Archive for August, 2006


Yes, I just read a post on a Microsoft blog which states: “Yes it’s true: MSDE will not be supported on Windows Vista

SET RANT ON && My apologies

Put this in the category of “What the heck are they thinking!”

I am not sure who the powers that be are with respect to the decision, but I think the developer community needs to speak up on this one. I for one will be emailing Milind Lele (VFP Project Manager) about this. For years Microsoft has pushed the VFP developer and even the .NET developer towards SQL Server and MSDE 2000. For them to pull the rug out on us like this is a load of baloney. I applauded Microsoft when they included Vista (at the time referenced as Longhorn) compatibility on the VFP Sedna Roadmap. At the time I noted this was my personal number one request for the next version of VFP. The August 2006 letter from Milind indicates the Fox Team is hard at work testing this compatibility. I am excited.

So now the SQL Server team decides it is in my clients’ best interest to use SQL Server Express? I might agree that this is a long term goal, but I have not certified my apps to do this, and in fact have struggled with SQL Server Express to be cooperative. I believe the “high point” reasons are not enough. Come on, Microsoft Update is a big reason? I take care of my clients: don’t be concerned with this Microsoft.

The support life cycle is a minor problem in my opinion, but significant enough to consider. But honestly, if the SQL Server team was forced to fix any Vista incompatibilities with a service pack then Microsoft would have to bump the life cycle expiration (if they follow with the same action they have done for other products). The customers (us and the clients we service) would be big winners.

I understand the benefits of moving on up (except for the seriously slow Management Studio Express applet), but there are cold realities in this world of business and it is not always the practical decision to “upgrade.”

I hope Microsoft understands why I will not be recommending Vista to my customers who need and demand MSDE. I guess I can continue to load it on a Windows XP Pro machine, or even the “clunky” Windows 2000 machine sitting in the closet for those clients who want to get Vista-ized on their new desktops. But the clients who use MSDE are usually in a small office and I will just have to convince them to keep an older OS around. Or maybe I will have to recommend another backend database (Whil and Ted and the rest of the MySQL proponents need not comment {g}).

This is just one bonehead decision, and one I hope we can rise up and influence to change. It has been done before so the trail has been blazed. Get those emails sent.

I will post my findings as I learn more.

*< RAS 9-Aug-2006, keep commented until this problem is debugged.


Recently I blogged about data overflow not always happening with numeric data in Visual FoxPro. This was a frustrating problem to track down and yesterday I ran into another side effect of this problem when using TRANSFORM().

If you execute the following in the Command Window:


You get 43333333.333333340 dumped on the VFP desktop.

If you try to store the result of 6500.0000/0.00015 into a N(12,5) column in a table you get 43333333.333 even though one could expect an overflow condition to occur. But as I relearned a couple of weeks ago, this is not the case.

I was debugging this same conversion I originally discovered this behavior with last time for a different overflow problem. In the text output file I was seeing the asterisks for the column storing the large number. In the intermediate and temporary DBF of the output I was seeing 43333333.333. This particular field is numeric in nature, but I pass it along to the receiving system as a character field per the spec. To convert the number I elected to use TRANSFORM() because they did not want any leading spaces or trailing zeros. The STR() function returns asterisks by default on the large number and requires me to specify the number of digits and the decimals to avoid the overflow representation. TRANSFORM() was not only easier and required less code, but also met the exact requirements for this situation.

But yesterday I was seeing stars. Stepping through the code I was observing the values without overflow until I hit the code to TRANSFORM() the column to a character representation. The result was the overflow asterisks. Argh.

The VFP Help file indicates their can be problems with large negative numbers not getting correctly transformed, but says nothing about large positive numbers. What is happening here is that VFP realizes the overflow condition in the table column and transforms it correctly to asterisk.

The problem was tricky to figure out and time consuming to track down, but thanks to the new CAST() function the solution was easy. I casted the field early in the conversion process to ensure the column is wide enough. The real kicker is the data was bad data (not that I am being judgemental {g}).

Yesterday was a pretty frustrating day all the way around, and this was just the frosting on the cake.


I just got off the phone with Bob Kocher who tirelessly works on the Southwest Fox Conference every year so we can all come to Arizona and have a ball, and learn about our favorite development tool – Visual FoxPro. Bob and Sharon put on a fantastic conference as many of you already know from reading my blog, other blogger’s posts, the UT Conference notes, and posts on the various Fox forums.

I am very passionate about going to conferences. I feel they are the single biggest way one can jump start a career advancement move. It is a way to rejuvenate your spirit and it brings fresh ideas instantly to your current projects. I feel everyone should attend at least one conference a year. I also feel Southwest Fox is a great conference!

I made Bob an offer this evening to back up my passion. This is the first time Therese and I have done this. I am proud to announce that White Light Computing is offering one scholarship to attend Southwest Fox 2006. This is a US$300.00 scholarship (half the current “tuition” to register for this year’s event in October).

So how do you qualify for this? Simple, register for Southwest Fox 2006 between now and August 15, 2006. White Light Computing and Southwest Fox will randomly draw one name from the list of attendees who register between August 1, 2006 (today) and August 15, 2006 after the registrations for those days are processed.

This means you have to pay for the conference now. White Light will send you a check in the mail (or to a PayPal account) for US$300.00 before the end of the month (definitely before your credit card bill is due).

Just a few rules and regulations and notes:

  1. One name will be drawn.
  2. The winner will be notified by a phone call from Rick Schummer.
  3. The conference registration cannot be cancelled. You may send another developer/person to take your place, but the registration cannot be withdrawn.
  4. You must be 18 years of age to be eligible.
  5. Except where prohibited, participation in the scholarship constitutes winner’s consent to White Light Computing and Southwest Fox to use winner’s name, likeness, opinions, biographical information, hometown and state for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.
  6. Registrations must be processed before midnight (Mountain Time) of August 15, 2006.
  7. Each full conference registration is one entry in the drawing.
  8. Odds of winning will depend on the number of registrations during the allowed period.
  9. The judges rulings are final.
  10. All tax considerations are the responsibility of the winner (consult your tax accountant for specific details).
  11. No employees of White Light Computing, or any family members of the employees of White Light Computing are eligible.
  12. Your mileage may vary, some settlement may occur during shipping.

Your boss is giving you a hard time? Let me know. I am willing to talk or email each and every one of them to help you get the okay to head to any FoxPro conference. I am totally serious. I have fought numerous times with my old bosses to get myself to a conference as well as teammates. I have a way of getting them to see the light!

White Light Computing is having a fantastic 2006! This is just a little way Therese and I are going to pay it forward!

So what are you waiting for, get moving, tell your Fox friends, get registered for the best conference of the year!

Good Luck!