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Thread: [RESOLVED] Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

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    Resolved [RESOLVED] Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    I know that each person has a different experience, and even diverse.

    In your view or experience what is the advantage of grouping everything in one EXE. I mean Classes, Usercontrol, etc... or is it better to separate them into several different DLL's?

    Just opinion.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Should be obvious.

    One giant EXE may make it easier to do bonehead deployment. Assuming you don't want Start Menu shortcuts, use by multiple users, common data shared by multiple users, etc. etc.

    However that list of "can't do without a proper installer" is pretty darned long. A lot of plinkers use about 20% of what VB can do and so they don't run into most of them. This isn't so bad for a kid writing his own program's just to run himself on Mom's old PC.

    Once you have committed to writing an installer the downsides of DLLs/OCXs diminish somewhat.

    There is also a limit to how large a monolithic EXE you can compile. DLL and OCX files can also be shared and even updated in one place as needed.

    There is also the issue of having the discipline to maintain binary compatibility. This can be nearly impossible if you do "throw stuff at the wall until something sticks" coding. Being able to design interfaces before writing code seems to be a rare aptitude.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    A single exe has the advantage of portability, but you can also do portable programs that use ocx/dll.
    But if you do them with a single exe the advantage is of course that it is only one file.

    On the other hand, the advantage of using ocx/dll is that it is more handy to reuse code, you can use these ocx/dlls in several main programs but you have their source code only in one site (the ocx/dll projects).
    Another advantage is that there are some things that are inconvenient to run in the IDE in source code, like subclassing, so in those cases it is better to develop your main program with that parts being in components already compiled.

    And your program will probably need components that are not yours, like some MS ocxs that you could be using, so unless you are using Krool's Common Controls and other controls in source code, you'll be using ocxs anyway.

    My usual approach is to have a component for all common things that I use on different main programs, and release the installation as SxS (side-by-side assembly, or whatever call it the ultra-purists). So it is portable, also installable (if you make an installer), but not single exe.
    I use single exes only for very simple scripts.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    Being able to design interfaces before writing code seems to be a rare aptitude.
    The opposite wouldn't be easier .... : bigyello:
    Last edited by Episcopal; Jul 9th, 2021 at 07:01 PM.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Quote Originally Posted by Eduardo- View Post
    And your program will probably need components that are not yours, like some MS ocxs that you could be using, so unless you are using Krool's Common Controls and other controls in source code, you'll be using ocxs anyway.
    I actually already have my own controls and libraries (simple stuff but functional). That's why I asked to do everything in an EXE, or distribute in DLL/OCXs.

    I only worried about maintenance, separated it would be more agile...

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    There are a lot of factors to consider such as how big are these classes, are they something that can be used by other programs or future programs or are they specific to just the program in question. There is no one size fits all answer but you do not want to end up with one huge exe that has everything including the kitchen sink in it and you do not want to end up with something where every class is a separate dll. Some classes should be grouped into a dll others should be part of the exe and this should be determined on a cases by case basis according to the way they are used or will be used in the future.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Quote Originally Posted by Episcopal View Post
    I only worried about maintenance, separated it would be more agile...
    "Agile" methodology actually leans toward the monolith.

    "Agile" throws out development planning and organization, commonly disparaging that as "waterfall," a development methodology that never existed. Instead "Agile" says:

    We can act as or even hire cheap monkeys, then have them throw hunks of mud at the wall until something seems to stick. If it falls off the wall later we come back and throw some more.
    This of course fails to cope with modularization using ActiveX libraries. The mud slinging monkeys cannot handle the binary compatibility issues because they break compatibility so much and so rapidly.

    This wasn't a problem originally, because only competent developers were creating ActiveX libraries in the early days of VB. But then along came the experiment known as VB 5.0 that offered this power to VB coders. The wheels came off the wagon almost immediately.

    So a year later when VB 6.0 was released it came only in Professional and Enterprise Editions. No more Standard Edition for home and vocational coders. VB had outgrown its secondary market.

    I'm sure the mud slingers were also a driver of .Net and part of the reason VB was abandoned. The user base had become dominated by mud slingers and too expensive to support.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Quote Originally Posted by DataMiser View Post
    Some classes should be grouped into a dll others should be part of the exe and this should be determined on a cases by case basis according to the way they are used or will be used in the future.
    It's a way...

