A common problem that you read often about in forums, is that people have trouble to compile their ASM or XML files back into MDL or BGL files. Typical messages in such posts include “I drop the file on BGLComp and nothing happens” or “I dropped the file on BGLC and a black screen flashed shortly, but I could not read it”.

In most of these cases the problem is that the compiler has a problem and displays an error. But because these people used the windows drag-and-drop method, they can not see what the compiler is trying to tell them.

My favorite solution for this problem is to compile from the command prompt (just like in the DOS days). If you do it like this, you can read the errors that the compiler is throwing at you without trouble. I have even add the locations of all common compilers (BGLComp, BGLC_9, SCASM) to my path, so I can call them from any folder I wish. Personally I think this is the easiest way to compile a source file.

But it seems this way of doing it is not so easy for every designer. I know one that tends to call the command prompt I use a “Black magic screen”, as to him it seems I can do miracles from there. But isn’t there a way to help the drag-and-drop generation? Of course there is and I have made a little tool to help in this process. That tool is CompileHelper. It acts as a sort of middleman between the compiler and the user. So the user can drag-and-drop his file on CompileHelper as he prefers. Based on the file type that you drop on it, CompileHelper will start the required compiler and it will collect the output from the compiler for you as well. This output is than displayed in a form on your screen. So that you can view everything that the compiler is trying to tell you.

This tool is not new, I made it some time ago already. But as I am still seeing a lot of the problems mentioned above on forums, I think it is time to plug this tool a little more.

As you had probably guessed by now, I am not a heavy user of this tool myself, as I am very happy with the command prompt. I use it that little actually, that I found a little bug while trying to make the screenshots for this post. I will try to fix them as soon as possible, so expect an updated version of CompileHelper in the coming days.

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