OzFox 2007 - Australia's Visual FoxPro conference

Speakers Sessions Venue News Register

Session information

This section outlines the sessions that each speaker will be giving, plus details of the networking session.

The final schedule of the conference available here.

Local speaker sessions details have started appearing here.


Opening Keynote: The future of Visual FoxPro

Doug Hennig and Rick Schummer

Come and be blown away by all the fantastic developments coming to Visual FoxPro.

Learn about the improvements coming in Sedna, including the newly released tools in the October CTP such as the new Data Explorer, updated SQL Server Upsizing wizard, My namespace and more.

Then delve in the Vista toolkit, learn about using XAML with VFP, and reporting to Microsoft's new XPS format.

Finally learn about what the wonderful VFP community world wide is doing with Visual FoxPro.

Not to be missed.

Extending VFP with VFP

Doug Hennig

One of the coolest things about the VFP interactive development environment (IDE) is that it's highly extendible. Even better, you use VFP code to extend VFP itself. In this session, you'll learn how to extend the VFP IDE to boost your productivity and create simple tools that make your life easier.

Level: Advanced

What You'll Learn:
- How to create your own property editors
- Creating powerful IntelliSense scripts to boost your productivity
- How the new New Property/Method dialog speeds form and class development
- How the My namespace in Sedna works

Installing Applications Using InnoSetup

Doug Hennig

Although a limited edition of InstallShield Express comes with VFP, many developers are unhappy with Windows Installer-based installation tools: the tools are slow and cumbersome, the resulting SETUP.EXE files are huge and slow, and Windows Installer sometimes has a mind of its own. Introducing InnoSetup, a free, fast, easy-to-use installation tool that generates fast, lightweight setup executables. This session shows you how to quickly implement InnoSetup to create great setups for your applications.

Level: Foundation

You will learn:
- How InnoSetup works
- The basics of creating InnoSetup scripts
- How to obtain and user add-ons that provide extended features
- Advanced InnoSetup scripts

Best Practices for Vertical Application Development

Doug Hennig

While a vertical market application shares many of the same goals as a custom application, the bar is higher because the audience is both larger in volume and broader in scope, plus you usually have much less direct contact with the customer.

This session examines some of the things to consider when designing and implementing a vertical market application.

VFP 9.0 Reporting Fundamentals

Colin Nicholls

This session provides an overview of the VFP 9 Object-Assisted Report System.  It's important to understand the changes in the product and how they fit together with the Xbase components.  We'll provide an inside look at the reportlistener base class and examine its most significant PEMs.

You'll see how the integrated Report System fits the three new Xbase Report applications (Builder, Preview, and Output) together with the VFP9 product changes to provide new-style VFP reporting.

Extending VFP 9.0 Xbase Reporting Components

Colin Nicholls

This session shows you how to leverage the shipping REPORT*.APP components and FFC reporting extensions, to improve and extend VFP report output.

You'll see how to build a preview extension, how to manage the ReportListeners that VFP invokes by default for various types of output, and how to add some features to the Builder.  We'll also take a look at the Protection feature, which you can use to make reporting more fun for end users. 

We'll look at various ways that you can use ReportBuilder hooks to personalize the report design experience, in ways appropriate to both developers and end-users.

Reporting in Sedna/SP2 - A Tour

Lisa Slater Nicholls

In this session you will learn to use the many new and enhanced features provided in VFP-Sedna reporting.  You will see how they can be used in the

VFP9-SP1 product, and what changes in the VFP9-SP2 base product make them even better.  We will review  new Report Builder dialog features, which expose Dynamic and Scripting capabilities.  We'll highlight the new Advanced Properties feature: a simple way to add features and capabilities into reporting without extending the structure of the LBX/FRX format.  You'll find out what Advanced Properties are included in-the-box, and how to use them.  You'll have a look at  new capabilities provided in the Extension Output Types (XML and HTML).

We'll discuss  performance enhancements in both the Xbase components and SP2 base product, and other bonus enhancements such as new file-handling output features in the FFC ReportListeners.


