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German DevCon – Day 3

Today is Saturday, the last day of the conference. Interesting, Rainer did not follow my tradition of speaking at the first session, but since my first session today is at 11:30, I will be presenting during my body clock time of 5:30AM. {g}

First this morning is Armin Neudert’s “Vorschau SQL Server 2008″, which is a German session revealing some of the new stuff in SQL Server 2008. I barely understood Armin’s discussion and could not read most of the slides, but I got the examples he showed and found the session very beneficial. One thing I noted is the addition of some new date/time formats. I was also working on reviewing my “Creating Help – Made Easy” material in preparation for my session after lunch.

I presented my “SQL Server Developer Toolkit for the VFP Developer” during the third slot of the day. I really enjoy this session because it shows developers tools to increase productivity. This session is designed to be interactive with the people who come to the session and this session did not disappoint. Lots of questions and experiences. I normally worry about a session like this at the German DevCon, but this year it seems developers are willing to contribute, which makes the session go better. It was exciting for me.

Lunch – more smoked salmon despite Marcia’s attempt to plate it all before I got to the buffet.

Next up was my “Creating Help – Made Easy” session. It is a session I developed for WhilFest 2003. I feel pretty passionate about creating Help for applications when it is required. I also know many developers who are nervous about Help because they think it is complicated. The reality is, when using the HTML Help Workshop it is hard. In fact, it is really painful. Miserable. This is why I step through the process in my session. I want to show the developers the pain and why you want to purchase a tool for a couple hundred dollars (Euros, etc.). I show you how to integrate the Help file into your application. Finally I show you a couple of HTML Help authoring tools (West Wind’s HTML Help Builder and Help and Manual) to show you how easy it really can be. I realized after the session I forgot to mention you need to ship a couple of VFP HTML Help DLLs with your app to get the integration to work in production. Fortunately all this information is in the session white paper, so if you attended the sessions or the conference you can read all about it.

Andy’s “Get the Most Out of Intellisense” session is in the official last slot of the conference. I have seen this session a couple of times before, but as usual I relearned several things. Couple of my favorites are:

  1. Command Tip Window (replacement for the Quick Info tooltips) which allows you to copy the text.
  2. Adding common variables you use in your code such as “loObj” and have it expand to “loObj = ” and then have it drop down a list of object references such as “this”, “thisform”, and “this.parent”.

Sweet refresher and packed with good examples, and literally a hundred items to use in our own Intellisense table. Not only do you get the code, but you get inspiration to create your own based on needs you have in development. Andy is one of, if not the authority on Intellisense. His knowledge on this topic is top-gun. I also appreciated his endorsement of using spaces instead of tabs in my code {bg}.

Based on some bugs discovered and some other quirks Andy has found over the years, I am hopeful the IntelliSense Manager becomes a project on CodePlex in VFPX once Microsoft releases the Sedna components and the XSource ZIP file. Alan Griver noted in the keynote that Sedna and XSource should be released in the next few weeks. Another session I can rate a six out of five stars.

Tonight is the speaker dinner which is something I always look forward to since Rainer brings out some of the most exotic food I have ever seen. In the past we have seen zebra, rattlesnake, fish I am sure is from another planet, and various other interesting food I cannot pronounce or spell. I am hopeful we will not see Monkey brains.

Tomorrow Doug Hennig and I head to Holland for the Software Developer Network conference on Monday. If I have time and a decent Internet connection I will make a report. I will be presenting three sessions and ignoring Doug’s (especially his Vertical Market session {g}).

Thanks for the great time Germany! Rainer: you run a terrific conference. Good news to the rest of the world as he has announced German DevCon dates through 2014. Check out the Fox Wiki for absolute details.

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