

[edited by - Hyren on August 15, 2003 12:16:20 PM]

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If I'm searching for help on some specific standard C function I simply enter this in Google:
man atoi  

And up comes the manpage for the function.

--edit
Warning, do not try to find the manpage for 'train'.
--

MSDN is great for Windows API functions, and Winsock 2 API I guess. Use if for nothing else. Searching might be hard at times, impossible if you do not know the exact name of the function. The reason is that there's the stupid Windows CE that always takes up 3 pages of results in any search.

[edited by - Leffe on August 15, 2003 12:25:44 PM]

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hehe... it''s not so bad when you''re devving for CE

--------------------


You are not a real programmer until you end all your sentences with semicolons; (c) 2000 ROAD Programming

You are unique. Just like everybody else.

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quote:
Original post by Xtremehobo
MSDN sucks .
If I search for a function.... a simple win32 function... the search returns a list of interviews with people I''ve never heard of and windows CE programming references for java. I end up using google''s search to search for all my shit and sticking "msdn" at the end of the query


When you search, search only the Library. If you end up with CE functions at the top, scroll down a bit. This search worked perfectly fine for me.



Qui fut tout, et qui ne fut rien
Invader''s Realm

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I agree that MSDN isn''t the best reference tool... and microsoft''s sites in general are impossible to navigate... I don''t know why they even bother with any search utilities because they bring you everything that you aren''t looking for..

But when it comes to Microsoft specific stuff like the GDI or DirectX it''s probably the best reference (assuming you can navigate that goofy menu because don''t even try to use the search)

on a related side note (and at the risk of disproving my own point):
What''s up with the MFC references on MSDN? I can get to all the ATL stuff but the MFC section has been down for months

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i am happy i am not the only one having trouble navigating that. Fortunatley a lot of the CE information is identical to Win2k/XP/9x. But recently I think they have updated the search utility so the CE information doesn´t show up on top. Instead nothing is shown. But this only seem to happen sporadically.

Anyway it´s kind of stupid to whine about a free service.

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