Archive for October, 2007


I am now able to focus on the next two conferences I am speaking at, and realized this morning I might not be blogging enough about the German DevCon in Frankfurt (8-Nov-2007 to 10-Nov-2007) and Software Developer Network in the Netherlands (12-Nov-2007).

Rainer Becker is working on his 14th German DevCon. Having done one-third of the work to put on one conference I personally would like to nominate Rainer for “Visual FoxPro Sainthood” {g}. I know it is one of the finest FoxPro conferences put on planet Earth. Rainer has a fantastic set of sessions lined up again, at a great conference center, and the food… none better anywhere at any conference. If you have even a remote chance to get to this conference you owe it to yourself to get there. You can read any of the many blog posts I have done live during the German DevCons by hitting the index on this page for November 2006 and November 2005. I will be presenting the following sessions:

  • Fishing with a Projecthook
  • VFPX Tools and Components – Live
  • Creating Help – Made Easy!
  • SQL Server Toolkit for the VFP Developer

Many of the same sessions heard at Southwest Fox will be presented in Germany, so if you read the buzz on Southwest Fox and wished you had not missed it, you have a chance to hear some great sessions plus some more great content presented in German and English from some of the finest presenters around. You can register here.

Quick on the heals of German DevCon is a train ride to the Netherlands for SDN and the one-day Visual FoxPro track the Monday after Frankfurt. I have heard from other speakers how fun this one-day event is and feel blessed to be asked to present three sessions:

  • VFPX Tools and Components – Live
  • Creating Help – Made Easy!
  • SQL Server Toolkit for the VFP Developer

Doug Hennig is presenting the other VFP sessions:

  • Best Practices for Vertical Application Development
  • Developing Visual FoxPro Applications for Windows Vista

I can recommend both of Doug’s sessions. I have listened in on his vertical market session almost a half dozen times, and learned or re-learned something each time. His Vista session is a must for every VFP developer, and is a session I think will be popular for years to come.

More details about SDN can be found here.

One thing I learned at Southwest Fox (more blogs to come, promise) is the number of people who have not heard about VFPX. I am really looking forward to showing off the VFPX tools and components and hope to get the European VFP developers excited like what happened in Mesa a couple weeks ago.

After SDN I am headed up to Amsterdam for a day of touring and then back to work. The trip will go by fast and I am sure by the time I get to Amsterdam I will be fully adjusted to the new time zone just in time to head back to Michigan. That is the tough part of these short trips a quarter of the way around the world. Fortunately I am energized by the crowd and by the FoxPro enthusiasm. I look forward to seeing everyone at these two conferences and making some new friends.

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I can hardly believe after a year in the planning, and months of getting the details ironed out that we are only days away from Southwest Fox 2007!

Last Friday we took in three more registrations for a total of 144 people so far. There are a couple more people who have told me they want to register so there might be more. Yes, there is still time to register if you want, but do not wait much longer. With speakers and vendors we are close to 175 people. WOW!

Last night Therese and I assembled all the badges for the attendees, speakers, vendors, staff and volunteers. It took most of the afternoon to print out the badge names for the top, the SWF nameplate for the bottom, and the schedule for the back. Lots of cutting and assembling. It was not too bad except for the fact my laser printer and card stock apparently don’t get along well. Babysitting a printer is not my idea of fun, but you already know my love of hardware. Going through the list of people coming was fun. Therese kept saying “I know this person, they have been to Southwest Fox before”, or “I have heard you talk about {name here}, where do you know them from?” Several of them are White Light Computing customers {s}.

The conference booklet with all the specifics about the conference, maps, local restaurants, schedules, session abstracts, download details, and the like are off to the printer and with any luck will be ready for us when we get to Mesa on Tuesday afternoon. Kinko’s confirmed everything as I was typing this blog entry up.

We have lots to do in Mesa. I was documenting all the stops Therese and I have on Tuesday to pick up printed material from Kinko’s, items I mailed to Bob Kocher, door prizes, pick up a couple of speakers from the airport, get some food, and get some sleep. We have to leave our house at 2:30AM Arizona time to take two of our kids back to college before our flight out. So I might be a bit of a zombie if you see me walking around the conference center on Wednesday.

Oh, there are a few surprises we have not even revealed yet. {bg}

One thing that will not be a surprise is the weather: 85-90F during the day (30-32C for our metric friends) and around 60F at night (16C which sounds a whole lot colder {g}).

