Refactoring and Profiling

(another session from Southwest Fox 2008)

Refactoring is the art of clean-up and can be useful. Many books have been written about it, so it can seem daunting but the VFPX Code Analyst does make it easier. In this session, we see how the Code Analyst along with existing tools like the Coverage Profiler can make figuring out how to clean up your code can be made easy, simple and dare I say it, fun!

You can also hear the full session on the FoxShow here.

Using VFPX : A Walkthrough features in CodePlex

This white paper is from a session originally given at Southwest Fox 2008, introducing many developers to how CodePlex works and how they can get involved with the VFPX Project.

You can also hear the audio of this session here.

So you want to help out in VFPX? This session goes through how to get started with the VFPX Project and dealing with issues like source control, the Wiki-style attitude of Codeplex and more.

What Is VFPX?

VFPX is the future of the Visual FoxPro IDE and developer tools we currently know today. It is based on the VFP 9 SP2 core but realistically, it is more like taking all of the tools that have grown up around the VFP engine and making them ours to grow and enhance. Microsoft is no longer doing active development on Visual FoxPro; the product is officially supported until 2015 but then many developers still have VFP 6 applications running and VFP6 support ended in 2004.

Visual FoxPro has a long running tradition of community enhancements. Back in 1990, the FoxPro CompuServe forums were among the busiest, with new downloads and an environment of users helping other users. Some of these tools were shareware, others were simply demos of commercial products and others still were released into the public domain, making them free. Since CompuServe closed down and the web became what it is today, a number of different avenues have cropped up as a way for keeping the FoxPro community in touch. Many offer downloads (such as the Universal Thread and Foxite) while others continue on the discussion aspect of the FoxPro forums.
VFPX is a community-driven effort to provide a single source for the latest in FoxPro tools, all offered under a single license for developers. It includes every FoxPro component provided by Microsoft that was written in xBase. For those developers who may have been unaware, a great deal of the tools provided with FoxPro, such as the Class Browser, Builders, Wizards and the Task Pane are all written in xBase, many of them by community members who were contracted by Microsoft. The Visual FoxPro engine (the executable and the runtime DLLs) are not being changed and are not available – but every other piece is. The last piece of core code that Microsoft provided for Visual FoxPro (Sedna) was put onto CodePlex. That’s where we come in.

While a lot of the existing pieces of VFPX are tools that improve the development experience, a growing number of them are interface controls and libraries that you can use to improve your own applications. Just as the FoxPro Foundation Classes (FFC) and Component Gallery provide samples and techniques for implementing technologies, VFPX includes GDIPlusX which makes working with graphics in your application easy or ThemedControls which provides standard Windows and Mac UI components written directly in FoxPro.

If you have ever thought about how much better a particular tool in Visual FoxPro would be if it only had one extra feature, this is the opportunity to change it. If you have tools in your own developer arsenal that you think can benefit the entire developer community, propose it (more on that below) and get it in there. If you’ve developed interface components that you want to share with others, put it into the VFPX codebase. The main stipulation is that you will be offering it under a Shared Source license, making it available for anyone to use, change or distribute.

Read more from the link enclosed here.

Testing Toolbox

You always test every aspect of your application— right ?

Every application needs to get tested – either it gets done before the product is released, which is ideal or your users will do it for you, which usually turns out to be a big mistake. Even if you don’t formally recognize testing in your project development cycle, you are still, in fact, testing from day one. Here are some tools and techniques that can help ease the pain of testing your Visual FoxPro application and adding it into your development process. Along the way, I’ll try to answer some immediate objections to formalized testing.

Testing Visual FoxPro Applications

Show It and Support It : Screen Casting tools for everyone

Here’s an article that was originally promised to FoxPro Advisor but they turned it down as it wasn’t FoxPro-enough. Enjoy…

As many third party vendors will tell you, building the product is only half the battle. The next part, getting people to use it, can be just as tricky. This isn’t just a “vendor” issue either. Almost every application being put into production in any organization faces an uphill battle towards adoption. This is where all the great features you’ve spent months building help to get users excited about using it. But what good are features if your users don’t know about them?

It used to be that building a self-running video or demonstration of software required a great deal of expertise and money, hiring a production company who did the work in their own studio. Today, developers and trainers are building these “screencasts” themselves and in this article I’ll go through several options that are available to you.

Show It and Support It : Screen Casting tools

Using Drag and Drop In Visual FoxPro

I recently had to revisit this article (originally written in 2001) for a more recent project.

I was implementing drag/drop but it also had to co-exist with a right-mouse click and a Double-click event that were pulling up Visual FoxPro forms.

The objects being used weren’t ActiveX controls but regular FoxPro controls, but if you use the standard DragMode and Drag events in the VFP base classes, they conflict with the Double-click and right-click events.

The solution? Use the OLE Drag and Drop.

Now one thing that’s not mentioned in this article is a property called CreateDragImage. That’s a property Windows uses often with ListView controls to create that shaded image that appears under the cursor when it’s being dragged. Sadly, that function doesn’t work properly with Visual FoxPro so you have to build your own cursor or icon to make it look right.

This is one of those things where the FoxTeam at Microsoft might want to look for ideas for Visual FoxPro 10. Why? Because these are the little things that work in other environments but don’t work in VFP that bug the FoxPro developers. There may be a hundred (valid!) reasons for it and it would take an army to figure them all out but they always cause those little moments where people go “damn! – why doesn’t this work.”

Using Drag and Drop In Visual FoxPro

Using Genmenux

A session and white paper I gave back in 1994 at the German Devcon. From the white paper:

If you have ever felt cheated by the FoxPro Menu Builder and the limits it places on you, GENMENUX offers a perfect solution.

Just as GENSCRNX extends the FoxPro Screen Builder in ways that the original developers never imagined, GENMENUX attempts to extend the Menu Builder. The idea behind the “X” series of generators is that there are times when FoxPro does not provide everything required in the Power Tools. The “X” series provides the additional functionality that can add incredible power to these tools.

A copy of this paper is also available here