Posts Tagged ‘training’


Just in case you are looking for VFP training and you are not on the Visionpace distribution list, here is a notification I received this evening:

The next VFP Boot Camp will be in Kansas City, Missouri, October 1-3, 2007

Registration ends on September 14, 2007 for the highly-acclaimed VFP Boot Camp. This event delivers three jam-packed days of solid, hands-on learning. From the fundamentals of VFP development through the very latest VFP 9.0 features, this boot camp is designed to quickly get your VFP skills up to speed. Attendees will receive a 500 page manual in both print and electronic format.

For more information visit or email info AT visionpace DOT com. To register call 888-904-7900



I received a notification from Visionpace this evening about their next VFP bootcamp coming up in August. I get inquiries from VFP developers looking for training, and I have Visionpace on the short list of vendors I recommend. Here are the details from Visionpace:

The next VFP Boot Camp will be in Kansas City, Missouri, August 20-22, 2007

Registration ends on August 1, 2007 for the highly-acclaimed VFP Boot Camp. This event delivers three jam-packed days of solid, hands-on learning. From the fundamentals of VFP development through the very latest VFP 9.0 features, this boot camp is designed to quickly get your VFP skills up to speed. Attendees will receive a 500 page manual in both print and electronic format.

For more information visit or email info AT To register call 888-904-7900.



A day of .NET for Rick? I can here the rumors already – Rick has completely moved his operations to .NET. Nope, but I took the opportunity to get a day of free seminars on some topics I was interested in in Grand Rapids last Saturday. You will see by the sessions I picked that they are Web related and something I think .NET is very strong and well suited for in today’s projects. All the sessions were scheduled for 60 minutes, most ran over, and some of the sessions did not have any break time between them. It was almost as if the original schedule had less sessions for 75 minutes each and they had to be crammed in to fit the one day conference.

The day was organized by the West Michigan .NET User Group, sponsored by several local companies and one very large national company with a vested interest in spreading the word about .NET. I also got a chance to take my son with me so he could get a little taste of the Microsoft vision. He is a Web developer and he gets the LAMP vision at school. He sees how .NET could be in his future, but has not seen it much at the University of Michigan. He also understands how school is way different from the real world.

The keynote was very interesting. It was about the Future of Development. The speaker talked about how data will be accessible on all platforms (server, desktops, laptops, PDA, phones, toasters (okay, I added the last one)). It was not a discussion of the paperless office promised by so many years ago. Rather it was a discussion on how our users will want to get their data in non-traditional ways. The speaker sort of reminded me of Tom Rettig. This made me wonder what Tom might be blogging about today if he were alive.

Next up was the “Building a .NET Startup.” I think this session would have been better titled “How to Design and Build an ASP.NET Application.” What Brian Anderson showed is how he designed, architected, and developed a Web site that allows someone to invoice people for money and allow the people to pay via cash or through a PayPal account. This is designed for people who run a soccer team and need to collect money from the parents to run the team, or a scout leader who needs to collect dues for the child’s participation (or similar scenario). The Web site charges a little fee for each transaction. It gives you the ability to manage the people and what each owes. Nice little site. Brian built the site using the Microsoft AJAX Toolkit, .NET Tiers and Codesmith frameworks/code generators, and the PayPal Payment Pro Web service integration to process the PayPal transactions. His basic premise with respect to the frameworks and code generation tools is to never write CRUD code. I talked to him after the session about the lack of optimization code generators are famous for. He said I might be surprised on how far tools like this have come. Lots of links and lots ideas on how one can rapidly put together a .NET site. Very good session.

Daniel Woolston presented the “AJAX Controls” session. This session went through some of the 32 controls in the Microsoft AJAX Toolkit. Dan started out the session with a comment that I will paraphrase as “I really have no idea how this session is going to go because I have not rehearsed it.” With this in mind, I was pleasantly surprised how smooth the presentation went. Some of the controls in this toolkit are extremely cool. The AJAX Control Toolkit is from Microsoft and is open source, and is free. The project is hosted on CodePlex like VFPX is and is community driven. The controls also play nice with other frameworks and look easy to implement. I am most interested in the Accordion, the Calendar, the Always Visible, and Resizable controls for a project I have coming up. He also gave away Nerf toy guns at the end of his session (not technically important, but I think as a bribe to get better evals {g}). Excellent session.

The next session was called Command Patterns by Martin Shoemaker. I have seen Martin present before and his session was on the Command design pattern, While I was interested in what he had to say, I have seen some great design pattern sessions by VFP speakers who cover several design patterns in one session. So I bailed early and visited with the different vendors. I actually learned a lot from the vendors with respect to the Michigan economy and how .NET developers are seeing a growing market again here in Michigan. One of the companies described how they lived through a down turn in the software industry after Y2K, but how in the last year it really is rebounding. This is exactly what I have experienced, only my rebound has been going for the last three years. They did mention how their consulting practice and head hunting is seeing a real drive for C# developers as opposed to VB.NET developers. It is only one company’s perspective, but interesting nonetheless. They are also seeing a lot more VB6 to VB.NET conversions than they have in the last few years.

