Archive for March, 2005

VFP9 link summary

Posted on March 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I trust you’ve all seen the links Ken Levy posted this past week (and if this is the first time you’ve heard about them then you really need to widen your blog reading <g> – mandatory reading are Ken, Rick and FoxWiki)

Here’s a summary of the links:

Microsoft Visual FoxPro

Microsoft PressPass article on VFP9

VFP9 supported by Microsoft until 2014

ENT News

RedmondMag article on VFP9 (reprint of ENT article)

InfoWorld InBrief article on VFP9

Visual FoxPro 9.0 documentation

BetaNews article

VFP9 video on Channel9

MSN Search RSS feed on VFP9

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VFP9 link summary

Posted on March 19, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I trust you’ve all seen the links Ken Levy posted this past week (and if this is the first time you’ve heard about them then you really need to widen your blog reading <g> – mandatory reading are Ken, Rick and FoxWiki)

Here’s a summary of the links:

Microsoft Visual FoxPro

Microsoft PressPass article on VFP9

VFP9 supported by Microsoft until 2014

ENT News

RedmondMag article on VFP9 (reprint of ENT article)

InfoWorld InBrief article on VFP9

Visual FoxPro 9.0 documentation

BetaNews article

VFP9 video on Channel9

MSN Search RSS feed on VFP9

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Recent blog updates

Posted on March 9, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’ve added new entries to the Sydney VFP User Group and OzFox blogs lately
www.ozfox.blogspot.com
www.svfpug.blogspot.com

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Recent blog updates

Posted on March 9, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’ve added new entries to the Sydney VFP User Group and OzFox blogs lately
www.ozfox.blogspot.com
www.svfpug.blogspot.com

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West Wind HTML Help Builder

Posted on March 5, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’ve been playing with Help Builder again (I used an earlier version for a while) and have to say this really is one of the best products I’ve used in a long time. And here I’m talking about the effort to productivity ratio. This is a product you can install and use straight away to create really good help files. (To be fair I haven’t tried any others to compare it with, and frankly I won’t be bothering – I’m really happy with Help Builder.)

It has too many featues to mention, but the one I like best is how you can publish your help straight to the web. It is so easy in fact that I am thinking of writing all my static web sites in Help Builder. eg take the OzFox site last year which i managed mostly in tables and VFP script to generate the HTML. Easy enough I guess but still annoying (I had to edit the tables etc). For my next effort it will be all written in HTML Help Builder and then published to the web (you can change the style sheets to suit). (And then the other benefit is I can send the entire web site to anyone as a CHM file.)

But seriously, you may not want to use it in trivial ways like this, after all it was intended for producing great help files, and that is what it does.

I’m now trying it on our Terminal Server (at Talman we all develop on a central Terminal Server) to see how it handles multiple users working on the same help file at once (if that works well there’s an Enterprise license coming your way soon Rick).

It integrates with .Net projects and is exposed as a COM object for scripted content input (which is how we generate a lot of our extended database schema help).

Well worth the price. Its been around for a few years now so is stable and well supported.

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Why A9 is not gonna cut it

Posted on March 5, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

OK, so I really like some of the ideas behind A9 (the history, diary, references are great) but speed is why it is not going to be a success.
It’s too slow. And by slow I mean it takes more than a second to display resources.
Google is king due to speed (search result accuracy is not really a factor).
A9 needs to pick up speed by a factor of 5 atleast if it is going to be competitive.
Its only early days I guess but some of the book references are a bit out there also.
Put in a search of ‘west wind web connection’ and you’ll get book references to biblical creation. http://a9.com/west%20wind%20web%20connection
Enjoy.

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Enemy of the State

Posted on March 5, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I was sick yesterday for the first time in about 2.5 years. Something dodgy I ate because I was up all night doing what you do when you are violently ill, but was pretty good by the next morning. Anyway without grossing you out too much there is always a good side to things. In the case of being sick: it is hard to read, write, work on your PC etc so all you can do is think (and play a little Xbox…)

In my case I was thinking about a number of things, but it kept coming back to stateful web sites. This was prompted in part by a client request last week. They wanted a prompt to save when leaving a record on a maintenance web page. Simple request. Hard to do. OK, so you can do it in a round about way. But the reason these and a bunch of other things are hard is due to the statelessness of web development. By definition web development is stateless.
Ask most database web developers what their main issue with web development is and it’ll be managing state.

Now this really bugs me. Why, when on the desktop we can have massive complexity in our database apps, can’t we transfer this same functionality to the web.
And when you boil it down, the main reason will be resources. ie the logic will be this:
consider that you have a site with thousands or hundreds of thousands of users daily, the amount of server resources to handle state (including dropped connections etc) would be massive.
Any my response is: so what? build smarter servers

If google can master distributed server technology based on a customised linux kernal, why don’t they consider offering a new hosting platform that offers statefull web sites.

They could publish their own version of PHP or something similar that incorporated a stateful model. Make the model simple (eg avoid the .Net path of overwhelming complexity) and hosting simple and I think people would flock to it.

As we all know google offers GMail with, wait for it, 1GB of storage. I’m still amused that people are so impressed with 1GB, and as I’ve said before this is hardly going to be enough for most people in the log run anyway. But disk space is cheap, so 1GB is not really impressive, its just more than other providers. But I digress. Why don’t they offer a hosted web site service with entry level available resources of 10GB of RAM (yes you read that correctly) so that you can provide stateful web sites.
I’m checking one of my more database intensive apps and its looking at around 30MB of resources (in Task Manager) when loaded. So if I had 10GB of resources available I could run over 300 of these sessions. Up the resources to 100GB of RAM and that’d be over 3000 sessions.