We will have one more email to everyone registered with some final details including the ability to download the session materials, white papers, and examples in advance of your arrival in Mesa. This way you can do some homework on the sessions before you arrive in Mesa, and print out some notes to bring to the conference.

I am hoping to blog during the conference, but we will see if there is any time. I know several other bloggers are coming to the conference and hope they have a chance to let you know how it is going as the conference proceeds. If you are coming and plan on blogging let me know so we can get the word out.

I am really psyched we are in the home stretch. The nightmares are increasing in frequency and intensity so it is definitely getting close. Last night’s was the fact that every speaker, plus Doug and Tamar called me while I was in the airport to say they were delayed for a few days. I started to figure out how I could give all the sessions myself without any preparation. Ugh. I am also looking forward to taking in some R&R; after the conference during our annual company retreat in Sedona next week to let go of the stress.

See everyone soon. Only 3.25 days until Southwest Fox begins!

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Paul Mrozowski’s Blog – definitely subscribed!

Paul is a friend, former co-worker, fellow DAFUGger, WebConnect MVP, MereMortals.NET MVP, and all-around smart guy in both VFP and .NET.

Good to see you are blogging Paul!


I saw this posted on Andrew MacNeill’s blog first (but also reported by almost everyone else I subscribe to in the Fox Community). Microsoft has released the VFP 9 Service Pack 2. We talked about this last night at DAFUG after Cathy Pountney’s excellent rehearsal for her Southwest Fox session “OutFox the VFP Report Writer: Printing on My Terms.”

Head over and read Milind Lele’s brief note on the release. A couple of notes, this is not the release of Sedna (the Xbase tools and .NET extensions to VFP 9). This will be released separately. I am not sure why these were released separately, but can guess that there are some legal issues to be ironed out to get the Sedna code posted on CodePlex under the shared source license.

One small typo in Milind’s letter: he notes about not installing this over one of the “betas.” He correctly instructs VFP developers to not install this over a CTP or beta. You need a clean install of VFP 9 RTM (release to manufacturing with no service packs), or the VFP 9 SP1. The typo is the word “betas.” I am a little surprised that Microsoft only released one beta for this service pack. Sure we had a few CTPs along the way, but those were definitely alpha releases. Alpha releases are made before the feature set is finalized. Even under the normal service pack release process we saw a beta and release candidates. Throw on top of this the concept that this could be the last service pack released I expected at least one release candidate after the original beta. I am a little surprised we only saw one beta.

Last night during Cathy’s presentation she ran into a bug under Vista where right-clicking on the method code editor freezes VFP after the shortcut menu is displayed. You can break the freeze several ways, but definitely a pain in the neck and not something I see in the list. Maybe it was fixed and overlooked in the bug list, or maybe I missed it in the list.

I am hopeful the Fox team listened to the posts about bugs and did some fantastic internal testing. Fingers crossed. Now I have to determine if I override my “no installs” two weeks before a conference rule and get this loaded before Southwest Fox.

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I was conversing with Rachel Hawley of Red Gate (makers of some excellent SQL Server tools). Rachel is responsible for some of the door prizes we are giving away at Southwest Fox next week. In the spirit of full disclosure: I am a “Friend of Red Gate”. This is a program Red Gate offers Microsoft MVPs. The fact is I have licensed Red Gate products for years before I became a friend, and only share my experiences with their products because I find them productive. That said, they have some exciting news for Fox user groups

Red Gate is expanding their support of user groups and Rachel was asking me if I knew of any other groups they should be targeting. I naturally told her how Visual FoxPro developers often use SQL Server, and how even Access developers use SQL Server as a backend database. So Rachel is looking for Visual FoxPro user groups to get in contact. From her email:

“As our .NET division continues to grow, so I am looking for new avenues of user groups to offer Red Gate’s assistance to. If you know of any Visual Fox Pro or Microsoft Access Developers groups in your local area and you think that they could benefit from our sponsorship or assistance please do pass on their details to me. As you know, we are always willing to try and reach out to the local community as much as we can and your assistance with this is always very much appreciated.”

I am not exactly sure what Rachel is planning to do other than to help provide some speakers to meetings, which is a big help if you have worked on this aspect of the user group.

If you are a VFP user group leader make sure one person from your group sends Rachel an email to let her know about your group. You can get in contact with her: Rachel period Hawley at red-gate period com.

