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The Old New Thing: Practical Development Throughout the Evolution of Windows by Raymond Chen

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Chapter Fourteen. Etymology and History

WE TAKE A break from explicit programming topics to look at historical topics, with some attention paid to how things got their names. Some of this discussion may lead to some insight into how Win32 evolved from 16-bit Windows, but most of it is just for fun.

What do the letters W and L stand for in WPARAM and LPARAM?

ONCE UPON A time, Windows was 16 bit. Each message could carry with it two pieces of data, called WPARAM and LPARAM. The first one was a 16-bit value (word), so it was called W. The second one was a 32-bit value (long), so it was called L. You used the W parameter to pass things like handles and integers. You used the L parameter to pass pointers.

When Windows was converted to 32 bit, the ...

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