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Southwest Fox – Day 2 (Friday)

I woke up still energized from the keynote, but I also knew it was going to take a lot of energy to get through what was the busiest day of the conference (at least for me).

The first session I attended was one I was really looking forward too attending: The Security Cookbook by Christof Wollenhaupt. I recommended to Bob Kocher the last couple of years to bring Christof to Southwest Fox. I have seen Christof speak once before and did not understand a word he was saying. It was at the German DevCon and he was presenting in German. This time around I understood everything he was presenting and quite frankly, Christof made me feel a wee bit insecure. His session was fantastic! His knowledge of Visual FoxPro may be unsurpassed. This topic is very serious and Christof not only made the attendees think seriously about security in their applications, but his humor interjected in the session was terrific. His material on password strengths, how to hide passwords, showing us how to register COM objects with simple user privileges, encrypting error logs, using FLLs from the EXE instead of ones on the hard drive, and working with hash values was awesome. Seeing VCX code from a ReFoxed encrypted EXE using the Report Designer was some what scary, and reaffirmed my entire thinking on ReFoxing apps – it is pretty much useless. I have read Christof’s forum posts, his contributions to the Advisor column, and some of his whitepapers over the years and really appreciate his contributions to the Fox Community. This is one of those sessions that paid for the entire cost of the conference. Very well done.

Next up was Doug Hennig and his session on Installing Apps Using Inno Setup. Doug gave the attendees a complete tour of Inno Setup and showed some of the advantages of using this tool over something relying on the Windows Installer. Besides not having to hassle with the quirks of a Windows Installer deployment package, Inno is faster to build the package and faster at installing your application. This is something I noticed right away when I started using Inno Setup. My clients love the speed too. I have been using Inno Setup for a short time and learned a lot from Doug’s session. One of the really cool things is the GetFileVersion script call to include the version number from the EXE you are distributing. This means I no longer have to worry about synchronizing the Inno Setup script with each build of my applications. I was able to update some of my scripts during Doug’s session. Talk about immediate impact to the job. Fantastic session and exceeded my high expectations.

My first session on the Professional Developer’s Toolkit was next. I had a great crowd who was willing to share their experiences. This session is much better when that happens and I learned several things about different applications and different application categories. I plan on sharing these when I present this session next month in Germany. I have been blessed with positive feedback as well.

Lunch was good. I appreciate the vegetarian-ness of the meal and only half-listened to Ken Levy present his session on Windows Live because I saw it at the Advisor DevCon.

The first session of the afternoon was Rick “The Professor” Borup’s session called RSS: Catch the Wave. My nickname “The Professor” comes from the feeling I get when I attend his session. Rick makes me feel like I am back at college in one of my Computer Science classes. His style of presentation is calm, informative, clear, and educational. Rick did his usual great job. I have been incorporating RSS into my applications and some Web sites and feel the same importance of the technology that Rick conveys in his presentation. I appreciated his explanation and examples of Simple List Extensions (SLE) and Simple Sharing Extensions (SSE). This is also the first time I have seen Internet Explorer 7. Rick demonstrated the nice implementation of MS Feeds and how Microsoft has tightly integrated RSS into IE7. I was impressed and hope the FireFox team integrates similar capabilities into my favorite browser.

The last session I attended in the afternoon was my presentation of Fishing with a Projecthook. When Bob asked me to speak this year he asked if I was willing to present something on Projecthooks because several people asked for it in the evaluations from last year. I was excited that this session was requested because I really like projecthooks and find them a big part of my daily productivity. It was a smaller crowd this time around because I was up against heavyweights like Christof, Jim Booth (speaking at his first Fox conference in years), Cathy Pountney, and Craig Berntson. Again, the session attendees were great and I learned a couple of things during my session.

The schedule included in the conference nametag was not completely bug free. My session on Fishing with a Projecthook was scheduled twice in a row in the same room. A half dozen attendees showed up hoping to see the session after I finished the first presentation. In hindsight, I should have presented it again and apologize to those who wanted to see it at that time. On the posted schedule on the Southwest Fox Web site, Bo Durban’s session on Creating Custom Report Controls was next in the same room, but he ended up presenting in a different room.

I missed the last session of the day (I was going to attend Bo’s session) to take part in one of the many informal sessions going on during the conference. These informal sessions are sessions that take place outside of the session room, and are a small group of folks talking VFP, software development, conference goings on and a million other topics. These sessions are as valuable as the regular sessions, and some times even more important to take part in. In this case I was talking with Craig Boyd and Rick Borup about some business topics. Thanks guys, I really enjoyed the discussion.

The day ended with go-kart racing. It was a blast. I started near the end of the pack and ended up with the second best lap time for the group we raced with, but was beaten by a girl – Cathy Pountney kicked all of our behinds in the race. Her time was 3/100ths of a second better than mine. I did have the best average lap time by two seconds over everyone else, although Doug Hennig’s time was crunched with one of his laps being more than two normal laps. He spun out when trying to pass someone. It was really a fun evening and look forward to doing it again next year. Next year Cathy is going to get some competition as we all have a year to practice {g}.

More to come on Southwest Fox – Day 3 (Saturday)…

2 Responses to “Southwest Fox – Day 2 (Friday)”

  1. October 25th, 2006 at 05:19 | #1

    Thank you!

    Using Refox isn’t useless, though. That would be like not locking your car anymore after you realize that any professional can open your car in a matter of seconds. Refox, Konxise, Molebox, etc. are an important piece in keeping your application secure.

    The point I was trying to make is that they can never be the only security measure. Refox locks the front door at your house. However, you need to lock windows and back doors, too.

  2. October 25th, 2006 at 11:16 | #2

    Very good point Christof, and your idea to expose the code through the Report Designer is only available if the Report Designer is exposed in the app and this is very rare.

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