Thursday, November 29, 2007

FoxShow #47 Now Available

I just posted The FoxShow #47 that features a great interview with Tod McKenna on the rules of data normalization (the Forms of normalization) and how they apply (or don't) to databases (SQL Server , FoxPro, etc) for general application use and then also for reporting.

It comes in around 50 minutes - but I figure that makes up for the fact that I wasn't able to get one out in the past few weeks.

Enjoy!

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New Edit Property/Method Dialog Replacement Available

Doug noted it here and if you haven't used it yet, it's definitely worth the download for Visual FoxPro.

I've been using this tool for creating properties so often now that I've forgotten what the original one looks like. Now, they've taken it one step further with the addition of Marcia's Edit Property/Method dialog. Doug's post has a rundown on more of the new features but this new piece totally rocks, making both dialogs dockable and non-modal.

How does that help developers?

You write code and decide that you want to need a new property or method. Habit kicks in and you close your code dialog and click New Property. Now you can't remember the exact name of the property. No problem - open up the code window (while the New Property dialog is still visible) to create it. A lot less trouble closing and opening windows.

Having the Edit dialog being non-modal makes it also really easy to document properties and methods (if you don't fill in the description, you're just making your code harder to maintain).

And I love the ability to switch between Property and Method on the fly in the New dialog - boy, I've made that mistake so many times.

I do have some gripes/wishes but that's WHAT the VFPX project is all about - you want to make changes? Go for it. Either submit them in as wish lists or join into the project and make the changes yourself.

Here's mine - so now I just have to make the changes on my side, test them out and then see about getting them into the full code base:

1. In the Edit dialog, why not have an option to hide the standard PEMs so you're only looking at custom ones? (for that matter, if you're going to show them, why not let us Edit them - this could almost act as a replacement Property window to some extent - and yes I KNOW that's not its scope)
2. In the New Method dialog, we need an option to immediately Add and Edit (as well as add and close).
3. Font options - this is always a tough one - some people like their custom apps (or non-built in tools) to look different - I'm not sold on it - so I would love an option to make the entire UI standard with regards to Font size.

One of the great things about this tool is that it highlights a feature in VFP that very few take advantage of (It seems like Doug has been promoting it for years now) - the ability to completely change what various built-in menu options do. The Help file goes into full details of how it works.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Where Have I Been?

Wow - there's been so much information going on in the FoxPro community over the past week and I've been extremely quiet (we lost a beloved pet on November 4th and it's been a bit harder than one might expect).

Craig and Rick have done an excellent job covering the German Developer Conference where Rainer received a Lifetime Achievement Award (congrats Rainer). As Rick noted in an earlier post, there needs to be a more active awareness campaign on VFPX, likely with Codeplex across the board. I know that Alan Stevens has uploaded his VfPX MSBuild Project and there are so many other little projects that COULD be in there.

I see that Craig Boyd has also started a countdown and that Cathy is now blogging (thanks to Doug and Rick's post on this).

Now....back to blogging more regularly...

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