Monday, October 18, 2010

An unusual code generation scheme… via the Bing API and MSDN.

within Windows - Use Bing API and MSDN metadata to generate code automagically (Part 1)

“Working more and more with Garrett Serack on the CoApp project, I found myself needing to query MSDN in a non-traditional manner — programmatically. To be more precise, I needed access to the function prototypes of various APIs for code generation purposes. For the past few months, I tried a number of search facilities, web services, and even experimented with symbol server lookups. In the end, however, I settled on an unlikely solution – Bing.

While not hard, it’s extremely time consuming when your list of APIs reaches about 10 or more. I know this first hand, because I re-implemented over 200 APIs in my previous Windows Vista API on XP (VAIOXP) project. It’s a tedious, error-prone, and debilitating process.

To eliminate steps 1 and 2, and decrease the amount of tedium in step 3, I took advantage of MSDN’s rich (and little known about) metadata. A lot like Flickr, almost every page on MSDN is tagged and categorized with words and phrases. While not so useful for humans, it’s extremely useful to computers and, unlike all the other search engines available today, is indexed! Yes, …


This just struck me as cool; I dig the thought of using the web as a code generation tool. Think about the vast resources of MSDN as a potential code generation repository… hum…

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