Friday, September 29, 2006

Usability Testing with UserVue: A mixed bag

Every developer loves to test, right? Well, ok, maybe some more than others. But when you're introducing a new product or trying out a new user interface, it's always valuable to get user feedback and see how it all works out.

Now, Microsoft and other larger companies have "usability labs", big rooms with two-way mirrors and video recorders, but this is usually out of the realm of possibility for most companies. TechSmith, makers of Camtasia, Snagit had introduced Morae a few years back which was a desktop-tool that made it easy. They now have introduced a new tool named UserVue, that offers remote user testing.

I did up a quick screencast on how it works. It's very cool, intuitive and very non-intrusive.

There's no question it's a valuable tool - but I do have some issues with it:

1. Markers are for Morae use only. I've told Techsmith about this and I will continue to harp on it. Without making markers available to the user directly from the web interface without having to use Morae, UserVue ends up being a very useful and usable but very expensive screen recorder.

2. The price. $149/month prices UserVue out of the market for many smaller companies to use it on a regular basis.

How often should you test your application's usability? Well, some would say do it during the design or testing phase and then close it off. If that's your approach then the $149 is definitely well worth it - but it does mean that you have to plan on when you do your testing. At that price, you might be better off considering free recording tools such as GoToMeeting which lets you record your sessions, albeit without the "usability testing" feel to it. But GoTo is only about $49/month.

I've used both - UserVue will get better, of that I'm sure but I also know that right now, a company needs to invest in Morae to get the full value out of it. If you aren't doing usability testing, and are building applications, it's something you need to consider. If you are, and need to find a tool that makes it easy to record "test" sessions remotely, UserVue is great - a bit expensive, but very useful.

My suggestion to TechSmith is to offer a hosted version of Morae with the $149/month or build a series of reports based on the output markers from each session. Then the $149/month UserVue becomes an even more indispensable tool for usability testing.

Without it, you're not really offering anything that's not already available for less than $149/month.

This post may sound negative but it's not - I really like UserVue and it's got huge potential. I just want to make sure that potential gets realized!

If you are doing usability testing with your applications, what tools are you using?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Kevin is Certifiably certified!

Great idea, Kevin - Kevin Ragsdale : Get Certified... Today!

And No - it's not a misleading headline (headlines should be provocative but shouldn't be misleading)

Especially seeing as how Microsoft has stopped running certification exams for Visual FoxPro, the CVFPE is a great new program to run with.

So that would make people a PHD,MVP,MCP,MCSD,CVFPE.

Love the idea and as Kevin notes, the requirement is that you talk about FoxPro. "Recognize the fact that every development tool/language has it's pros and cons (including our beloved FoxPro)"

Wallflower, indeed.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Misleading Headlines Sink Reviews

OK - it may be early in the morning and maybe I'm just peeved but I'm getting tired of poor headlines. Maybe it's because you see headlines more now than ever, thanks to RSS feeds - or maybe it's Gmail's use of putting "web clips" on the top of the Inbox but I think anyone who makes a post owes it to their readers to make the headline reflect the story. Take, for example, the latest Wired News story:
Software Sinks Sansa

Then read the review. "And while my initial impression of SanDisk's Sansa e280 was cheap and nasty, it's grown on me, "

"SanDisk is the only company to present Apple with any real competition."

"But Rhapsody's interface is clean and well laid out."

"then it got ugly" - really?

The complaint? The player wouldn't play Unbox videos or anything with DRM. Hello? Most people who have tried Amazon unBox have already said "Stay away". And DRM? Well, that's not Sansa's fault - that's not even software, persay.

The final statement "I like the e280 a lot, but it's the software it connects to that lets it down."

But to read the headline, you would think that the Sansa software is what's poor. Instead, it's really the fact that DRM cripples what could be a great player.

Now, I'm all for artistic license and I appreciate the "punny" headline as much as anyone - but ...at least try to make the headline and the story match.

I'm likely being too sensitive on this issue. But it's a symptom that we see everywhere - (and I'm likely guilty of it as well with some of my headlines) - but when it's coming from a major site like Wired, it's enough to say "I just won't bother reading your posts anymore".

