Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Help! My code is suboptimal!

You've got to hand it to SourceGear - not only do they make great products but they make it fun to get swag!

I always wonder if any of the "offers/pleas" companies come out with will even apply to outside the US - I'm happy to see that this one does.

As you can see, (Eric Sink) the Evil Mastermind has me completely at his mercy - he's even got me living in a grey world with fireballs in my hands.



And the full comic is really great as well - where's issue #2? Also, where can I get code-monkeys from?

If you don't know who SourceGear is, they became hugely popular with the SourceOffSite tool, which made VisualSourceSafe useable over the Internet and have since branched out with Vault (a SQL server based VSS system) and Fortress, a SCM tool (x-ray vision goggles not included - or are they?). They also make the great (and free) Diffmerge tool

Monday, July 30, 2007

Vienna will support 32-bit: Even longer life for FoxPro applications

I'll admit it - when Craig has talked about the move to 64-bit in the past, I've agreed with him on it. Microsoft has said numerous times now that they are moving into exclusive 64-bit territory. With all the calls from FoxPro developers wanting VFP to go 64-bit, the amount of work required to do this was always cited as being a reason for not doing any upgrades along this path. Yes, VFP would always run in 32-bit compatibility mode on a 64-bit processor but otherwise, it's not going to take advantage of the next generation of processors. This suggested to me that realistically, 32-bit apps have a future life-span of 10, maybe 15, years.

But this article from ZDNet, Next version of Windows: Call it 7 has a VERY interesting line: "

Like Vista, Windows 7 will ship in consumer and business versions, and in 32-bit and 64-bit versions."

While FoxPro is supported from Microsoft until 2015 but with basic support ending in or around 2010, this means that the next version of Windows will be out around that same timeframe, which would suggest that FoxPro would also be supported under that platform. (as in "runs under Vienna" as opposed to "works with Vienna" or "Certified for Vienna")

It's a curious statement - and maybe someone was misreading something - so if I/they am/are, please clarify.

Most applications these-days are compiled as 32-bit, but more importantly, most of these applications all typically rely on the standard Win32 API. Yes, VS2008 and Silverlight all promise to bring around the wonderful new world of WPF to everyone but real application development on these platforms (as opposed to very cool and fun tutorials) still seems a bit far out there.

Someone recently compared the current tech/dev world to the OS world in the early 90s, when no one knew what the next "big" thing was going to be.

I know of a few large organizations that only just recently moved to XP (from 2000). So yes, there will be the organizations that will continue to move forward and pushing the development edge but they will also be taking a side as to which platform they are supporting. What side the majority of the world comes down on may be a moot point if webware applications (like Coghead - boy that is fun to build with!) continue to grow.

To me, it seems like a good part, if not the majority, of the Desktop world will still be living with 32-bit apps, even though their processors will be 64-bit, for quite a few years to go. In older shops, you may have seen workers flipping between their Windows apps and their 3270 emulation windows. Even today, you see users flipping between Mac to Windows or Linux to WINE apps, etc - all from within their own computer.

The one common denominator that I see on almost all of those platforms? The Browser. Hmmm...maybe Parakey does have something...




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Friday, July 20, 2007

Fox Does Mac!

Check out Emerson Reed's new control - I had missed it back at the end of June but this is really cool.

Works similar to the ZoomBar on a Mac. I love it.

What's nice as well is that it's really simple to add into a form and it's all done in FoxPro.

Definitely worth checking out.

Emerson Santon Reed : Here comes a new control... ZoomNavBar!

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

What I'm Using

I had installed Wakoopa a few months ago just to see what this tool could do. I installed it on both my laptop and desktop machines (which I typically use concurrently - multi-tasking at its finest - or worst) but didn't really see it doing much.

Doh! That's what it was supposed to do - not much - just keep an eye on what I've been working with. Since a lot of my day is spent connecting to customers, it was no surprise that #3 on my Top 10 software was Remote Desktop Connection (also because I use it to connect to my own server as well) - what I did find interesting was the other software I used. What's also cool is that they keep track of the software and the versions being used - so I can easily tell if I'm out of date.

Sadly, Firefox is number one - but that's because I use it now instead of Outlook completely. Outlook is still what I use to sync my ipaq but for day to day, I almost live in gmail, newsgator and basecamp. Hmm...I wish Wakoopa could keep track of those web sites instead of just saying "Firefox". Anyways, it's an interesting tool and I found one other person who had created a great video on FoxPro as well (in another language, could be Spanish but I'm likely wrong on that)

Very interesting (if trivial in the sense of tracking something that you might not normally track) tool...Wakoopa!


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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Embedding images in your emails

I recently had an email request to do just this and now Cesar shows us how using Visual FoxPro.

Granted, it's with CDO but hey, if it works and the user's machine is set up with SMTP email - but now you know how to do it. Great stuff, Cesar....

Cesar Chalom : Embed images to your emails with CDOSYS

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Good and bad habits

Craig Bailey pointed over to this older post by Paul Stovell - Craig's comments on the matter (speaking as a software manager) are just as insightful as Paul's and it reminds me of a recent discussion I was having with a colleague on our FoxPro projects. Paul's triangle diagram is wonderful - you have Resume quality code, production quality code and then prototype quality.

We typically set up a variety of milestones to go through projects, regardless of how small the project may be - and yet invariably, something can jump up - not unlike what's described in BugBash today - and thus throws the entire milestone process into a state of flux. "You have to get this done" or "help this person out" and at the end of the day, time isn't being taken to go through the various steps of the milestones.

We spec'd out a piece of work for an outsourcing resource recently and after reviewing the phase 1 and phase 2 milestones, the comment was "well, why not do it all in one piece?"

Sure, if you've got 10 separate pieces of code to write, why not write them all and THEN review them? (anyone care to guess why?)

We recently wrote up a series of coding guidelines for our outsourcing resources that we use as our primary code review (I mentioned a similar concept in an earlier post) - but one of the milestone steps we always try to incorporate both ways is simply a basic review. While you may not have time to do a proper code review, when handing off work to any resource, it's always useful just to have that "reality check", both on the phone and via shared screens.

One of the challenges? We're all in different locations. We use a variety of tools for this - none seems to do the job properly.

Anyone else face this problem? How do YOU deal with it?

PaulStovell.NET » We are what we repeatedly code

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Languages that never took off

Markus points us over to this great take from SoftwareDeveloper.com - what I find funny is that I remember when TWO of these products (Delphi and PowerBuilder) were touted as FoxPro killers.

Ghosts in the Machine: 12 Coding Languages That Never Took Off - Software Developer

I don't know if I would agree with the entire list - but it was interesting to learn the final fate of VRML (which I had hoped would take off) but has now been supplanted with so many other technologies.


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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Another great new site for learning FoxPro (for free!)

After my last post about the VFP Bootcamp, here's another site to teach FoxPro from Garfield Hudson. With free videos as well as upcoming premium content, it looks like a great source.

Learn Visual FoxPro - Free!!

This is great to see! His free videos include understanding FoxPro data types, modifying data structures and some really great intros to the VFP environment. Check it out!


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Friday, July 13, 2007

Have some people who need to learn FoxPro? Send them to Bootcamp!

Rick commented on the same notice I was about to - Visionpace Bootcamp in August

It's great to see companies like Visionpace and Take Note continuing to offer VFP training like this.

I've noticed a handful of messages recently on Foxite looking for "how do I do..."

Sometimes I refer to them to the online resources but some people do learn better in a classroom environment. These are definitely the places to get it from!


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