Monday, December 29, 2003

Top Ten Fox News Highlights/Lolights of the 2003

1. A new version of VFP on the way. Europa was announced and previewed to many, ending the annual "is this the last version of VFP" and yet starting a new one. (Will Europa be the last version of VFP? - sheesh, doesn't anyone have anything better to do with their time?)
 
2. Blogs come in big-time. Just as Ted Roche showed me what a blog was at DevCon 2003, there seemed to be a huge rush to the technology with just about everyone and their dog getting a blog. Except one - where is the blog from the Fox developers?
 
3. DevCon announced for 2004. Surely I jest - but many people seemed to read in that since Advisor had not announced where DevCon would be in 2004, that it may not happen at all and that meant that MS was surely planning on killing off FoxPro, right? Wrong! DevCon 2004 in Las Vegas (but in a resort??? - go figure that one out) means that there is still some money to be made on the conference circuit. Even if the numbers don't show it. All conferences were down this past year 
 
4. .Net non-event. Still waiting for the huge killer app for DotNet. Oh sure, it's the latest and greatest but you know - most of the apps I've seen built with .Net are slower and have no snap to them - they may look good but what about the real benefits? And don't tell me it's because COM is too slow or XML is the only solution. I can build COM and XML solutions without .Net.
 
5. MVP reduxe. Congrats to all those people who became/continued to be MS MVPs but shame on MS for not recognizing the continuing work in the Fox community done by Ted Roche and Whil Hentzen. So they speak up against MS from time to time, get a grip! Discussion is GOOD.
 
6. Where's Whil and where's the community? A: Back and forth Over in Linux. While the legal debate of where and what OSes can be used for VFP applications, Whil has quietly expanded his publishing business to be a major proponent of Linux and open source. Of course, amidst all this, there were rants and raves about supporting DotNet, whether VFP should be a viable database, who's (not) going to WhilFest, and yada yada yada.
 
Hey guys! What's important is that it works, not how it works! This type of backfighting that was prevalent on the Wiki, Forums and UT was just plain stupid. It's almost like there's a disease (I'll call it Agent Smith <bg>) - that seeks to have the Fox community self-destruct. Stranger things have happened but it reminded me of the silly threads with Jeff ?? back in 1992.
 
7. MS discontinues support for Java-based products and older OS. Microsoft's continuing saga of reducing support for older products always seems to draw the wrath of pundits but let's face it now, Win 98 has been out since 1998. Doesn't it make sense to be gearing up to drop support for it? Self-serve support will always be available - it's simply the paid support. (consultants take note - here is an opportunity!) but look at IBM - they dropped support for their NetCommerce Server almost immediately after WebSphere came out but they don't get the backlash like MS's decision.
 
Now the more recent decisions by MS to drop support for Office 2000 seem a bit crazy - why not simply drop support for the Java-based implementations within them? Or issue a patch for the whole thing.
 
8. MindManager - cool product of the year. Not directly Fox related but this one tool has affected the way I work more so than any other tool I saw this year. I just can't wait to get a PocketPC to use that version of it while on the road. Some people talked up "OneNote" the new note taker by MS but frankly, I can't see it. The only thing MindManager needs now is the ability to do drawing in it (it already supports links to drawings) and then it takes over virtually everything in my desktop.
 
9. VFP 8 - what a great tool. If you haven't updated yet, shame on you! VFP 8 just makes development so much easier. Yes, it's being overshadowed by Europa right now but it is a great way to develop applications.
 
10. Spam saturated the world even faster than the Internet did. This was the year where Spam became known not just as a Monty Python song or a "food", but rather as one of the most loathed Internet creations. My own personal inbox went from getting maybe 100 spam messages a week to over 100 in a day. Maybe the Spam filter guys may be coming out with their own Spammers just like virus protection tools come out with their own viruses.
 
Other Items of some significance
Crystal Bought By Business Objects. Can only mean more confusion in the market place. I find that most Crystal users don't even know who Business Objects is. Wonder what this will really mean for Crystal Enterprise, a product that has so far struggled to really find a niche? More importantly - the confusion spells very good things for those VFP-based report writers!
 
Matrix Completed. And no one still could figure it out. Oh well, once a geek movie always a geek movie...and it had so much potential....(sigh)
 
New Languages and Tools: XUL, XASML, Python all received a fair bit of press.

Monday, December 15, 2003

News: Users cling to old Microsoft operating systems

This may start to have an impact on VFP, if MS decides to drop support for Win9x in its development products.

Let's hope that doesn't happen.

News: Users cling to old Microsoft operating systems

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Sting at the Billboards!

Now THAT was a great speech!
 
The song ripped off Michael Jackson but the speech said exactly what it should have!
 
Music Is Its Own Reward!
 
(but that doesn't mean it's free)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Interviewing Steve Jobs (and the basics of freedom to steal)

Interesting that he didn't bring up the Apple lawsuit!

Apple Computer only has the license to the name because they promised NEVER to get into the music business (to compete with Apple Records by the Beatles)! There's a lawsuit pending and we'll only get this resolved ages from now.

I use MusicNow (YES! - it's on Subscription) and have to say I really like it - although in a few days, I will be receiving an AudioTron unit from www.turtlebeach.com and if it can't play Apple iTunes songs or MusicNow songs, I will never download from those sites.

Artists deserve the rights to be paid for their music. Those who want to download it for free - you know, enjoy it but if you really enjoy it, BUY IT!!! This is like kids who taped records for their friends - if you really wanted it, you would go out and buy it.

I buy music all the time - I don't download it now because I subscribe and I love the idea. This is why people like NetFlix - you subscribe and you get it when you want it.

In this day and age, we subscribe for everything - cable, internet, heat, hydro, gas , water, taxes - why not music and movies?

The thing is that I pay for it and I feel good about paying for it. I don't want to get things from someone who worked at it for free - I want to pay people for what they do. Those that get into the OpenSource idea - yes, it's great to give stuff out for free (I've done it - I'm not being a hypocrite) - but you do it because you like what you get in return. It's not about flooding a marketplace, it's not about screwing companies that try to make money - it's about creation. The same principal as those who make music.

The BOOST is that people want to hear it so much that they want to PAY for it. They want to enjoy it. They want to get the inside scoop - and those who want to enjoy it without giving credit where credit is due (in other words, money or even at least promoting the benefits of paying for it) are not just "getting away" with music but really doing everyone who does something creative a huge disservice.

(and yes, that includes people I know who copy things illegally and gloat about it)

You Use It - Pay For It!

RollingStone.com

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Mapping Sites

For those of you who do "globe-trotting", this site (www.multimap.com) has to be one of the best there is. I originally found it when looking for some friends in England in a small town and it actually found the street name. Yes, I know this information is available in many places but this site actually lets you go down to street (and with aerial photos) levels for multiple countries around the work, including many former eastern-block countries.
 
Very cool!
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

FoxFinalVersion - Do you believe this?

I can't believe this discussion. I mean cripes - did everyone jump up when Win Me was identified as the last version of 16 bit windows?

If you choose your development environment based on it being the "very latest", then your applications must be on some very shaky ground.

