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Southwest Fox: K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I.

Today I get to leak the cat out of the bag for a new “feature” of Southwest Fox: K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I.

What the heck is K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I.??

One Web description is:

“Kokopelli is one of the most intriguing and widespread images surviving from ancient Anasazi Indian mythology, and is a prominent figure in Hopi legends. The figure represents a mischievous trickster or the Minstrel, spirit of music. Kokopelli is considered a symbol of fertility who brought well-being to the people, assuring success in hunting, planting and growing crops, and human conception.”

Another description:

“Magical flute player, humpback or hump-backed flute player”

You see three Kokopelli characters on the Southwest Fox logo. But today I bring a different definition to you…

Knock Out Konference Orientation – Produce Elective Lecture Layout Interactively.


Dave Aring (from Visionpace – owners of the VFP framework MaxFrame Professional) has created a new Visual FoxPro applet that assists you in selecting a schedule customized for you based on the choices and preferences you have for the session slots. The app is quite simple: pick your favorite three sessions in any one slot for the entire conference. The application then uses a magical algorithm to determine the best fit so you get as many of your favorite sessions as possible.

You pick your priorities for the slots, click on the Create Schedule button, and then the Print Schedule button to preview the results. The output can be printed and brought with you to Mesa. The printed schedule when folded on the lines provided should fit nicely in the badge holder we will provide when you register Thursday.

The applet comes complete with text Help, and an interesting approach with truly graphical Help. Dave even included a block out feature so you can schedule session blocks you plan on skipping. Maybe the boss wants you to attend a conference call or staff meeting, or you have a session to give in that slot (can you tell what three organizers asked for this enhancement request {g}), or you just want to play hooky and attend one of the less formal offline sessions that happen in the hallway.

You can try out different session priorities to get different results. If you already know the sessions you want to attend you can just make them your number one sessions and not pick the 2nd and 3rd, and your schedule can be printed out.

In the user acceptance testing phase of this app I found it picked 50% of the sessions I had slotted with the “Rick Schummer Method” to picking sessions. I think this is pretty good. I hope you download it and give it a try, if not to help pick some sessions, but just to see how Visual FoxPro applications can be created and not look like your typical VFP app.

For more details on the new tool, see Dave’s blog entry on the Visionpace blog.

Thanks Dave for putting this together in your spare time and for contributing it to Southwest Fox!

Only 43 days until we all meet in Mesa!

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3 Responses to “Southwest Fox: K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I.”

  1. September 7th, 2007 at 09:07 | #1

    Ack! I’m heading down to FoxForward, and I need this now!

  2. September 15th, 2007 at 10:31 | #2

    A great bit of software. I wish I had this 20 years ago when I started attending developer conferences.

    Given that it’s entirely data-driven, it is presumably open to any conference organiser to publish a Kokopelli data file.

  3. September 15th, 2007 at 11:27 | #3

    Yes Mike, it is extensible and is data driven. The look and feel are Dave’s customization toward the Southwest Fox conference, but I am sure he could make it work for any conference.

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