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Kevin Ragsdale - FoxPro Contemplations

By kevin ·
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MegaFox... Still Relevant... Still Awesome!!!

by kevin In reply to Kevin Ragsdale - FoxPro C ...

<P>I've been stuck lately in what feels like a never-ending project. Doing a lot COM work with VFP, and at times I seem to be spending more time scratching my head than coding.</P>
<P>This evening, I decided to stroll through my library of VFP books, and I decided to take another look at <A href="http://www.hentzenwerke.com/catalog/megafox.htm">MegaFox: 1002 Things You Wanted To Know About Extending Visual FoxPro</A>, written by Marcia Akins, <A href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/andykramek">Andy Kramek</A>, and <A href="http://www.rickschummer.com/blog/">Rick Schummer</A>.</P>
<P>Another read through <EM>Chapter 14: VFP and COM</EM> was just what I needed to get the juices flowing again. For the first time in a couple of weeks, I'm actually looking <EM>forward</EM> to working on the aforementioned never-ending project! Then I moved on to <EM>Chapter 15: Designing for Extensibility</EM>. The discussion of design patterns was a real eye-opener -- again... Seems like I've “read“ about design patterns many times, but actually <EM>implementing</EM> them? Well, sort of... </P>
<P>Although the book came out around VFP 7.0, it is still very relevant today. If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and buy a copy. If you have already bought and read it, read it again... Many pearls of wisdom inside...</P>
<P>Thank you Marcia, Andy, and Rick for an excellent VFP resource! </P>
<P> </P><img src ="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/aggbug/371.aspx" width = "1" height = "1" /><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/archive/2005/04/13/371.aspx">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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Roadmap? Where?

by kevin In reply to Kevin Ragsdale - FoxPro C ...

<P>Maybe I'm a bit dense today, but I just finished reading the “eagerly awaited, infamous” <A href="http://msdn.microsoft.com/vfoxpro/roadmap/">Visual FoxPro Roadmap</A>, and I can only say, “Huh?”</P>
<P>Sedna (the code-name for the project to “expand on the ability of Visual FoxPro-based solutions to better integrate with other Microsoft products and technologies&ldquo obviously is NOT going to be VFP 10 (it “requires” VFP 9).</P>
<P>In fact, I see nothing in this “definitive” Roadmap which suggests any further enhancements to VFP after SP1 and Sedna are released. In their effort to become more “transparent,“ I'm personally a bit miffed about the cyclic references between the Roadmap and the VFP FAQ.</P>
<P>On the plus side, Ken's <A href="http://msdn.microsoft.com/vfoxpro/letters/">June letter</A> has the following entry:</P>
<P><FONT size=2><FONT face=Verdana><STRONG>.NET for Visual FoxPro Developers book online for free<BR><BR></STRONG>The complete 500 page .</FONT></FONT><A href="http://foxcentral.net/microsoft/NETforVFPDevelopers.htm"><FONT face=Verdana color=#002c99 size=2>NET for Visual FoxPro Developers book</FONT></A><FONT face=Verdana size=2> written by Kevin McNeish and edited by Cathi Gero is now online. This book has been made available through the cooperation between Hentzenwerke Publishing, Microsoft Corporation, and the book author Kevin McNeish.</FONT></P>
<P><STRONG>Revised:</STRONG> OK, maybe I'm NOT dense. Maybe I'm just suffering from a bit of denial. I just read Craig Berntson's <A href="http://www.craigberntson.com/archives/2005_06_01_archive.asp#111764598359410031">blog entry about the Roadmap</A>. For me, I think I'll try to stick with VFP for another 10 years or so, and start “playing” with other tools for the future...</P><img src ="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/aggbug/490.aspx" width = "1" height = "1" /><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/archive/2005/06/01/490.aspx">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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Southwest Fox

by kevin In reply to Kevin Ragsdale - FoxPro C ...