(Please note: I know this should be obvious if you know me, but I do not get any kickback by getting user groups to sign up with Red Gate, I am only doing this to help out other Fox user groups in our community.)


Today was another busy day here at the three offices of Southwest Fox. A flurry of activity is going on behind the scenes as we are preparing the Conference CD with all the whitepapers and examples, the conference booklet, session signs, and badge holder schedules. But hold the presses, we have to make things interesting and perform a speaker switcheroo.

So from our news page (and RSS feed):

Unfortunately, Kevin Goff will not be able to speak at Southwest Fox. Fortunately, Mike Feltman has agreed to step in and give a session on error handling in Kevin’s time slots. Attendees who were registered for Kevin’s preconference session on Crystal Reports will be given the opportunity to choose another precon or get a refund (assuming it wasn’t the free precon from registering early).

So as the saying goes: make lemonade out of lemons.

I am really glad we have Mike stepping in and pinch hitting this late in the game (heh, it is baseball playoff time here in the USA). Mike is a true geek, and an experienced VFP professional, and probably one of the smartest people I know. He is also half the reason each and every Southwest Fox attendee is going to walk away with the opportunity to get a new license to Visual Fox Express, or an extension on their VFE subscription.

So if you are a K.O.K.O.P.E.L.L.I. fan, head out and get the latest version. The schedule is already current too.

Thanks Mike! OK, please return back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Only 15 days until Southwest Fox starts in Mesa!

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I am working on a project to enhance an existing application, and in the process I am updating it from VFP 5 to VFP 9 (more stable, less filling). I thought I was going to take advantage of the multiple detail band features of the new Report Designer, but decided on another approach. The update from VFP 5 to VFP 9 has been smooth with the help of three lines of code:

_screen.Themes = .F.

That is until yesterday…

The users acceptance testing revealed two bugs that are related. The application has some calculations on a report, and the calculations were evaluating incorrectly. The users pointed me toward a number not being included in the final results, but the formula definitely included the table column in question. It turns out that data was not being correctly pulled from the SQL Server database.

My debugging session showed no records in a certain scenario. I initially thought it had to do with the data in the base tables in SQL Server not having the conditions. and told the users they needed to set up data that met the criteria. They did and it still did not pull any data. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

What I found out in closer inspection is the original developer made a local view of two remote views. The code USEs the one local view with NODATA and later does a REQUERY(). Years ago I observed strange behavior with views based on other views and have stayed away from them. This situation is even “stranger” since it is a local view based on two remote views. Looking a the code, I never gave it a thought this was the case. I assumed (incorrectly of course) that this was a view pulling data directly from SQL Server.

In VFP 9, when you open a view NODATA, and the view is based on other views that are not yet USEd, the underlying views are also opened with NODATA.

In VFP 8 and earlier (I tested every version back to VFP 5), when you open a view NODATA and the other views are not yet USEd, only that view is opened with NODATA and the underlying views are opened with data.

Back to VFP 9, issuing the REQUERY() on the view requeried no records because the other views were already empty. Ugh. It was not the SQL Server data not meeting the criteria after all, it was the local cursors being empty.

The fix is easy: open the underlying views first, then open up the original view and REQUERY(). Fortunately the IT manager who is my customer understands how things like this can happen. He has been waiting to hear the “VFP 9 update excuse” during this testing period. He is a .NET developer so we had some fun jabbing each other’s favorite developer tool.

I also tested this same issue with a local view of two other local views. Same behavior. It is not remote view specific. Unfortunately I cannot find any documentation in the Help file with respect to this behavior change, so I thought I would post it here and possibly save someone else some aggravation down the road. I never ran into this because I do not do view-on-view coding, but I know others do and this is something you should be aware of when you use this technique.

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This evening I received some great news from Microsoft that I have been named a MVP for the 2007-2008 season (renewed on October 1st each year). This is the seventh consecutive time I have been honored with this award.

The MVP award is the way Microsoft recognizes individuals for their contribution in supporting Visual FoxPro developers (and other Microsoft technologies) by answering questions on forums, presenting sessions at conferences, and writing articles, blogs, books, and several other activities. More information about the MVP program can be found at the MVP site.

This is absolutely an honor. It is my intention to continue helping other VFP developers on, the MSDN forum,, other forums, at conferences, through this blog, and helping organize Southwest Fox.