Archive for June, 2012


Hear that sound? Tick, tick, tick, tick…

That’s the countdown clock at Geek Gatherings getting closer to the Super-saver deadline for Southwest Fox and Xbase++! July 1 is only a few days away and we thought we would pass along a reminder just in case you forgot to type it into your task list, or stick it on your monitor on a yellow sticky note.

The conferences take place October 18-21, 2012 in Gilbert, Arizona and we really hope you can be there. We would hate to see you miss out on the $125 discount and the free pre-conference or post-conference session. These sessions are more popular than ever this year. One person has registered for four pre-cons, and all three post-cons!

Already registered? Thanks. Can you help us remind your fellow developers who have been procrastinating that the deadline is looming? Anything else you can do to promote the conference would also be appreciated.

Also, if you sent in your registration and have not received your confirmation, please contact us to see what has happened. Everyone gets a confirmation and a paid invoice as a receipt when registration is processed.

Special drawings for people who register before July 1st:

  • Two White Light Computing Scholarships of $150
  • One Tomorrow’s Solutions LLC Scholarship of $150 (only those who have not attended Southwest Fox since 2007 are eligible)
  • One license of Stonefield Query SDK (a $6,000 value; both conferences eligible)

Check out our list of amazing speakers and dig into our session tracks. Follow the news about the conference on our blog.


Just a reminder about the Southwest Fox/Southwest XBase++ Solstice Special. Register before this Thursday, June 21 and you’ll be eligible to win your choice of an iPad 2 with 16GB of memory ($399 value), a Kindle Fire ($199 value) or a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 ($399 value), plus you’ll get all the benefits of a Super-Saver registration, including a $125 registration discount and a free pre-conference or post-conference session. Full details at


For the last seven years Rainer Becker has invited me to Germany to present sessions at the German DevCon. While in Germany, for at least the last four years he has asked me to write a book on the open source projects found in VFPX on CodePlex. Ever year I have told him it was a crazy idea and flat out rejected his request. Mostly I rejected it for fear my wife will strangle me in my sleep one night. But the biggest reason is simple: the VFPX projects are too fluid. There is a saying: it is like nailing jello to a wall. Hard to do and messy.

I have a lot of experience writing about VFPX projects. Almost every issue of FoxRock has an article on one of the VFPX projects. Almost every article is slightly obsolete before it gets in the hands of the readers 30 days later. I have written numerous white papers for conferences and user group presentations. I end up tweaking them to the very last minute, and have been known to change presentations the day of the presentation to keep up. More than a two dozen project managers are ensuring this happens.

Last November Rainer asked again. As Doug Hennig as my witness, I said no. Rainer pushed harder this time. And as Doug as my witness, I said I would think about it. I immediately roped Doug into helping. It was a deal breaker if he said no. During the conference Doug and I brainstormed who we could get to help, what person might write about what projects, and what existing materials we could leverage. Before getting on the plane home not only had we agreed to try to do this, but we sort of had a plan on how it could be done. Crazy. After we returned to North America I called the people we wanted on the team and each of them bought in. No more deal breakers left.

Secretly, behind the scenes Doug, Jim Nelson, Eric Selje, Tamar Granor and I, with the help of many of the VFPX project managers have been assembling what is turning out to be a fantastic book. Far exceeding my expectations. Every project on VFPX is covered in detail for the latest and greatest of each project. The authors are tech editing each others work, fact checking, testing out the samples, and ensuring you can read a chapter, understand the benefits of using, and get a big head putting the tool or component to use. Some of us are also learning Mercurial too as we use a repository for the book. Additionally, Tamar is also schooling me on proper English, again. It has not been easy, but doing something great never is easy.

The writing is getting close to being done. When I say close, I mean, as soon as I am done writing it will be done. Some traditions have to be maintained. This is the seventh book I have collaborated on, and I have always been the last one to finish.

