PowerBASIC Information Center Tutorials
These tutorials were written to help you get a quick, but thorough, understanding of PowerBASIC -
the scope of the language as well as it's specific capabilities.
Many applications use external files, such as data files and image files,
that must be distributed with the application. Having such files reside
on the user's PC can be an issue in at several ways. Users may be
tempted to edit the files, possibly making the files unusable by the
PowerBASIC application. Or, the update of an application is complicated
by the presence of multiple application files.
Resource files are a way to solve this problem. A resource file is
simply a single file which stores the content of many other files.
Even more useful is PowerBASIC's ability to embed a resource file into the
EXE as well as being able to read content from the resource file just as
though there it was a standalone file.
Microsoft language applications also use resource files, but uses
a different file format (*.res) than is needed by PowerBASIC applications
(*.pbr). The PowerBASIC IDE, however, is able to convert Microsoft resource
files to the PowerBASIC format.
Resource Script File (*.RC)
The good news is that both Microsoft and PowerBASIC use the same
format for creating resource scripts - which are text files that
list the resources to be placed in the resource file.
The text file is called a resouce script and uses a *.rc extension.
While both PowerBASIC and Microsoft both use the same format for
*.rc script file formats, the format is owned by Microsoft.
Documentation and tools for creating resource files must be downloaded from
MSDN's Resource Compiler page.
Creating a Resource File
Even better news is that creating resource files that meet the needs of
most PowerBASIC programmers can be done manually, using the PowerBASIC
IDE as a text editor and using the file formats described in the next
There are at least 3 common uses for resource files - storing
images, storing application version information, and storing
tables of string data.
- Storing Images
To create a resource file containing images, simply create
a text file, give it a .rc extension, and include lines similar
to the following example.
add icon "add.ico"
bigger icon "bigger.ico"
blank icon "blank.ico"
bold icon "bold.ico"
car icon "car.ico"
004 icon "check.ico"
006 icon "copy.ico"
cowgirl bitmap "cowgirl.bmp"
crop icon "crop.ico"
Column 1 is the name, or number, of the resource. PowerBASIC supports
both types of resource identifiers, so a programmer is free to use
either type on each resource.
Column two is the type of resource. Since PowerBASIC only supports
icons and bitmaps, there are only two values you can use.
Column three is the file name, relative to the *.rc file that has
been opened in the PowerBASIC IDE.
- String Tables
... in work
- Version Information
... in work
Compiling the Resource Script
To compile a resource script (*.rc), simply open it in the PowerBASIC
IDE, then select "Compile and Run" just as though an EXE was to be
The PowerBASIC IDE will recognize the *.rc file extension and run it's
resource compiler utilities. Both *.res (Microsoft format) and *.pbr
(PowerBASIC format) files will be created.
Embedding Resource Files
A resource file may be included in an application by using the #Resource
compiler directive, as in the following snippet from a PowerBASIC application.
In this example, the #Resource line tells the compiler to embed the resource
file "prime.pbr" into the compiled EXE. Once the compiler is run, the
*.pbr file will be contained in the EXE file, ready to be accessed.
If you have any suggestions or corrections, please let me know.