<P><FONT face=Georgia>If all goes well (and I budget appropriately), I am seriously hoping to attend the </FONT><A href="http://www.swfox.net"><FONT face=Georgia>Southwest Fox 2005</FONT></A><FONT face=Georgia> conference in October. I'm going to miss the early-bird deadline (save $50 off the registration fee if you register by the end of this week), but it still seems a bargain even at the full price.</FONT></P>
<P><FONT face=Georgia>From the </FONT><A href="http://www.swfox.net/faqs.aspx"><FONT face=Georgia>FAQ page</FONT></A><FONT face=Georgia>:</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=2><FONT face=Arial><STRONG><FONT color=#800080>Why should I attend Southwest Fox?</FONT></STRONG> Our goal at Southwest Fox is to is to provide the latest Visual FoxPro training and education. We want to give you practical techniques and information that can be applied to the problems and challenges in your applications both today and in to the future. While anyone in our industry cannot afford to ignore the importance of .NET, the thrust of this conference and all of the sessions is Visual Foxpro. We have done a number of innovative things in order to hold our costs in line so that we can pass the savings on to our attendees. Phoeinix is an economical destination from most locations and we have negotiated substantial discounts with all of the hotels in the immediate area. </FONT></FONT></P>
<P><FONT face=Georgia>Need another reason to attend? Try this one from the <A href="http://www.swfox.net/faqs.aspx">FAQ page</A>:</FONT></P>
<P><FONT size=2><FONT face=Arial><STRONG><FONT color=#800080>What's the weather like in Phoenix in October?</FONT></STRONG> There's a very good reason that the Phoenix Metro is known as "the Valley of the Sun." Day time temperatures even in mid-October generally range from the high 80's to the low and mid 90's. Shorts and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable. You'll blend right in with the natives. </FONT></FONT></P>
<P><FONT face=Georgia>A great lineup of <A href="http://www.swfox.net/Speakers2005.aspx">speakers and topics</A>, and (hopefully) nice weather. Sounds like a great place to be!</FONT></P>
<P><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT> </P><img src ="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/aggbug/705.aspx" width = "1" height = "1" /><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/archive/2005/06/29/705.aspx">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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Craig Bailey on .NET's "Return on Complexity"

by kevin In reply to Kevin Ragsdale - FoxPro C ...

<P>A great post by Craig Bailey about the hype surrounding .NET, and the “Return on Complexity” facing smaller development shops.</P>
<P><A href="http://craigbailey.blogspot.com/2005/07/net-return-on-complexity-roc.html">http://craigbailey.blogspot.com/2005/07/net-return-on-complexity-roc.html</A></P>
<P> </P>
<P> </P><img src ="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/aggbug/709.aspx" width = "1" height = "1" /><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/archive/2005/07/02/709.aspx">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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FoxPro Advisor Update Advertising

by kevin In reply to Kevin Ragsdale - FoxPro C ...

<P>I just got an email from FoxPro Advisor Update, and as I scrolled down the message I saw a “sponsored by” section that kind of threw me for a loop. </P>
<P>Here's a snippet of the ad:</P>
<P><STRONG><FONT face=Arial size=2>        FoxPro Application Development for $12/hr</FONT></STRONG> <BR><BR><FONT face=sans-serif size=2>        * Upgrade to FoxPro 9 or convert to .NET</FONT> <BR><FONT face=sans-serif size=2>        * Web enable your applications</FONT> <BR><FONT face=sans-serif size=2>        * Maintenance discounts available</FONT> <BR><FONT face=sans-serif size=2>        * Over 15 years of custom software development</FONT> <BR><FONT face=sans-serif size=2>        * Lower cost without sacrificing high quality</FONT> </P>
<P>Luckily, I'm sure none of my clients receive FoxPro Advisor Update. In fact, most of them don't know (and don't really even seem to care) what language my applications are written with. </P>
<P>After my first glance at the ad, I thought, “How in the heck am I supposed to <EM>compete</EM> with 'off-shoring specialists' offering rock-bottom pricing?“</P>
<P>The answer? QUALITY.</P>
<P>Have you ever seen an app developed on the cheap by third-world 'off-shoring specialists'? Though the ad mentions “lower cost without sacrificing high quality,” my experience has always been “<STRONG>You get what you pay for</STRONG>.”</P>
<P> </P><img src ="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/aggbug/723.aspx" width = "1" height = "1" /><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/archive/2005/07/06/723.aspx">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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Price, Quality, and Value

by kevin In reply to Kevin Ragsdale - FoxPro C ...

