Archive for May, 2005

Chicken Little and VFP

Posted on May 24, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I couldn’t agree more with David Stevenson’s editorial in the March edition of FoxTalk. Basically he says to the Fox worriers, be Fox warriors instead.

Stop wasting time lamenting the demise of VFP (which we’ve been expecting for the last 3 years now…) and instead get out and use it to make money. I get deflated each time the conversation at a user group or online thread turns to the future of VFP. Here’s my appeal: Why don’t you stop complaining and use your time to make a killer product?

I’m appalled at some of the applications I see demonstrated at UG meetings and conferences. No consistancy, no standards, different fonts, different size buttons all over the place… no wonder clients look at these products and ask ‘what the hell did you write this in?’. Devout Fox zealots that many of us are we reply with all the technical guff about how it does this and that, but really, all a client wants (most of the time) is something that looks half decent and does the job.
(And by the way, if Fox doesn’t do the job please stop trying to convince your client it does – that’s not gonna win you any points – if your clients wants SQL Server as a backend, then give it to them, don’t get into a technology argument over it…)

More on looks… We all know that people DO judge a book by its cover. Don’t fight this, use it to your advantage. I guess this is what I was trying to say at my April UG talk (http://www.svfpug.com.au/assets/2005Apr/vfptoolsapril2005.chm or http://www.svfpug.com.au/assets/2005Apr/index.htm)

If more of us wrote really good looking, intuitive applications and spent less time whining about how MS doesn’t support VFP, then not only would VFP get a better name but we’d be making more money too. Just take a look at Rick’s HTML Help Builder (www.west-wind.com) This is a perfect example of an app that looks good and does a great job. Have you seen Stonefield Query. Another great example. And there are plenty more. If you’ve got a great example then perhaps take up Ken’s request for case studies (http://blogs.msdn.com/klevy/archive/2005/05/19/420005.aspx)
Also, I don’t hear Rick and Doug complaining about MS – I see them using a great tool to make great software (and I expect/hope making great money).

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Sydney VFP UG on tomorow night

Posted on May 24, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Just a reminder that the VFP UG is on again at 6:30pm tomorrow (Wednesday) night.
See you there.
Details of topics, speakers and location at www.svfpug.com.au

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Chicken Little and VFP

Posted on May 24, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I couldn’t agree more with David Stevenson’s editorial in the March edition of FoxTalk. Basically he says to the Fox worriers, be Fox warriors instead.

Stop wasting time lamenting the demise of VFP (which we’ve been expecting for the last 3 years now…) and instead get out and use it to make money. I get deflated each time the conversation at a user group or online thread turns to the future of VFP. Here’s my appeal: Why don’t you stop complaining and use your time to make a killer product?

I’m appalled at some of the applications I see demonstrated at UG meetings and conferences. No consistancy, no standards, different fonts, different size buttons all over the place… no wonder clients look at these products and ask ‘what the hell did you write this in?’. Devout Fox zealots that many of us are we reply with all the technical guff about how it does this and that, but really, all a client wants (most of the time) is something that looks half decent and does the job.
(And by the way, if Fox doesn’t do the job please stop trying to convince your client it does – that’s not gonna win you any points – if your clients wants SQL Server as a backend, then give it to them, don’t get into a technology argument over it…)

More on looks… We all know that people DO judge a book by its cover. Don’t fight this, use it to your advantage. I guess this is what I was trying to say at my April UG talk (http://www.svfpug.com.au/assets/2005Apr/vfptoolsapril2005.chm or http://www.svfpug.com.au/assets/2005Apr/index.htm)

If more of us wrote really good looking, intuitive applications and spent less time whining about how MS doesn’t support VFP, then not only would VFP get a better name but we’d be making more money too. Just take a look at Rick’s HTML Help Builder (www.west-wind.com) This is a perfect example of an app that looks good and does a great job. Have you seen Stonefield Query. Another great example. And there are plenty more. If you’ve got a great example then perhaps take up Ken’s request for case studies (http://blogs.msdn.com/klevy/archive/2005/05/19/420005.aspx)
Also, I don’t hear Rick and Doug complaining about MS – I see them using a great tool to make great software (and I expect/hope making great money).

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

Sydney VFP UG on tomorow night

Posted on May 24, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Just a reminder that the VFP UG is on again at 6:30pm tomorrow (Wednesday) night.
See you there.
Details of topics, speakers and location at www.svfpug.com.au

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

Horses for courses

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

We had to write a quick app for a client the other day. I wrote most of it over a weekend and then wrapped it up in InstallShield so the client could download it from our web site and install it.

Their requirements very simple (this app only had 5 tables, 5 forms and 6 output html pages), and is possibly the smallest commercial app we’ve ever written. It basically captured auction sales results, did a bit of formatting, pumped them out to XML, after which HTML files presented them via a stylesheet. The client wanted control over formats and graphics so HTML as the simple answer. However, one requirement was it had to run on pretty vanilla existing machines (ie low specs and not much RAM).

So, I wrote it in VFP and used InstallShield to install the runtimes along with the app. The total download was 7MB including runtimes (I didn’t need the MTDLL runtime so there’s 3.8MB saved), app and help file.

This little excercise reminded me of why I love Visual FoxPro so much. Because without VFP what would I have used? (Probably Access, but then I would have had to ensure my client had Access installed). I was reminded of Rick‘s article a while back on why HTML Help Builder is not going to be re-written in .Net any time soon. I agree with his thoughts – what could I have done other than use VFP? I wouldn’t have liked to force our client to download the .Net runtime (at over 20MB) and then ensure Access was there for the database (or worse, MSDE). Perhaps I could have used XML throughout instead of needing tables at all, due to the simplicity of the requirements (less than 1000 records in this case)…

But here’s the point, VFP definately has a place in the developer toolset. Don’t get me wrong, VFP is great for the big projects too, but here’s a simple example of where VFP was the best choice.

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

Horses for courses

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

We had to write a quick app for a client the other day. I wrote most of it over a weekend and then wrapped it up in InstallShield so the client could download it from our web site and install it.

Their requirements very simple (this app only had 5 tables, 5 forms and 6 output html pages), and is possibly the smallest commercial app we’ve ever written. It basically captured auction sales results, did a bit of formatting, pumped them out to XML, after which HTML files presented them via a stylesheet. The client wanted control over formats and graphics so HTML as the simple answer. However, one requirement was it had to run on pretty vanilla existing machines (ie low specs and not much RAM).

So, I wrote it in VFP and used InstallShield to install the runtimes along with the app. The total download was 7MB including runtimes (I didn’t need the MTDLL runtime so there’s 3.8MB saved), app and help file.

This little excercise reminded me of why I love Visual FoxPro so much. Because without VFP what would I have used? (Probably Access, but then I would have had to ensure my client had Access installed). I was reminded of Rick‘s article a while back on why HTML Help Builder is not going to be re-written in .Net any time soon. I agree with his thoughts – what could I have done other than use VFP? I wouldn’t have liked to force our client to download the .Net runtime (at over 20MB) and then ensure Access was there for the database (or worse, MSDE). Perhaps I could have used XML throughout instead of needing tables at all, due to the simplicity of the requirements (less than 1000 records in this case)…

But here’s the point, VFP definately has a place in the developer toolset. Don’t get me wrong, VFP is great for the big projects too, but here’s a simple example of where VFP was the best choice.

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

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