Friday, October 26, 2007

Southwest Fox 2007 Day 3

I went to Alan Steven's Integrating Windows Forms UI Elements session. It was nice to see so many people (the room was almost full) at an 8:00 session, especially given the intensity of the day before, and the pre-con day for those who attended, and the West Wind Web Connection training the two days before that. Alan stressed several times that .NET is not a competitor to VFP; it should be part of every developer's toolkit. He showed how the Windows Forms Interop Toolkit from Microsoft can be used to easily create a .NET Windows form that's exposed as a COM object that can be called from VFP applications. However, not many developers will do that because it's a completely stand alone form. He then showed the new Interop User Control that can be used to easily create ActiveX controls you can drop on VFP forms. He showed how easy it is to raise events in the control so you can put code into the event in your VFP form. Now we can easily take advantage of the really cool UI objects .NET has to offer in our VFP forms. He didn't present this as a means of migrating your apps to .NET but as a way of making your VFP forms look better and have more functionality.

I skipped the next session to catch up on email and forum and blog reading (gotta love free wireless access in the conference area!). I then did the second instance of my VFP Vista session. Once again the room was full, so that means that more than half of the attendees saw this session.

Lunch was again served outside in the courtyard. It was Italian day, so we had antipasto and canneloni. Once again, the food was great. I sat outside and had a lively discussion of health care in Canada vs. the US. The attendee who asked about Canadian health care wished he hadn't; it's one of my hot buttons, and I guess I got a little zealous -- sorry about that! It was pretty warm and I started sweating, so I headed back into the air conditioned comfort of the conference center.

I missed the first post-lunch session because I was chatting with some other attendees. As many people will tell you, networking is one of the best things about going to a conference. I also chatted with several of the vendors. Chick Bornheim from Micromega told me that he had a better response at Southwest Fox 2007 than all of the previous three years combined. Although I really wanted to see Toni Feltman's DBI controls session, I ended up missing that too while talking to folks.

The last session of the day was our vendor session for Stonefield Query and we once again had a lot of people show up, this time without any free beer. I love showing this product and watching the smiles on the faces of developers when they realize how much it'll help their users and themselves in providing a customized reporting solution for their application.

The speakers headed to Rustler's Rooste for a dinner to show our appreciation for all the effort they put into creating sessions and white papers, practicing their sessions, and presenting them to the attendees. The restaurant is massive and has a great view from its location on the side of one of the many mountains in Phoenix. I was a little disappointed in the food, but the company was great. A magician showed off some pretty cool tricks after dinner; we talked about one of them for quite a while afterward.

Those interested in indoor kart racing went to the F1 Race Factory to reprise the races we had at last year's conference. Cathy Pountney narrowed edged out Rick Schummer last year (I was a close third), so there was some serious trash talking in the days preceding Saturday night. Cathy even stooped so low as to bring last year's score card to show off. Unfortunately, we hadn't made a reservation, so when we got there, we were told it would be 11:30 p.m. at the earliest before we could race, so we headed back to the hotel. I hung out in the lobby for a while, but a week of getting up at 5:00 a.m. was taking its toll, so I headed to bed.

Here's a picture of attendees (Steve Sawyer, Sue Cunningham, and Brenda Erickson in the foreground) chatting in one of the courtyards between sessions:

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