Monday, September 25, 2006

Craig Bailey's thoughts on life and Visual FoxPro: O07: Office 2007 Technical Refresh Thoughts

Craig Bailey gives a great rundown of features to be found in the latest Office 2007 Technical Refresh.

I'm glad he did this because while he identifies the good, he also identifies the bad (Project 2007 being hosed, among others), the ugly (Visio Startup) and the just plain "huh".

I had the beta on my laptop and unfortunately, that box lives on gmail and the web mostly so I've only had to use it a few times. One thing I hope they have fixed is their backward compatibility with Word 2003. I'm still out as to whether I'll do a full upgrade or even recommend it. As Craig notes, when some features aren't "backwards compatible so you are limited in who you can send it to" - this will really limit to how much it gets used. Microsoft should spend the resources and put together a web-based or free download tool to allow viewing of these files as they used to do. (if one already exists, then I've missed it)

Thanks Craig!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Unblocking Outlook

Ever had one of those days when you receive email from another programmer who didn't zip his files and as a result, you get left with Outlook saying:
"Outlook blocked access following potentially unsafe attachments ..."

There's a registry hack to get around this but why bother playing with the registry when someone or something else can do it for you?

It's free and it works really well. Even shows you a list of what those extensions are listed as to make it easier.

And it automatically restarts Outlook so your changes will take effect. (this was always a pain for me because even if you exit Outlook, if you use ActiveSync, it keeps running)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Go NewsGator Go

NewsGator Go goes live any day now thanks to all the great work by Kevin Cawley and the other NG team.

I've been using the beta for the past few months and I love it.

No - it doesn't do everything (auto sync and podcast support) but it is an awesome way to read my posts - so much easier than viewing it on the web. I now just sync and take my posts with me and then when I get back, re-sync on my Ipaq and all the posts I read are updated.

The Clipping feature is also totally awesome.

Newsgator has been doing a lot more "business" announcements recently (their link to NBC and Newsweek is is great news for RSS) so I am very happy to see new products coming from them as well.

The downside? It's not being put into the regular Newsgator offerings. I wish it was like the NewsGator email and other items but the $30 is definitely money well spent if you have a PocketPC device and read feeds.

Now I just want to see the podcasting support that Kevin had been working on earlier. Way to go, guys!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Would you pay to see something you've already read?

Rick notes that Conference blogging catching on - which is good and then he raises good points - some of which I struggle with every time a conference comes up - mainly why not stream or record these sessions?

Conferences want to be held and have attendees. Yet, as many developers note, getting to the conference isn't always possible. As Rick notes "But if the material is accessible about half the incentive to attend will be removed and conference will completely evaporate."

This brings us to the economics of conferences. While we all like the idea of spectacles, the main reason for an attendee to be at a conference is to learn.

Does a conference have to be at a resort? No - but without one, as John Koziol pointed out, "there's no natural watering hole to gather to at night;". Also, while there are a number of speakers who are true "road warriors" during conference season, not everyone , wants to travel and live in a hotel - thus a resort makes the "pain" of travel more enjoyable.

So it's a tough call. Hold it at a resort and you have to charge a premium. Hold it at a smaller hotel and everyone fends for themselves. Many attendees I've spoken to in the past talk about wanting to hold a conference at the "nearest and cheapest hotel to the airport" - but that's usually the hotel without the necessary facilities. Rainer always does a class job with the German conference and it's usually fairly close to the airport too.

And how do you get all those speakers to a location? Advisor (and many others) pay for their speakers' travel - if the conference doesn't get a lot of attendees, the host is out of pocket. And the FoxPro community strength is in its wide breadth of speakers, who aren't just from one area but all over the world. I loved the idea that FoxForward included many speakers who have not been heard from before. Every time I speak with a FoxPro developer for the first time, I usually learn something new, be it about design, coding or even how they deal with their users. It's valuable information.

Not everyone attended the Great Lakes conference this year, so Whil offered the materials through Hentzenwerke. The issue with these materials is that it's pure reading - and there are many developers who can't get it, unless they see it.

"How can I build the great application for the web when I'm still building applications that have to run with Windows 95?"