To this extent, I agree with Whil Henzten - Fox apps will be around for quite a few more years.
FoxFinalVersion - FoxProWiki

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Even in today's age, in times of sadness, Trekker info still rules

Today, I came across a story on MSNBC that Kellie Waymire had died recently. No idea who she was (based on the name) - so I did a search online. Even in today's age when information access is everywhere, the BEST tributes to her were from Star Trek fans. (http://scifipulse.net/Trek%20Archive/November03/Waymire_Dead.html, http://www.trektoday.com/news/161103_04.shtml, http://www.greatlink.org/dcisV2.asp?url=http://www.greatlink.org/shownewsitem.asp?item=2802)
 
This is not to slight the main web site (http://www.kelliewaymire.com/) where obviously a statement was made but rather by how she was recognized.
 
She was a actress who starred on various Star Trek episodes, Friends and as well Six Feet Under. So no, by major "awareness" factors, she was not a major star. At the age of 36, her loss of life is a terrible thing and my thoughts go out for her family and friends.
 
However, what I find interesting (which is why I post it here as opposed to my musings page (http://www.meistermacneill.com/musings.htm) is that with all of the information available everywhere, the real humanity of people comes through, not in fan news from Six Feet Under, or others, but rather from Star Trek fans, those people who many traditionally regard as the ultimate nerds. Yet here, as someone who has died, Trekkers showed that it's not just a show but rather that it was a connection that many people shared (and continue to share) and believe in. Anyone who was ever associated with the show is remembered for what they did. Despite being a show about sci-fi and new worlds (which is a show I love), it was always the humanity that the show(s) stood for. And how they will be remembered...
 
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Mind Manager

Wow! Just tried this tool and was really surprised at how well it works. After just writing down some ideas on a project I was on, I exported it to PowerPoint and wham! all done.

For only $199 for the Business Edition (non Tablet-PC but comes with a version for Pocket PC), I'm almost sold!

Gonna keep on trying it for the 21 day demo but check it out!
http://www.mindjet.com/us/products/tablet_pc/tablet_pc.php
The Scobleizer Weblog

Monday, November 10, 2003

Matrix has 'world record opening'

Guess everyone else "got" it more than the North American audiences where the take wasn't as big as previous movies...

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Matrix has 'world record opening'

Microsoft Clarifies Its Virtual PC Positioning - Where does Linux fit in?

Hmmm - wonder what this will mean for WINE and the other Linux projects going on for VFP.

Granted the article is about how to use Virtual PC but maybe it's a sign they will open up...
let's hope
Microsoft Clarifies Its Virtual PC Positioning

Google Deskbar Makes Searching Even Easier

Yup - and it works right within Windows. Who needs search now?

Google Deskbar

Where are the MS Fox Blogs?

OK - MS has jumped big-time on the Blogging bandwagon - so my question is: where are the MS Fox Blogs?
 
I can appreciate that Calvin and a few others may be too busy to discuss but seriously, Ken, Randy and Yag should all have blogs going at this stage.
 
 

Electronic Messages Become a Beacon in the Darkness

This would be kind of cool to see (I hope they get pictures of it).

Instead of just imagining the pulses of light that go through with every message, we can see the pulses of light.

Electronic Messages Become a Beacon in the Darkness

Saturday, November 08, 2003

SQL TOP N - Watch Out in VFP 8 and earlier

The TOP N clause in VFP 8 doesn't work reliably unless you put in more than one sort order. ( and even then it's a bit funky)
 
Consider the CUSTOMER table.
USE HOME(2)+"NORTHWIND\customers"
SELECT TOP 5 * from customers ORDER BY 1
This gives you only the first 5 records.
 
But if you add another table into it.
USE HOME(2)+"NORTHWIND\orders" IN 0
SELECT TOP 5 * from customers, orders WHERE customers.customerid=orders.customerid ORDER BY 2
This returns 6 entries.
 
As soon as you combine two tables and pull data from both, then the TOP n doesn't return only the top 5 entries.
 
Confused? Yeah - it's a PITA.
 
It's an aberration that you can't really work with. As a result TOP N isn't something you can always rely on.
 
SELECT TOP 5 customers.customerid,orderid,orders.freight,customers.customerid,customers.contactname from customers, orders WHERE customers.customerid=orders.customerid ORDER BY 1
Returns 6 entries.
 
SELECT TOP 5 customers.customerid,orderid,orders.freight,customers.customerid,customers.contactname from customers, orders WHERE customers.customerid=orders.customerid ORDER BY 1,2
 
Returns 5 entries.
 
Just something to be aware of.

MS Researching Blogs

I posted this as a comment to Teds but wanted to put it here as well:

What's interesting about Wallop is the comments I read after they presented it at PDC. Someone referred to it as a "bliki", a cross between a Blog and a Wiki.

A Blog really is just like a personal Wiki, although arranged by date (or recent topics). The Wiki obviously brings much more to it.

When comparing them to learning management systems and the like, a Wiki is almost always the better choice, because of the automatic links.Instead of having to "blog-roll" Ted, I could simply type TedRoche and it would automatically link me.

Once again, I think Microsoft will be attempting to leap-frog the technology. You can read more about what that entire Social Computing group is doing here: http://research.microsoft.com/scg/

Some of the stuff has already been done but others look very cool!

Ted's Radio Weblog

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Gator Feature: Custom Newspages

I found this out from the forum but I thought I would share it here because there are some gotchas with this.
 
So you've switched from FeedDemon to NewsGator but find yourself missing the Newspaper view (like I did). Fear not - you can do the same thing with NewsGator , at least to some effect.
 
First: group your feeds into logical folders. For example, all my Fox community blogs are in a folder called FoxFeeds, all my MS feeds are in another folder called MS Blogs, etc, etc)
 
Then right-click on the group folder (FoxFeeds, MS Blogs) and choose Properties.
 
Click to the Home Page folder and set the home page to be "file:c:\progra~1\newsga~1\NewsPgSF.htm"
 
Be sure to check the option to Make it your default view for the folder then sit back and enjoy!
 
True, it doesn't do columns and sections like FeedDemon but it's still VERY slick and all within Outlook!

Be careful of IE Security

Just something I discovered. I had reset my IE security to high for some reason or another and then tried to log into various sites and found they wouldn't work.
 
Here's why: IE Security Settings on High DISABLE support for META REFRESH , a feature that many web sites use while processing data. Check this under your IE Advanced Security settings if you find pages simply appear blank instead of being correct.

Who Will Build Apps for LongHorn, XAML and XUL...

Very interesting read from Scoble on how he sees the AppDev Tools market changing for LongHorn and XUL, XAML.

The Scobleizer Weblog

How Many MS Employees Does It Take to Change A Lightbulb?

Skip down to the actual specification to get a real idea!

CommentView

DevCon Announced

Thanks to Craig for monitoring for this.

Advisor has announced the next VFP DevCon to be held Sept. 29 - Oct 2 in Las Vegas. No announcement of the hotel. I think Vegas is a great location. I can drive there in about six hours. The hotels are cheap, food is cheap, rooms are cheap, airfare for others is cheap. Kudos to Advisor!

