Archive for August, 2005

VFP: Please keep VFP a secret

Posted on August 31, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’d like to request that Microsoft keep VFP a secret. Unfortunately it has been getting a little bit of press with a mention in this eWeek article. The danger I see is that more and more developers may start using VFP for its great data handling features (to name but one). And with that, we existing VFP developers will lose a significant competitive advantage.
No, I’d prefer VFP was kept under wraps so that only us lucky few can continue to benefit.

I say this after an awesome night at the Sydney VFP User group earlier (in fact probably the best UG meeting we’ve had so far). We had presentations on calling VFP COM objects from SQL Server and Crystal Reports, plus a complete PDA framework overview with VFP. Amazing. We certainly have some very clever guys in Sydney. And VFP makes it all too easy. Please keep this quiet before everyone starts using it.

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VFP: Please keep VFP a secret

Posted on August 31, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

I’d like to request that Microsoft keep VFP a secret. Unfortunately it has been getting a little bit of press with a mention in this eWeek article. The danger I see is that more and more developers may start using VFP for its great data handling features (to name but one). And with that, we existing VFP developers will lose a significant competitive advantage.
No, I’d prefer VFP was kept under wraps so that only us lucky few can continue to benefit.

I say this after an awesome night at the Sydney VFP User group earlier (in fact probably the best UG meeting we’ve had so far). We had presentations on calling VFP COM objects from SQL Server and Crystal Reports, plus a complete PDA framework overview with VFP. Amazing. We certainly have some very clever guys in Sydney. And VFP makes it all too easy. Please keep this quiet before everyone starts using it.

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VFP: Visual FoxPro 9 for Developers by Michael Cummings

Posted on August 13, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Drew mentioned this over a month ago, but it has taken that long for our copy to arrive (that’s what you get for living down under)

I’ve posted a review about the book on the Lulu site here

In short: this is an excellent, very user-friendly read that will serve as a great training manual for beginner to intermediate developers. Especially ideal for developers moving from earlier versions of Fox to 9.

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VFP: Visual FoxPro 9 for Developers by Michael Cummings

Posted on August 13, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Drew mentioned this over a month ago, but it has taken that long for our copy to arrive (that’s what you get for living down under)

I’ve posted a review about the book on the Lulu site here

In short: this is an excellent, very user-friendly read that will serve as a great training manual for beginner to intermediate developers. Especially ideal for developers moving from earlier versions of Fox to 9.

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VFP: VFP Runtime

Posted on August 6, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

A few weeks back there was discussion on Universal Thread requesting that Microsoft make the VFP Runtime a free download from their web site. The argument goes a bit like this:

The VB runtime is distributed to all Windows machines, so are key Visual C and C++ runtimes. The .Net runtime is a free download. Visual Studio Express, MSDE and now SQL 2005 Express are free downloads, so why isn’t the VFP runtime freely distributed by Microsoft?

The main problem appears to be with the VFP EULA in that only licensed copyholders of VFP can distribute the runtimes.

I know I must be talking in ignorance here, but why can’t the EULA be changed?

(I don’t care if the EULA has been that way for over a decade, just change it.)

Basically, the way I see it – Microsoft should charge for its development tools. But, what we build with them should run on their operating systems with minimal effort. In the case of required runtimes, this should be a simple download page on the Microsoft site. Ideally, it will be an (optional) inclusion in Windows Update.

Here’s why I think Microsoft should reconsider its position, and make the VFP runtime freely available:

1. Perception

2. Ease of use

3. Push to VFP9

Perception

We build web applications for clients. They are built in ASP.Net and often use VFP COM middle tier objects. We tell the client they need to install the .Net runtime and the VFP runtime on their server, and then install our app.

IT managers understand the .Net runtime since there is a Microsoft link to it, and these days it appears as part of Windows update anyway. But mention the VFP runtime and you are left explaining firstly what it is, and then second assuring them that your installer of it is not going to disrupt their server.

But if we could point to a simple Microsoft download page for the VFP runtimes we’d have a much better story. They’d know it was supported and endorsed by Microsoft.

Ease of use

Here’s a contrived scenario: I get an email from a friend (or potential client) saying ‘Hey, is there anyway I can export my complete Windows Media Player library to an Excel file?’ I say ‘Give me 10 minutes’ I build a quick exe (see here for the 55 lines of code), zip it up and email it back (all 62KB of it here) ‘Try this’ I say ‘… oh, and it also exports to CSV, DBF and XML’

My friend has no idea what I have written it in and simply double clicks the exe. It runs no problem ofcourse (since the VFP runtime was installed as part of a normal Windows update on their machine) and once again VFP has been a great tool.

