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Showing posts from June, 2006

VFPX at CodePlex

Wow - writing that headline almost sounded like a movie playing at a Cineplex but the VFPX site looks like it's up at CodePlex, along with a cool little logo.



Looking at the Logo, I think the VFPX name works well.

It doesn't look like all of the user rights have been assigned yet but the projects are there and ready to go.

CodePlex looks pretty cool as an overall environment - it's got issue tracking, source code control, releases and discussions (much like SourceForge).

If you haven't been involved much in the SednaX side of things, now's the time to jump into VFPX - download the current version of tools and then start letting people know what works and what doesn't.

VFPX

FoxPro is outdated - compared to what? (an example of what FoxPro developers are up against)

I recently heard of an interesting story - you can read about it here - related to how the FBI recently canceled a project for a management system. No big whoop there except that the vendor in question was selling a FoxPro application. The full PDF report (from the Auditor General) is available here .

Just so you don't need to read it - here are the parts that were interesting:

The customization was a slow process because the JusticeTrax LIMS relies on an aging code format, Visual FoxPro.While Visual FoxPro is outdated, it is still compatible with today’s technology. However, according to FBI personnel, Visual FoxPro is difficult and slow to customize compared to newer programming languages. While the extent of customization was the main obstacle, having to use the old code increased the delays.

Note: JusticeTrax's LIMS application uses VFP 9 and a SQL Server back-end. It is also used by a variety of law enforcement agencies and forensic labs across North America.

What was the FBI…

Defending Bob (and other unopopular UI choices)

Adam Barr really went out on a limb with this one but reading the comments is where you'll find even more gold in this great blog post.

Dumping on the iPod, promoting the "Designer Era" and then hearing about different ways people interpret design.

It's a great post (comments included). I don't know if Adam was behind the "Microsoft iPod" video but many of the comments make the same point. "Apple does defrag behind the scenes, if MS did it, they would still put up a big sign telling you they were doing it".

And no, Adam doesn't defend Bob 1.0 completely - "Windows does not necessarily need to become Bob, it just needs to be designed right for *its* customers. Maybe some brilliant designers can figure out one UI that works for everyone, or not." (for the record, Trish loved using Spot the dog as the Office 200x assistant and we did get a copy of Bob because it DID make computing somewhat less confrontational. Was it perfect? Absolute…

WinFS Update: That Smarts!

Ouch. Reading the comments, that must smart for the developers who have spent their time working on this.

Sure, it's cool to access the file system in a development environment through code access but this has been an oft-touted benefit of each new subsequent version of Windows.

Maybe Ted is right, could an existing open-source file system be used instead with better results?

Too bad.

What's in Store : WinFS Update

Zoho offers more than just typical web-apps

OK - I admit it - I read ZdNet and that's where I first saw this. I was somewhat skeptical because there are so many "web-office" competitors out there - what makes this one so different?

But after looking at the entire site, I have to agree with Richard when he says that Zoho may be well-positioned to take a stronghold in this area.

Forget about Word-processing, spreadsheets and presentations for the time-being (oh yeah, those are FREE) - all of those are offered.

Zoho offers a Virtual office much like the Webex Office. But it also includes a Page Creator (like Google's), your own Planner, an online chat, but what really caught my eye was Zoho Challenge and ZohoCreator.

You need to test people? Challenges works great. Here's the way to do it. You add questions, identify the correct response and then assign the test to individual candidates. It lets you mark questions, show images and more.

Need to create a web app? I have tried DabbleDB and really liked it so I was…

Offering Multiple Feeds

Craig, I agree -
I was also a bit disappointed when I realized that Rick Schummer has switched his feeds to only showing the partial feed instead of the whole one. Update: Rick's feed is a FULL text feed but Newsgator is only showing a few lines of posts done later on. I wonder why.

You can have a Feedburner that offers full feeds and another that offers only the partial feed (Feedburner calls this its Summary Burn).

This is kind of like what Steve has done on the Wiki - choose between Full, brief or title only for updates.