Data Visualization in Reports with VFP 9.0 SP2

Colin Nicholls

This session demonstrates techniques of data visualization using the features of the Report Builder and FFC ReportListener classes in VFP 9.0 SP2. We will see how the reporting system architecture made the SP2 enhancements possible, and learn techniques to add your own improvements. We will build a custom reporting control, touching on GDI+, and see how to add custom elements to the Report Builder user interface, without hacking the Xsource. You'll learn about using reporting extension metadata (memberdata) without ever touching XML, and how to add extension objects into the default report output processing.

Getting the Most Out of Reporting in VFP

Lisa Slater Nicholls

This session teaches you practical techniques for using VFP 9 object-assisted reporting.  We will discuss appropriate use of external data sources, such as SQL Server and MySQL, and the ways that cursoradapters and improvements to dataenvironment class handling in VFP 9 reports fit into an external data strategy.  You will learn about useful ways to expose data in multiple data sources, using multiple detail bands, and see some additional tricks that multiple detail bands can perform.  Next, we'll consider what you need to know to deploy VFP HTML and XML reports in web server scenarios.

We'll include a quick examination of the VFP-RDL (the XML report output schema), as a rich, intermediate reporting format with many uses beyond HTML.

VFP Migrations: Many stops on a tour

Lisa Slater Nicholls

In this session, we are going to speak frankly about several aspects of a very large subject: what happens when your users hand you a FoxPro application and ask for massive change?  

First, we'll run through of something we like to call "Migrating FoxPro for Windows 2.x applications to VFP in a Day".  It's a story of a large, poorly written FoxPro for Windows 2.x application, why it had to be up-migrated, and how we did it. This section covers an event that has happened to us - more than once - and that we think will continue happening to you, too, for some time to come.  

Is what we're going to show you the only way to migrate an application?

No, of course it's not. There are other ways - when you have time, money, and user approval for re-architecting. What we'll show you is one ruthless way you can use when you don't have those things.  We'll add a few pointers about what you can do after your "ruthless migration" to make life more fun for users and for you.  Because it's us talking about it, this section will include a quick discussion about migrating older VFP reports to the VFP 9 Reporting System.   

Afterwards, we'll turn to the future.  We'll consider some aspects of migrating, or blending, VFP code to use upcoming Microsoft technologies.

No matter what your users' latest request, what's likely to work well, and what isn't, and why?  What really matters, and what doesn't?


Using and Extending VFP's Data Explorer

Rick Schummer

The Data Explorer lets you examine data and components in Visual FoxPro databases, SQL Server databases, VFP free tables, or any other ODBC or OLE DB compliant database via an ADO connection. It can run as a task pane or as a standalone tool.

Those familiar with SQL Serverís Enterprise Manager will see many similarities, but this tool works with all kinds of data, is completely integrated in the Visual FoxPro IDE, and is extensible in true VFP tradition. This session will explore the features of the Data Explorer, but more importantly show how you can alter and extend the behavior of the Data Explorer to work easier with SQL Server and Visual FoxPro data.

1. Run the Data Explorer via Task Pane Manager or as a standalone tool.
2. Explore features available on the shortcut menus.
3. Set up connections to different databases and free tables.
4. Determine schema information for the database.
5. Run queries, review results, toggle formats between VFP and SQL Server, and save the queries for future use.
6. Drag and drop from the Data Explorer to VFP editors and designers.
7. Alter behavior of the drag and drop features.
8. Alter behavior of the shortcut menus.
9. Create add-ins for the Data Explorer.

Get more productive with VFP

Rick Schummer

Rapid Application Development is a leftover buzzword from the 90ís. Are you as productive with VFP as you can be, or wish to be? How do other developers use the worldís best database application development tool to bring applications to market quicker?

Are there tips I can learn to save me 10 minutes a day or an hour a week? This session will demonstrate as many tips and productivity ideas that can be crammed into a 75 minute session.

As the old saying goes, there are always three ways to accomplish something in VFP. Sometimes we only know one way and there are two other ways that are faster or better. Sometimes we donít even know that you can accomplish certain things with the VFP. Rick is constantly amazed, even after using Visual FoxPro for more than seven years, how much he has learned just looking over the shoulder of others as they develop with this product.

VFP 9, while focused on features that effect the end userís experience, has a number of excellent productivity enhancements. The session will have productivity tips for developers working with all versions of VFP.