On a related note, Ken Levy has publically hinted that DevCon will be the official launch for VFP9. Let's look at the calendar and see how accurate this could be for release dates. VFP 8 was released in February. Typically, VFP has been on an 18 month schedule. That would put release at sometime around July. Ken also recently stated on the Universal Thread that the Fox team added three months to the schedule to allow for additional testing and QA. Now we're looking at October. The dates look about right to me for release about the same time as DevCon.


FoxBlog

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Tom's corner - Lessons learned @ PDC 2003

A little old but I was very interested in Tom's last comment:
The Microsoft guys in Redmond are _really_ listening and are determined in bringing the best product for their users. I had several chats with Microsoft people and everyone was having the same attitude: "please provide feedback, please tell us what you think". No one had the attitude of "we do it right, you're wrong if you don't agree", which is very nice. They were all helpful.


Tom's corner - Lessons learned @ PDC 2003

Friday, October 31, 2003

Avalon and XAML Great for Developers, But maybe Fox should do it first

XAML or XUL (Mozilla's version) - two ways of building user interfaces via XML.

Column posts some great problems with this issue:

Is this going to be compiled at run time into the application or via a compiler via VS.net and C#? I don't know. Based on the demos I've seen, it would seem that XAML is loaded and compiled via some sort of software processing system because there was a noticeable pause between the window being created and the UI coming up.

Great - more application delay! Now how do you explain this to your customers?

Don't get me wrong - I LOVE The idea. Maybe FoxPro should support the first incarnation of it. After all, it's a LOT faster than any of the .Net stuff for parsing strings, etc.

BetaNews | Commentary: Avalon and XAML Great for Developers, But...

Longhorn - and the UI of the future will be

"Among the features shown off were transparent windows, animated windows that pop open and a new taskbar on the righthand side of the screen that displayed a clock, buddy list, and news and other information streamed onto the desktop via an RSS feed. "

ooohhh...ummm - don't I already have that? (hopefully it's an intelligent RSS feed that combines from multiple sources) Quite frankly I don't WANT my news streaming onto my desktop - I have too much news right now when simply clicking on newsfeeds in Outlook (thanks to Gator)

Granted I was not present but if this is the best the news media had to offer about it...I'm worried.

There is something to be said about "cluttered" windows (which is why Apple trotted out their new Panther software with a better Alt+Tab view). People today suffer from information overload.

The System Tray was supposed to only hold a few icons but now every company loads onto it so much it looks like an old TSR list in DOS.

The problem with running streams exclusively from an RSS feed is you still need to filter out the junk and it needs to be intuitive. For example, my feed may be on Blogs but you know there are so many stories or posts every day on various Blogs news sites that what I really need is for "something" to say "This is important because it was really a worthy news story instead of just a regular post."

I thought of this when I re-watched the Knowledge Navigator video. Apart from a "talking head", we have a lot of this today. Yes, it could certainly be better and it needs to be. Maybe it's more like an intelligent MSNBC newsfeed, that tells me the news when it happens ("Roy Horn attacked by tiger") but no more on a single story unless I actually ask about it. ("did something happen about Roy Horn lately?" or "find Roy Horn")

These features are already available in the best news aggregators and it also needs to start being available in regular email.

My biggest fear in reading about the graphical look of Longhorn is that it really is simply taking all of the great stuff that is ALREADY available and putting it into the O/S. Sorry - but that won't fly in an age when free and public source add-ons do the same.

(consider FoxPro - GENSCRNX was public domain and became a virtual "built-in" add-on for every developer).

What the industry needs is some serious innovation and not just in "better file-systems" or "transparent windows", something that actually increases productivity.

Right now, there are too many distractions on the desktop that prevent users from doing things. I want to work on a project, I have to shut down my email, and my IM, etc just so I can get work done. Why can't the OS do that for me?

It wouldn't be that hard - an O/S that intelligently hides things that aren't being used (so they don't even show up in the Alt+tab or task bar) but then re-appears them when the task is complete. Of course, it would also need to be able to interrupt a task if it really was important.

As I write this, I've got 6 windows open but also about 6 other things on my System tray. One of my windows is Outlook because I pulled up this news story because of it. But it is 7am and no one is actively looking for me. What needs to happen is that while I'm actively working, the O/S senses that I am hard at work and thus, automatically puts everything on "hold" until I finish.

Now that isn't something that can be easily shown in a 15 minute demo but it does introduce a REAL PRODUCTIVITY increase for those users who currently are feeling information overload with too many things on the screen (like a newsfeed), and are being distracted from doing what their jobs really need to be.

Gates trots out Longhorn | CNET News.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Incessant Ramblings: Everybody here works on Word

Priceless - wonder what people think when you say "I work on a computer" (visions of someone with their legs over a monitor spring to mind)

Incessant Ramblings: Everybody here works on Word

Wherever You Say, Yvonne, I Will Go

Well - at least they've realized that a friendly voice is better than the mechanical sounding voice from typical SAPI applications.

Now - the big question: does it work in Canada?

All of these great GPS navigation systems are completely useless unless you are in a major US city. Hate to break it to the designers but there are other places in the world.


Wherever You Say, Yvonne, I Will Go

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Sunday, October 26, 2003

October Hentzenwerke news: FoxTales - Behind the Scenes at Fox Software released

Great new things from Hentzenwerke!

1. FoxTales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software released
2. Painless Legacy FoxPro Applications on Modern Networks ebook released
3. Big, big, big sale - it's Halloween!

1. FoxTales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software released
-------------------------------------------------------

FoxTales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software chronicles the rise and sale
of Fox Software by one of the early developers, Kerry Nietz. Kerry joined Fox Software fresh out of college in the late 80's, and was responsible
for the Report Writer, the Screen Painter, the Foundation Read, and other parts of Fox that you still use every day.

While doing so, he found the time to keep a detailed diary of events
in Perrysburg through the day that the development team packed up their
offices and moved to Microosft. This is his story.

We've been shipping this book to Seattle and Toledo by the crate; get
your copy before they're all gone! No special pricing available - other
than the standard preferred customer and multiple book quantity discounts
that are always around - it's only $9.95, for Pete's sake!

Sample chapters and table of contents available at
  http://www.hentzenwerke.com/catalogpricelists/zcatalogpricelists.htm
 
2. Painless Legacy FoxPro Applications on Modern Networks ebook released
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Com'on, admit it. You're still maintaining a decade-old Fox application,
and will be for a while, since the powers that be haven't found a bucket
of money for new software development any time recently.

This ebook describes how FoxPro/DOS and FoxPro/Windows applications run
on current versions of Windows, to describe the best approaches for
configuring the environment in which a multi-user legacy FoxPro
application runs, and to suggest ways of handling problems.

The book is written for professional developers who have older apps that are still in use. It is also aimed at technical personnel who are
not necessarily FoxPro developers but are charged with installing and
supporting legacy applications on current networks. As a result, this
book isn't concerned with development per se but will be more of a
general guide to relevant operating system and network issues.

Electronic format (PDF) only.

Sample chapters and detailed table of contents available at
  http://www.hentzenwerke.com/catalogpricelists/zcatalogpricelists.htm

3. Big, big, big sale - it's Halloween!
---------------------------------------

Why should kids get all the fun? Cuz they get all the cavities, that's why.

