Saturday, November 28, 2009

Get on the VFPX Bandwagon

A group of VFPX developers/users held a bonus session during the Southwest Fox conference in October to discuss future direction of VFPX and what is needed to get the word out to other developers in the Fox Community. There were a number of good ideas shared, but there are three key details I believe need to be highlighted.

The first is to tell people all the tools and components on VFPX are FREE! Developers, especially Visual FoxPro developers love free stuff. Free code, free tools, free components, free forums, free tips and tricks, and even free documentation. During my series of articles in FoxRockX I believe I have not mention the price to use the tools and components enough. They are FREE. No money is needed to get any project from VFPX. All you have to do is download the files, install them and take the time to learn how they can be useful to you and your development. Yes, this takes time, but if you are a FoxRockX subscriber you have access to every article in my VFPX series. That would be 11 articles dedicated to detailing how to use and extend the various VFPX tools and components. So spread the word about FREE, FREE, FREE stuff at

Another suggestion is to get more user stories posted on the VFPX wiki pages. These user stories show developers (who are intrigued by the things they see on VFPX) how other developers are putting them to use. I know I learn much faster and gain momentum quicker when I see how something is done rather than reading how it is done. Both ways help me learn, but the hands-on method is a lot faster for me. These stories can be told via text or could be a short screencast on demonstrating how a control was implemented in a production application. A brief discussion how one of the tools saves you an hour a month might shed some light to help someone else get it. These stories can be told on the various project pages.

The third important idea is one I actually have been pushing for in the VFPX articles and sessions I have been giving for the last three years: we need to get project managers to promote their projects to released status. It is true that some of the projects are in the alpha, beta, and release candidate status. But the fact remains many could be considered released. Project managers are suffering from the common “but just one more thing syndrome” like all of us have faced in our careers. What we all need is a little reminder that we can have a 1.1 or 2.0 release in the future. I know I use several VFPX projects in my production applications as if they were released. On the user side I believe there are developers who don’t want to risk something as important as a production customer application with something not considered released. If the status of the project was elevated to “released” it might stimulate adoption in the community.

There are other good ideas discussed during the meeting and things the administrators need to get prioritized and find others to help implement. You can watch most of the VFPX User Meeting on SWFox TV. There was a glitch in the Internet connection during the recording so it is in two parts. Part 1 and Part 2 are available at SWFox TV.

So jump on the VFPX Bandwagon and get using these FREE tools and components. Provide feedback to the project teams, and if so inclined, get involved in development or testing. VFPX is a significant part of the future for Visual FoxPro, be a part of it!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

FoxRockX Arrives!

I returned to my office late this afternoon and in my email is the first issue of FoxRockX - all shiny and new! Open for business as the saying goes. for all the details (make sure to include the "www" until they get this fixed).

Go get subscribed today before you forget and miss the inaugural issue. Consider it a gift to yourself, and an investment in your career. You should not be disappointed.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

FoxRockX - almost ready!

Looks like the first issue of FoxRockX is about to hit the streets (I first blogged about it here: Fox Rocks with FoxRockX). More details can be found here:
Visual FoxPro Wiki - FoxRockX Introduction.

I think it is very exciting how Rainer negotiated to get the past issues and source code samples of FoxTalk from Eli. These will be available to all subscribers of FoxRockX. While the demise of FoxTalk is well documented, the information in the back issues will live on, which I personally appreciate. I refer to this archive quite frequently. I have all the issues on my development machine index for optimal searching.

I will be writing regularly in FoxRockX too. My initial series of articles will focus on VFPX. It looks like you will see many of the regular authors who have been sharing with the community for years, plus some fresh faces. Bold new beginnings for our community. We live in exciting times.

I hope you take the opportunity to support FoxRockX and subscribe.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Fox Rocks with FoxRockX

The publishing industry in general has faced some troubling times in the last couple of years. This can be witnessed in spades in the Fox Community as we have all watched both FoxTalk and The Advisor Guide to Microsoft Visual FoxPro literally go away. FoxTalk is still published, but is continuing printing the "best of" articles. Advisor collapsed the majority of their technical magazines into Databased Advisor and nearly tripled the price. Both of these situations are sad. I still have active subscriptions to both publications, but I do not intend to renew either of them.

So this leaves a huge gap in the community. There are authors who are getting jittery with extra time on their hands each month and no outlet to get articles published. They could resort to blogging, but long blog entries are not fun to read (at least to me), and often hard to take with you to the reading room, or on a plane or train. More importantly they are not necessarily permanent. Bloggers change services, RSS feeds only hold so many posts, and the authors have the right to pull their posts. Magazines (paper or electronic) are delivered to me and I can keep them as long as they are useful.

It would be nice if there was a publication that would focus on FoxPro. A great magazine the entire Fox Community could subscribe to for state-of-the-art and timely information, and techniques for our favorite development tool and language. I would subscribe in a heartbeat.

Rainer Becker, the newest Lifetime Achievement awardee is stepping up and creating a new magazine called FoxRockX (pronounced Fox Rocks). He has convinced some of the regulars you have come to enjoy reading to produce some new content for this magazine. He has lined up some excellent regular topics on the Sedna extensions, VFP 9 SP2, VFPX, business topics, deep dives into development, Vista, extending with .NET, new tools, tips and tricks, Guineu, and is resurrecting the KitBox column. I am sure there are going to be many more topics as time goes on.

I am very excited by this development in the Fox Community and am glad I am able to help out with getting this magazine started. I have already sent in one article on VFPX and plan on doing more articles that deep dive into the various VFPX projects and tools being developed by developers in our community.

I am glad Rainer has been working on this because I was starting to plan again how to start my own venture in publishing I knew I did not have the amount of time and energy it was going to take and still keep White Light Computing running properly.

FoxRockX will have subscriptions in electronic and print (print is naturally more). All the details will be posted soon and the magazine will start in early 2008. Thanks to Rainer for heading this up and to all the individuals who are pouring their creative and administrative energies into this new venture. I hope everyone in the Fox Community can support this magazine. It will only be successful if people back it by subscribing to it as soon as they can. I hope Rainer can count on your support.

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