Most educators will admit that getting someone "offsite" is a good way to learn. They can focus on the new material - although the danger is that they suffer overload (seems I heard that comment a lot from FoxForward).

The other downside is that you see so much at a conference and get inspired, that when you return, it's almost like being taken into the 25th century and then thrown back into the 3rd. And for some developers, who only get to attend ONE conference a year, they need something for those 350 days that they aren't excited about the conference. You need a way of being able to "go back to the future" every now and then.

A year ago, I got into the habit of attending lunch seminars online. It was wonderful and the attendance was fairly good. One speaker , one hour - and usually about 200 attendees. Now, there are hosting costs - but that could be a way - and then the materials were available afterwards - no white paper though. For that, the speaker actually had an "overview" paper but if you wanted more, then you could purchase an e-book. You got to "hear" and "see" the session - but you had to pay for the final piece.

So what's the takeaway here? More regional conferences? Hey, if MS can help out with OzFox Lite, could others be done the same way? (granted, MS North America typically only sponsors DotNet related developer events - something I wish they would change)

More online sessions? They can't hurt - in fact, they could help everyone get the word out on some of the best sessions. Rick alluded to the point that part of the benefit of conferences is the networking and you won't get that online - so the conference value is still there - in fact, it would almost force organizers to make the networking part even MORE part of the conference, like an Unconference - hmm...but how?

More materials? I think the age of "pure" white papers is almost gone - they need to be expanded with more useful content. I always think of this when writing an article - code is good but if I put too much code in the article, who is really going to transpose it? I want the download - but better yet, I want to see it before I use it. Yes, a lot of this material is available online - and we still need to make it easier to access. Are you paying for the written content or the visual content?

More speakers? Everyone has something to contribute - even a wallflower like Kevin. (I was one as well at the first DevCon I attended in 1991 - two years later, I was singing karaoke with Menachem).

I'm not saying I have all the answers on this - nor am I slamming existing conferences, where the organizers do an absolutely amazing job. I agree with Rick and others who say - if you don't go these these conferences, they will eventually fold. But there needs to be a way to get a similar message out to those who can't get there.

(read the comments on Rick's post to get a feel for some of the issues there)

What do you think?

Would you pay to see something you've already read?

Rick notes that Conference blogging catching on - which is good and then he raises good points - some of which I struggle with every time a conference comes up - mainly why not stream or record these sessions?

Conferences want to be held and have attendees. Yet, as many developers note, getting to the conference isn't always possible. As Rick notes "But if the material is accessible about half the incentive to attend will be removed and conference will completely evaporate."

This brings us to the economics of conferences. While we all like the idea of spectacles, the main reason for an attendee to be at a conference is to learn.

Does a conference have to be at a resort? No - but without one, as John Koziol pointed out, "there's no natural watering hole to gather to at night;". Also, while there are a number of speakers who are true "road warriors" during conference season, not everyone (ok, just me
So it's a tough call. Hold it at a resort and you have to charge a premium. Hold it at a smaller hotel and everyone fends for themselves. Many attendees I've spoken to in the past talk about wanting to hold a conference at the "nearest and cheapest hotel to the airport" - but that's usually the hotel without the necessary facilities. Rainer always does a class job with the German conference and it's usually fairly close to the airport too.

And how do you get all those speakers to a location? Advisor (and many others) pay for their speakers' travel - if the conference doesn't get a lot of attendees, the host is out of pocket. And the FoxPro community strength is in its wide breadth of speakers, who aren't just from one area but all over the world. I loved the idea that FoxForward included many speakers who have not been heard from before. Every time I speak with a FoxPro developer for the first time, I usually learn something new, be it about design, coding or even how they deal with their users. It's valuable information.

Not everyone attended the Great Lakes conference this year, so Whil offered the materials through Hentzenwerke. The issue with these materials is that it's pure reading - and there are many developers who can't get it, unless they see it.

"How can I build the great application for the web when I'm still building applications that have to run with Windows 95?"

Most educators will admit that getting someone "offsite" is a good way to learn. They can focus on the new material - although the danger is that they suffer overload (seems I heard that comment a lot from FoxForward).

