winhelp, Vector NTI, molecular biologists

Misha Koshelev mk144210 at
Mon Sep 3 08:47:19 CDT 2007

> 2007/9/3, Misha Koshelev <mk144210 at>:
>         Hi everybody,
>         So as you all know I've been working on various bug fixes
>         throughout
>         wine, with my most significant contributions to date being MSI
>         OLE
>         automation support and implementation of http protocol support
>         in 
>         urlmon. This involvement was driven by my initial experiences
>         of getting
>         a key program used by molecular biologists, Invitrogen's
>         Vector NTI, to
>         install on wine with a fairly convoluted shell script and
>         submitting my 
>         first patch to fix a crash with this program; Dan Kegel helped
>         me iron
>         out this first patch a lot and furthermore his comments about
>         how it'd
>         be nice if such a complicated shell script was not necessary
>         with wine 
>         got me started with my other patches and the rest, as they
>         say, is
>         history.
>         So why, you may ask, am I sending all this in an email to
>         wine-devel?
>         The short answer is that this is a shameless email to see if I
>         might 
>         motivate someone to work on our winhelp implementation a bit,
>         as it is
>         currently completely useless with Vector NTI. This seems like
>         a fairly
>         significant task, and my obligations at school/work have
>         recently kicked 
>         up quite a bit, making it unlikely I will be able to take it
>         on anytime
>         soon. However, I hope to motivate someone with these reasons:
>         (i) I feel like I've certainly been doing (and will continue
>         to do) my 
>         part in helping out wine, and if this in any case motivates
>         someone
>         looking for a development direction I would certainly not
>         object; and
>         (ii) My ultimate vision/goal has been to have Vector NTI run
>         so well
>         that I could approach Invitrogen and see if they might at the
>         very least
>         say something to that effect on their Web site ("add wine +
>         linux as a
>         supported platform"), if not package Vector NTI a la Google
>         Picassa, 
>         which would be great publicity for wine. Also, as you can see
>         from the
>         comments on my ubuntuforums howto
> for a lot of
>         molecular
>         biologists, Vector NTI is the only reason they have to
>         dual-boot/use
>         VMWare at all (full-disclaimer: this is not 100% true for
>         myself). So
>         you could help perhaps a fairly small but non-insignificant
>         group of 
>         people by doing some work on winhelp.
>         Although Vector NTI is a rather large set of programs,
>         currently I
>         believe the only things keeping it from installing/working to
>         a "gold"
>         level according to winehq definitions are (i) winhelp and (ii)
>         either 
>         MFC42 implementation (required for WSH to install properly; I
>         suppose
>         only a few functions prob are really required, but I'm not
>         sure how good
>         an idea having a very small stub MFC42 would be) or JScript
>         support in 
>         wine. Either item in (ii) seems like a very significant
>         undertaking, but
>         (i) seems doable and prob. necessary for a lot of apps.
>         So anyhow just my attempt to influence someone to start
>         working on
>         winhelp. Sorry for cluttering your inboxes. 
>         Misha

Btw I should have posted the URL to the demo version:

To me the main problem with winhelp here is just that none of the
winhelp navigation (Contents, Search, etc.) is implemented, making it
difficult to, for example, answer the question "how do I do X?" which
I'm sure Invitrogen would care about. From what I understand looking
over some of the winhelp bug reports, the way .hlp files are currently
processed this would be difficult/slow to implement, so probably a
different way of processing them is necessary (don't know more than I
read from searching for winhelp in the bugzilla for this tho, haven't
investigated it myself).

Currently there is also a "bug" where WinHelp returns the incorrect
value (WM_SENDDATA in winhelp program returns 0L and thus so does
WinHelp which just returns the result of SendMessage, whereas according
to MSDN WinHelp() shoudl return non-zero on success). In any case this
latter thing would be pretty easy to fix, but I think really the rest of
winhelp would need to be fixed for this second part to have any real use
(other than removing an annoying "Failed to open help file" dialog).

Thanks everybody

More information about the wine-devel mailing list