If you're looking for a little treat for yourself, wander on over to our
online store by midnight, Thursday, October 30th (CST) and grab a handful
of books. All printed books (except FoxTales) ordered through our online
store are 35% off between now and then. As always, preferred customers
get an additional discount, and multiple book discounts also apply. And Hacker's Guide to VFP 6.0 is 50% off!

And if you're ordering, why not throw a copy of FoxTales on the order? The
cost to ship it in addition to the rest of your order is nearly nil and
you need something to do while you're waiting for the trick or treaters
to wander by your door, right?

- Online order form already reflects the discount.
- Discounts available only for printed book orders placed online.

Order here:
  https://hentzenwerke.com/olbs/A1_Instr.olb

The Scobleizer Versus Cerberus the Hound of Hades

Great article!

The Scobleizer Versus Cerberus the Hound of Hades

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Why the Yankees Can't Win

Maybe instead of Viagara ads, they should concentrate on the game....(or maybe Trish has a point, Beyonce would be a better bet).
 

Friday, October 24, 2003

Solid features boost iTunes for PCs

You know - there is an alternative here.

I subscribe to MusicNow (www.musicnow.com) which doesn't always have ALL of the latest songs but is pretty good about keeping up, offers $.99 cent purchases, excellent radio stations and unlimited access to a HUGE variety of music, all for $9.95 a month.

It's integrated directly into WMA (which I like because I can switch between the two seamlessly). Still, I will take a quick look at iTunes - if nothing else, I still bleed six colors.


Solid features boost iTunes for PCs

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

RE: Thoughts Regarding OutSourcing

(Some ideas gleaned from 5 small specs that were outsourced to an overseas programmer)
 
1. Always keep an idea as to how much time it would take to do it yourself and make sure the time and effort it takes to write it down and discuss it is worth it.

Example: I outsourced a project because it shouldn't have taken that much time but I didn't have that time. When our O/S company told me they hadn't done it yet (see next point), I had to put the time in. As it turns out, it only took me an hour to fulfill the functionality. Now I have testing to do but it really only took a little bit of time. I easily wasted that hour with emails asking about its status. (Note: the hour to spec it was worthwhile because it ensures the functionality is documented)
 
2. Only give away ONE task at a time. They might complain that there is a lag between the work but it's the only way to ensure prompt delivery of stuff.

Example: Our O/S company had a project spec for over 2 weeks yet when I asked where they were, they said "it's coming". Then I find out they hadn't even touched it yet. As a result, the client started screaming for it and I had to put in the time to do it myself.
 
3. Be 100% specific. Be ready for the company to come back and say "it wasn't in the spec" as a way of getting out of completing stuff. Many companies are willing to make minor changes but changes that are more "creative" can sometimes lead to problems.
 
4. Tell them how you plan on testing it. This gives a much better scope for their final work because it has to actually DO it when you test it.
 
5. Put down a timeline. See #2 for reasoning but if you give them a timeline, you can actually hold back funds if they don't provide the work for you.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Framework Review: The Calm before the storm

I know I've been warned but something tells me I'll be getting a lot of "feedback" from people on my Framework reviews. For one, not enough detail. For others, I whitewashed it. Can't keep everyone happy so let me just say right now:
 
The purpose of the framework reviews in FoxPro Advisor is to help developers who are looking for a framework see what is out there and what is involved in picking up a new framework. So if a framework doesn't have an application helper or something that helps a new user get started but is simply a blob of procedures, it's obviously not as easy to pick up as something with an Application Generator. But I WILL be trying to get under the hood so readers can see how difficult or easy it is to expand on stuff. Since we have limited space, I am deliberately going to focus on how quickly you can build an application, how difficult it is to change the application and how much learning you have to do to make it worthwhile. I'll also be making note of my wish list for each framework.
 
For those who care, the order that I'll be approaching frameworks is (at this stage): FoxPro Application Wizard (November), Visual FoxExpress (December), Visual MaxFrame Professional (January), Mere Mortals (February), Visual FoxExtend (March), CodeMine (April). Everything of course, is subject to change. If you know of a framework out there, please let me know about it and I'll add it to the list.
 
Thanks. Hope you enjoy reading them.
 

Thursday, October 16, 2003

NewsGator - Awesome NewsGroup Support

NewsGator has GREAT News Group support. After figuring out how to change the font for the posts, my posts are now all showing in a nice Verdana font and I'm finding the tool much more useable.
 
Apparently new features are coming imminently...I still have FeedDemon up but it may be changing soon....
 

Andrew MacNeill

 

 

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Great Lakes Closing Session: Where Whil's Heading

Great but short closing session from Great Lakes: Where To Go.

Whil's comment: "People ask me what to do...for years, it hasn't been clear, but now it is."

Whil is heading into Linux full steam ahead but that doesn't mean that Fox is dead.

A quick survey of the audience showed (gasp!) about 40% of attendees were STILL maintaining FoxBase and FoxPro/DOS code. (WOW!!!!)

That's 10 years old code - that would mean that in 10 years, we may still be able to work maintaining VFP 8 or later code.

That may be a bit of a stretch but the numbers would certainly make sense.

From Whil's thoughts: ten years ago, the Fox market was 2 million, it's now about 200,000 developers... user group attendance is down from 200 to about 9 to 20 - Dot Net is not where it's at because it means, for other reasons, competing with 10 million other developers currently moving to Dot Net from VB, C+, etc. Linux on the other hand represents a much more open opportunity. A Chance to get in at the bottom instead of the end...

Whil will CONTINUE to promote Fox running on Linux until he's fired (his words)

You know --- listening to him, it makes a lot of good sense. Many people got to install Linux at Great Lakes (including Drew Speedy) so who knows...

That doesn't mean Fox is dead - Henztenwerke is still publishing books on it and will as long as it makes money - but realistically the Open source books have outsold the Fox books for quite some time...

Dates to note:
Essential Fox: June 4-7 Kansas City
Great Lakes Next Year Oct 29-30-31 - wonder if he'll be dressed as Gene Simmons again

Great show Whil - look forward to it next year...

NewsGator Plug-ins

Tried newsgater as a news reader. It runs within Outlook.

Interesting...I like some of the features but the actual posting is done as an Outlook post (instead of an email) so it doesn't look as nice.

Still...it looks very cool for $29....
NewsGator Plug-ins

Great Lakes Last Day

Last day of Great Lakes....not a lot of activity in the trade show but definitely saw a lot of people yesterday and this morning.

Picked up Kerry Neitz's FoxTales book (heavily promoted by Toni Feltman of F1) about war stories from Fox Software (available from Hentzenwerke http://www.hentzenwerke.com).

Rich Simpson's ReportEngine control still continues to amaze...during the show, he developed a way to do real cut and paste while running a report (huh? Imagine copying a Visio or Project diagram and pasting it directly into a VFP report while it's running - very cool).

Drew Speedie put me on the spot on Monday night ('hey Andrew! how's that TB?') right during his MaxFrame presentation. Maybe I'll sic "Muffy" on him...

