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What is InstantC for Windows?

InstantC for Windows from Tenberry Software is a C language Integrated Development Environment reimplemented for maximum programmer productivity.

Why do I care?

Our current users report that with InstantC, they double their C programming productivity. So can you.

Why is this important?

Over time, computers have become less and less expensive, while programmers have become more and more expensive. Most organizations spend most of their "computer systems" or "Information Systems" budgets on people costs, rather than hardware.

Back when optimizing compilers were invented, development costs were typically 90% hardware costs.

In most companies, programmer costs are now more than 80% of the development budget.

InstantC helps C programmers create more reliable programs in less time.

So what is InstantC for Windows?

InstantC for Windows is a tight integration of all the individual programming tools you are used to using, designed to make the individual C programmer as effective as possible in understanding code, changing code, finding bugs, and testing.

Is it a set of libraries?

No. InstantC uses the same libraries you are already using in your current C development.

Is InstantC for Windows a C interpreter?

Sort of -- just much faster! It depends upon what you mean by interpreter. InstantC for Windows has all of the interactivity, checking and productivity that you associate with an interpreter, but we are actually incrementally compiling code so that you don't see the slow execution speeds typical of interpreted environments.

So what is InstantC for Windows?

Another way of thinking of InstantC for Windows is as a check-out compiler for C, in the manner of the IBM's PL/1 checkout compiler. Like IBM's PL/1 checkout compiler, InstantC for Windows uses extensive run-time checking to help find most bugs.

Does InstantC for Windows replace Microsoft's Visual C?

Absolutely not.

In fact, you need a copy of Microsoft's Visual C/C++ version 1.0 or 1.5x in order to install InstantC for Windows, since we use the Microsoft run-time libraries and header files to insure maximum compatability.

Visual C and InstantC for Windows actually have two different targets -- Visual C is targeted at making your code as efficient as possible, while InstantC is targeted at making your programming as effective as possible.

Programmers use InstantC for Windows during much of their development process, switching to Visual C to create the final production run. This is similar to the use of the 'debug/release' mode of the Visual C product. InstantC for Windows substitutes for the debug mode, but does not replace the release or production mode.

Can I use InstantC for Windows with Borland's compiler and tools?

Since the output of InstantC for Windows is a debugged, formatted C program, you can use it with any compiler for Windows programs. Since InstantC is an ISO C compiler, if your programs use only the Standard C libraries, you can use InstantC with any compiler. We have several customers who use InstantC on a PC to work on programs that run on UNIX.

However, you will need a copy of Visual C/C++ version 1.0 or 1.5x to install InstantC for Windows.

We do not yet have support for Borland C/C++.

Are you planning to support Borland C/C++?

Eventually, but Borland support isn't currently scheduled. If our customers want support for Borland or any other compiler, we will provide that support. In the meantime, we are concentrating on making InstantC for Windows as productive as possible.

I use Watcom C++ 11.0. Can I use InstantC with the Watcom libraries?

InstantC is currently 16-bits only. Assuming you are using the 32-bit part of Watcom 11.0, the short answer is no, not yet.

We are working on a 32-bit version, which will be ready later this year. When the 32-bit version is ready, we will support the Watcom compiler.

You might be like a number of our current customers, though, who find that the bug-finding assistence of InstantC is useful enough that they test out their 32-bit software with InstantC before compiling with their 32-bit compilers. Of course, this strategy doesn't work if your fundamental data structures require 32-bits.

What if I don't have Microsoft's Visual C/C++?

No problem. Visual C/C++ version 1.0 is available in a CD-ROM/book combo for under $50. Visual C/C++ version 1.5 is available in most software stores at under $100 for the standard edition. If necessary, we can include a copy of Visual C/C++ with your purchase of InstantC for Windows.

Does InstantC for Windows support only C?

Yes, currently InstantC for Windows will handle only C source code. Code written in other languages can be loaded in object code form, or in DLLs.

Does InstantC for Windows support only Windows?