The other downside is that you see so much at a conference and get inspired, that when you return, it's almost like being taken into the 25th century and then thrown back into the 3rd. And for some developers, who only get to attend ONE conference a year, they need something for those 350 days that they aren't excited about the conference. You need a way of being able to "go back to the future" every now and then.

A year ago, I got into the habit of attending lunch seminars online. It was wonderful and the attendance was fairly good. One speaker , one hour - and usually about 200 attendees. Now, there are hosting costs - but that could be a way - and then the materials were available afterwards - no white paper though. For that, the speaker actually had an "overview" paper but if you wanted more, then you could purchase an e-book. You got to "hear" and "see" the session - but you had to pay for the final piece.

So what's the takeaway here? More regional conferences? Hey, if MS can help out with OzFox Lite, could others be done the same way? (granted, MS North America typically only sponsors DotNet related developer events - something I wish they would change)

More online sessions? They can't hurt - in fact, they could help everyone get the word out on some of the best sessions. Rick alluded to the point that part of the benefit of conferences is the networking and you won't get that online - so the conference value is still there - in fact, it would almost force organizers to make the networking part even MORE part of the conference, like an Unconference - hmm...but how?

More materials? I think the age of "pure" white papers is almost gone - they need to be expanded with more useful content. I always think of this when writing an article - code is good but if I put too much code in the article, who is really going to transpose it? I want the download - but better yet, I want to see it before I use it. Yes, a lot of this material is available online - and we still need to make it easier to access. Are you paying for the written content or the visual content?

More speakers? Everyone has something to contribute - even a wallflower like Kevin. (I was one as well at the first DevCon I attended in 1991 - two years later, I was singing karaoke with Menachem).

I'm not saying I have all the answers on this - nor am I slamming existing conferences, where the organizers do an absolutely amazing job. I agree with Rick and others who say - if you don't go these these conferences, they will eventually fold. But there needs to be a way to get a similar message out to those who can't get there.

(read the comments on Rick's post to get a feel for some of the issues there)

What do you think?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Every programmer shall have two monitors - I disagree

While I love the concept of Alex Feldstein: The Programmer's Bill of Rights, I disagree with the first point.

Two monitors? How many USERS/CLIENTS do you know that have two monitors? I deal with a partner who uses two monitors regularly. The result? A bloody pain in the butt every time I try to support them.

I agree - it's cool, it's geeky but it's NOT THE NORMAL ENVIRONMENT THAT USERS SUFFER WITH.

Yes, I said it - SUFFER - users SUFFER with their hardware. Fast - developers need it, comfortable - absolutely - but at least deal with reality.

I remember when Calvin spoke about his notebook in fairly "obvious" terms (not a slight against Calvin, more against the norm) - 4 GB RAM, this was back at the 2002-03 Devcon. Hello? His comment, I remember, ("not that much improved" - or something similar) drew groans from the crowd.

I agree - spoil your developers - but they still need to sit in the world of user reality.

Great things accomplished with Microsoft VFP

I found this from Kevin and thank you!

Here's a direct link to the success blog. If you are a FoxPro developer, you should be here!


FoxPro Successes: The great things accomplished with Microsoft VFP

Why FoxPro Survives...

Quote from John Koziol: "I also wanted to get across how seriously we took customer wish lists and bug reports. For practical reasons, we had to say "no" to 10 suggestions for every one we took. Some people over time saw this as favoritism and I always felt bad about that and wanted to set that record straight.

Finally, at the Q&A, I wanted to stress that VFP survives and thrives not because of the amount of marketing that MS does for it, but on the sheer ingenuity and professionalism of VFP developers. And that's going to always be that way. The community does not give itself enough credit, IMHO."

John - great post (hidden among other comments) - hopefully that makes a lot of things more understandable.

I remember a Devcon when one dev said "that's my ER!" - and it was a true sentiment - yes, many others may have had a similar ER - but it is truly an awesome feeling when you see your input received.

This is why VFPX exists (and VFPY for that matter) ...to ensure every VFP developer who has an idea, contributes it and works to make it real.

(reminds me...where is that Code Analyst anyways?)