But RAM is expensive. I know. At around $400 per GB (in Australia) that would be $4000 for my 10GB option and $40,000 for the 100GB option. (These figures are very simplictic I know, and just the RAM, they don’t include the extra hardware and power costs.)

But we spend tens of $,000s on development time writing code to manage state.
Now I’m not seriously thinking you could convince your CTO to pay big $ for a google hosted site, so the model, for google to offer it would have to have some benefit to them. Hello advertising again. Yes, sadly it seems they are the only ones who can make any money out of advertising, so perhaps that is an option. Maybe there are better ways to benefit from it, I’m not sure.

The bottom line is I want stateful web sites. And I don’t think it would be that hard. When we finally get them, we’ll look back at the stateless days and shake our heads.

Just as today we cringe when the old timer talks about his days using punch cards, we’ll be the old timers that talk about the days of stateless web sites.

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West Wind HTML Help Builder

Posted on March 4, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’ve been playing with Help Builder again (I used an earlier version for a while) and have to say this really is one of the best products I’ve used in a long time. And here I’m talking about the effort to productivity ratio. This is a product you can install and use straight away to create really good help files. (To be fair I haven’t tried any others to compare it with, and frankly I won’t be bothering – I’m really happy with Help Builder.)

It has too many featues to mention, but the one I like best is how you can publish your help straight to the web. It is so easy in fact that I am thinking of writing all my static web sites in Help Builder. eg take the OzFox site last year which i managed mostly in tables and VFP script to generate the HTML. Easy enough I guess but still annoying (I had to edit the tables etc). For my next effort it will be all written in HTML Help Builder and then published to the web (you can change the style sheets to suit). (And then the other benefit is I can send the entire web site to anyone as a CHM file.)

But seriously, you may not want to use it in trivial ways like this, after all it was intended for producing great help files, and that is what it does.

I’m now trying it on our Terminal Server (at Talman we all develop on a central Terminal Server) to see how it handles multiple users working on the same help file at once (if that works well there’s an Enterprise license coming your way soon Rick).

It integrates with .Net projects and is exposed as a COM object for scripted content input (which is how we generate a lot of our extended database schema help).

Well worth the price. Its been around for a few years now so is stable and well supported.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Why A9 is not gonna cut it

Posted on March 4, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

OK, so I really like some of the ideas behind A9 (the history, diary, references are great) but speed is why it is not going to be a success.
It’s too slow. And by slow I mean it takes more than a second to display resources.
Google is king due to speed (search result accuracy is not really a factor).
A9 needs to pick up speed by a factor of 5 atleast if it is going to be competitive.
Its only early days I guess but some of the book references are a bit out there also.
Put in a search of ‘west wind web connection’ and you’ll get book references to biblical creation. http://a9.com/west%20wind%20web%20connection
Enjoy.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Enemy of the State

Posted on March 4, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I was sick yesterday for the first time in about 2.5 years. Something dodgy I ate because I was up all night doing what you do when you are violently ill, but was pretty good by the next morning. Anyway without grossing you out too much there is always a good side to things. In the case of being sick: it is hard to read, write, work on your PC etc so all you can do is think (and play a little Xbox…)

In my case I was thinking about a number of things, but it kept coming back to stateful web sites. This was prompted in part by a client request last week. They wanted a prompt to save when leaving a record on a maintenance web page. Simple request. Hard to do. OK, so you can do it in a round about way. But the reason these and a bunch of other things are hard is due to the statelessness of web development. By definition web development is stateless.
Ask most database web developers what their main issue with web development is and it’ll be managing state.

Now this really bugs me. Why, when on the desktop we can have massive complexity in our database apps, can’t we transfer this same functionality to the web.
And when you boil it down, the main reason will be resources. ie the logic will be this:
consider that you have a site with thousands or hundreds of thousands of users daily, the amount of server resources to handle state (including dropped connections etc) would be massive.
Any my response is: so what? build smarter servers

If google can master distributed server technology based on a customised linux kernal, why don’t they consider offering a new hosting platform that offers statefull web sites.

They could publish their own version of PHP or something similar that incorporated a stateful model. Make the model simple (eg avoid the .Net path of overwhelming complexity) and hosting simple and I think people would flock to it.

As we all know google offers GMail with, wait for it, 1GB of storage. I’m still amused that people are so impressed with 1GB, and as I’ve said before this is hardly going to be enough for most people in the log run anyway. But disk space is cheap, so 1GB is not really impressive, its just more than other providers. But I digress. Why don’t they offer a hosted web site service with entry level available resources of 10GB of RAM (yes you read that correctly) so that you can provide stateful web sites.
I’m checking one of my more database intensive apps and its looking at around 30MB of resources (in Task Manager) when loaded. So if I had 10GB of resources available I could run over 300 of these sessions. Up the resources to 100GB of RAM and that’d be over 3000 sessions.

But RAM is expensive. I know. At around $400 per GB (in Australia) that would be $4000 for my 10GB option and $40,000 for the 100GB option. (These figures are very simplictic I know, and just the RAM, they don’t include the extra hardware and power costs.)

But we spend tens of $,000s on development time writing code to manage state.
Now I’m not seriously thinking you could convince your CTO to pay big $ for a google hosted site, so the model, for google to offer it would have to have some benefit to them. Hello advertising again. Yes, sadly it seems they are the only ones who can make any money out of advertising, so perhaps that is an option. Maybe there are better ways to benefit from it, I’m not sure.

The bottom line is I want stateful web sites. And I don’t think it would be that hard. When we finally get them, we’ll look back at the stateless days and shake our heads.

Just as today we cringe when the old timer talks about his days using punch cards, we’ll be the old timers that talk about the days of stateless web sites.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

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