The current release of InstantC for Windows is designed to develop and debug Win16 applications. Both the applications and InstantC for Windows itself can run under Windows 3.1 or 3.11, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 95 and Windows NT, versions 3.51 or 4.0. If limited to the Standard C libraries, the applications can run on Unix or any platform with a Standard C compiler.

Do you have plans for a Windows NT version?

Yes, we have a Win32 version under development. We don't have a scheduled release date, though.

How about Windows 95?

The Win32 version will support both NT and Windows 95.

Is InstantC for Windows useful for WinNT or Win95 developers?

In our initial release, we are targeting the maintenance and enhancement of existing 16-bit Windows programs. Although InstantC for Windows runs in WinNT and Win95, it can't be used directly on Win32 programs.

Although you could use InstantC for Windows to develop an eventually-Win32 program with the idea of just porting it after it is debugged, there will be an extra step of porting the program from Win16 to Win32. Depending upon the program, the extra porting from Win16 to Win32 may use up most of the productivity gained from using InstantC for Windows.

Is InstantC for Windows a screen design tool, such as ProtoViews "Protogen"?

No. InstantC for Windows is focused on the 'back-end' C code of a Windows app, while a screen designer is focused on the 'front-end', or GUI part of an app. You may well want to use both tools during your development.

How does InstantC for Windows work for programming teams?

Equally as well as in single-programmer situations. Although we are currently concentrating on improving the productivity of the individual programmer, InstantC for Windows has no limitations for programming teams.

There are two ways in which InstantC will help in team programming: First, since the result of InstantC is a fully-debugged, ANSI/ISO C program, there will generally be far fewer integration errors when the pieces of a program or system are put together.

Second, InstantC includes automatic source code formatting, which can be used to ensure that everyone's code is formatted consistently. Consistent formatting greatly aids code reading, leading to better program understanding, which is particularly valuable in a team situation.

Our servers are Unix based -- does InstantC have any play there?

Only to the extent that C programs are very portable. A number of our existing customers are using InstantC to do their development of programs to be deployed in UNIX. Since most server applications will be using specific API calls to support networking and/or system-specific facilities, not all of an UNIX server application could be debugged with InstantC. Most of the server-specific code would not execute in InstantC.

Do you have an Unix version?

Not at the present time.

Do you have plans for an Unix version?

We don't have a project started, but Unix is the most often requested non-Win32 platform from our customers and prospects, so we continue to consider it.

Does InstantC find errors that a tool such as PC-Lint might miss?

Yes, quite often. We are trying to solve some of the same problems as PC-Lint, helping to find bugs while looking at all of the files in a program, but are using a different strategy: PC-Lint does static analysis, and tries to warn you about everything that *might* be a problem. Although some folks are disciplined enough to use PC-Lint after every compile, and therefore have 'lint-free' code, many people are overwhelmed by the number of messages.

InstantC's strategy is to only report things that are for certain errors, or which you have asked for, such as requiring prototypes. While InstantC uses static analysis, like lint, InstantC also includes run-time checking, which can catch value-dependent bugs, such as the typical off-by-one error in referencing C arrays.

No product will find *all* the bugs in your code. Since InstantC and PC-Lint use different strategies, they will find different subsets of all the bugs in your code. PC-Lint does a particularly fine job of static analysis, unmatched in my opinion, but has no run-time checking. InstantC has good static analysis, unsurpassed run-time checking, and a lot of excellent debugging tools.

You could use both, and would probably benefit from both. PC-Lint will likely find lots more things to complain about while InstantC will likely find things that are clearly bugs.

InstantC sounds interesting. How much does it cost?

We are currently running an introductory special for $295.

Are there licensing fees involved?

Absolutely not! InstantC is like the debug mode of your compiler. (Unless you want to distribute copies of InstantC, of course!)

This all sounds good -- how do I get started?

You can email to, call us at 1.480.767.8868, or FAX us at 1.480.767.8709. For more infomation, check out our Order Page.

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Last modified 2000.12.29. Your questions, comments, and feedback are welcome.