John, you may feel the need to get sign-off from Milind (thank you and welcome), Calvin (thank you), Richard (thank you), Ken and Yag and everyone on the FoxTeam, but we don't - thank you for your valuable posts.

gonzomaximus: FoxForward - Day 2

Ok Markus! I get it - I have to unsubscribe

Damn it, Markus! I hate to say it but I'm loving your travel
blog.

I only hate to say it because Trish and I are locked in a home with animals that require our constant attention - but I do love your very amazing descriptions of the places you and Ellen are visiting.

I saw Pompeii's aftermath when it visited our own Museum of Civilization but I am so glad I subscribed - and those who love to hear about different places should as well (despite the title of this post).

THANK YOU.

MarkusEgger.com - Travel and International Living Blog

Friday, September 15, 2006

FoxForward Starts...

Hey there Kevin , I hope the FoxForward FoxPro conference goes well. I'm looking forward to as many live blogs from the show as possible.

Oh yeah, and everyone should take the opportunity to say Hi to Kevin and congratulate him on those awesome VFP videos! What videos? These videos.

And hey wow! There's a video as well for Southwest - wish I had seen that earlier.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Eric Sink on Code Coverage

Another must read by Eric Sink - this time explaining the hows and why of code coverage

Makes me really wish for a good automated testing tool for FoxPro. Yes, there's FoxRunner but the UI still isn't clean enough (at least for me or my application is just too funky for it). It always seems that good automated tools like that work great for "well-architected" applications but they don't do a good job on older applications that are the ones that really need the coverage.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Stuart has a good Tone

Stuart's post about Tone is a great read.

After reading it, I found myself thinking of one older application I have where, indeed, it says "Your record has been saved." when the user clicks Save.

New UI design isn't just happening in Vista - it's something we can (and should) practice every day. It's not just about making the application look good, but also making it friendlier for end-users.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Prague Devcon 2006 Day 1 - OutFox the World!

Dave Crozier has a full report on Prague Devcon 2006 Day 1 - OutFox the World!

Thanks to David for noting this to me.

As well, you can also read Doug's posts on it.

Thanks guys - not as good as being there - but it helps.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Olaf vs. Joe

Bug Bash and Olaf

Oh I get it now.

You see - Joe's team is the regular Microsoft patch group who releases the Tuesday pathes and Olaf's team is the one who decided that when DRM was broken, Microsoft could bypass their own rules and fix it immediately.

This explains who won!


I'm just surprised that Ted hadn't reported on this yet - he's usually really quick on this.

The Tao Of Backup

Found this from Guy - after he failed to backup his MacBook - it's a great read.

The Tao Of Backup

Fox Sighting: What Next?

So now that you've spotted the Fox and downloaded FoxPro, where do you go?

I remember seeing this on a lot of different newsgroups as well when you get new MSDN subscribers or when Visual Studio.Net came out - where do I learn about FoxPro?

There are a number of places. Craig did a great set of videos about learning Visual FoxPro, Andy Kramek has a set of wonderful articles about best practices. I've put them all together on Learning Visual FoxPro.

Do you have others? Let me know and we can ensure the links get added there.

Of course, another great resource is the Wiki.

More Tips for Kevin

Rick put up some good pointers for Kevin but didn't answer one of his nightmares : speaking to an empty room.

While I can't say what it means to speak to a completely empty room, I do know that some of the BEST sessions I've attended have been sparsely attended. Why? Because the speaker said "Forget about the big screen, let's sit around and watch it on the laptop" - and between three people, went through the real content, got valuable information and the speaker got new ideas about how to make the session even better.

Yes - well attended sessions always feel good and provide lots of opportunity for feedback - but sparsely attended sessions can also be very valuable.

And of course, you can run through the material and THEN check out the other session

This is the first though that I heard about John Koziol's session - wow - that would be a must-see.

Kevin Ragsdale : FoxForward is One Week Away

Remembering 9/11

A t-shirt , a word, a picture, a memory - everyone has their own personal memory of this day, five years ago.

Preparing for my morning DevCon session in San Diego, I had decided to be up early and was working in the session room when the first plane hit.