Another solution for you Craig - Fetchlinks. It's a Newsgator plug-in that will actually download the entire piece into Newsgator (whoops - it's for the desktop version only - i.e. Email version).

But I agree with you - I'm getting to the point where it makes more sense for me to stop subscribing to sites that don't give me full text. (again)

Improving MapPoint

Last week, I returned from a family wedding in State College, Penn. We decided to travel the way down after realizing that the time it would take to drive down would be about the same as it would be to fly after all the delays and waiting around airports (note: there are no real direct flights out of Ottawa except to "hub" cities). I had just received MapPoint 2006 and thought "now is the ideal time to try out the directions." I also retrieved directions from Google Maps just to be on the safe side. Since I wasn't bringing a laptop, I printed the directions and put some of the maps onto my Pocket PC just to be safe.

As it turned out, both of the maps were fairly identical but what I want to note here are very small and useful features that could be used to improve just about any mapping service, with a focus on Mappoint.

1. Export a Route to Pocket Streets.
Why this one hasn't been done is beyond me. You can choose to Export a map to Pocket Streets but if you…

Shedding Some Light on shedding some light

Rick points out some great new additions to Bob's Southwest Fox 2006. He notes some of the great new speakers that were just added to the list but also about every attendee getting $150 in dbi Dollars. That's a great opportunity especially considering that dbi is offering some of their controls as part of Sedna (so be sure NOT to use those dbi Dollars on those six controls).

While perusing the site, I found this post of Rick's, which is a very good read, especially for those developers or consultants who feel the need to pull out conspiracy theories.

As Rick noted "this blog is not read by everyone" - but just by posting re-links to it keeps a valuable discussion going. Rick's Shedding Some Light is a great blog and his report on Craig at the DAFUG was awesome!

It's tough to keep up with everything because there are so many feeds to read. I keep on putting posts that I want to make into my drafts folder because I just don't have all the time to get them…

Privacy Bill of Rights?

I tend to keep out of political issues but after just seeing this headline - Hillary Clinton calls for "privacy bill of rights" - I have to ask - has the US Constitution been trampled on so much that no one has any regard for its amendment process?

A separate "bill of rights" ends up being as useless as some group getting together to form some "taxpayer's bill of rights" - they end up being silly, derided and a big waste of time.

If loss of privacy is such a huge issue, then add it to the only "bill of rights" that the US has - the Constitution so that everyone, from the Supreme court on down, has to respect it.

Or maybe she hasn't really thought this through and just wanted talking points...

Oh well, this is why I stay out of this stuff. Politically, there are MORE important things to worry about, like losing the ability to show public domain works.
Update: And yes I do know that there is confusion about what the WIPO amendment might mean …

Dave wants to OutFox the World!

So welcome Dave Crozier to the blogging world with his OutFox the World! blog.

And what a way to start - the VFP Organizer is in beta. He had a video of it up a few days back (as noted on ProFox) but now he's letting users download and use it. All done in VFP - check out the picture here.


What's funny is that I just finished submitting an article about dbi Technologies's ctDays control for FoxPro Advisor and lo and behold , here's the VFP Organizer.

Looks great and welcome Dave! - can't see how else you plan to outfox us!

Virtual Earth Mashup does web services one better

Ken posted this last week but I haven't had a chance to try it out.

Now that I have - I have to say, "wow - that was easy".

I had previously signed up to the MapPoint web services to see how we could use those. I'm sorry but the whole registration and entire process of using the web services made it a chore. The Virtual Earth SDK is how every web tool should offer itself over the web.

I love MapPoint (although I have a separate post brewing in me about my latest trip through Penn State with it) - but the fact that I could say "Show me directions" and then switch over to the source code tab to copy and paste it into my very own web page totally rocks.

Well done! This should be a model for how VS automatically creates web services - it's not enough to show the sample call, show an example of how it works and then show the code behind it.

Does it dumb down developers? I don't think so - this is just like "Full Code Intellisense" - let me tell you…

Welcome to DLL Hell 3.0!

