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Writing to console in Visual Basic 6

From a perspective of someone who has exclusively used Unix/Linux programming environments in his academic and private life, Visual Basic 6 really is an oddball - one that I have to deal with in work life, though. Since it lives on Windows, it has to deal with the weird separation of “subsystems”, which firmly divides console and graphical applications at link time. Your program can either be a console application, forcing a console to open even when you start it via the explorer, or it can be a graphical application, allowing no output to stdout.

And since VB was only meant for graphical applications, the programming environment does not expect you to link the program to the console subsystem. Consequently, VB6 also does not provide constructs to write to stdout.

You can still make it do so, it’s just a bit more painful:

Public Const STD_OUTPUT_HANDLE = -11&

Public Declare Function stdout Lib "kernel32" Alias "GetStdHandle" _
(Optional ByVal Handletype As Long = STD_OUTPUT_HANDLE) As Long

Public Declare Function WriteFile Lib "kernel32" _
(ByVal hFile As Long, ByVal lpBuffer As Any, ByVal nNumberOfBytesToWrite As Long, _
Optional lpNumberOfBytesWritten As Long, Optional ByVal lpOverlapped As Long = 0&) As Long


Dim hStdOut As Long
Dim sWriteBuffer As String

hStdOut = stdout()
sWriteBuffer = "Hello World"
WriteFile hStdOut, sWriteBuffer, Len(sWriteBuffer)

After compiling the .exe, you have to manually relink it to the console subsystem:

link /edit /subsystem:console application.exe

No wonder the whole “using one program’s output as another program’s input” thing isn’t more popular on Windows…

Bye bye GitHub

I moved all my Git repositories from GitHub to my own server. Three months ago, there was a scare that a GitHub’s new Terms of service would essentially invalidate copyleft licenses on projects. This interpretation of the new ToS turned out to be (most likely) false, but it got me thinking: Why rely unnecessarily on a third party, when I don’t need to? I have already had one bad experience with flickr. Thus, I self-host now.


So-called Liebig-Einfachbeute, coated with walnut oil - hoping that walnut oil is a good compromise between water protection and breathability. Boiled linseed oil, in the experience of other beekeepers, often hinders breathing and therefore increases risk of mould. Apart from that, it contains heavy metal salts and I really don’t want them in my honey.

Walnut oil is not as durable, which is a definitive disadvantage. But as long as I only have to re-coat the wood on a yearly basis, I would be OK with that.

All hail Eostra

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