Push to VFP9

Freely distribute the VFP9 runtimes and you may see a quicker move by existing developers to the latest version of FoxPro.

 

Ofcourse, there is much to be said (and much has been said) on this topic. A number of big names in the community made great points on UT (I haven’t named them here in case I mis-represent them) so it is obviously a topic of interest. Check out posts around 8 July 2005 on UT if you are interested in a fuller discussion.

 

 

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VFP: VFP Runtime

Posted on August 6, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

A few weeks back there was discussion on Universal Thread requesting that Microsoft make the VFP Runtime a free download from their web site. The argument goes a bit like this:

The VB runtime is distributed to all Windows machines, so are key Visual C and C++ runtimes. The .Net runtime is a free download. Visual Studio Express, MSDE and now SQL 2005 Express are free downloads, so why isn’t the VFP runtime freely distributed by Microsoft?

The main problem appears to be with the VFP EULA in that only licensed copyholders of VFP can distribute the runtimes.

I know I must be talking in ignorance here, but why can’t the EULA be changed?

(I don’t care if the EULA has been that way for over a decade, just change it.)

Basically, the way I see it – Microsoft should charge for its development tools. But, what we build with them should run on their operating systems with minimal effort. In the case of required runtimes, this should be a simple download page on the Microsoft site. Ideally, it will be an (optional) inclusion in Windows Update.

Here’s why I think Microsoft should reconsider its position, and make the VFP runtime freely available:

1. Perception

2. Ease of use

3. Push to VFP9

Perception

We build web applications for clients. They are built in ASP.Net and often use VFP COM middle tier objects. We tell the client they need to install the .Net runtime and the VFP runtime on their server, and then install our app.

IT managers understand the .Net runtime since there is a Microsoft link to it, and these days it appears as part of Windows update anyway. But mention the VFP runtime and you are left explaining firstly what it is, and then second assuring them that your installer of it is not going to disrupt their server.

But if we could point to a simple Microsoft download page for the VFP runtimes we’d have a much better story. They’d know it was supported and endorsed by Microsoft.

Ease of use

Here’s a contrived scenario: I get an email from a friend (or potential client) saying ‘Hey, is there anyway I can export my complete Windows Media Player library to an Excel file?’ I say ‘Give me 10 minutes’ I build a quick exe (see here for the 55 lines of code), zip it up and email it back (all 62KB of it here) ‘Try this’ I say ‘… oh, and it also exports to CSV, DBF and XML’

My friend has no idea what I have written it in and simply double clicks the exe. It runs no problem ofcourse (since the VFP runtime was installed as part of a normal Windows update on their machine) and once again VFP has been a great tool.

Push to VFP9

Freely distribute the VFP9 runtimes and you may see a quicker move by existing developers to the latest version of FoxPro.

 

Ofcourse, there is much to be said (and much has been said) on this topic. A number of big names in the community made great points on UT (I haven’t named them here in case I mis-represent them) so it is obviously a topic of interest. Check out posts around 8 July 2005 on UT if you are interested in a fuller discussion.

 

 

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PERSONAL: TinTin

Posted on August 6, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Since returning from overseas I have been gradually building up my TinTin collection (as mentioned here). Turns out it was cheaper to buy them all new than it was to get them on EBay (after taking shipping into account). I keep hearing rumours of a TinTin movie coming out, but nothing concrete yet. I can’t wait for a proper movie to come out, but I do worry it will start a TinTin hair style craze – please no…

By the way, I’ve started prefixing my subjects with a key word (eg VFP: PERSONAL: NET: LINK:) This is primarily because I was thinking of moving my personal stuff to a separate blog but decided against it. Rather, to readers interested only in VFP stuff you can easily ignore posts marked PERSONAL: (Think of it like categories)

I am going to start linking to more stuff to build the community support for things but will prefix these with LINK: I know how annoying it is to read 10 different blog posts pointing to Ken Levy’s letter for example, but on the other hand it is important that these things are picked up in the search engines and the community etc. So if you see a post with LINK: you can probably ignore it if you are reasonably well informed already…

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VFP: The FoxPro Show

Posted on August 6, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

Boy am I glad to hear that the FoxPro Show is still on the air. I spent last night dreaming up ideas for how I was going to get the entire Fox community to pressure (ie ‘encourage’) Andrew MacNeill to get it back on line. Turns out it was a small accident, but I’m glad it happened because it prompted me to write the following note…

