OS/2 Programmer’s Toolkit

For those wishing to write OS/2 1.x programs, the complete Microsoft OS/2 Programmer’s Toolkit documentation is now online. This is Microsoft’s programming documentation for OS/2 1.0 programming.

It is worth noting that IBM’s programming documentation was different; worse yet, IBM’s headers and libraries were different, and source code written for OS/2 1.0 is not necessarily portable between IBM’s and Microsoft’s tools! The reason for this appears to be that IBM published OS/2 tools relatively far in advance of Microsoft, and Microsoft’s Toolkit reflects a newer style (for example, including os2.h instead of doscalls.h). IBM released its C/2 compiler (roughly rebranded Microsoft C 5.0 with OS/2 support) in November 1987 and the headers and libraries used by IBM were probably finalized around August or September. Microsoft’s contemporary C 5.0 did not support OS/2 yet; that only came in MS C 5.1, released in March 1988, more or less six months later.

The Toolkit documentation describes the tools (QuickHelp and various utilities), provides a complete API reference, and also includes a Programmer’s Learning Guide with tutorial-type information.

For reasons that aren’t clear, the Programming Tools document, rather than the more obvious Learning Guide, presents a chapter on writing dynamic-link libraries (DLLs), a concept unfamiliar to most programmers in 1987/1988.

While on the subject of documentation… can anyone identify the font used by Microsoft for the OS/2 1.0 and Windows 1.x/2.x printed documentation? It may be something in the (New?) Century Schoolbook family, but I have not been able to identify the font precisely.

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2 Responses to OS/2 Programmer’s Toolkit

  1. Richard Wells says:

    The font used in many of MS’s product manuals in the 1985-1990 period was Garamond. Tough to tell the exact font used in the OS/2 documentation; the combination of scanning and PDFing have smudged edges of the serifs and I don’t have the tools I used 25 years ago to match fonts.

  2. Michal Necasek says:

    The print unfortunately isn’t terribly good quality to begin with, and to be honest the PDF conversion only makes things marginally worse. This does make it harder to identify the font.

    Microsoft certainly used ITC Garamond in that era, though by 1990 they seem to have switched primarily to Times Roman. These manuals definitely use neither; uppercase Q is one of the more distinguishing glyphs. It’s close to ITC Century, but not quite, and close to New Century Schoolbook but not quite. Computer Modern Roman is also quite similar.

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