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    I'm sure the mud slingers were also a driver of .Net and part of the reason VB was abandoned. The user base had become dominated by mud slingers and too expensive to support.
    Well, I know that frameworks came to make life easier for developers, but this for me diminishes the ability to develop complex things. But I think they are welcome.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    "Agile" methodology actually leans toward the monolith.

    "Agile" throws out development planning and organization, commonly disparaging that as "waterfall," a development methodology that never existed. Instead "Agile" says:



    This of course fails to cope with modularization using ActiveX libraries. The mud slinging monkeys cannot handle the binary compatibility issues because they break compatibility so much and so rapidly.

    This wasn't a problem originally, because only competent developers were creating ActiveX libraries in the early days of VB. But then along came the experiment known as VB 5.0 that offered this power to VB coders. The wheels came off the wagon almost immediately.

    So a year later when VB 6.0 was released it came only in Professional and Enterprise Editions. No more Standard Edition for home and vocational coders. VB had outgrown its secondary market.

    I'm sure the mud slingers were also a driver of .Net and part of the reason VB was abandoned. The user base had become dominated by mud slingers and too expensive to support.
    That's NOT what Agile is ... at all... at least if it's done correctly. Problem is that it's never done correctly. In all the times that I've been on a project that or in a company that tried to be agile, there was only one project that did it right. A lot of it was due to the fact that it was a new project starting from the ground up, no prior history, and there was complete buy-in from all levels, from the dev (us mud-slinger as you so eloquently put it... thanks... here's some mud right back at you *sling*) all the way to the top of the decision ladder. A three year project was turned around in less than 18 months, and half of that was during the pandemic. Had we gone a more traditional route that most projects go, it would have taken three years. Agile does work, when it's done right, but like I said, inevitably it's almost never done right, which is why a lot of people harbor bad feelings about it. I did too. But once you see it in action, done correctly, it's amazing.

    And no, it doesn't lead to the monolith... quite the opposite... at least in our case, we had a few teams working on different sections of the main pipeline application, and the rest worked on their respective services independent of the main line... at various points, there were integrations... but it allowed us to develop our piece to a given spec and interface, then publish it, at which point the main group, pulls the interface in, and does their part to activate the service as needed... in the case of another service that didn't exist yet, a mock service was added... then as each part of the new service is added, that part of the mock is taken out.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience with Agile... sad reality is that most people do. But it's because the methodology isn't truly followed the way it needs to be. But rather it's half-arsed implemented... all just so a company case say "We're 'Agile'" ... and quite honestly I think that does a greater disservice more than anything.

    -tg
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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    That's NOT what Agile is ... at all... at least if it's done correctly. Problem is that it's never done correctly. In all the times that I've been on a project that or in a company that tried to be agile, there was only one project that did it right. A lot of it was due to the fact that it was a new project starting from the ground up, no prior history, and there was complete buy-in from all levels, from the dev (us mud-slinger as you so eloquently put it... thanks... here's some mud right back at you *sling*) all the way to the top of the decision ladder. A three year project was turned around in less than 18 months, and half of that was during the pandemic. Had we gone a more traditional route that most projects go, it would have taken three years. Agile does work, when it's done right, but like I said, inevitably it's almost never done right, which is why a lot of people harbor bad feelings about it. I did too. But once you see it in action, done correctly, it's amazing.

    And no, it doesn't lead to the monolith... quite the opposite... at least in our case, we had a few teams working on different sections of the main pipeline application, and the rest worked on their respective services independent of the main line... at various points, there were integrations... but it allowed us to develop our piece to a given spec and interface, then publish it, at which point the main group, pulls the interface in, and does their part to activate the service as needed... in the case of another service that didn't exist yet, a mock service was added... then as each part of the new service is added, that part of the mock is taken out.

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience with Agile... sad reality is that most people do. But it's because the methodology isn't truly followed the way it needs to be. But rather it's half-arsed implemented... all just so a company case say "We're 'Agile'" ... and quite honestly I think that does a greater disservice more than anything.

