Home » Uncategorized » Software Developer Network: Day One & Only

On Sunday Doug Hennig and I took a train to Holland so we could present sessions at the Software Developer Network FoxPro (SDN) Software Developer Event. The train is one of the high speed trains that travels at 300kph/188mph. Fast and smooth. Once we arrived we were picked up by Gerben Kessen at the train station and taken to the hotel. At the hotel we met up with the Visual Objects and Vulcan speakers for dinner. The other track at the conference had session on these two technologies. It was interesting to hear about the world of Visual Objects and Vulcan (a XBase language on the .NET framework currently in development). Naturally we had some fun in the VFP is better vs. your tool of choice discussion {g}. I went back to my room and battled the wireless Internet connection before falling asleep.

The next morning I woke up late! I requested a wake-up call for 7:00 so I could get breakfast and make sure my computer works with the beamer. I woke up at 8:00, which still gave me enough time to get to the conference room to test out the beamer, but not enough time to eat breakfast. I was happy to do the first session on the last (and only) day. Traditions are important. I also had the first session after lunch and the last session of the day. All three slots are the least preferred by most speakers, but I don’t mind presenting during any of the slots.

I presented three sessions:

  1. VFPX Tools and Components – Live
  2. Creating Help – Made Easy!
  3. SQL Server Toolkit for the VFP Developer

The first session did worry me as there were only 3 or 4 developers in the room when the session was suppose to start. I expected a few more since there were 25 people signed up for the conference. A couple minutes into the session the rest of the crowd filed in. I asked how many people had heard of VFPX and not a single hand was raised. By the end of the session people were real excited by this project. We are already working to come up with some plans to get the word out about VFPX, but we are going to need your help in doing so. Make sure to spread the word about this important project, and a significant part of the future of Visual FoxPro.

My other sessions went well. During Doug’s sessions I caught up on some work I needed to have done before I returned to the states. After the conference we had dinner with the organizers and then headed to Amsterdam. Tuesday Doug and I toured Amsterdam. I felt like I was a zombie. Amsterdam is definitely everything I have heard about it. It is different than any place I have visited on the planet.

I think SDN has a really good idea with the one day event. This is something I have been considering doing in North America for a couple of years. I have attended a number of “mini-conferences” over the years put on by Microsoft, and other organizations and individuals. What do you think? Would you attend a one or two-day “mini-conference” with five or six sessions in a day? If so, how much would you be willing to pay for this? Please let me know either on this blog, or even send me a private email.

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8 Responses to “Software Developer Network: Day One & Only”

  1. November 17th, 2007 at 19:50 | #1

    Hi Rick,
    That’s really very surprising to know that the vast majority of VFP users don’t know about VFP-X.
    What’s the real reason ?
    Don’t they use the web ?
    Don’t they visit the blogs ?
    How did they get know about your sessions ?

  2. November 17th, 2007 at 22:14 | #2

    Cesar – most VFP developers don’t access blogs, forums, subscribe to magazines, come to conferences, or purchase books. Over the years the community has roughly estimated that only 10-15% visit a single forum once a week. I am sure developers use the Web, but not to learn about VFP or get answers to their questions.

    So if someone publishes a post on a forum or writes a blog entry we would be lucky if only 10% of all VFP developers see it.

    As to your question about how did they know about my session at the conferences: I think they heard about the conference first, then read through all the sessions available. Trust me on this, getting the word out about a conference is a tricky thing, and a very tough nut to crack. Microsoft is the only entity that knows who has registered VFP and they do not do mailings. They were kind to post info in the almost-monthly newsletter, but again, people have to pull this information.

    I don’t think it is a coincidence the estimate of 10-15% of forum visitors match the counts in my conference sessions.

    I am open to all ideas on how we can get the word out. I believe it is critical that we accomplish this soon.

