Home » Conferences, Visual FoxPro » German DevCon Day 3: Closing Day

The last day of the conference is always the hardest since your brain is suffering from “VFP overflow” from all the knowledge you gained from the sessions. Combine that with the jetlag and you have a recipe for sleepiness. Fortunately there are only 5 sessions and the closing session on the last day.

Up first is Doug Hennig and his “Cool Controls for Your Applications” session. Doug’s theme this year was deep diving into various controls in both of his conference sessions. Doug is making the important point that your apps do not have to be mundane and boring. There are no more excuses. Doug covered his impressive SF Splitter control (for vertical and horizontal splitting, which I am planning to use soon for one project), the SFComboTree (found in the PEMEditor), the VFPX PopMenu project, Paul Mrozowski’s RCSCalendar control, and finally the VFPX Balloon tips by Carlos Allotti. Great session for anyone looking to spruce up your app.

I skipped the next session because my head was hurting a little bit and because it felt like I had gone non-stop for a few days.

Alaska Software was kind enough to show us where they are going with their “Polar Fox” project. They showed this off at Southwest Fox, but I did not have time to review it in Pheonix. Steffen Pirsig detailed the plans for the next major version of XBase++ and how it will transpile the current FoxPro source code into their format to run. Details include:

  • Transpiler: will take existing Visual FoxPro code and transport it to XBase++ code.
  • Source code control will be simplified with text based source code.
  • Source compiles down to native platform executables.
  • Decompilers will be a thing of the past.
  • Designers will be written in XBase++, IDE can be automated (continuing the tradition of extensibility).
  • Command prompt, roll your own commands (interactive just like Visual FoxPro).
  • Concepts they are pushing: no limits, innovate without disruption, favor design, continue the language.

Code already is compiling and building EXEs, the initial designers are working, they are making the reporting engine 100% compatible, and have the Profiler and Debugger working.

The idea that gives me the most confidence that Alaska Software can pull this off is that they have done it before with Clipper and the Clipper Community. They also seem to have a terrific grasp on what Visual FoxPro does and how developers use Visual FoxPro, and the types of applications they write. I really appreciate the time Steffan put in on the presentation and how Alaska Software is working on a path for Visual FoxPro developers in the future.

After lunch was my “Mocking Your Customer” session. This session is the one I was most nervous about because it really counts on audience participation. Having other contribute to any session benefits everyone, and the participation I have had in rehearsals and at other conferences was terrific. So in an effort to coax people into asking questions I offered to draw names for one of two licenses of Balsamiq Mockups. It worked a little as two people asked questions. Each won a copy of Mockups. The business side of the session went faster than normal since there were no questions or observations to share. I enjoyed the session and got several nice compliments from attendees as they were leaving.

The last session of the conference for me was Servoy’s vendor session “Servoy for the Visual FoxPro Developers.” Several Fox developers have made some very public statements on how they are learning Servoy and how they like it. Ken Levy did not show up on time so I went out in the lobby to track him down and remind him he had a session to give in 5 minutes. I am not throwing stones here based on my tardiness to my first session. I normally don’t get to see vendor sessions so I decided to take the opportunity to check out Servoy. After all, they have sponsored SWFox for 4 years and I don’t really have in-depth knowledge of the specifics, and have not seen a demo of the product. It does look impressive, especially how you can literally change the source code while the code is running. Once you save the change it is immediately reflected in the running form. They offer a good deal to start with the development IDE for free. Unfortunately as cool as it looks, the one thing I did not get answered specifically is the licensing costs, which I have been told is per seat licensing. They slipped through the pricing slide extremely quick and ask that you contact them for specifics on the pricing.

The conference finished up with the closing session where lots of door prizes are given away.

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