Nice to see some familiar faces...and put faces to names (Laura, Dan Greenberg, etc)

The next big show? Russ Swall's Essential Fox next June. What will happen? Well bets were being laid as to who would provide the best "deathmatch" - Whil vs. Ken, Steve vs. JP, Muffy vs. Drew....make your bets now...

Got some great feedback on the new FF! 8.0 - it's coming soon so be sure to check out the beta at http://www.foxfirereporting.com/livedesign/ffblog.htm!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Airports, Hotels & Wireless

Ok - the new Ottawa airport opened Sunday...guess what? No wireless...sure it's bigger but is it better? A few gripes: no desks to work at (the old terminal had them), the displays are way too small (only one display for 12 gates). Yes they have glitches ( doors don't open, etc, etc) but those are bugs that can be worked out. The gripes are things that MUST be addressed. It's a new airport - why don't they have wireless? Chicago (where I was stuck for about 3 hours) doesn't have it but it's an older airport (so they can be forgiven)
 
Hotels...Hotels should have this built in as far as I'm concerned. Modems? Come'on - it would not cost that much for a hotel to put  $500 of wireless routers on a few floors and have them service the area. They could even charge for it. Jeers to Hilton (where I am) and the Hyatt for not doing it. Someone should call Boingo!!!

Great Lakes Workshop

Finally made it to WhilFest...(a day of traveling on a plane isn't much fun)
 
Attendance looks around 200....the wireless network is also a bit funky but I think I've got it going now...found out I'm running a version behind on my wireless driver so that could be it.
 
Looks like a lot of people switched their box to Linux last night...wonder what that means for the EULA?

Monday, October 06, 2003

MvpVfp2004 - Missing Names

VFP MVP awards are given to those who are actively helping VFP developers on "FoxPro" related topics. Mostly online contributes for "technical assistance", but also adding to that is speaking at VFP events, writing VFP articles and books - on the topic of "FoxPro".

I see .... and yet Ted Roche and Whil Hentzen are NOT on this list... I guess being the sole publisher of VFP books, conference speaker (and organizer), User Group "constant speaker", initial Fox Blog publisher and general FoxPro promotion is not considered "actively helping to promote FoxPro"

Whil's recent promotion was called "Fox is everywhere..." - I guess someone at MS missed this.

MvpVfp2004 - FoxProWiki

Joel on Software - Bionic Office

Found this on Craig's Blog - very cool
Joel on Software - Bionic Office

EssentialFox Conference - Visual FoxPro Conference June 2004

A Great show for sure.

Hope to see you there...
EssentialFox Conference - Visual FoxPro Conference

Scoble: Make MS Dev More Transparent

 
As he writes later in the day, they are already doing this. Devs read blogs for all kinds of reasons - the problem is that the media picks up on stuff and considers it gospel and this is what the Legal team fears.
 
This is kind of like Arnie's comments in CA. People attack him for (possibly) saying something over 25 years ago despite all he has done in the past to show his true commitments. The biggest fear the Marketing and Legal groups always have is that someone in the media takes a comment and then treats it like public policy.
 
In Ontario (where I live), we just had an election where the number one issue turned out to be that the (eventually) losing incumbent party sent out a quick email calling the competition "a kitten-eating reptile from another planet". This became the entire big MEDIA problem.
 
Get over it, reporters! Get over it , media and such. Stop looking for scoops in blogs. They are simply ways to communicate. Maybe we should all hire lawyers to watch everything we say, er, write, er think. (I can't complete this sentence because my lawyer has advised me that thinking the way I am, someone will undoubtedly come up and accuse me of being ______ (fill in the blank with your own term))
 
 
Sheesh!

MS Response to Why Not Promote VFP and Citrix

David Dee (see post from 9/22) asked MS about promoting VFP by discussing items with Citrix...As noted in his comments, the response from MS was:
 
We do not test VFP with Citrix and it is not something we are focused on as a solution, mainly due to lack of demand. For web (or thin client) applications with VFP, we are promoting VFP with ASP.NET using VFP 8.0 with Visual Studio .NET 2003 and that is working well, and most companies we talk to who need web front ends to VFP applications are using or considering ASP.NET with VFP combined. Thanks for your feedback.
 

Huh?!?! - Until such time as Desktop apps are killed off completely (don't see that happening anytime soon), I actually prefer to recommend Citrix or Terminal Server based solutions than purely Web-based.

Maybe David's problem was actually using the term "Citrix" instead of the more "MS-friendly" Terminal Server. VFP continually gets updated in service releases to better support Terminal Server applications(recall the NOBITMAP setting in SP3 for VFP 6). In fact, in one newsgroup, one of the fastest suggested ways to build a "mobile" app for the PocketPC was NOT to use SQL Server for PocketPC, etc but rather to build a Terminal Server (read: CITRIX-like) application and connect to it using the PocketPC's Terminal Server client. The only caution was "keep your screens really small".

It's the "MS response" that really hurts the community. Promoting VFP with ASP.Net is great for all those bleeding edge developers (and yes, I know it hurts to say it but for most people ASP.Net is still a little too bleeding edge for many companies  - note that not even MS bCentral allows SOAP access on their .Net services - wonder why not?).

The fact is that EVERY developer needs to be told of workable solutions. Citrix and Terminal Servers represent GREAT Solutions for companies who have remote needs and WORKING desktop applications. VFP is not only ideally suited in these environments - it kicks serious butt when it comes to  performance! Why? Because the application actually runs LOCALLY instead of being on a network.

Other reasons to consider Citrix/Terminal Server solutions:
1. It's easier to support - you can shadow other users, and easily disconnect users when connected.
2. Single point of access - easier to track errors, provide updates and more.
3. Single type of workstation - easier to manage. Hell, even better than trying to deal with multiple browsers
4. You can FIND many companies willing to HOST TS servers for you - yes, they may charge for it but will provide 24/7/365 uptime with various guarantees (check out http://www.meganetserve.com)

If you have never considered using Terminal Server as a remote solution for your apps, I strongly recommend it. AND it's getting easier and better. Don't be fooled by Microsoft's response - VFP does work well under Citrix and is always being improved to work better because of it. (just don't mention Citrix in the same breath <bg>)

Andrew MacNeill

 

 

Monday, September 29, 2003

Font Hints: Do Not Use Arial

I don't know why I keep using Arial as a font but I do. Here's a warning: if you use Arial as a font and put the letter "W" into a button on a toolbar, the top left part of the "W" will go missing. It's terrible - it's awful. Chalk it up to simply bad font design.
 
 

Monday, September 22, 2003

Comments on VFP Awareness Editorial

Message
Here's a note from David Dee on my recent editorial in FPA about increasing VFP Awareness. Please add comments
 
 From: David W. Dee [mailto:dwdcatalyst@ij.net]
Subject: VFP Awareness

I just read your comments about perceptions of VFP as a development environment.  It's something  that concerns a lot of people who've spent (years) using it and developing skills.
 
The direction that Catalyst Consulting has been taking is that VFP doesn't offer many advantages   when it comes to WWW development.  However, in a enterprise environment using Citrix and something   like HP's new blade-servers, VFP is absolutely perfect.  Citrix provides connectivity at a distance, while
the new blade-servers (and their competitors) essentially offer a WAN\LAN computing environment where   VFP excels.
 
