I Build Things

With Software and Electronics

RC2022/10: Project Introduction

3 minutes
October 1, 2022

This tweet says it all really:

So yeah… I signed up for the Retro Challenge 2022/10, my project is a Twitter client that’s compatible with Windows 2000/XP and maybe even Windows 98.

Why does this exist?!

The idea came from another very daft project I was working on, flingwords.com - this is a twitter-like site that’s usable on dial-up connections, while also being usable on modern browsers. I thought it would be cool if there was a desktop client for it. Of course, scope creep happened and I didn’t get most of it implemented. My plan for this RC2022/10 entry is to make the Twitter part of it functional.

What do I have so far?

I have the basic skeleton of two pure win32 UIs written, with the dafter MDI version somewhat more complete:

a win32 MDI application showing some fake data with some missing widgets

The skeleton MDI application. Yes, That’s a Mastodon logo, from more scope creep…

I also made a more “traditional” twitter-like app shape, but didn’t do so much with it

an empty win32 window with a white background

A somewhat less complete version, designed to look more like a 2009-era twitter app

I also have various external dependencies built with the target toolchain (more on that later) for things like TLS and image loading.

How is it built?

I started developing in Microsoft VC6 however the number of compiler bugs and difficulty compiling more modern software led me to switch to the (still old) VS2005 - the last version that officially supports Windows 98.

Visual Studio 2005 showing some of the code

VS2005 showing what I have so far

The code is win32 with some C++ - I’m not using MFC or any of the helpers (yet anyway, I have considered pulling in some for specific parts if needed). I might need to build a server component to interface with Twitter for various reasons. I’ll explain those when (if!) I get to that point.

What is the goal?

My aim is to get the MDI version usable enough to post a tweet. The inspiration for this is basically “What if MS Outlook (or Access!) was a Twitter client?”

A stretch goal is to get the UI working on Windows 98 - the grid view control I’m using doesn’t work correctly in the win98 version, so I either need to work around the missing features or replace it

Will Source Code Be Available?

Yeah, don’t see why not - though I warn you, the weird mix of C++ and win32 isn’t especially pretty…