Does it take long to learn from an API ?

This is a discussion on Does it take long to learn from an API ? within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; I'm just wondering how a lot of programmers start to learn from just an API of a library. I'm guessing ...

  1. #1
    Ethernal Noob
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    Does it take long to learn from an API ?

    I'm just wondering how a lot of programmers start to learn from just an API of a library. I'm guessing that a lot of specialized libraries have instruction or tutorial manuals. But can a lot of you just read through the API documentation and figure as you go, or is a certain process of understanding needed to really learn some libraries.

  2. #2
    CSharpener vart's Avatar
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    I'm working with a lot of external SDKs in the last time...
    The general proccedure is like that:
    1. REad manual to understand a lsit of functions exported by SDK and there goals in general
    2. REad h-files to see the actual difference between prototypes and what is described in the docs. Also note all the constants defined like error codes to undestand the possible return values of some functions
    3. REad test application to get know with general work flow of the SDK
    4. Compile the test application and fix errors
    5. Take the code from the test Application in your own application and modify it according to your needs
    6. Ask the publisher of the SDK questions reqarding not clear issues not illustrated by the test application
    7. Find bugs and make bug reports
    8. Intergrate bugfixes provided by the publisher
    The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time,
    the last 10% takes the other 90% of the time.

  3. #3

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    Hey it wouldn't be a bad idea to post that as some sort of tutorial or something. I think it's a good, uhm, algorithm for learning an API
    I'm not immature, I'm refined in the opposite direction.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    9. Don't use MSDN or any other Microsoft document as a learning tool.

  5. #5

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    Hmm. I've found MSDN to quite helpful, actually. Are you specifically referring to MFC/DirectX related articles by any chance?
    I'm not immature, I'm refined in the opposite direction.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Microsoft documentation is usually incorrect, the samples rarely work, and many of the links in the documents are broken.

    They have a bad habit of making an easy task nearly impossible because of the way they explain how to go about doing it.

  7. #7
    In the Land of Diddly-Doo g4j31a5's Avatar
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    I've been dealing with several third party APIs. And from my experience, the best way to learn them is from its tutorials and community (e.g. forum or mailing lists). Also from demos using that API (if you can find them).
    ERROR: Brain not found. Please insert a new brain!

    “Do nothing which is of no use.” - Miyamoto Musashi.

  8. #8
    CSharpener vart's Avatar
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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba
    9. Don't use MSDN or any other Microsoft document as a learning tool.
    Cannot agree with it... MSDN is like the whole internet. It contains nearly all info you need... But it is nearly impossible to find.

    But if you use the offline version that exactly corresponds to your environment - it is easyer to use.

    For example with VC6 I'm using October 2001 issue.

    But still if you lucky to find the exact sample - it can be very helpful. Problem that in most cases you will find a sample for a little bit different version of compiler, SDK etc...

    So using MSDN is a skill that has to be trained with a time goes.
    The first 90% of a project takes 90% of the time,
    the last 10% takes the other 90% of the time.

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