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Agile In A Non-Agile Organization

I hesitate to say Agile in a blog as, these days, it sounds like I'm mentioning C or Assembly in a programming discussion. That's not to say it's old but more that it has been commented on so many times, it's not worth mentioning. But too often, Agile is described as an "all or nothing" choice. It's not and my experience has bore this out.

Every organization is different. While businesses may be one type of organization, government is another kind. Small businesses are different than large businesses. Small businesses, for example, will gladly take a chance on open-source software and new tools. Their IT infrastructure can be easily modified to handle it. Larger corporations and governments balk at switching approaches, regardless of benefits. It may be tolerated in smaller groups, but not as a corporate standard.

So when "we're going agile" were the first words mentioned at a project kick-off meeting a few years ago, I was optimistic but no…

Fieldbook: Spreadsheets on Overdrive

Business owners and workers all over the world build applications using spreadsheets. When funds are low or time doesn't permit, a spreadsheet can be the starting point for a new business application. It's fast and easy. Even in larger corporations, workers take to Excel to make up for what their IT departments couldn't or wouldn't give them. Microsoft has done well with this - Excel has grown from a basic spreadsheet to a full application development system. Microsoft may offer Access or SQL Server Express but to the chagrin of many developers (and sales folk), Excel can be used to create not just workbooks with protected cells, but fully form-based applications that hide the specific worksheet structure and produce results, all under the familiar Office flag.

While one can easily argue that Google sheets and Excel in Office 365 brings the spreadsheet to the web, they do so as a calculating engine. Fieldbook takes the business aspect of the spreadsheet interface and b…

For small DB applications, AirTable Rocks My World - it may rock yours as well!

Takeaway: Online databases are powerful and now a viable solution for any business. AirTable gives small businesses a friendly, extensible and all around powerful mobile database tool that can be used within minutes.


Almost five years ago, I spoke to a group of developers and talked about different technologies and areas where database developers might want to look at. I focused on the developer - wanting to move their application development skills into a new arena. These were developers who grew up on building the small business solutions that databases provided.



But businesses are different. Small businesses don't want to look at databases and technology. The world is on the Internet and information is in the cloud. People don't need offices - they carry their work on their phones. Likewise, they don't want to wait for systems to be built - they need a way to solve their problems. This is why spreadsheet and build your own systems are so popular.


I was looking for a data…

Publish or Perish

Back in 1999 or 2000, I showed up at a North American FoxPro conference after being away for several years. I hadn't been invisible during the previous few years. Instead, I had been focusing on promoting development efforts local to me in Ottawa, Canada. I had done a number of Microsoft DevDays and training in the area. But in terms of the international community, I had effectively "disappeared".

I think this happens more and more especially as people stop writing on one site and then start on another. One might be forgiven for thinking that Lisa Slater Nichols had disappeared off the face of the earth years ago when, in fact, she had merely moved into a different development environment and writing of SSRS. One of my favourite memories of Ms. Nichols was when I first met her in 1991. Everyone wanted to talk to her and my colleague had no idea of who she was. Someone said "This is Lisa Slater." He looked at her and said "You're the only Lisa Slater in…

The downward trend of media and politics in the US

(note: this isn't a post supporting Trump or the media - this is just a commentary on the sad state of affairs in the US. Politics in the US have been on a downward trend for years, now it appears the media is catching up.)

If the media wants to people to stop using it as a punching bag, literally, they should stop making off-side comments during REGULAR broadcasts.

There are shows that are "pundit" shows - those that are produced to be inflammatory and instigate discussion. These are the shows that everyone expects to be aggressive. This was the entire creation myth for the Fox News networks. But that isn't the purpose of a "news network", is it? Because if it is, then they've gone beyond being a news network and become an "opinion network". Yes, they may have independence but they don't have impartiality and I believe that is the issue. MSNBC started as a news network and are now, by their own admission, a left-leaning version of Fox. Th…

Whither CodePlex

UPDATE: VFPX is being moved to GitHub and its initial conversion looks well underway.

So Microsoft's latest technology to go to the waste pile in the sky is CodePlex.

It joins a long-standing tradition of Microsoft's to eventually dissolve technologies that it created to help it compete and then decide to get rid of it entirely with fairly minimal warning - the site goes completely dark in December, 2017.

Now are the costs associated with CodePlex that high?

One of the arguments for choosing a company like Microsoft or Google used to be that they would stand behind their products for a good period of time, unlike smaller companies. Smaller companies, they argued, were far more liable to have to stop their services as costs became higher than the benefit of operating. This brings up the question on how several sites that don't have costs manage to continue operating - (I can't imagine Trello has enough people paying for its services to account for all the free accounts …

FoxInCloud and Bootstrap

As someone who uses WetBoew in their public facing web sites, it was great to hear that FoxInCloud is supporting Bootstrap. (Bootstrap is the core foundation for the WetBoew initiative)

If someone is trying to move their FoxPro application without major rewrites into the web, FoxInCloud does appear to provide a great solution, especially for mobile. Their screen shots look very impressive.

One huge benefit of Bootstrap are a lot of the plugins such as DataTables (which makes Grids totally rock!)

Great job, Thierry!!

A Developer's Life: Honing Your Writing

Developers hate documentation.

I don't write that as anything but a statement of fact. Documentation, once an idea has been put on paper or in writing, is instantly out of date. And if it's out of date, what's the point?

In fact, sometimes I think the only people who like documentation are those who:
a) are paid to write it (technical writers)
b) paid to prove it exists (legal) or
c) paid to show some form of output for a failed effort (managers)

Even online documentation is out of date. Going to the MSDN site for virtually any product now has a "Applies to version" because the functionality changes regularly and even then, you will always find an article that was written once as an example of how to do something right, that has been commented on to the point of how not to do something.

But now even worse, you find a link or a post you like. At the time, you wanted to quote it, maybe even copy it, but attribution should be enough with a link, right? But when you …

VFPX - Alive and kicking with new

UPDATE: VFPX is being moved to GitHub and its initial conversion looks well underway.

I find it interesting that Visual Studio is celebrating their 20th anniversary and the post even made mention of FoxPro (see the comments) and despite all of the growth, it's still a tool kept in some people's toolbar (even back as far as 1997).

But moreso, the open-source VFPX is more than 10 years old (I believe the official birthday would have been around June , 2016). Nowadays Microsoft is open-sourcing more of its underlying code. I'd like to think that if they had this attitude 10 years ago, VFP would have been open-sourced but that's doubtful. The proprietary VFP engine and concepts have made its way into countless Microsoft products.

I always think about open-source projects as a bit of leap-of-faith. That's because open-source projects aren't always like the public domain projects of yore. By their very nature, they rely on a group of people providing feedback and pus…