Monday, November 14, 2005

German DevCon - Day 3

The final day is always the hardest when it comes to conference days. You are already exhausted from two intensive days of sessions. More importantly, there are the evening sessions in the lobby or hotel bar which go late into the night. Last night was no exception. I went back to my room after midnight and ran through my two sessions to ensure the examples were still running (more on that later).

I started out my day listening to Martin Haluza who presented his session called Converting Your Reports. Martin is the lead developer on XFRX. He showed us some cool stuff with the new version of XFRX and demonstrated some of the things he is working on. It was good to finally meet Martin. I really like his product and more importantly my customers really like the functionality of XFRX. Great session.

The next session I split across two sessions. I first attended Christof Wollenhaupt's German speaking session titled Multithreading in Visual FoxPro. This was a double whammy for me and I knew going in I was going to struggle with the German (maybe the biggest understatement of this blog entry) and the complex topic dealt with .NET and VFP. I just really wanted to see Christof speak. He is someone I respect and is extremely knowledgeable. I have hoped for years that he would be invited to speak in North America. I took the opportunity to see him and I was not let down. Bob from Southwest Fox - take note - invite Christof to speak at the next conference. He was fantastic. I made an observation of Christof's speaking style and asked one of the German attendees to confirm. Christof was speaking fast. The attendee gave Christof a high compliment and said Christof was speaking fast, and to quote him: "Christof is the Drew Speedie of Germany."

The other half of the session I sat in on Rick Strahl's demo of The Next Version of Web Connection. Rick was wowing the crowd. The good news: I understood a little more of what Rick is doing than what Christof was explaining so well. {g}

My Get More Productive with Visual FoxPro session was well attended. Based on a couple of people who talked to me afterwards, the session went pretty well.

After lunch I attended Rick Strahl's The Making of Help Builder session. Rick showed off several of the new features of version 4.20 and I learned a couple of tricks with graphics and resorting the help topics which will come in handy as I update the HackCX and ViewEditor Help files in the coming weeks.

My Builders Made Easy session is my favorite session to give and was glad Rainer scheduled my best for last. I really like builders and use the builders and property editors I demo during this session all the time. Today I could not get my Apply Naming Conventions property editor to function during the session. Just one of those glitches you get from time to time when you are demoing to 15 of your friends. Thanks to Andy Kramek who reminded me during the session that the Name property cannot be changed by a builder when you are working with a class. It works great for forms and objects contained on forms, but not for the container classes.

The last regular session of the conference I attended was Using the Treeview Control in VFP by Venelina Jordanova. This is the first time I have seen Venelina speak. She took a tough control to work with and demonstrated a number of ways to better work with the TreeView. Maybe Craig Berntson should have attended this session to help him with the Solution Explorer {gd&rvvvf}. I was surprised when I got to the room and found Venelina speaking English. I thought she was going to be doing the session in German. She did a great job.

The last session of the conference was the closing session. Rainer announced dates for next year (November 9-11, 2006) and gave away several packages donated by the vendors. Always nice to leave a conference on a positive and uplifting note.

This was a great conference. The sessions were terrific, the hospitality second to none, and the people were fun to hang out with. My head is full of new ideas and renewed interest in a couple of topics. Cannot wait to get to work.

At the speaker dinner we were talking about the conference and Steve Black asked me if the conference had met my expectations. I talked to a lot of people before going over to Germany and everyone I talked to about the conference raised my expectations higher and higher. So walking in the door I was expecting a lot. I told Steve my expectations were not only met, but were exceeded. If you are preparing your budgets for next year’s conference for you or your team, definitely give next year’s German DevCon a solid consideration.

(this blog was posted a couple days after it was written because we lost the Internet connectivity when the conference ended and I was not about to pay the hotel 22 Euros for connectivity for a couple of hours because they based the rental fee on a fixed window of time, not a linear 24 hours. Besides, 22 Euros is way to much when most hotels I stay at give it to me for no extra charge.)


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