Trish has commented on how she felt fortunate not to have seen it all happen in real time (PDT vs. EDT). I went up to our room before my session began and told her to turn on the TV. Everything was over by then - and the rest was just beginning. I would agree except that I was there in "real time", receiving instant messages from a North Carolina office and attempting to view the front page on MSNBC. I wasn't watching television so I had no view on watching the destruction until later but giving the 8am session and coming out to a hallway filled with tears, TV monitors and more was an experience I will never forget.

That Devcon was incredibly surreal - I imagine, for everyone there. Dinner in the Gaslight District a few days later, walking on the pier between the airport (where no planes were taking off) and the base where jet fighters flew by. A colleague left the hotel, not wanting to wait for a flight, and took a bus from San Diego back to Ottawa (viewing a great deal of the entire American country along the way). We waited it out and finally got home only a few days later than when we were supposed to.

Removed, yet not removed. Anyone who had been to New York before 9/11 likely felt they were there on that day. We had our honeymoon in New York years before and still have pictures showing the towers silhouetted behind us.

Lives are lost every day, many times without reason or a meaning as to why. There are those who love and those who hate. Those lives who were lost that day across the United States - and anyone whose lives have been touched by those who hate - were lost needlessly and should never be forgotten.

I've never been back to New York and who knows if I ever will be. But it is a day (as are the days after) etched into my memory forever.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Apple's design kills my own "multi-functional hand-held"

As I look over at these drawings, I went over to my filing cabinet and pulled out a rendition I had done up over 15 years ago (maybe even longer - it was before I was doing Fox stuff) of what I thought should be Apple's first "mobile" device. ( I was going to scan it but then thought better of it since Apple's lawyers would probably be all over the "Apple" logo I thought looked cool on it).

Keyboard? Who needs one. From my spec: "A speech digitizer and microphone would record users' comments for layer playback or communications with other users via modem. Microphone would be activated by pressing either of the side buttoms making it easy for both left and right handed people. Speech would be sampled allowing for clear but not stereo quality...compression similar to MACE...one pressed, a control on the screen would relay the digitized message back through the headset or a small speaker"

Oh yeah - but a hand drawn note then said "Extra jack can be used for additional keyboard"

All touch screen and the only buttons on the device would switch you into different "modes" such as modem, day timer or phone numbers.

The neat part was the three jacks : headphone, one for a radio (cellular) antenna and another for direct modem communications.

My vision was that I could record my comments, send them and then software on the receiving end would either a) convert them into text or b) just let them be played.

Total size? 6 inches by 3inches.

Wow - how the world has changed - or has it? Granted, I didn't originally think about video (which is part of what Apple is apparently revealing on Tuesday for their iPods) - and who needs a direct modem jack in this world. But everytime I hear about new patent drawings, I'm always drawn back to this old document.

The saddest thing? I have no DATE on this document. Nada - nothing - so unless I want to hire Dan Rather to do some print and paper dating, I would never be able to prove I had the idea of an "Apple handheld" first.

Ah - what the heck! Here is a quick capture of it:


I always think of all these great ideas that have come up in the past (Markus and I worked on an interactive Form Builder for within an application back in 1995) - things that were ideas that now slowly become reality. Go figure.

» Apple files patent for "multi-functional hand-held" | The Apple Core | ZDNet.com

Developer Night in Canada

Cue the tunes... The Microsoft Developer group in Canada is touring the country, mainly touting Atlas and AJAX.

Yes, the Atlas stuff may not be directly for FoxPro developers but the AJAX stuff definitely can be. I've been doing a bunch of stuff with AJAX and some COM components and it totally rocks. If you are building web-based applications, then it might be a good idea to try and attend.

The original note said they weren't hitting a lot of cities but the list currently hits 17 cities (it hits Toronto three times).

John Bristowe's Weblog : [Events] Developer Night in Canada (DNIC) User Group Tour

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Craig Asks for another call to action

Craig,

Of course with conference season upon us, one would think that the blogosphere would be PACKED with posts but sadly, Rick was one of the only ones who jumped on it.

