Last month, I blogged that one of Roxio's drivers, the Sonic Solutions DLA driver, isn't compatible with Vista, causing a "this driver is blocked due to compatibility issues" alert at startup. Fortunately, a fix is now available from http://docs.roxio.com/patches/d2d3290.exe.
Until I got my new laptop, I'd always used Outlook Express as my email client. There wasn't any particular reason for it other than habit. However, I'm now using Outlook for email because it has much better spam filtering (and lots of other goodies as I'm discovering).
One problem though: searching didn't work. Even if I searched for a keyword I knew was in a message, it always returned no results. Apparently, this is pretty common, given all the messages on various forums about this problem. There are a variety of possible causes, but mine was caused by installing an Office 2003 component (in this case, FrontPage, which is not available with Office 2007). Fortunately, the fix was easy: repair Office 2007 as described here and then rebuild the index (not mentioned in that article but necessary nonetheless: choose Indexing Options from the Control Panel, then click Advanced and click Rebuild). Now my searches are lightning-fast, which is about a bazillion times faster than Outlook Express was.
As an aside, I purchased a copy of Microsoft Expression Web, the replacement for FrontPage, and promptly uninstalled Frontpage. So far, I like Expression Web. I'm not much of a Web page designer; I just need to maintain a couple of sites without too much fancy stuff. My favorite feature in Expression Web is master pages, which allows you to create a template for your Web site and then just add the content to each specific page.
The deadline for session submissions for Southwest Fox 2007 is tomorrow, Monday, March 26, at 8 am EDT. If you're interested in speaking, click on the Call for Speakers link at http://www.swfox.net/speakers.html. Please read the entire document before submitting session proposals. Speakers and topics will be announced May 1, 2007. Send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just a reminder that if you'd like to speak at Southwest Fox 2007, the deadline for session submissions is Monday, March 26. We're interested in both experienced speakers and those who are new but have an interesting topic.
If you're interested in speaking, click on the Call for Speakers link at http://www.swfox.net/speakers.html. Please read the entire document before submitting session proposals. Speakers and topics will be announced May 1, 2007. Send any questions to email@example.com.
Not surprised because if you carefully read the VFP roadmap, you could see that there really was no plan for a VFP 10. The announcement really was a confirmation rather than anything new (well, the part about VFP 10 anyway; the Sedna announcement really is news).
Sad because the VFP team isn't exactly a team anymore. They're mostly working on adding VFP-like features to Visual Basic, with some effort on getting VFP 9 SP 2 done. After it ships, they'll be available from time-to-time to work on bug fixes for VFP (likely only major ones, which are unlikely given how long VFP has been shipping) but there really won't be a VFP team anymore.
Happy because Sedna will now be available for free to all VFP developers, plus since it's available with source code and the same license as VFPX, we'll be able to customize and adapt its components as we see fit.
Here are my thoughts on this announcement in no particular order.
The VFP core is almost done. The only thing left to do is finish up some Vista-related issues, and that'll be in SP2. I remember Ken Levy's response at various conferences when asked what was going to be in the next release of VFP: "what features do you want?" Invariably, the answer was "I don't know". I honestly can't think of any new feature I want in VFP that must be in the core (ie. VFP9.EXE). The things I want, like new UI components (such as the Office 2007 ribbon), can be created using VFP code, GDI+ calls, or ActiveX controls without touching the core. So what could the VFP team do that would prompt developers to buy a VFP 10 in sufficient quantities to pay for the development costs? Let's not talk about "fixing the 2 GB limit" since that's not even remotely reasonable (they'd have to examine nearly every single line of code that makes up VFP and the test load would be enormous) nor is it really important: if you have that much data, use SQL Server, Oracle, or something else as the data store.
Suppose the announcement was about Microsoft Word instead of VFP. Would that mean you have to switch to a different word processor? Of course not. I'd continue to use Word until it no longer worked on some future system. After all, what new features in Word would I need added? I hardly use the full feature set now. So, if they stopped new development of Word and put it into maintenance mode, I'd be fine. It's the same thing with VFP; as long as it continues to work on any future operating system Microsoft chooses to release (and there isn't anything special in VFP that would prevent that from happening any more than there is in hundreds of thousands of other applications), I'm fine. I can continue to develop VFP applications for at least the next 10 to 15 years, at which point I'll be ready for retirement. In other words, if I choose to do so, I could use VFP for the rest of my career.