It occurred to me that I had seen very little support for the show from people (myself included) – but perhaps I’ve just missed those blog posts… So let me voice my support for the show here. I think it is a wonderful resource and I greatly value the time Andrew puts into preparing it. Here’s my top 3 resons why you should be listening to it:

1. The host is technically knowledgeable (he’s not just an observer) – he digs deep into VFP and the 3rd party tools he mentions

2. The host is very balanced – (in my opinion) his opinions are not swayed by excessive emotion or ego, and he carefully brings various technologies into proper perspective

3. The interviews are informative and helpful (and not guided to a predetermined point).

On that last point I have to say a big thank you to Andrew for his interviews with Will Sanders. To be honest (and to my shame) I had not even looked at www.dotnetconversions.com because I thought it was about converting from VFP to something else rather than what it actually is -> converting to VFP from failed other projects.

We now have everyone at Talman listening to the Fox show and I’ve been plugging it at the Sydney VFP UG. (Embarrassingly it wasn’t on my VFP Resource post at the time of posting – it is now)

And, it has been an inspiration for a local offering later this year.

So, thank you Andrew, keep up the excellent work. It is greatly appreciated.

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PERSONAL: TinTin

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

Since returning from overseas I have been gradually building up my TinTin collection (as mentioned here). Turns out it was cheaper to buy them all new than it was to get them on EBay (after taking shipping into account). I keep hearing rumours of a TinTin movie coming out, but nothing concrete yet. I can’t wait for a proper movie to come out, but I do worry it will start a TinTin hair style craze – please no…

By the way, I’ve started prefixing my subjects with a key word (eg VFP: PERSONAL: NET: LINK:) This is primarily because I was thinking of moving my personal stuff to a separate blog but decided against it. Rather, to readers interested only in VFP stuff you can easily ignore posts marked PERSONAL: (Think of it like categories)

I am going to start linking to more stuff to build the community support for things but will prefix these with LINK: I know how annoying it is to read 10 different blog posts pointing to Ken Levy’s letter for example, but on the other hand it is important that these things are picked up in the search engines and the community etc. So if you see a post with LINK: you can probably ignore it if you are reasonably well informed already…

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VFP: The FoxPro Show

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

Boy am I glad to hear that the FoxPro Show is still on the air. I spent last night dreaming up ideas for how I was going to get the entire Fox community to pressure (ie ‘encourage’) Andrew MacNeill to get it back on line. Turns out it was a small accident, but I’m glad it happened because it prompted me to write the following note…

It occurred to me that I had seen very little support for the show from people (myself included) – but perhaps I’ve just missed those blog posts… So let me voice my support for the show here. I think it is a wonderful resource and I greatly value the time Andrew puts into preparing it. Here’s my top 3 resons why you should be listening to it:

1. The host is technically knowledgeable (he’s not just an observer) – he digs deep into VFP and the 3rd party tools he mentions

2. The host is very balanced – (in my opinion) his opinions are not swayed by excessive emotion or ego, and he carefully brings various technologies into proper perspective

3. The interviews are informative and helpful (and not guided to a predetermined point).

On that last point I have to say a big thank you to Andrew for his interviews with Will Sanders. To be honest (and to my shame) I had not even looked at www.dotnetconversions.com because I thought it was about converting from VFP to something else rather than what it actually is -> converting to VFP from failed other projects.

We now have everyone at Talman listening to the Fox show and I’ve been plugging it at the Sydney VFP UG. (Embarrassingly it wasn’t on my VFP Resource post at the time of posting – it is now)

And, it has been an inspiration for a local offering later this year.

So, thank you Andrew, keep up the excellent work. It is greatly appreciated.

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VFP on MSDN

Posted on August 2, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

If you subscribe to the Microsoft Recently Published feed (point your RSS reader here) then you’ll have seen this article popup

http://msdn.microsoft.com/vfoxpro/default.aspx?pull=/library/en-us/dnfoxtk05/html/ft05e7.asp

It is always good to see VFP articles announced from Microsoft sources other than the main VFP site…

A great article by the way (as always Doug, excellent work) first seen in the FoxTalk May issue.

 

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VFP on MSDN

Posted on August 1, 2005. Filed under: Visual FoxPro |

If you subscribe to the Microsoft Recently Published feed (point your RSS reader here) then you’ll have seen this article popup

http://msdn.microsoft.com/vfoxpro/default.aspx?pull=/library/en-us/dnfoxtk05/html/ft05e7.asp

It is always good to see VFP articles announced from Microsoft sources other than the main VFP site…

A great article by the way (as always Doug, excellent work) first seen in the FoxTalk May issue.

 

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