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Showing posts from June, 2008

What's Going On? : Letting the users know

As many UX (user experience) people will point out, the good ol' WAIT WINDOW command, while useful for showing progress, isn't very visually pleasing. Many developers skip the WAIT WINDOW and favor a progress bar but as Andy Kramek has pointed out on his blog, when you're scanning through a 20,000 record table, tracking the percentage complete can slow you down. While it's nice to show the actual percentage, even Vista now just shows an animated therm that really doesn't show progress. What alternatives are there? MSGSVC has a useful therm approach - which can display an animated icon.But it uses a Timer and those can take up valuable resources. I've recently taken to putting up a form with an animated GIF on it among other things. I used to use the animated AVI file approach that MS recommended years ago but the big problem there is that it's too hard to create a nice AVI or the tools just aren't there to do it. (My users are getting tired of seeing t

SW Fox 2008: Deadline Coming Up

Southwest Fox 2008 is coming up in mid-October (boy that seems far away) - but the early bird deadline is right around the corner. This conference is definitely going to be interesting. It's the FIRST conference since Sedna and the real "take-over" of FoxPro by the community and while the community itself is widespread all over the world, there's going to be a lot of news coming out of this show, for sure (just as there usually is out of most conferences). I was talking to a friend who is speaking at the Prague conference and he's unveiling a new report framework that is very exciting (I have a FoxShow interview that I'm cleaning up so it can be posted shortly) and the Southwest Fox conference is going to have most (if not all) of the VFPX project managers present, showcasing what's new there. The early bird rate is $620 and includes a free pre-conference. I hope to see you there. The FoxShow will be podcasting from the show "floor" on a daily b

Developers and Politics: A good idea?

I just learned that Kevin Ragsdale is running for Congress   he's running as an independent and as he notes on his campaign website, he's running for change in politics (a common theme in this US election) but more importantly as he notes, he has 9 trillion reasons to run (the National Debt). So good luck Kevin! As he notes: "When I'm approached to create a solution, I simply study the problem and apply logic and common sense ...Maybe we could use a few more programmers in Washington, and a few less lawyers." So that got me thinking. Are there generic pros and cons about developers running for congress? Pros 1. As Kevin notes, logic is a key component of programming logic. While not necessarily that of everyone who writes a program (or a compiler), the key point is once you know the rules of the compiler, logic will prevail (for the most part). Does that apply to government or politics? It's supposed to, except that politicians always like to change the rules.

Andy Kramek : Access and Assign methods can be useful!

At the risk of simply pointing to someone else's post and saying "yes, I do this and you should read this if you don't", Andy Kramek has a great post about Access and Assign methods can be useful! I use Access/Assign methods probably not as much as I should and his post pulls out some examples that I hadn't thought of before: a) to create form objects that don't already exist (as in THISFORM.oDataManager, etc). This means you don't simply do a THIS.AddObject() to a form but rather assign it to a property la THIS.oDataManager = CREATEOBJECT("datamanager") b) Running code by using SetAll which does call the Assign method.

Using DNN Controls

Dave Bush has started a great series on using and developing DotNetNuke modules. As he notes in the intro: "What you read here will not necessarily be the DotNetNuke sanctioned way of creating a module.  But, it will be what really works.  It will tell you what you have to do when and why you need to do it and why you might want to skip it altogether." Ah....the "hacker's guide" to DNN. His post on the Label control outlines a lot of the functionality that you might not immediately grok when starting with the DNN framework. Subscribing to the RSS is a lot easier than reading page after page as well. If you're using DotNetNuke, check it out. DotNetNuke Modules - DNN Controls - Label

Wine Released - after 15 years

Ted Roche noted over on Twitter that Wine has been released. Wine as in the open source implementation of the Windows API for X, OpenGL and Unix. This is interesting more in passing for Fox developers as Wine was one of the tools that allowed FoxPro applications to run under Linux (among other environments). It also brought the entire FoxPro EULA (and likely any other MS product) to the raging issue stage (most MS Dev EULAs state that Apps can only be distributed on the Windows platform). In my interview with Christof, he had noted that his Guineu project allowed FoxPro code to run on Linux environments thanks to the Mono project, which is a DotNet client for those environments.  Wine is something different although if you look through the app list, you may get a poor feel for it as it would appear that the only apps people really wanted to run on those environments were games (with the exception of PhotoShop CS2, all on the Platinum, Silver and Gold lists were games). Wine The develop

Need Video or Image Capture? Jing is very cool!

I know many developers use SnagIt for capturing images or even video for their applications. SnagIt is from TechSmith so I was surprised to hear about their new project, the free tool named Jing. Jing appears as a glowing ball atop your screen as shown here: Select the cross-hairs and then choose if you want to just capture an image or a video (with sound). It then creates the file and you can instantly upload it to TechSmith's or FTP it over to your site as needed. Fast and easy screen capture and looks great to boot! When you do a screen capture, what's really cool about it is that it stores the screen video as SWF (or Flash) , making it easy to embed directly into web pages or other locations (cross-platform). The tag line as shown below is "Visual Conversation starts here" - and they're right. I was really surprised at how easy this was to use. But it competes with their own commercial Camtasia and SnagIt -(it does promote their

NetSuite Buys OpenAir For $26 million

TechCrunch just reported that NetSuite Buys OpenAir For $26 million This is interesting from a few angles. I've used both and I continue to use OpenAir for my timesheets having started almost (jeez!) 8 years ago. They have always struck me as a great company. They have a very straight forward policy: new upgrades every month. They might be small, they might be large (they just announced Crystal Report integration this past month) - but they always deliver a set of updates every month. And the price point is right - while I don't know what their current offering goes for, they have been able to keep my company on the same month to month cost for the entire time, less than $300 a year. I've always wondered how they were doing as an overall business since they didn't really fall into the whole Web 2.0 stream but still had a huge number of industry relationships. NetSuite, on the other hand, I really can't say. For an expensive solution (close to 30K for a small compan

Pay for Value or Pay for Time

Doug Hennig has a great post about the challenges of switching from Time-based pricing to Value-based pricing. It's certainly a hard thing to do - as Doug points out, it's easier for products but harder for Services as Products Great read! fs

Unpinning VFP 8...

Even though it's a relic from Windows XP and was substantially upgraded (or downgraded depending on your view) in Vista, the classic Start menu really does have some great features (while I don't agree with everything this article (18 things Vista & XP need) from the UK PC Advisor notes - the fact that it was WRONG about some things too, the point about Mac's standarised menu ribbon is bang on) "Pinning" is one of my favorites. While XP automatically puts regularly used applications on your start menu for easy access, you can easily add to this list yourself by right-clicking and choosing to "Pin to start menu". I do this regularly for tools I know I always use at least once a month (like West Wind Help Builder, ISTool and others ) - so I don't have to go scrounging through the program files menu. Even though I do use SlickRun for fast access to programs, I never got around to adding all of them on there. But for the past few months, there&#