Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bailey's done it again!

I was going to title this Craig's done it again but people may think it was Craig Boyd and not Craig Bailey - hence the title.

Craig Bailey's thoughts on life and Visual FoxPro: VFP: How to make Visual FoxPro cool

I'm going to jump right down to Idea #2 on "how to make it cool" because it's the only one that we can resolve right away.

Craig's point "revamp the interface" does NOT require Microsoft. WHAT????? It simply requires SednaX and then the work of some marketers who can convince Microsoft to include the "skin" into the core FoxPro environment. What do I mean?

Craig's points are entirely valid - the icons are ugly, the toolbars suck, etc. Well - hello!

I have been a long proponent of the Component Gallery for a while and for good reason - if that was the initial screen users saw when they clicked "New", (instead of the current silly New dialog), it would be a very cool approach (granted, VS 2005's is still better but it was close)

The Task Pane was the Fox Team's real attempt at an improved UI - but no one ran with it. Where are all the cool Task Panes? No one built them. Sure there's task Pane Central but the last update was done in June 2005.

So a few ideas here:
1. Rebuild the core menu structure to use the new dbi ActiveX menus or even the Native CommandBars library. Uh, that's easily done but then we would lose the MENU hit stuff. Maybe just a real cool toolbar is needed.

2. Craig - share your VF.Net icon! Then again, why call it VF.net?
Update: I originally was thinking Database Studio but then figured the SQL folks would get upset - but why not? Database Application Designer. VDad - kind of appropriate when you consider that the VFP folks are really helping the Visual Studio database tools come of age. (g&drvvvf!)

3. Include FoxTabs (renamed ) in the Sedna Box.

4. Create task panes for Project managers (uh, isn't that Solution Explorer? ) as well as other tools so it removes the older interface approach. This can be done with the MENUHIT, etc cool stuff that Doug has talked about before.

5. Incorporate the WIX installer as a quick Setup Wizard (yikes - did I say Setup Wizard? Yes - but it could be done so cooly. I 've been playing with WIX and I'm sure Rick Borup has some VERY cool tools on this)

Hey - here's a better idea. Let's set aside some time and come up with what's required for a REAL cool interface for VFP.

I've started a thread on Sednax on this but the gist is this:

Everyone take a screen shot of their VFP IDE in its most "coolness" and email it to foxshow@gmail.com - I'll put together a poll and a tour of each one so we can discuss them. (I say to email them because I don't know if they can be easily shared here)


Carlos Alloatti said...

I have done my small part for interface coolness, check:

ctl32_statusbar for Visual FoxPro

Malcolm Greene said...

I would like to echo support for Carlos Alloatti's ctl32_statusbar for VFP - AWESOME!

Another highly recommended product:

Alex Grigorjev's CommandBars

CommandBars provides a VS 2005 compatible menu and toolbar - GORGEOUS!

What's missing from the picture?

1. MS OneNote like gradient tab controls

2. Real dockable panes (current VFP 9 implementation of dockable windows is only a half-way implementation)

Malcolm Greene