Rainer is bold, and a little bit crazy to be putting out another Visual FoxPro related book in 2012. He is obviously passionate when it comes to the Fox Community. This mix turns out to be a good one because, as crazy an idea this book is, it is going to help a lot of people. At least we hope it will.

The book is named VFPX: Open Source Treasure for the VFP Developer and will be available sometime before the fall Fox conferences (Southwest Fox and German DevCon). It is a book that needs to be in the library of every Visual FoxPro developer. Seriously. No kidding. We hope you like it.


Solstice Special – beat the rush to registration

Geek Gatherings is adding an incentive to get you to register early. In addition to all the perks you get when registering before July 1st (a $125 discount, a free pre-conference or post-conference session, and a chance for a $150 scholarship or Stonefield Query SDK), one person who registers before June 21st wins a tablet!

The winner will select one of the following:

  • iPad 2 with 16GB of memory (value of $399)
  • Kindle Fire (value of $199)
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (value of $399)

Winner is selected on July 3, 2012 from the list of people registered before June 21st.


My copy of MSDN Magazine arrived in today’s mail. As I do when it arrives, I browse through the pages looking for interesting articles to read. Normally what I read is interesting information about things in .NET that people on my team throw around during team gatherings, and I see presented at user groups and conferences.

But today I read two thought provoking articles discussing Visual Basic 6, which was released in 1998 and off Microsoft’s extended support in 2008. Not exactly what I would call cutting edge material.

  • Don’t Get Me Started, by David S Platt
  • Old Soldiers Never Die, editorial by Michael Desmond

The articles discuss how in January Microsoft extended “It Just Works” compatibility and support of VB6 applications through the full lifetime of Windows 8. This means the VB6 core runtimes are getting 5 more years of mainstream support followed with 5 more years of extended support into 2022 (a total of 10 years of Windows 8). Note: the VB6 IDE is not supported, just the runtimes. Still, this has an super important impact on VB6 developers who can talk to their customers and assure them that Microsoft is backing the investment in applications their customers have come to depend on. Platt even speculates: “I’ll bet you a beer that Microsoft has to extend Visual Basic 6 support through Windows 9 and 10.”

Here is a link for all the details on “It Just Works” for Visual Basic 6.

So let’s look at a simple timeline comparison here:

  • The last release of VB6 was in 1998, and extended support ended in 2008.
  • The last release of VFP 9 SP2 was October 2007, and extended support goes through January 2015.

The theme of the two articles is that VB6 apps continue to thrive in the business world, and in governments, and they are likely to thrive for a long time to come. Sounds familiar. Visual FoxPro applications are doing the same in both sectors, and in non-profits. Not every business can just afford to stop and rewrite their mission critical apps. Some applications do not support a business model for a rewrite. Just because Microsoft decides they no longer support development platforms and runtimes does not mean business does not continue as is.

One thing that made me chuckle is in Desmond’s article as he cites Platt, “Platt says he sees “pockets” of support on the Internet for Borland Delphi, Microsoft FoxPro, and Sybase PowerBuilder.” Pockets. Funny.

I want to be clear on one point. I don’t think this is important from the technical side of things as the testing I have done is not revealing any issues on Windows 8. Visual FoxPro applications I have tested are working fine on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview release from earlier this year. I have not tested on the Windows 8 Release Preview released this week. This is purely a marketing issue so Visual FoxPro developers can reassure their customers that Microsoft cares about their software, AND allows them to upgrade to Windows 8 if they choose to do so. Assurance equals new revenue for Microsoft. It also might help stem the tide of choosing alternative non-Microsoft platforms when it comes to the v.Next rewrite of the existing business software.

So Microsoft, I ask – How do the Visual FoxPro runtimes get “It Just Works” support extended through the life of Windows 8? I am certain this would be helpful to the customers who have come to depend on their software just as much as the software created in VB6, and Visual FoxPro has been supported longer.

Or am I wrong?