But part of the issue I find with Tiobe is: which counts more? VFP, FoxPro, Fox, etc? As well, other tracking sites just don't do some of us justice. Don't try looking for FoxPro in technorati - it never shows recent posts from me , as well as others - despite my being one of the first FoxPro people to sign up.

Check out the posts regarding the great XFRX tool.

But on a more serious front, what can one do?

1. Add your posts and links of interest to del.icio.us. It's a free tagging service and it does increase buzz (which is really what TIOBE is all about)

2. Post any and all of your thoughts on the matter. I will bet that 90% of FoxPro developers are a lot like J Osborn who may feel a bit guilty, but has the right idea about posting about what they're doing.

3. User group members : BLOG about your meetings. It's not enough just to put it onto FoxCentral - tell us what happened (even if it was Vista blowing up). UGs do a great job of advertising their meetings but not enough about what went on. I can appreciate it's part of the reason for the memberships but there's a lot to show and talk about these days.

4. Podcasters: Where are your podcasts? Oh, yeah, that's me. Sorry - been really busy - no excuse for sure but it's the truth...

5. What? You aren't blogging? But you have time to tell "real" people about the joys of working in FoxPro? Tell it aloud. There is not a single developer

6. So now, I have to say : Bob Kocher and Kevin Cully - your conferences are right around the corner. I hope the WiFi is blasting and the laptops are out, blogging away.

What else can be done?

Tiobe Again

Facebook Revolt - imeem alternatives?

When Scoble noted how Facebook under major revolt , I immediately thought of a site I found yesterday. The value offered by Facebook's feeds however do seem very cool - if only they had been smart and made them opt-in, instead of opt-out.

I have been impressed though with Facebook's opening of their API's - they certainly get it that they need to open it up to developers.

I haven't really explored this other site, beyond my first look. In some ways, I think the whole social networking site thing is just silly , but this site (imeem) definitely showed some value.

I could find music (as posted by the artist), it worked in Firefox and it allowed people to rank, add to delicious and more. And when I'm looking at someone, I can see what they're up to (or rather what they allow us to see).

Anyways, you may want to check it out.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Using BINDEVENT to ease FoxPro Grid issues

BINDEVENT is one of those great FoxPro commands that you never think of until you need it but when you do, you really appreciate it and you'll want to immediately refactor your code (hmmm- this sounds like a good Refactoring rule for the Code Analyst).

I was updating a client's older VFP system that used a lot of grids with RightClick methods. Lots of older programs do the same thing: putting code directly into the rightclick method of each columns' Text1 control. It's a real pain later on - especially if you ever reset the recordsource (which rebuilds the columns from scratch). In addition, if you use Page Up and Page Down to scroll through the various pieces of code, you get to see each individual column's method, which can get very tedious if you have a lot of grids.

Now, when you use BINDEVENT, it's a lot less code and a lot easier to manage. I put the actual rightclick code into a method either on the form or grid and then just do:

FOR EACH loColumn IN THIS.Grid.Columns
BINDEVENT(loColumn.text1,"Rightclick",;
THIS,"ColRightClick")
ENDFOR

When the user right-clicks in the grid, it calls the ColRightClick method.

Is this easier than putting THIS.ColRightClick() in each Text1 object? Maybe not if you only have two or three columns; but most of the grids I work with have lots of columns. Using this approach means I can keep my code OUT of the grid's columns and accomplish this in only three lines of code.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Thank you Rick

Rick Schummer did a great job covering the FoxPro DevCon and you can see all of his results here.

Shedding Some Light: Advisor DevCon - Wrap up

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

Hope you have an awesome Labor day and thanks again!

Short of streaming or podcasting the event, this was great.

On a DevCon note, I was kind of sad about the turnout - I heard from an attendee that he felt it was kind of depressing because in the past, DevCons were where you could see all the new cool stuff. Now with VFPX and Sedna being "transparent", many developers had already seen it.

I'm of mixed thoughts on this - I would hope that MS pulled out a little bit more "cool stuff" but then after reading Craig's thoughts on TechEd, maybe not. I always look at Devcons as being about the enthusiasm and from the sounds of it from Rick's posts, many of those FoxPro sessions had it.


Thanks again, Rick!