Jim Holmes kicked off my afternoon with his “Real World MOSS” session. Jim shared his real world experience working with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and the tools he uses to make development and deployment easier. This really is my kind of session as Jim detailed shortcomings and workarounds to increase productivity. One of the cooler tools he showed is Watir Recorder. This tool records clicks and keystrokes in Internet Explorer so you can rerun unit and system tests for a Web application. In this particular case Jim uses this tool to deploy SharePoint features. There are a number of steps you need to process to unregister (for lack of the exact term) and re-register the SharePoint feature. He automated all of it using the Watir Recorder. Very cool session. I learned more about SharePoint in this one hour than I did at the entire Advisor Summit.

Dan Hibbitts presented the “Mobile Software Factory” which covered the .NET Compact framework and SQL Server CE. I am sure I cannot deploy an application on my Treo anytime soon, but this informative session did get me geeked to try something on this platform down the road. So much to learn, so little time to do it all. This is one of the things that has me interested in Christof’s Guineu project. As a VFP developer I have little to no capabilities to develop for this platform. I have one customer who is thinking this platform might be the next big thing for him so I am trying to expand my skill to possibly meet his needs. Another good session.

The last session of the day was “Vista Gadgets” by Microsoft Developer Evangelist Drew Robbins. I have seen Drew present a few times before and there is no mistaken that he loves his job and feels like he is one of the luckiest guys in the world. Drew showed us some of the available Vista Gadgets and then built a practical one. Now I will admit when I first saw these gadgets a couple if years ago I was not impressed by them. I found them more than a little distracting. I like a clean desktop for the most part and these gadgets are anti-organizing from my perspective. My view on this has been changing more and more as I see some real and practical implementations. I really don’t need a fancy clock or the weather in my face. Drew put together a fairly simple gadget that read your tasks in Outlook and presented them on the desktop outside of Outlook. Even better, you could complete them and create detailed fly outs with very simple and easy to understand javascript code with a little HTML. I see some advantages to some dashboard type of applications where this might have some practical implementations for business. Thanks Drew.

One other general observation: most of laptops at the seminar were running Vista. This is completely different from the laptops I have seen at Fox events. Interesting. I talked to several attendees about this and they are “struggling” to adopt Vista, but overall they are liking it.

Overall it was a day well spent. Sure it was a Saturday and I had to cross the state to attend, but I would have traveled much further for this kind of value. I wanted to attend the one in Ann Arbor put on by the AA .NET group because it was closer to home, but it was held during the Advisor Summit. Sounds like the two groups are helping each other and are planning several of these a year. Looks like I might be scheduling a couple more Saturdays a year to career development.

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A couple of days ago I got an email from Jim Duffy about his VFP training classes. It got me thinking: why would a .NET guy and VB.NET MVP still be doing some Visual FoxPro training? So I called him.

Jim and I talked for an hour. We caught up on a few things in the VFP world, some projects we are working on, and most of all why Jim is still teaching VFP. After all, has he not heard about VFP being dead? (tongue firmly planted in cheek)

This might surprise you, but Jim is dedicated to teaching people Visual FoxPro (and integration with SQL Server) as long as there are people who need to learn it. Contrary to some people in our community, Jim and I feel there will be new people learning VFP for years to come. Why? One word, turnover. It is the same reason people are learning a lesser used language like COBOL or an orphaned language like Visual Basic v6.0: there are projects that use it and people leave these projects. Companies will need to replaced the developers with someone new. The new person might know Visual FoxPro, or might not know Visual FoxPro. Either way, their experience might need some enhanced training. Then there are companies like mine who will use VFP for new projects because it meets the client’s needs. If VFP developers become harder to find, I will create new ones as I need them. This is why Jim will be teaching VFP for years to come.

I think this is great. If I look back over the last 12 years, I can count on one hand the number of companies I know about that regularly taught VFP here in the USA, and another hand to count the companies outside of the USA. It is nice to know at least a few companies see this niche opportunity, and are planning on continuing this service to the Fox Community. I see this as a smart business decision.

So if you want to get some hands-on-training from a long time VFP’er, give Jim a call ( He has some classes coming up May 21-25, 2007. I used his training material to help a developer get up to speed seven years ago. I was talking to this developer a couple of weeks ago and he mentioned how great it was to learn from me while we worked together on a project. He also mentioned how my mentoring, the App Dev videos by Jim Booth, and the TakeNote training materials really helped him quickly come up to speed on VFP. It was nice to know years later how this impacted his career.

Jim has updated his training materials for VFP 9, so now is the time to get in on his latest round of classes.