    -tg
    What kind of development model is most used? thanks

    Edit: Forgive me, but what I always hear around here is that the VB6 follows the model aimed at workarounds ..... lol
    Last edited by Episcopal; Jul 12th, 2021 at 05:47 PM.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Quote Originally Posted by Episcopal View Post
    What kind of development model is most used? thanks
    Depends on the survey... and who you ask...
    My guess is that the most commonly followed model is something "agile-ish" ... which is part of the problem. Companies that were traditional waterfall, tried to go agile, implemented it only part way, just so they could say they are agile (since it's really a "framework", not an actual methodology) or tries to implement it with their existing tools and structure, with projects that are already in flight... and that's what leads to the bad taste. I liked the agile approach in principle. But the first few times I encountered it in "practice" it didn't work because it was being implemented in the middle of a waterfall process, which doesn't work. It wasn't until I was on a project recently that I got to see agile used from start to finish with no preconceptions.... and it just efin worked.

    My point being that before people knock agile as voodoo or crap, make sure you know what you're talking about. I'm not sure what Dill's problem is with agile, but it sounds like he may have been on an alleged agile project at one point that didn't go well, and if that was the case, it wasn't really agile, but some hybrid crap. rOr, he's just railing against it because he's being an jerk. Either way, I didn't appreciate being called a mud-slinger and decided to sling some mud back.

    Quote Originally Posted by Episcopal View Post
    Edit: Forgive me, but what I always hear around here is that the VB6 follows the model aimed at workarounds ..... lol
    Naw, VB6 follows the event-driven model.


    -tg
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    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    There is no "waterfall" and never was. This term was promoted by con men early in the outsourcing game who made money by selling books and lectures.

    Normal development means using a core of talented, educated, and experienced developers to compile and refine specifications before coding begins.

    "Agile" says "We can just hire the cheapest labor imaginable and have them keep trying stuff based on misheard lyrics until the user is worn down and stops asking. By then we've made our nut off charging for mockups and intermediate deliverables so we can run for the hills."

    One is engineering, the other is a confidence game. The agile part is avoiding the tar and feathering.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    There is no "waterfall" and never was. This term was promoted by con men early in the outsourcing game who made money by selling books and lectures.

    Normal development means using a core of talented, educated, and experienced developers to compile and refine specifications before coding begins.

    "Agile" says "We can just hire the cheapest labor imaginable and have them keep trying stuff based on misheard lyrics until the user is worn down and stops asking. By then we've made our nut off charging for mockups and intermediate deliverables so we can run for the hills."

    One is engineering, the other is a confidence game. The agile part is avoiding the tar and feathering.
    So yeah, that isn't actually what Agile says at all, it might be what happens but that doesn't mean it is how it is supposed to work.

    I could just as easily have said "Normal development means using a team of over paid external consultants to produce over engineered, complex architectures, and then depart; leaving nothing but untested and potentially unworkable specifications. Then this mess is given to a bunch of inexperienced coders to implement while all the time the changing business needs are getting further and further from what the specs say"

    See, I can make stuff up too!
    Last edited by PlausiblyDamp; Jul 13th, 2021 at 01:11 PM.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Well at least we agree what happens.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    How I see development going most of the time (I still see this now)

    User: Bring me a rock
    Developer: OK here is a rock
    User: Yes it is a rock but just not the rock I was looking for. Bring me another rock.

    Continue the cycle
    Sometimes the Programmer
    Sometimes the DBA

    Mazz1

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    I've taken the approach of a single EXE, with no need for an installer, for years, with my primary project. I've never exactly looked, but probably about 20% of my EXE is actually code compiled from the primary VBP. All the rest is a long plethora of things.

    And here's a quick list of all the things my project does (from a programming perspective):

    • Side-by-side use of OCX controls.
    • Many in-process DLLs are part of the overall project, and these DLLs are initially wrapped into the EXE.
    • A complete open-source video player that's initially wrapped into the EXE.
    • 100s of Word and Excel files (and templates) that are used primarily for reporting, but also for several other things.

    So, how do I accomplish this? Well, first off, all that stuff is packed into the resources file of the primary project (which gets wrapped into the EXE when compiled).

    Also, I have to be very careful when initially executing the program. For instance, I have to make sure and not load any form that needs the OCX files before I unwrap them (from resources) and make them available. The SxS stuff for those is in the internal manifest file (which is also in the resources), but, if I unwrap them before I attempt to use them, all works just fine.

