14 Things I Learned at FoxCon 2011

  1. That there was such as thing as FoxCon 2011, held in Toledo (near the birthplace of Fox Software, Perrysburg, OH).
  2. How to create ActiveX controls in .Net that you can then use in Visual FoxPro, or any other ActiveX consumer applicaiton (IE). The example Doug Henning used was the nicer .Net TabStrip, but this really opens up the possibility to use any .Net control in a Visual FoxPro application. I may try to use something like the free Xceed DataGrid for WPF and see if that could possibly work. If WPF controls seem too ambitious, I’ll try the standard datagrid, or something more complex than VFP gives.
  3. The reasons Mercurial is a superior version control system to Subversion. In short, Mercurial adds a level of indirection between your working set and your master repository. This allows you to commit changes from your working set to your local repository without requiring them to go to the main repository where other developers may get them prematurely. There are other features too, such as a local service to allow you to share/merge your local repository with other developers.
  4. Some fantastic ways to improve webpage design. jQuery UI opens up some possibilities on the web client, and web sites like Quince.infragistics.com and especially UXMovement.com have some great advice on how to improve your user interfaces.
  5. Ways to run your VFP application as a service using the .Net container rather than a program like FireDaemon.
  6. Ideas for application logging alternatives, such as Growl for Windows (or potentially Twitter as a logging client).
  7. It’s ok to write code and then throw it away and try again. Writing software is like writing a novel – it’s most important to just get started and do it, rather than worry about giving birth to a perfect application in the first draft.
  8. When giving a presentation, a bad slide is a missed opportunity at best and can ruin the presentation at worst.
  9. Slides have 3 seconds to make an impact. Simpler is better.
  10. It’s ok to have more than one slide deck for a given presentation.
  11. There’s a concept called a “Reset CSS” file which will put all browsers on equal footing, giving your pages a more uniform look inside each browser.
  12. You can use @import syntax rather than [link] syntax to refer to CSS files, which opens up some flexibility.
  13. Share your laptop’s wireless access with Connectify. This is especially good for folks with wireless internet access cards (not MiFi, but the personal kind of PC Card).
  14. The Visual FoxPro developer community continues to be lively, relevant, and self-supportive. This makes Visual FoxPro a vital language despite Microsoft’s intentions. In fact, one of the most interesting comments I heard this weekend is that Kevin Hazzard defined Visual FoxPro as a Domain-Specific Language for writing business applications. It is not a general-purpose language for writing games or mobile apps, but rather it is perfect for developers who want to write applications that get actual work done.

    [I didn’t really learn this this weekend, but I didn’t want to end up with 13 things.]



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2 responses to “14 Things I Learned at FoxCon 2011”

  1. Allen Belkin Avatar
    Allen Belkin

    I also didn’t know there was such a thing as FoxCon 2011. Will there be a FoxCon 2012?

  2. […] weekend I just got back from FoxCon 2012 in Toledo. This is a great regional conference for Visual FoxPro developers, although the […]

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