Review: C Sharp Programmable Calculator

C# Programmable Calculator 1.01
Personal MicroCosms
Greenwood Village, Colorado

.NET has finally been out long enough that I'm starting to see little utilities and shareware applications that depend on the .NET Framework. Here's an example that will bring a nostalgic smile to anyone who had one of the classic Hewlett Packard calculators that used Reverse Polish Notation.

This is indeed a calculator for your PC that uses RPN (you know, enter the operands first and then the operator, so to add 2 and 2 you press 2 Enter 2 +). But what makes it potentially interesting to developers is that it has a bunch of programmable buttons (6 in the free version, 200 in the registered version) that can be programmed by writing C# code. The calculator has its own integrated code editor, and it recognizes public static functions as things that should be exposed on the calculator keys.

Of course, this gives you the entire mathematical power of C# to use, but it goes far beyond that. That's because you can add references to any assembly you want, store objects on the calculator's stack, and generally go wild with your mad C# skills here.

For instance, you could use the calculator as an input interface for a Web Service by putting the right parameters on the stack and then calling out to a proper proxy class. Or you could use numerical parameters to construct a portion of the Mandelbrot set and pop up a Windows form displaying the result. Heck, you could even turn this into a code generation tool if you wanted to.

Nice to see innovation and .NET together in an affordable package.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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