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German DevCon – Day 2

I am thankful that the sessions at German DevCon start at 8:30. I woke up with wake-up call and proceeded to fall back to sleep for 30 minutes. I still was able to get to Steven Black’s “Niche Marketing for VFP” session. I learned several important points during this session. Steven pointed out a new marketing term to me called SERP (Search Engine Results Page). What Steven talked about is owning your name property. Where does your web site come up in the results when you type in your company name or your name in Google? I am happy to say mine shows up at the very top via Google Germany. Steve provided several tips to include in the HTML and tweaks you can do using Google Analytics. This session also covered what a niche is and a number of niches available for VFP developers. I found this session to be very beneficial and glad I did not oversleep a minute more. Five of five stars.

Marcia Akins was up next with her “The 26 Hour Day” session. I saw this session earlier this year as she was starting to develop it. In this session Marcia shows a number of productivity tips and tricks and talks about how much time she thinks it will save you. I told her that her time estimates are conservative. This session covered a couple of my personal favorites: DeclareLocals.PRG (from MegaFox: 1002 Things You Want to Know About Extending VFP) and the new Edit Property/Method replacement dialog (soon to be added to VFPX). These two tools save me time. Marcia also showed her form and class hacking tool and pointed out how my HackCX Professional is like her tool on steroids. Her plug was very nice (and unnecessary), but she incorrectly pointed out that HackCX will even clean your kitchen. This is not true in the current version. Doug Hennig mentioned that I need to finish the MenuDesigner before I add the kitchen cleaning feature into HackCX {g}. Another five of five stars.

Craig Berntson followed Marcia’s session with “Continuous Integration.” This is a fairly new term (well new to me at least) that encompasses the automation of the build process and testing. This really is about development processes with respect to using source code control, building, and testing the build in tight iterative loops. Make small changes to the code, unit test, check it in, build, review the build results, use automated testing, and check the status of the tests. Better quality software based on a repeatable and proven process. Craig showed a number of free tools and talked about some very expensive tools to implement this process. He did this from the perspective of the .NET developer. .NET developers are evidentally ahead of the curve on automating the process. Craig did have one slide to show some of the tools that work with VFP like FoxUnit (automated testing), Code Analyst from VFPX to help with refactoring, and mentioned Rick Borup’s paper on FinalBuilder with VFP for “Automating the Build.” Four of five stars (would have been even better if this was presented from a VFP perspective).

Lunch – more good food, and of course more good smoked salmon.

I had ti get sine more work done in the afternoon along with some interesting discussions with Christof Wollenhaupt and Igor Vit (from Prague). I wanted to go to Michael Niethammer’s session “VFP – Tools und Assistenten.” I reviewed his materials a couple of days ago and figured I had a thing or two I could learn. Instead I ran through my demos for the VFPX session I was about to give.

I did give my session “VFPX Tools and Components – Live.” There was a big crowd in the room and you could feel the excitement as I revealed each of the tools and components. A quick poll at the beginning of the session revealed very few developers have heard of VFPX. It was consistent with the findings at Southwest Fox (15-20%). Looks like we need a “Tell a friend about VFPX” campaign. As I went through each section of the session I asked if anyone was using what I just showed and a few hands would go up. Then I followed up with the question asking how many developers might use it in the future and most of the room raised their hands. The session was definitely more interactive than any session I have given in Frankfurt the last three years. There definitely was a buzz in the room. I was very fun for me, I just hope everyone else was having a good time too.

One more day to go – conferences sure seem to fly by.

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