Attendees will learn how to...
1. Make better use of the VFP tools: Class Browser/Component Gallery, IntelliSense Manager, Object Browser, and Task List Manager, Task Pane, Toolbox, and Code Reference.
2. Make better use of the code editors.
3. Extending the Class and Form Designers with Builders.
4. Why features like Document View, List Members, Quick Info, and Macros should be at your fingertips.
5. Use the Debugger more effectively.
6. Enhance the VFP IDE to be more productive day-to-day.
7. Developer tools that can also increase your productivity.
8. More... since there is still time before the conference convenes.
9. Background compiles
10. Project Manager shortcuts and ability to open class libraries in Class Browser.
11. Docking forms and configuring the IDE.
12. Property Sheet enhancements
13. Setting default values for new properties
14. Generating Message Logs During Project Build and Compile
15. Anything else the Fox team can throw into the product between now and the conference.

Professional Developer's Toolkit

Rick Schummer

This session will be a discussion and demonstration of the Professional Developer's Toolkit. This session will cover several product categories, tools developers should consider adding to their toolkit, and the competitive advantages they provide.

There will be a demonstration of some products Rick uses to give the perception to his clients that he is a professional developer.

Attendees will learn why...
1. It is important to use software to do bug tracking and creating Help files.
2. Using a CASE tool to do database design is better than the native tools.
3. An internal Wiki can be used in team environments and even for single developer shops.
4. Virtual computers are a great way to test your applications on different operating systems, and different deployment scenarios.
5. Source code control can save your life.
6. Screencasting is useful in demonstrating new development to your clients.
7. Remote desktops are can be used for more than doing technical support.

Networking session

We've organised a special networking session on the Sunday night of the conference, just prior to the conference dinner.

The aim is provide a casual, relaxed session where anyone can jump up the front for a few minutes and introduce themselves to the entire audience.

Give a quick introduction of yourself, what you do, how long you've been doing it, and what you love about FoxPro. Share some of the difficulties you experience and some of the successes you've had.

There's nothing like feeling part of a community and that there are others who share your joys and hardships. Be inspired by the stories of other developers, and perhaps even help some of your colleagues by sharing your solutions.

So, be brave, introduce yourselves and discover that we have a great VFP support base around Australia and New Zealand.


Local speaker sessions

A total of three four local speaker sessions will be presented during the conference. As they are confirmed their details will be updated here.

Getting a Visual FoxPro application to Market

Mark Crichton

Many of us dream about getting a product to market. Mark will take you through the highlights and lowlights of his 5 year journey to get DataWise Forecast and DataWise Report Writer to market. Creating an application for the New Zealand and Australian environment is relatively easy to do and an exciting challenge. 

What youíll learn:

- Tips on planning a winning application
- How to get a Team together - The critical roles of other people in the process
- What additional applications are needed to produce the boxed copy
- Business issues & decisions to make
- Marketing issues & decisions to make
- Distribution issues &decisions to make
- Support issues &decisions to make

Creating Office OpenXML Documents in VFP

Andrew Coates

Recently adopted as an ECMA standard, and currently undergoing the approval process for ISO adoption, the new Office Open XML document formats are the native format for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007.

The huge advantage that this format has over the previous ones is that it is completely documented and allows programmatic creation of Office documents without requiring the Office client applications.

In this session, Andrew will introduce the structure of an Office Open XML document and will demonstrate how to create and modify documents from within VFP, all without ever having to run any of the Office apps in the process.


Using a data driven approach to application customization

Alain Legrand

If you have ever developed an application that is installed at multiple client sites you will have been faced with a wide variety of request for changes. How can you accommodate such requests without falling into the trap of having to maintain multiple versions of your application code?

Alain Legrand presents a data-dictionary driven methodology that decouples the physical layer (i.e. data structure, field names and column names) from the business logic. This data-driven methodology delivers complete freedom in changing screen captions, enables database extensions, enables foreign language database naming and delivers automated database upgrade routine, all this without any impact to your application code


Security and the VFP Developer

Bing Bao

In the past security was left to the network and server engineers, with the application often overlooked.

However this approach is no longer acceptable to customers. What are the main security areas for application developers? How can we protect against them? Where should we be focussing?

In this session, Bing Bao, a Microsoft Security MVP, gives us an overview of security fundamentals, then looks at some common security weaknesses in VFP and FoxPro applications. Then the session moves to solutions that can be employed, from application security, to network security to file server and Terminal Server security.

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