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Showing posts from November, 2006

Need to Diagram your FoxPro programs?

I just got a news release from a company in Finland touting the latest version of Visustin, a flowcharting program that reported to work with Visual FoxPro, among other languages. I was definitely curious and for good reason - one thing I always used to love about FoxDoc, that old venerable project documenting tool, was its flow diagram. (granted it was in ASCII but it was still useful)

Here's a screen shot of Visustin with a sample VFP program:

It's very cool and I can definitely see where it would be useful in figuring out new pieces or "inherited" pieces of code. The fact that it also helps diagram VB, C#, Java, T-SQL and other code as well, definitely should make it invaluable to anyone.

You can open a program or simply cut and paste code in the screen and hit Diagram and away it goes.

It even lets you export out to Visio, Word and Powerpoint - great for code reviews! A bulk flowchart program (disabled in the demo) looks like it would let you chart out a set of files…

Too bad, so zune

While there has been lots of criticism of the Zune in the past, at least some people have come out with positive remarks.

And then there's
Andy Ihnatko who notes "Avoid the loony Zune"

His prediction? dead and gone within six months! (ouch!)

His article sounds like a typical anti-drm rant except it's about a tool that was supposed to become a new level of fun.

Great article - too bad about the player.

While I don't have an iPod, I'll stick with my Windows Pocket PC. Now, I just need an 8GB SD card to hold all my music and podcasts!

Cool Way to experience different tools

I've subscribed to RSS feed for the
Giveaway of the Day site and while it doesn't happen every day, I am finding some great tools that I can use right away.

Today was one of those days. I don't have the full version of Adobe Acrobat on my systems but every now and then I want to create a PDF version of a TIF or JPG document so I can ensure people can view it. Today's giveaway was a tool called Total Image Converter. It attaches itself to the right-click menu in Windows and wow! convert any graphical image to just about any other format instantly.

Giveaway is an interesting site - every day, there's a new tool. After the 24 hours has passed, it's gone. They mention it but you can't download it again. If you download it during the 24 hours and install it, you can activate it and now you have a full functioning version of the software.

If you don't, you'll still get the unregistered version (and will then have to pay to get it upgraded) - but it's a g…

Office 2007 Setup Woes

So I was all set to install Office 2007 a few days ago, fresh from the MSDN download but when I first tried it , I got the "This setup is for a different language" message.

Hmph - have to redownload.

So today I finally got around to it.

Step 1 - You have to uninstall the previous beta version. (maybe MS shouldn't release real public betas anymore - I can only imagine regular users getting that message and becoming frustrated. (yes - I KNOW that regular users shouldn't be using the beta but when the habit "du jour" is to promote betas instead of releasing new products, it shouldn't be a big surprise))

Step 2 - During the uninstall, you should stop this program. Only problem? They didn't tell me what program so I had to arbitrarily decide which applications to stop. I think it may have been Google Desktop but I could be wrong.

Step 3 - Into the Install. Five minutes in - Office Setup couldn't find one of the files. Huh? I'm installing this from a …

Relationship Diagram Poll

Who said user feedback isn't easy to get?

One of the products I'm working on has a design choice to be made. It's about the types of lines that should be used to represent an inner join vs. an outer join.


Take My Poll

and let me know what you think.


Update: Some respondees asked about other options (other than thick or thin). While I'm trying to keep it to those two, but I've updated the poll to allow you to enter your own suggestions as well.

Remi Responds

Remi, I'm really glad you responded to my post Did Remi get it even further wrong? and helped better define what you said in your session about Visual FoxPro and the future of the product line.

I'm not going to re-iterate everything because everyone can read it and I really do appreciate it.

And I agree, MS could still do so much more with VFP if they wanted to put in all the functionality that was missing but they obviously aren't. Now it's up to us to do it.

I don't agree that everything about VFP was dreamed up over 20 decades ago, though.

But thank you for responding. Much appreciated.

8 Simple Rules For Developing More Secure Code

Michael Howard's piece in the online MSDN magazine is really good.

Writing secure code is one of those things that, I believe at least, very few FoxPro developers think of. In our quest for the ever extensible application framework and product tool set, the more flexible a solution the better it is.

For example, I created a feature in an application called Form Validation - basically it was custom business rules. It could be called at a variety of hooks and "someone", typically the developer or a power user, could write their own rules. Yes, we provided several templates but if there's one thing I've learned, it's that no template ever covers the real world properly. (ok, maybe not the most important thing I've learned, but it's still true).

Now some developers may be cringing right here, thinking "you let people write their own validation code". Well, yes - because this way, we can have a nice custom solution on each customer's end that is…

Did Remi get it even further wrong?

I don't know why Kevin is going on about Tech-Ed Barcelona except to boil VFP developers' blood but his post referring back to Tim Anderson's post about new projects illustrates some fairly interesting points.

Remi Caron's point about FoxPro forms never looking quite right on Vista is the equivalent of saying a VB 6 form won't look quite right on Vista but then, my thought on the whole matter is that a Javascript application also won't look right on Vista.

And my own attempts at building desktop applications in Visual Studio all suffer from the same "god, it looks awful" approach as well until I go through and design around various UI guidelines. If you want to design for the new interface, you'll want to use the new tools. So do you use WinForms or WPF? The argument goes around and around. When MS comes out with Vienna or whatever is next and introduces a whole new round of UX (user experience) changes, their toolset will have to be revamped agai…

Wake up call to the Fox community.

Looks like the VFP community needs to give some Microsoft PMs a good shake or at least remind others that when speakers write an abstract, they are told to try and "spice it up" and thus say as many inflamatory things as possible. Sound familiar?

Not necessarily Milind, mind you - but when they give conference sessions that have blatant inaccuracies like this "VFP suffers shortcomings in the modern business environment in areas such as disconnected data, security, mobile devices, and more" - then someone should be doing better proof reading over at the MS Teched site.

1. Vista doesn't use DotNet - not as much as everyone was led to believe.

2. VFP (FoxPro) supports Vista - perhaps even moreso than Microsoft would want, if you look at the stuff that Craig et al are doing it.

3. DotNet STILL ISN'T the best solution for everything that developers need. Don't get me wrong - it does some really cool things - but the more MS keeps on pushing, the more push-back…

VFPX continues to impress!

While I will readily admit to being a little disheartened when I read that since the VFPY (not VFPX) uses a GPL license, I can't use any of its pieces in commercial software (since it requires that I be able to give away the source code), the original VFPX project is barrelling right along and I'm loving it.

I've already gushed about the ctl32_statusbar control, and Carlos will be working on a scrollable container but my new favorite one is the Outlook2003bar. It works like a pageframe and is very flexible. I subclassed it and pulled it into my own application in just a few minutes. (I'm going to do a screen cam of it this weekend so you can see how to get into it)

Think your VFP application can't look like other apps on the market today? Think again. The VFPX project is making things that developers used to think were difficult without ActiveX, super easy to do.

Kudos to Emerson Reed for leading up this project.