Sunday, November 16, 2008

German DevCon

Rainer Becker and his staff once again put on a great conference. This was the 15th annual German DevCon, and my fourth time speaking at it. It was nice renewing acquaintances with people I only see once a year, such as Igor Vit, Hans and Gaby Lochmann, and of course Rainer, his wife, and their new baby.

I presented the two sessions I did at Southwest Fox--Creating Explorer Interfaces in Visual FoxPro and Advantage Database Server for Visual FoxPro Developers--plus a new one, Practical Uses for XML. Since I'm not an organizer for this conference like I am at Southwest Fox, I had a lot more time to attend sessions. I saw Rick Schummer's Extending the Sedna Data Explorer and was inspired to start playing with the Data Explorer again. I also saw his two-part Using VFPX Components in Production Applications. Rick is a terrific speaker, but he outdid himself on these sessions. His enthusiasm for VFPX is infectious and he did a great job showing how some of the VFPX projects can breath new life into the user interface of your applications.

I also saw Tamar Granor present We Used to Do it That Way, But …, a great refresher session on when and why to use some of the newer functions in VFP. I learned several new SQL tricks I wasn't aware of in her Solving Common Problems with VFP’s SQL session. However, the session I liked best was her Making the Most of the Toolbox session. I'd played with the Toolbox a bit before but never got into the habit of using it. However, she showed some ways the Toolbox can make you more productive, such as automatically executing script code when you drop a control on a form. For example, I'm going to create a script for my OK and Cancel button subclasses to automatically name them cmdOK and cmdCancel when I drop them on a form, saving me the time to do that every time I use those controls.

Two sessions I looked forward to seeing were Bo Durban's Creating Custom Report Controls with Sedna and VFP9 and SP2 Reporting Component Basics sessions. Bo has done some really cool things with the new features added to the Report Designer in VFP 9 SP2. I got some great ideas for features to add to Stonefield Query from his sessions plus learned a few things I didn't know, such as how to get a custom page in a report designer dialog to see the changes made to properties on other pages (set Thisform.Frame.AutoRefreshOnPageChange to .T.).

I also watched Kevin McNeish present Building Rich Internet Applications in Silverlight 2.0. He discussed how Silverlight can be used to create rich interfaces for Web applications and showed some cool demos, including zooming in and out of a library of images, that really couldn't be done any other way.

Ken Levy discussed the status of VFP in the keynote session. He reminded everyone that the future of VFP is in the community's hands now, primarily through projects on VFPX. He also did a bonus session one night showing some of the utilities in Sedna (My and .NET4COM) and a new code searching tool he's created called AppScanX. He plans on submitting AppScanX as a VFPX project, but if you want to find out more about it now, listen to his interview with Andrew MacNeill in The FoxShow #60.

As is normal for this conference, there's a ton of delicious food. You definitely have to pace yourself at this conference, because Rainer says his goal is for attendees to gain 5 kg (more than 10 lbs). I tried to be good by not going for seconds, skipping dessert on all but the last meal (the speaker dinner Saturday night), and working out a couple of times in the hotel's exercise room (the best equipped I've ever seen in a hotel) but fear I'll have to work a little harder on the bike for a few weeks once I get home.

Thanks again to Rainer and his right-hand Tina for putting on a terrific conference. You can read more about it on the Universal Thread's coverage by Jan Vit and Jan Kral.


Anonymous said...

Nice post Doug. I've got to visit UT and read some more coverage.

How come Ken Levy didn't publicly address the SWF2008 attendees like he did at this German conference? I know that he was there in Mesa. I was a tad disappointed that he never spoke. Come on, after all, Ken's a "VFP god" :) VFP newbies (there were quite a few) need to know this.

Anonymous said...

Good Summary Doug

It sounds like this was a very interesting event. Its a shame I missed it however the costs and timing made it nearly impossible to be able to make this one. I also saw a demo of a Silverlight tool called "Deep Zoom" at the local NxtGenUG in Coventry this week. It looks like it has alot of potential. Hopefully I will make it to one of these bigger events soon.