I've heard a few snide comments from other MVPs here at the MVP Summit that VFP is now dead or discontinued. That's not true at all. I can continue to purchase VFP licenses for new development staff for several more years and I can continue to receive support from Microsoft until 2015 (I've never actually contacted MS support, not one single time, but it's nice to know it's there just in case). That's not definition of dead. To me, dead means I can't buy any more licenses so no new staff could legally use it and there'd be no support available for it. I'm willing to bet that, like me, you've never or rarely contacted MS for VFP support, because the support available from the VFP community is so much better, faster, and cheaper than what you can get from MS.
The future of VFP is on CodePlex, in the VFPX and other VFP-related projects. We as a community can continue to enhance VFP through shared source projects. Just look at the extremely cool projects available there now. Add to that the entire set of components in Sedna and all the other things people can create and you'll see that there isn't much limit to what we can continue to do with VFP.
I'm not an MS apologist, I'm not naive, and I don't have my head in the sand. I realize that the product we all love has a limited shelf life. However, I've known that for years, and it didn't stop me from making buckets of money using this tool. I'll continue to use VFP while also using other technologies where it makes sense (for example, we use several C# components in Stonefield Query because those components enable us to, for example, access ACT 2007 data that we can't get at natively using VFP).
It comes down to using the right tool for the right job and making decisions that make sense for your business and your customers. VFP continues to make sense for me, so I'll continue to use it for a long time to come. I'll continue to write articles, continue to answer questions on various VFP forums, and continue to attend and speak at conferences.
Southwest Fox 2007 (October 18-21 in Mesa, AZ) is looking for speakers. The conference is focused on Visual FoxPro and sessions should fit into one of the following tracks:
Working with Sedna and SP2: This track will cover the new features and changes introduced in Sedna and in VFP 9 Service Pack 2.
Extending VFP (including VFPX, COM, etc.): The sessions in this track will cover technologies that extend VFP's capabilities, such as those in VFPX.
Reviewing VFP Fundamentals: This track will appeal to those newer to VFP, whether they are just moving up from earlier versions of FoxPro, or coming from other languages.
Integrating VFP (with SQL Server, .NET, etc.): This track will look at using VFP together with other products, including back-end servers, Automation servers, and .NET.
Managing the Software Business: This track will offer business advice to VFP developers, including managing clients, the software development process, and so forth.
If you're interested, click on the Call for Speakers link at http://www.swfox.net/speakers.html. Please read the entire document before submitting session proposals. All proposals are due by March 26; speakers and topics will be announced May 1, 2007. Send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is our pleasure to announce the fourth annual Southwest Fox Conference, presenting the latest in Microsoft Visual FoxPro development techniques, new changes in VFP 9.0 SP2, Sedna Components, and interop with other technologies with sessions from some of the best and the brightest VFP speakers.
This highly acclaimed and popular conference is the perfect venue for VFP developers interested in learning more about VFP, further refining their software development skills, learning how to better run a consulting firm or IT department, and being a better software craftsman. To this end, there will be sessions available in the following tracks:
1) Working with Sedna and SP2: This track will cover the new features and changes introduced in Sedna and in VFP 9 Service Pack 2.
2) Extending VFP (including VFPX, COM, etc.): Sessions in this track will cover technologies that extend VFP's capabilities, such as those in VFPX.
3) Reviewing VFP Fundamentals: This track will appeal to those newer to VFP, whether they are just moving up from earlier versions of FoxPro, or coming from other languages, or are new to a specific area of VFP.
4) Integrating VFP (with SQL Server, .NET, etc.): Sessions in this track will look at using VFP together with other products, including back-end servers, Automation servers, and .NET.
5) Managing the Software Business: This track will offer business advice to VFP developers, including managing clients, the software development process, and so forth.
The call for speakers will go out shortly and the initial speakers and their sessions will be published when registration opens on May 1st.
If you are interested in more details for the conference you can send them to email@example.com.
You will also notice that Southwest Fox is under new management. After three very successful years under Bob Kocher's management, Southwest Fox is now being organized by Visual FoxPro MVPs Rick Schummer, Doug Hennig and Tamar E. Granor. We look forward to continuing the great traditions of Southwest Fox, and building on some new ones too.