<P>Wow! My last post about the recent <A href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/archive/2005/07/06/723.aspx">FoxPro Advisor Update</A> advertisement really struck a nerve with Michael Kopljan, who <A href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/michaelkopljan/">responded to my post</A> by creating his own blog (<EM>Welcome to the Blogosphere, Michael!</EM&gt.</P>
<P>Michael makes a couple of excellent points about the cost of doing business in different parts of the world, which of course results in differing costs for the products produced. After re-reading his take on the subject and <A href="http://akselsoft.blogspot.com/2005/07/michael-responds-to-kevin-price.html">Andrew MacNeill's response</A>, I believe I made at least two HUGE mistakes in my original post. </P>
<P><STRONG>Mistake #1</STRONG>: My answer for competing with off-shoring specialists who charge a much lower rate versus my current rate was QUALITY. A poor choice of words on my part. The correct word is <STRONG>VALUE</STRONG>.</P>
<P><STRONG>Mistake #2</STRONG>: The wording I chose leading up to the “You get what you pay for“ statement. In retrospect, I can't blame Michael at all for being a bit pissed about my post. On the other hand --- dude, comparing my statements to Adolf Hitler? Come on... </P>
<P>On the plus side, isn't this a wonderful example about the global reach of blogs?</P>
<P>Michael was offended by my “Have you ever seen an app developed on the cheap by third-world 'off-shoring specialists'?“ statement. His response was, “That is to humiliate. Why you think that you are better then any third-world specialist. Why you think that your App is better than any other.“</P>
<P>Let me be the first to say that I don't neccessarily think my apps are better than any others. And I'm not so sure that anyone I know would ever describe me as “super intelligent.“ After all, if you've ever read my earlier posts you'd know that I kind of “fell“ into programming, and I'm really just darn lucky and blessed to be making a living at it. Some “real” developers would probably call me a hack. Compared to the Visual FoxPro team at Microsoft and the Visual FoxPro Community that I admire, I feel like a wannabee. I don't write books. I don't “share“ much of my code with other developers. I can't even begin to pretend to be an expert developer. </P>
<P>But I do try to create <STRONG>value</STRONG> for my customers. It doesn't really matter what something costs, does it? It's the <STRONG>value</STRONG> you get from the product that makes it worth its while. I can buy Windows XP Professional for $199, or I can download Gentoo Linux for free. They're both operating systems. They both do their jobs nicely (in fact, I prefer Gentoo Linux -- IMHO it is the most elegant system I think I've ever seen). But the <STRONG>value</STRONG> I get from Windows XP far exceeds the value I get from Linux (at least today).</P>
<P>Using the steak analogy, I can buy a bland $5 steak, or I can buy a delicious $30 steak. What's the <STRONG>value</STRONG> I'm getting from them? They both serve the same purpose and, like a lot of software I've written, bought, used, and seen over the last fifteen years --- they're both going to end up in the same place eventually.</P>
<P>Please note, Michael, that I certainly didn't intend to offend you. I don't even know you. But, after reading your views about your own passion for quality, I'd like to know you. You sound like the kind of guy I'd like to work with.</P>
<P>“Off-shoring“ is an extremely sensitive subject here in the United States. My personal feeling is the long-term damage that will come from it will far outweigh the short-term cost benefit. Too many companies (and governments) work with a near-term mentality (but that's a subject for a future post).</P>
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<P> </P><img src ="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/aggbug/761.aspx" width = "1" height = "1" /><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/archive/2005/07/11/761.aspx">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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CommandBars Library 25% Off

by kevin In reply to Kevin Ragsdale - FoxPro C ...