    Regarding my custom DLLs, it's pretty much the same issue. I just have to make sure I unwrap them from resources before I try to use them.

    Same is true for the little video player. The way it works, it somewhat appears that it's just part of my program ... push a button and it checks to see that the player is unwrapped (if not, it gets unwrapped), then fires it up, feeding it the video path-and-file we wish to play.

    Almost all of the Word and Excel files are saved in resources as templates (XLTX, DOTX, XLT, DOT). They are typically unwrapped into a "temp" folder, and then opened via my program through Office Automation, and then filled in and saved in the correct area. Once these templates are populated for a specific report, the user is given the option of then "Opening" them to see the filled-in report.

    One other thing I have in the EXEs resources is a list of PDF files. In several areas of my program, it gets somewhat complex to work through what it's doing. Therefore, through the years, extensive "Help" documents have been written that explain things. With these "Help" PDFs included in the resources, I can just put a button somewhere that, when clicked, it unwraps the PDF and then uses ShellExecute to use whatever PDF viewer is installed to show it to the user. In my case, Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed on virtually any machine that will be running my software.

    Just as an example of this button-to-PDF function, one of the protocols my software performs is a "Balance" service. The data is from a person standing on a pressure mat with 5mm square sensory elements (sensels). There are about 20 different measures calculated from the data (many having sub-measures), and they are all somewhat involved. To aid with understanding these measures, the following button appears on the "Process Balance Data" form:

    Name:  Bal1.png
Views: 180
Size:  5.7 KB

    You click that button a PDF is unpacked from the EXE's resources and immediately displayed (typically with Adobe Acrobat Reader). It's a multi-page document, but here's just a snippet of it:

    Name:  Bal2.jpg
Views: 180
Size:  25.6 KB

    This approach helps enormously with keeping all the technical details of things all wrapped into one area. I actually consider these "technical help files" as part of the program's source code, and they're saved in that area.

    Just one programmer's approach to things. Using this approach, I've stayed totally "portable", and that's highly desirable for me.
    Last edited by Elroy; Jul 13th, 2021 at 04:37 PM.
    Any software I post in these forums written by me is provided “AS IS” without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and permission is hereby granted, free of charge and without restriction, to any person obtaining a copy. Please understand that I’ve been programming since the mid-1970s and still have some of that code. My contemporary VB6 project is approaching 1,000 modules. In addition, I have a “VB6 random code folder” that is overflowing. I’ve been at this long enough to truly not know with absolute certainty from whence every single line of my code has come, with much of it coming from programmers under my employ who signed intellectual property transfers. I have not deliberately attempted to remove any licenses and/or attributions from any software. If someone finds that I have inadvertently done so, I sincerely apologize, and, upon notice and reasonable proof, will re-attach those licenses and/or attributions. To all, peace and happiness.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    I use DLL that I load by regfree.
    I have no binary compatibility issues.

    @Elroy
    share with us the video player.

    what is your system that you use to decompress resources.
    I haven't used many but yours seems very reliable.
    a greeting

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Elroy, you almost broke my head .....

    Diletante and Techgnome, distinct experience, and opposite senses.

    GaryMazzone, truth ...

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Can I open my heart to you?

    Well then, I'm going to start a project from scratch. My EXE will manage 5 DLLs, where each dll is a module of a system. Of course there will be other general function dll's.

    Diletante and Techgnome opened a discussion that caught my attention. Which programming model to follow?


    Edit: I just opened the topic because I was told that it should be all in one EXE, because in future versions of windows it could have DLL/OCX registration problems .... rsrsrs
    Last edited by Episcopal; Jul 14th, 2021 at 07:00 PM.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    @yokesee: It's just a very old GUI wrapped version of mplayer (found here). All of my users are trained to save their videos as MP4 files, so I don't really have any strange encoding/decoding problems. Mplayer is nice in that you can set it up to do slow-mo, fast-forward, and frame-stepping, which my users need.

    @Episcopal: There are many different opinions on this issue of "portability" (everything in the EXE with no installation needed). In the end, you just have to do what's right for you, and what you're comfortable with. Things do get easier with an installer, but I just really wanted portability.

    Regarding in-process DLLs (probably also coded up with VB6), I load and unload these things as I need them. The code I use to do that can be found here. And, just as an FYI, I worked with The Trick to get that going. And apparently, he worked with Firehacker to get it all together. They're both members of these forums.

