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Advisor DevCon – Day 1

Sorry for the delay post, but I have been a bit busy here in Arizona at the Advisor Summit. I am here as a speaker for the first time.

To understand this conference completely, you might not know there are really six conference going on at the same time. VFP, MS Access, MS SharePoint, SQL Server/.NET, Lotus, and Novell GroupWise.

VFP, Access, SharePoint, GroupWise each have two tracks, and SQL Server/.NET has one track. Lotus has three tracks.

The VFP Keynote was given by Alan Griver. Alan showed off some of the Sedna components released in the Community Technology Previews (CTP) as well as some of the reporting changes expected for the VFP 9 SP2, and the some of the community happenings like the VFPX project (referencing the GDI+ project headed by Bo Durban) and promotional videos generated by the community. He opened the session with a tribute to Drew and Brent Speedie. He showed a couple of Kevin Ragsdale’s promotional videos and some cool GDI+ examples developed by Cesar Chalom. Overall it was is good keynote. Not a lot of flash of past years, but I would say there was more concrete examples than PowerPoint fluff. Definitely more on direction than marketing junk we have seen at more recent conferences. Overall, I’d rank it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Based on the attendance at the Keynote, we are estimating there are between 100 and 120 VFP attendees at the conference. This is an estimate and nothing official.

Next I attended Craig Boyd’s How to Build .NET ActiveX Controls for Use in VFP session. Craig showed how you can simply build controls in VB.NET or C#.NET to add more modern UI controls to your application. Honestly, it looks pretty easy, but only because Craig did all the hard work for us by building a recipe for us to follow. I am looking forward to reading his whitepaper on this topic. Overall, I’d rank it 5 stars.

Next session was Jim Duffy’s SQL Server 2005 Express and VFP. I only wanted one thing out of this session which is the installation and initial configuration of SQL Server Express. Jim took a risk and scrapped his install and started from scratch in the presentation. His knowledge on the subject was good and he delivered on the things I wanted from the session. There was not much VFP in the session, but I think the overall value was extremely high for developers considering upgrading from MSDE. The best part of the session was the comparison between the different versions of Express (which I was not aware of), and I learned the SQL Agent is not included in Express as it was in MSDE. So I guess I gain Vista compatibility, but now I have to build code to schedule backups for my clients. Overall – 5 stars.

Lunch was good – Mexican.

I skipped the first session of the afternoon because I saw both Tamar Granor’s Customizing the VFP Property Sheet session and Cathy Pountney’s Advanced Reporting in VFP 9 session. Instead I rehearsed the material for my Use and Extend the Visual FoxPro Data Explorer session, which was next. According to the evals, it was well received. This session was the first time anyone outside of Microsoft has seen some of the potential changes coming in the Sedna version of the Data Explorer.

The last breakout session of the day was Craig Boyd’s Windows Vista and VFP. Craig spent a lot of time showing us Vista and the capabilities of Vista. Specifically he concentrated on feature with APIs VFP developers can hook into. I think the API to the desktop search will be something very cool and beneficial to business applications. Craig also showed us VFP 9 SP1 (not any previews of SP2 which is suppose to address Vista issues) and how well it is already working and some of the glitches he has experienced with the Report Preview window. Great session that got me thinking about some of the future possibilities. After all, the Vista compatibility is my number one feature of SP2 and Sedna. Five stars.

There was a good reception after the break out sessions. The food was excellent and the discussions fun. Ended up outside with Rainer Becker, Craig Boyd, and Kevin (sorry, I have forgotten his last name). We discussed VFP related stuff and hassled the waitress who delivered cold food the night before until 12:30 or so. Good times and a sore stomach muscles from laughing so much. A great day.

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