<P>I first heard about the <A href="http://www.arg.kirov.ru/products/cmdbars/index.aspx">CommandBars Library</A> (written by Alex Grigorjev) from Andrew MacNeill's <A href="http://akselsoft.blogspot.com">blog</A>. Andrew has also talked about it on the <A href="http://thefoxproshow.com/">FoxPro Show</A> podcast, done an <A href="http://www.aksel.com/screencasts/commandbars.html">introductory screencast</A> about it, and wrote an <A href="http://foxproadvisor.com/doc/16578">article</A> about it in the July 2005 issue of FoxPro Advisor magazine.</P>
<P>Last week, I went to Alex's <A href="http://www.arg.kirov.ru/">website</A> to download an evaluation copy, and saw that he is currently offering the CommandBars Library at a 25% discount. I decided to purchase a one-developer license for $123.75 (regular price is $165). </P>
<P>The website does not mention how long the discount will be available, so if you've been thinking about buying a license -- <STRONG>now is the time</STRONG>!</P>
<P>Nice work, Alex! This will be a tremendous add-on for my development environment. </P>
<P>And thanks to Andrew for bringing this to my attention!</P>
<P>Edited: I had an incorrect link for the FoxPro Podcast in my original post. The correct link is <A href="http://thefoxproshow.com">http://thefoxproshow.com</A>. If you haven't listened, give it a try!!! -- Kevin</P>
<P>Edited (again): Well, thank goodness Andrew MacNeill had the presence of mind to register two address for The Fox Show. I'm thinking he probably HAD to with people like me (I can't remember web addresses) who post incorrect links. The Fox Show is available at BOTH <A href="http://thefoxshow.com">http://thefoxshow.com</A> and <A href="http://thefoxproshow.com">http://thefoxproshow.com</A>. -- Kevin</P>
<P> </P><img src ="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/aggbug/772.aspx" width = "1" height = "1" /><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/archive/2005/07/13/772.aspx">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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Craig Boyd

by kevin In reply to Kevin Ragsdale - FoxPro C ...

<p>Craig Boyd has an excellent post titled <a href="http://www.sweetpotatosoftware.com/SPSBlog/PermaLink,guid,45bf2281-88a7-4d42-a75d-8fe7e87ae734.aspx">Visual FoxPro Community Action</a> on his blog, providing some great commentary and several references to a variety of VFP community resources.</p>
<p>A brief clip: </p>
<p>?As a community, we can do more in 1 year than Microsoft could do in 10 to improve the state of our beloved product.?</p>
<p><a href="http://www.sweetpotatosoftware.com/SPSBlog/PermaLink,guid,45bf2281-88a7-4d42-a75d-8fe7e87ae734.aspx">http://www.sweetpotatosoftware.com/SPSBlog/PermaLink,guid,45bf2281-88a7-4d42-a75d-8fe7e87ae734.aspx</a></p><img height="1" src="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/aggbug/836.aspx" width="1" />
<p>
<div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/archive/2005/07/28/836.aspx">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot

by kevin In reply to Kevin Ragsdale - FoxPro C ...

<P>A friend sent me this <A href="http://linux.sgms-centre.com/howto/shootfoot.php">link</A> today, and it was a nice little diversion from my work day:</P>
<H1>How to shoot yourself in the foot</H1>
<P><B>Several methods for shooting yourself in the foot using various programming techniques.</B></P>
<P>There's even an entry for XBase: “Shooting yourself is no problem. If you want to shoot yourself in the foot, you'll have to use Clipper.”</P>
<P>When I read the page, I noticed the number counter at the bottom said the page had been served 1,841 times since October 4, 2003. It will be interesting to see if the “power of blogging” increases this number (or if I'm the only developer looking for diversions today).</P>
<P><A href="http://linux.sgms-centre.com/howto/shootfoot.php">How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot</A></P><img src ="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/aggbug/854.aspx" width = "1" height = "1" /><p><div class="blogdisclaim"><a href="http://weblogs.foxite.com/kevinragsdale/archive/2005/08/02/854.aspx">This post originally appeared on an external website</a></div>

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How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot

by debuggist Staff In reply to How to Shoot Yourself in ...

Funny how PHP wasn't listed...

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