Besides it's overall excellence as an object-oriented development environment, the VFP database engine   can run on each client node - potentially decreasing the load on central server resources by doing more of the database work at each node.
 
For these reasons we think that a mix of VFP on the client-nodes as well as a hefty central SQL Server database may be the best (certainly the most underrated) enterprise development environment out there.   "Client footprint" really depends on what resource you're trying to optimize - if the real bottleneck is throughput to SQL Server, then VFP has the capability to minimize that footprint.
 
I really think that the VFP community would do well to try and make contact with Citrix and maybe HP and   other hardware vendors out there who are starting to offer alternatives to the HTTP:\WWW low-bandwidth world   that we've been stuck in for so long.
 
I'd be glad to hear any reply or thoughts you might have along these lines.
 
Best Regards,

David Dee
Catalyst Consulting
 

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Help Design A New Version of Foxfire!

We're nearing the end of development of the new version of Foxfire! 8.0 and you might want to check it out by visiting our blog on http://www.foxfirereporting.com/livedesign/ffblog.htm
 
From there, you can download the latest beta, post comments on our recent posts and see why the new Live Design Surface area is really going to make reporting fun again!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

9/11

My thoughts go out to all those who lost loved ones on that day - I know we all lost something inside.
 
It is hard to imagine that it was just 2 years ago that I was preparing my session at DevCon 2001 in San Diego when I first heard about the attacks. I woke up Trish with the words "the world has gone crazy". Those moments and the days that followed are etched in my memory forever.
 
I hope all have found some kind of peace inside.

Lamebrain things managers shouldn't say to employees

Yes - and I actually used to say "no brainer" all the time.

I guess that was better than saying "any monkey could do it". Maybe that's why certain devs I used to work with stopped working...

Lamebrain things managers shouldn't say to employees

7 things to tell workers every day

I guess "get my coffee" isn't one of them...

7 things to tell workers every day

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Interesting Discussion on the use of Cancel in Dialog boxes

CommentView

Kids Playing...

What a great night yesterday...Trish and I actually saw children PLAYING by themselves, climbing trees, engaging in regular kid's play....This was the first time in the 5 years we've been here that kids have not been "organized" by adults. We get regular soccer matches and the kids are always under regular supervision. Last night, this group of about 8 kids climbed a tree right to the top, worrying about falling...(ok, some had bike helmets on...)  it was really nice to see kids be kids again, in this age where everyone is worried about everything...

Friday, September 05, 2003

I Want An Interface That Works...

Enough about Longhorn (looks like Inductive User Interface taken to the next level - note: I do LIKE IUI)
 
Enough about a standard Linux GUI (one to make it look like Windows) - in fact, the more of these discussions I hear, the more I am apt to forego Linux entirely - it sounds too much like the Unix debacle...who wants an interface run by white coats, even when the white coats are really geeks spread out all over the world...
 
Where is the real next generation interface?
 
A few years ago, the guys and gals at PARC (the ones who originated the GUI) were experimenting with an interface idea called "Doors" (seriously!). Now what I saw of it wasn't that awe-inspiring but it still brings me to the main point...
 
Skins and themes are all very nice but they are all simply different variations of the same Windows "theme".
 
Some basic ideas that are still waiting around for something to click...
 
Pen-based computing -> ok  so the tablet is here but I've been using pen-based interfaces and you know? I still hate my own handwriting...there has to be a better way...
 
Virtual Reality - it's been years since the movie Disclosure (remember that interface?) and VR is still in the labs. The big worry of course is that VR will simply become a basic playground and no one will get any work done...
 
Voice recognition (another VR) - I'm still waiting for this to become usable but like pen computing, it's always just on the edge. As long as computers crash regularly because of poorly integrated components (usually audio/video), this will never fly.
 
The Web - hey , HTML is great but enough with the pop-ups...my wife said last night, pop-ups and spam are just like commercials on TV and radio. True but then my email is like watching 30 minutes of commercials to view a 5 minute show.
 
I think of this every time I see someone getting confused by the Windows interface. I come over, do a click-click here, a drag there and it's fixed but shouldn't it be getting easier?
 
Maybe we need to find a child who can lead us the right way....the adults and supposed experts certainly aren't helping...but then how do you deal with business issues?
 
I suppose this is more a rant than anything else but it's still frustrating.

Wired 11.09: The New X-Men

Great little item on Xtreme Programming...

(which I would love to do but am loathe to let anyone work in my office when I can have them be a number of miles away)...

Hmmm...anyone try it via a shared terminal server connection?

Wired 11.09: The New X-Men

WhilBlog - Hey Whil!

And more join the blogging world...

I must have been in a fog the last few days to have missed this....actually, no, we had company in and my time has been terribly eaten up (see musings) - it's incredible how much you miss those 20 hour work days when you can only work 10 of them...



Hentzenwerke's Developers Studio Apartment

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

University of Michigan Hides Its Racist Policies

Go figure...gotta love "individual rights" policies...

From: The Ayn Rand Institute [mailto:media@aynrand.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 1:27 PM
Subject: Letter to the Editor: University of Michigan Hides Its Racist Policies

Welcome to the brave new world of college admissions. The Supreme Court ruled in the Michigan case that raced-based policies are constitutional as long as universities are not too obvious about it. The University of Michigan has announced that it has changed its procedures accordingly and these will no doubt be used as a model by other universities. Now instead of using race explicitly by assigning a certain number of bonus points for applicants of the right race, Michigan will use race implicitly--which means they can do whatever they feel like doing provided they do not say they are doing it! Instead of being above board and in the open, racism will now be hidden under the table.

Consider the irony of this. For decades leftists and so-called anti-racists have supported affirmative programs (quotas) on the grounds that in theory treating people as individuals may be ideal but that hidden or subconscious prejudices would undermine any such attempt. Now, with the left's strong approval, the Supreme Court has told universities that subconscious prejudice is both legal and desirable--if the result is to favor minority groups. But racism is still racism regardless of whether it is done consciously or subconsciously and regardless of which group benefits. The real solution is not to hide racism but to abolish and replace it with the principle of color-blind, race-blind individualism--the principle on which America was founded.

Edwin A. Locke
Ayn Rand Institute

Monday, August 25, 2003

Splitting the Palm

What's interesting about Palm splitting into two different companies: software and hardware is that this is PRECISELY the approach that everyone said Apple should have done years ago to preserve the Macintosh software. Now of course, while the Mac is still a niche computer, it is easily the most recognizable niche computer and considered a "best of breed". I will be very interested to see if in 10 years, we still even recognize what a PalmPilot is anymore...
 

Friday, August 22, 2003

And so email will eventually become unusable - and so we only subscribe to RSS...

While I hate to say it, I'm starting to agree with this article.

I'm a big believer in email newsletters and in sharing my email address with people who are interested in contacting me, but as these viruses and continuous SPAM are proving, it's getting to a point where many computer users may simply stop using this stuff and go back to other means.

If you bought a computer today, thinking it would bring you into the new world and give you all kinds of great new features and ability to search online, and communicate with friends, imagine the surprise when 95% of your emails are all either viruses or SPAM. Is a computer on the Internet still that much more productive?