    Regarding controls in OCX files, I use the SxS (side-by-side) technology for these. I even have some cases where I've got SxS OCX files within in-process DLLs (which can get to be a bit of a mind-warp). Because of the popularity (and questions asked), I've written a tutorial on using SxS, which can be found here.

    Good luck with your project. And, just as an FYI, all the core runtimes for VB6 have been included with all standard Windows installations since at least XP. So, getting a core VB6 program running "as portable" isn't a problem at all. It's only when you get fancy with DLLs, OCXs, and other embedded programs and files that things start getting complex (to stay portable).
    Any software I post in these forums written by me is provided “AS IS” without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and permission is hereby granted, free of charge and without restriction, to any person obtaining a copy. Please understand that I’ve been programming since the mid-1970s and still have some of that code. My contemporary VB6 project is approaching 1,000 modules. In addition, I have a “VB6 random code folder” that is overflowing. I’ve been at this long enough to truly not know with absolute certainty from whence every single line of my code has come, with much of it coming from programmers under my employ who signed intellectual property transfers. I have not deliberately attempted to remove any licenses and/or attributions from any software. If someone finds that I have inadvertently done so, I sincerely apologize, and, upon notice and reasonable proof, will re-attach those licenses and/or attributions. To all, peace and happiness.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Ok Elroy ..... thanks ...

    I've seen other forum users quote your article .... at first glance it seemed complex .... but you were super didactic ...

    Tell me, if I use SxS technology and run my EXE as an administrator, will I need to register DLL/OCX?

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    I use a few OCXs and ActiveX DLLs, and I register nothing. And it shouldn't make any difference whether you're a local administrator or not.

    Typically, my users run my compiled executable from a network (LAN, but not wifi connected). They swap out machines all the time, and all they do to get my program up and running on the new machine is to create a shortcut to the EXE on the new machine's desktop.
    Last edited by Elroy; Jul 18th, 2021 at 08:01 PM.
    Any software I post in these forums written by me is provided “AS IS” without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and permission is hereby granted, free of charge and without restriction, to any person obtaining a copy. Please understand that I’ve been programming since the mid-1970s and still have some of that code. My contemporary VB6 project is approaching 1,000 modules. In addition, I have a “VB6 random code folder” that is overflowing. I’ve been at this long enough to truly not know with absolute certainty from whence every single line of my code has come, with much of it coming from programmers under my employ who signed intellectual property transfers. I have not deliberately attempted to remove any licenses and/or attributions from any software. If someone finds that I have inadvertently done so, I sincerely apologize, and, upon notice and reasonable proof, will re-attach those licenses and/or attributions. To all, peace and happiness.

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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    Well at least we agree what happens.
    Yeah, I think we do.

    What comes through in all the posts about methodology is an underlying frustration. Whether you have seen agile work (TG), fail (Dil), in between (others), and whether you believe waterfall was a thing or just a slogan (I've said the same about agile...quite recently), the underlying truth is: We're pretty frustrated with the way things work most of the time. GaryMazzone covered that, and Episcopal has seen the same thing.

    Yeah, we're all in agreement, but the agreement is that every 'methodology' can be horrible, and horrible might be the natural state of software development, with rare successes suggesting that there could be a promised land, if only we could figure out the formula.

    Every development, from OOP, through agile, TDD, .NET, various JS libraries, and every other methodology and tool has, one way or another, been promising to tame the software development beast to some extent. They have all failed, though some have contributed valuable features to some extent. The fault lies not in our methodology, but in ourselves.
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    Re: Advantages of grouping everything in EXE

    To get back to the original question: There need not be any particular advantage or disadvantage to a single exe over dlls. It depends on the program. There could be some performance penalty to splitting the code up, but if that is enough to notice, then something has been done wrong. Other than that, it comes down to organization, and there's not even a really good rule of thumb about that. Quite often, dlls are created with the expectation that the library can be used in different places. Most of the time, it is not, which means that the dll need not be. It might still be good for organization, or not, depending on the specific situation of the program.

    There isn't a right or wrong. Do what is right for you, and hope it doesn't prove wrong when your situation changes.
    My usual boring signature: Nothing

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