  3. November 18th, 2007 at 06:27 | #3

    Hi Rick,
    Thanks for your answer.
    Maybe you gave me an answer…
    would it be possible if we put some important links on the VFP9 page ?
    Even better would be in the SP2 download page. I HOPE that every VFP user should visit it… right ?

    Maybe if we update the “Community” button in the TaskPane manager. It should get adresses from an external URL, that could be maintained by some VFP gurus – When a new VFP site, blog or article emerges, this list would be updated.

    Right now we have the “Blog Watch” at Fox.Wikis : http://fox.wikis.com/wc.dll?Wiki~BlogWatch

    IMO, the only way to get the other 85% is from MS. 3 or 4 links to some VFP Pages that would contain a bigger index Some links could be a start.

  4. November 18th, 2007 at 13:58 | #4

    These are all excellent ideas. I know Steven Black is starting a push on the Fox Wiki for VFPX so maybe what we need is some sort of VFPX Watch page on the Wiki that tracks some of the releases and activities.

    Changing the Task Pane Manager would require some programming to deal with an addition to the Community Pane. It would be easier to add our own VFPX pane, but then you have to communicate this to the world (circular reference {g}).

    I will email YAG about getting VFPX added to the community page. This is an excellent idea. I know this page gets hits.

  5. November 19th, 2007 at 06:07 | #5

    Hi Rick,
    Some more ideas…

    Who manages http://www.foxcentral.net ???
    Is it community run ? Who’s the sysop ? It seems to me that Rick Strahl is somehow envolved, because the interface is very familiar to the one he has on his site.

    What about having a http://www.foxcentral.net/BLOGS ?

    In that page we would have together all VFP blogs available in just one site.
    Not only links, but the complete posts.

    Something like Ted Roche created for his personal use:


    The site manager or Managers would subscribe to all VFP Blogs available.

    We could even allow a “Submit blog” page for people to send new VFP related blogs to be aproved and subscribed.

    This way, we ALL could have just one main adress to get all VFP blogs in just one time.

    Of course each of us has his preferred blogs, but there would be a place to have everything together, and make people know each other better.

    I have to think more about this, but IMO, this will be a great addition to the community, with almost ZERO efforts.

  6. November 19th, 2007 at 08:45 | #6

    FoxCentral.NET is a site for news releases run by Rick Strahl, but all the posts are made by registered individuals.

    This is another good point. I am not sure VFPX has a single post done on FoxCentral.

    I think the Fox Wiki blog watch is the central focus for blogs in the Fox world. The UniversalThread also has a registration of blogs (although you have to be a UT member to be on this list). I really think developers already have aggregators to bring blogs to one place. But the community can use tags better to get them on some of the blog summary sites.

  7. November 21st, 2007 at 07:26 | #7


    When you said: “I really think developers already have aggregators to bring blogs to one place.”

    I would update your text to:
    I think that the 15% of VFP Web Active developers already have aggregators to bring blogs to one place. The other 85% need to have an easier way to get these information in one time, and after that, they’ll be able to configure theuir own blogs and news readers.

    Take my own example. If my blog wasn’t published in the foxite server, almost nobody would have known it. Since Foxite provides an index to all blog posts they have, people can know easier what’s going on, and if they get interested they car read the post.

    I do really think that creating not only an index, but an auto updated page with the subscribed VFP blogs will bring great value to the community.

  8. November 21st, 2007 at 08:40 | #8

    Interesting point Cesar. I am not against it philosophically, but I look at it in the same fashion as normalizing data. Why would I want to update 10 places, or go to 10 places to get the same information when I can now go to a couple of places to monitor changes in the blogosphere?

    Today I can go to there places to determine people who are new to blogging:
    1) Fox Wiki BlogWatch page
    2) UT Blogger page
    3) Foxite summary page

    I plug them into FeedDemon and I am set to go. I am not sure we can address the other 85% since they have chosen to not participate in the online communities. If they are not visiting forums where all the knowledgebases are, why would we think they are reading blogs in mass?

    Thanks for driving some discussion.

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