Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Milind's letter for May is all about Me , er, My

If you check out the Visual FoxPro: May 2006 - Letter from the Editor, Milind refers to the updated CTP documents. Without worrying about the DotNet CTP stuff and the update about Service Pack 2 (note that SP2 will be dealing with some of the stuff they've discovered about Vista), the real cool piece, at least to me, is this little add-on called "My"

As Milind explains it, it essentially contains wrappers for SYS functions and Windows API calls, etc. Why is this a big deal?

I remember a variety of devcons and ER requests for VFP where users would ask for "add a Machine Name function" and the response was "use SYS(0)" or any one of the other SYS functions. SYS was great for functionality but terrible for readability. My makes it a little easier although you have to be used to looking at a lot of "."s.

A lot of code I've seen puts these settings into memory variables for later use. I used to use SYS(0) as my example for using the SUBSTR and ATc function.

lcUserName = SUBSTR(SYS(0),ATC("#",SYS(0))+2)

But now with My, it becomes much easier and I don't really need a variable anymore.

Why bother writing the above when I can use:

IF My.User.UserName="andrew"

But My is going to be so much more useable than for things like this. Yeah, it has some stuff like My.Computer.Audio.Play but it also has direct access to the Registry with My.Computer.Registry and lets you retain settings with My.Settings.Add() and My.Settings.Load and Save.

Why bother using AGETFILEVERSION() when you can simply say

My.App.Info.CompanyName and My.App.Info.Version

Yes, if you've been writing code for a while, you likely already have functions for this - for users just starting out ( or for readability with others who may be coming from VB 2005), the My workspace is going to be a lot of fun.

Oh, and did I mention that the help file has a topic about how you can add your own classes to it? Now, THAT Rocks!

Download the feature overview here to get a feel for it. The My spec is actually a help file which makes it even easier to read through and get a feel for.


wOOdy said...

Hi Andrew, just some hairsplitting detail on your SYS(0) example: a somewhat better approach is:
cUsername = GETWORDNUM(SYS(0),3)

But back to the MY stuff: We will be facing a huge problem: All that My stuff comes bundled within a VCX. Thus using only one tiny MY functionality will suck in the whole My.vcx, which in turn sucks in the whole FFC classes, which in turn suck in all .... Get the picture? As long as there isn't some tool which just extracts the needed resources from any VCX, this will cause lots of troubles.

Andrew MacNeill said...


Yes - you're right about GETWORDNUM() - good idea!

I agree about the potential size issues with My - which is why it's important that a lot of additional functionality either gets added to it (so that it just becomes so invaluable you can't live with it ) OR someone (who??) builds a tool to do just what you described.

Maybe what we need to is an intelligent "Implements" engine Project hook that creates a specialized class lib that only pulls out what's needed.