Based on this idea, it really seems that the best strategy for notifying customers of new updates and articles of interest will be through RSS or hybrid type tools (like the VFP Task Pane's support for FoxCentral.net). Email newsletters are going to easily be confused with SPAM so what's the point in sending them out?

One of the companies I am involved with routinely sends out notices to customers, telling them of new features and seminars. We hit about 45% of our customers because many of them have SPAM filters that prevent them from going out.

Is 45% better than nothing? Yes - but it's not better than picking up the phone and telling them to their faces.

However, until MS and other companies start providing built-in RSS Aggregators in the operating system, there will be no way of getting real valuable information to users.

I am directing this primarily for end-users. Developers and power users will always find ways of doing this but new users won't.

At the risk of making a political statement, viruses and spam are akin to cyber-terrorism that threaten the rest of the world's ability to work successfully on a computer. My uncle made a comment the other day - "it seems the only people who are truly free are the terrorists" - but in the cyber world, I would doubt that even the spammers and virus creators are free from their own handiwork.

Clearly this needs a solution and none of the major vendors appear to be stepping up to the plate with a heavy bat.

Web Technology / Sobig.f proves why focusing on commercial spam is a mistake - Tech Update - ZDNet

WebMenu Genie: VFP Meets the Web

If you're a FoxPro developer who is also working with web site design, you owe it to yourself to check out WebMenu Genie (http://www.webportdata.com/webmenu/)
 
This shareware VFP application lets you generate complex Javascript menus for web sites in mere minutes. Tprice is very reasonable (under $100 for commercial web sites, $35 for personal use, shareware is limited to 4 menu items) and the features are phenomenal. From picture and transparent menu support to different special effects that you can add to individual menus, WebMenu Genie makes it easy for developers of any background to incorporate menus into your web site.
 
Definitely something to check out...
 

Monday, August 18, 2003

XML Editor in VS

Ok - I was wrong. It won't be a stand-alone editor but rather a separate download. Still - having it accessible anywhere will be better than nothing.

Why I Missed My Blackberry until I start using MSN Mobile

During the power outage last week, the first thing I tried to do was use my cell phone. No luck! It seems that on the network I was on, only incoming calls were accessible - I couldn't call out. (not quite sure why - maybe it was that guy on the cell phone who kept on calling all the radio stations). We actually had to find a non-cordless phone (cordless phones require electricity) and plug it in to call out and of course, now I can't find any of the phone numbers I usually call - why not? they are all on the computer.
 
To be sure, some of them were still on my phone so I could find some of them. Trish pulled out her old Zaurus ZR-5000 PDA and had some numbers in there, thankfully (after changing the batteries). It was then that I really started to miss my old Blackberry. Now, I'm really not impressed with RIM's support (they wanted to basically charge me for a new unit to fix my old one) which is why I stopped using it. But when I had my Blackberry, I could send out emails (not relying on cell coverage) or at least page any other Blackberry user to find out what was going on. Then, I also had my entire life on it, with access to contacts, calendar and more. Those of you who have PDA's might be going "and the point is...." but the fact that the Blackberry was my EMAIL device as well as all of those other things, really did change the way I worked. (I'm still waiting for a PDA that does all of that - if you know of a good one, comment on it and let me know). Of course, Blackberry didn't have a good IM client either and their web support was going to cost me plenty.
 
Which is why when the power came back on, I immediately grabbed a list of my contacts from my computer to put into my Siemens S40 phone (great phone). But still there was something missing: immediate contact. I had played with MSN Messenger's Mobile device support a few months back but found it lacking. On Thursday night, we had dinner with my sister in law (during the blackout) and I had mentioned that when she was looking for new phones for her son, make sure she gets one that supported MSN Messenger (he's always online). With power, I started looking into it and found that MSN has, in fact, upgraded their Mobile Device support so now proper Messenger functionality is available on my phone with minimal effort.
 
After a few minutes and sample messages, it was up and running and I could send MSN Messenger messages to anyone I needed to, all from my cell phone. I could even send email messages from my Hotmail account. Combined with the T9 editor on my phone, I was actually becoming fairly productive again, even without a Blackberry. Example: to find out who's online, I simply send an SMS message with CL in the body. It returns a list of who's online. I can then reply to that message noting the contact 1-9 etc and then the message. Fast, easy, and simple (once you get used to the acronyms). Maybe I really can do everything on my phone....

Friday, August 15, 2003

New XML Editor in VS.Net

Thanks Ted for letting us hear at least a little bit of the new XML editor. Of course, the big thing here is that it MIGHT be available as a standalone download so we don't have to wait until Whidbey (CORRECTION from Previous posts: I thought it read standalone editor - just my wishful thinking)

I know everyone thinks that XML is the NBH (Next Big Hype) and I will admit to being in that group. I love XML as a way for dealing with so many different data streams and more. But, realistically, I think it's important for an editor to exist that makes it easy to:

a) build useful XSL stylesheets quickly
b) understand the structure of the file
c) modify and update the DTD schema

I think that a lot of developers who have been working with XML tools in a theoretical or "tool" based environment miss the point that many developers, who are focused around getting products out, don't have the same time to learn how all of these new functions work, even though they can understand the benefits. They want the tools that allow them to take advantage of XML without having to understand the syntax of XPATH, XSL and other areas. I really hope this is where the new XML editor comes into play. I may be hoping for too much --- but I hope not. Otherwise we (as the entire developer community) will find ourselves in a similar situation as when OOP started becoming more popular and a great many developers who didn't get it immediately became frustrated and as a result, churned out a lot of pretty ugly stuff.

I've seen lots of TERRIBLE XML implementations and pure misunderstandings of what XML looks like. Tools like XML/Spy have great goals but I think the end result misses the boat. I hope the MS XML Editor helps fill the void...

Ted's Radio Weblog

Old but Useful: Visual FoxPro and .NET Interoperability

This is a very valuable article, as I recently discovered. I have a COM component which works great with VB, VB.Net and ASP but when we had some consultants working with C# and they tried to access it, they started complaining about problems accessing the dynamic components.

With a few minor updates and looking over this article, I was able to show them that it was , in fact, possible to do exactly what they said wasn't (without a bunch of work).

Visual FoxPro and .NET Interoperability

Power Outage: Gotta get a generator

How about that? Right in the middle of a presentation, at 4:15 yesterday, bang! all the power goes out.
 
At first, I thought it was just our area but then I realized it was a little more. Thank goodness I purchased that 10 minute UPS on my server and I ran everything off as a Terminal Server.
 
People that were watching the presentation had about 15 minutes to save everything and the meeting was still a success!
 
Still, you have to wonder how it could be that one outage could affect an area of 9000 miles. If that isn't a cause for a major alert, I don't know what is.
 