As Vassilis notes, Microsoft has gone back to
Where the tools have no name. And some people aren't that happy about it.

Now maybe it won't be that bad, but judging by the comments left when people tried to re-install Windows 2003 SP1, it seems like the supposed salvation is still somewhere lost in the details.

And since many applications are still just running with DotNet 1.1, now you'll have "do you have DotNet 2.0 on it" or maybe DotNet 3.0 or maybe they will have to rely on the actual four digit version #, which is how their directories are named.

The Microsoft Code

When I started reading this, I was worried it would get really long (and possibly boring). At 6 chapters, it's short, sweet and just down-right funny. A hilarious send-off of the Da Vinci Code right at Microsoft.

The funniest exchange (abridged) - a discussion on the user interface choices in Microsoft products:

"It should be easy to rotate, I think it's here on the Format menu, you just choose Font or Paragraph. Hmm, there is no Paragraph choice..."

"Maybe it's on the Edit menu, under Object."

The level 71 developer clicked a couple of times. "Object just highlights it. It's probably somewhere on the Format menu. Is it Alignment? No, that's just left/right/center."

"Let's try the Text Box option on the Format menu," "Great, it's a modal dialog with tabs. What about the Position tab?"

"Hey, what about the Text Box tab. Of course, we'll have a dialog called Text Box and then put a tab called Text Box on i…

Name Your FoxPro

The SednaX admins have made a few noises about the need for a real "production" name for the SednaX project. (SednaX is a community-based initiative for add-ons to Visual FoxPro - since Microsoft code-named their next set of work Sedna, the SednaX kind of fit nicely). So the Name Your FoxPro poll results so far are favouring a VFPX (which is a play on VFP 10 as well as favoring the eXtended nature) but VFP.Next is also making a big play here.

You can vote here and don't be afraid to add your own suggestions. You can already see some fun entries such as:

Ostrich
Vixen
Starlight

or perhaps one that speaks to some VFP developers feelings about MS, "Futility".

It's important to note that this is not about renaming FoxPro proper - it's about getting a more public name for the SednaX work. Follow the discussion in the forum threads. The poll was simply put up to give an easy place to comment on it all.

Brian Jones: Offering PDF for Free

Just my luck. I read up from Ted and post a bunch only to find out from Brian that they plan on offering it as a free-download.

Funny the way the world works these days. The big issue though is will IT departments really download it?

I agree with Brian. It sounds like the conspiracy theory may be off for a while - if this is Adobe's mistake, they should really smarten up.

Brian Jones: Open XML Formats : Legal issues around PDF support

Microsoft and Adobe: Leaving the way for Metro?

Ted may be starting to sound a little paranoid after Microsoft's announcement about dropping PDF but who can blame him?

Update: Brian has stated this is Adobe's issue, not Microsoft's.

It certainly is strange. Not supporting PDF is kind of like having a music player that doesn't support MP3. Of course, since Microsof also won't support ODF, that means their one hope for a "global" format is Metro, talking about at the recent HEC. There's a spec here.

From a developer perspective, having the entire doc format done in XML will make it easier for VFP developers to write tools that export data but that's something being planned for interfacing with regular Office docs anyways, right? The big downside is that it immediately locks you into the Win platform. O/S debates aside, that wouldn't be bad if Windows supported every device you used but that ratio is getting smaller, not larger (unless your home is outfitted with a Windows Media Centre, Win Smar…

Craig's awesome skill toolkit!

Craig noted about the most recent Sydney UG meeting that he had limited time to go through what he wanted to and that he was stumped by attendees saying they don't find a lot of value in blogs. But he pointed to his articles and whoa! His VFP Business Skills help file (nicely done with HTML Help Builder) is chock-full of valuable examples, ideas and links to very useful sites to help with (not just promoting VFP) but also basic perception tips you can put into your application to make it better.

It's a fast read but what a great resource as an intro for VFP developers who are a) trying to make their app look good and b) trying to promote their own skillset.

VFP Business Skills