Home » Conferences, Visual FoxPro » German DevCon Day 2: Friday Feast

One might be thinking of “feast” and the food served at German DevCon. While breakfast was delicious (I had eggs and smoked salmon, with grapefruit juice), I am referring to the nine session slots during the day. Lots of choices and lots to learn. Official sessions on Friday start at 8:30am and run until 10:00pm. It is a day developers feast on a lot of great material presented by some great speakers.

Up first is Christof Wollenhaupt with his first of five sessions for the conference. This session is called “Psychologie und Softwareentwicklung” and was presented in German. All the sessions in this slot were in German so I picked the one in the same room as my next session. I listened as much as I could, but mostly I caught up on some email and other work. Christof’s sessions in German are fast, as in speaking fast and packing in the information for the attendees. I like the fact that people laugh at is jokes and he has interactive sessions.

I followed Christof’s session with my “How Craig Boyd Makes Me a Hero!” session. I enjoyed it and hope the attendees did as well. The session was more interactive than most sessions I have given in Frankfurt. I love interaction and contributions from the audience when I talk so this helped me. I got through all but one demo so the timing on this session is still not perfected (something I worked on last weekend and on the plane ride to Frankfurt). The demo gods made sure I was in check with a VFP 9 SP2 C5 crash and the same for Skype (which definitely should not have been running in the first place). Rainer, the conference organizer, stopped by the room before the session and noted how much he really liked the session title. I have plenty of material for part two next year if Rainer wants to invite me back.

Up next was Cathy Pountney’s “Making the Most of VFP 9 SP2 Reports.” Cathy reminded me about some issues with respect to installing VFP 9 SP2. Since I have seen this session numerous times at user groups and conferences I took the time to update my document “Install and Run Different VFP 9 Versions on One Computer” with her discussion about Virtual Storage in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008. The introduction to the new Report Dynamics is delivered from one of the few experts in the community. The tips she shows in this session are outstanding. One of her tips in particular deals with the wrapping of details to the next page of reports when you have more than one object with different sizes bumping up the height of the band. This one hit home because on of my mentoring customers has a very similar problem (which Cathy helped me work through for a solution during lunch). This reminds me of an important benefits of conferences: getting help from other developers to solve problems that have you stumped. I know I try to help out other developers when ever I have a chance, but to do it face-to-face is really beneficial. This session actually was a perfect warm up to her fxReports session later in the afternoon.

Lunch followed Cathy’s session. At this point I was not hungry because breakfast was so good, but I had some salad and naturally the smoked salmon.

“Windows Presentation Foundation 4″ by Kevin McNeish followed lunch. This was the perfect follow up to the Entity Framework 4 session on Thursday. Kevin compared and contrasted the differences between Windows Forms and WPF-based interfaces. I really know nothing about either, so it was great getting background from one of the experts on the subject.

“fxReports – Sharing Custom Report Features” by Cathy Pountney is another session I saw in rehearsal at the Grand Rapids Fox User Group. Cathy added some stuff based on the fact that the VFPxRepository.com site is established. We are working on getting a place set up so the community can share add-ons and plug-ins for the various VFPX tools that have them. We decided that we needed a place separate from the VFPX Codeplex pages because VFPX hosts core projects and is not great with respect to multiple downloads. The rest of the session showed various dynamics and special effects Cathy has produced via a new reporting framework called fxReports. She showed the code and how they work, and how they are implemented in the ReportListener class hierarchy. The framework is designed to share components with other developers. Cathy has devised a VFPX project that helps developers not only design special effect classes for reports, but to load other ones by other developers, and share the ones they create. This is a really cool project and has tremendous potential for developers to create special effects on report and simple to implement ones developed by others. Really cool and a great session.

Christof (note, I only have to use his first name {g}) presented “Automatisierung des Entwicklungsprozesses” also in German. I was catching up on more work as I listened to him and tried to understand the various processes he has tried to automate in his work life. So many things to try and so little time to do so.

I skipped the two after dinner sessions since they were in German and got some more real work done. I needed to work on a proposal that was due for a customer by 5:00 EST so the fact that I was six hours ahead really helped me beat the space-time continuum limitations.

Once the proposal was completed and emailed I headed downstairs to participate in some discussions in the bar and later headed to bed because I was really tired after the long day. Unfortunately, jetlag was kicking my behind once again.

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