(for those of you not in on the goings on, pretty much all of north-east North America had a power outage for a period of (at this stage, at least 18 hours), affecting Ottawa, Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, New York City and their respective states/provinces. Power is now coming on in spurts but we have all been warned to be ready for rolling blackouts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

For Those Who Like To Hack VCX files: Figuring out OlePublic vs. Not

From time to time, I need to go traipsing through the VFP VCX file to find changes or look at deleted records. Recently, I had to change a bunch of classes to OlePublic so they would be exposed in C# code (for some reason, C# can't see property objects the same way VB.Net can - still looking into that one)
 
For a few years, I've wondered why is there a COMMENT record underneath every class definition in the VCX file. Now I know, this is where OlePublic is stored (in the Reserved2 field).
 
So if you ever have to make a bunch of classes OlePublic and don't want to take half a day and go through all your classes to do so, just open the VCX file and replace Reserved2 with OLEPublic (case sensitive).
 
REPLACE ALL Reserved2 WITH "OLEPublic" for EMPTY(reserved2) AND Platform='COMMENT'
 
Then Compile the VCX file.
 
COMPILE FORM XXX.VCX
 
Just an interesting tidbit as you work....

Monday, August 11, 2003

Now this is useful: XML Source Highlighting

Hey- wonder if this will be in the new XML/XSL editor in VS.Net!
XML.com: XML Source Highlighting [Jul. 30, 2003]

Tip: Controls on Forms

If you have ever tried to design heavily graphical layout forms that use a lot of containers or controls, you may have run into a problem where VFP appears to hang.
 
This problem likely occurs if you are designing forms that have a lot of graphics or controls on them. For example, I was building a form that would allow users to drag and drop a graphical depiction of a trailer into a loading dock. There were to be 150 trailers on the screen. I created a control class that only contained labels and images. This is where I ran into the problem.
 
When VFP runs a form, it wants to find a place to rest focus. If it can't find one but the form contains a number of containers, it appears to go into an endless loop in its attempt to find one.
 
The solution is to put a control onto the form that looks for focus (like a textbox or a command button) and make it visible. This way, VFP will see the control and stop searching for a place to put the focus.
 
You can get around this two ways: one way is not to use control classes but simply images or labels. The better solution is to put a box on the form that can receive focus (like a textbox or command button).
 
 
 

Sunday, August 10, 2003

More Bad News for RIM: RIM loses patent-infringement ruling

It's really too bad that a company that made a GREAT product (although their tech support policies were terrible) are essentially going to lose out due to just really stupid things. Whatever happened to "let the market decide." RIM had to shape up anyways because they had too much competition in the PDA market but this really sours me on the company even more.

RIM loses patent-infringement ruling | CNET News.com

Speaking of patent infringements, wonder what's happening with that Business Objects lawsuit?

Friday, August 08, 2003

CNN.com - When good software goes bad

Survey finds widespread dissatisfaction with tech support. I guess, no one likes being told that the coffee cup holder on their new computer is really a CD.

CNN.com - When good software goes bad - Aug. 8, 2003

Best TRUE story I've ever heard was from a local vendor- get this one.
Compaq iPaq - 1 only - H3650 model - a funny story: a customer bought it, took it home, and brought it back claiming it did not work. We gave him his money back, no problem. At our expense we sent the product back to HP and they called us laughing, saying that their diagnostic tool had discovered an amazing fact: that the ON button had not been pressed. So we have an opened but retail boxed iPaq here - it can be yours for just $299 (it's $100 below our cost) - and like I said just one available

Bored? Create an Online RSS News Aggregator with ASP.NET

For those to us who actually want to do something useful with ASP.NET - here's a good way of spending an afternoon...

Creating an Online RSS News Aggregator with ASP.NET

Notepad popups - no end to the misery

As if web page popups weren't bad enough...see the link above to really get annoyed at popups!

VFP 8 OLE DB Provider Available

The Visual FoxPro OLE DB Provider (VfpOleDB.dll) exposes OLE DB interfaces that you can use to access Visual FoxPro databases and tables from other programming languages and applications. The Visual FoxPro OLE DB Provider is supported by OLE DB System Components as provided by MDAC 2.6 or later. The requirements to run the Visual FoxPro OLE DB Provider are the same as for Visual FoxPro 8.0. This free download version of the Visual FoxPro OLE DB Provider is a updated version from the one included in Visual FoxPro 8.0.
 

Getting Respect: A Plea from ToG - Interface Guru

"I have met the enemy and he is us."

When Pogo mouthed these words so many years ago, he must have been thinking of software designers, or interaction engineers, or human interface folks, or whatever we who create the interaction model for our products are calling ourselves this week.

We've been complaining bitterly, these last 25 years, that we get no respect, that we are thought of as nothing more than decorators, if we are thought of at all. Guess what? We have no one to blame but ourselves. We have sat on the sidelines, perpetually powerless, whining, instead of changing up the game so we can win.

 
 

Boston User Group Gets Ken Levy

Boston VFP User Group on Tuesday, August 12, 6:30pm at the Microsoft offices, 6th floor, 201 Jones Rd., Waltham MA, presents: Ken Levy, Microsoft VS Data Product Manager, will be presenting the latest news for Visual FoxPro. Ken will also discuss and demo Visual FoxPro 8.0 along with VFP 8.0 working with VS .NET 2003. Ken will also show demos and discuss Europa (next version of VFP) and Whidbey (next version of Visual Studio .NET). In addition, Ken will show some exciting demos of the new XML/XSLT editor/debugger for VS .NET. For more information on the latest news that will be discussed, refer to http://msdn.microsoft.com/vfoxpro/letters/
 

Using Windows APIs with VFP Desktop Apps

Want to integrate external Internet and local content into your Visual FoxPro desktop applications? Then look into the Shell APIs that allow using Windows components easily in your own applications. This article digs into using the ShellExecute API, the InternetExplorer.Application COM object and the Microsoft Web Browser ActiveX control for displaying Web and Windows content dynamically in your own applications. Article includes lots of short immediately useful samples and a detailed reference of how to use the HTML DOM object model from VFP.
 

Using Blogger and want to do RSS?

If you are using www.blogger.com and want to know how to let everyone know how to use this great feature called RSS, it's really easy! Just upgrade to BloggerPro! The upgrade is free, right now and it works great!
 
RSS is essentially an XML file that contains all of your latest updates. When you use a tool like FeedReader or RadioLand, people who subscribe to your RSS file, will be notified instantly when you change it. This is the reality of Publish and Subscribe that was touted so many years ago.
 
When you have an RSS feed being created, then put a link to it right on your main Blog page or in the template. For example, the RSS for my page is:
 
Ted Roche's is:
 
I know Ted uses RadioLand for pulling all the news from various sources - I use FeedReader (www.feedreader.com) - it works great and it's free!
 
Another great tip for using Blogger Pro : you can set it up so you can send emails to xxx@blogger.com and it will automatically publish them. This way, you can be anywhere in the world and your blogs can be publicized from anywhere!
 

More VFP Community Wikis: PortaFox Now Online!

 

Thursday, August 07, 2003

FoxPro's Hidden Communities

If all you ever do is work with FoxPro out of the box, the closest you may feel to other developers is what you see in the VFP 8 Communities Task Pane but there is a lot more!
 
After a few emails from Boudewijn Lutgerink, I found http://www.foxite.com - kind of like a European version of the UT with lots of cool stuff on board.
 
Great place to visit and free signups!