Hello from Mesa! Logistically everything went perfect today. I made my plane with more than a minute to spare, connected, and landed almost simultaneously with Matt Slay and Steve Bodnar. Despite the long Avis line, we still had time to drive through a Whataburger (meh), get a little lost, check in, and still arrive in time for the afternoon preconference.
I went to Toni Feltman’s session on Subversion. For those of you who don’t know, Subversion is not some sort of plot to overthrow our government, but rather it’s a source control system. Toni discussed why developers in shops of all sizes, even individuals, should use a Source Control system. She then installed both the Subversion server and a client (TortoiseSVN on Windows). She did a really nice walkthrough of all the options on the Tortoise shell extensions menu, pointing out the differences in terminology between Subversion and Visual SourceSafe, the SCC that most VFP folks are used to.
She then emulated a multi-developer environment to show how SVN handles merging, a concept that’s foreign to VSS users. In VSS, you “lock” a file and nobody else can modify it, but in SVN, any number of developers could be working on the same file simultaneously, which is where merging comes into play.
Lastly, Toni showed how to use SVN well with VFP, pointing out some of the quirks that must be overcome. She has a couple of tools, including TwoFox.prg ad SubFox. She created her own “Version Control Process Wizard” using TwoFox.
(One cool feature of TwoFox is that it doesn’t actually keep entire binary VCX/VCT files in the source control system. Rather, it renders them as XML and checks those parts in. This allows two developers to work on two different classes in the same class library without requiring a merge. This made me wonder whether we couldn’t write a project hook to keep VCX, SCX, etc. always as these rendered XML files, and just reconstitute them back into tables when they’re opened in the project manager. Then the project manager would actually allow you to drill right down in the the class method you want. Isn’t there an open source project manager on VFPX? Have to check that out.)
After a nice dinner with the Ripon contingent, Erik and Rich, we made it back in time for the opening and keynote. Sara Ford, an actual Microsoft employee who’s job is to evangelize open source at Microsoft (read that sentence one more time), gave an enthusiastic speech encouraging all attendees to get their hands dirty in the open source world, specifically VFPX since that’s our purview.
I crashed early and didn’t partake of any social activities after the keynote. I’m sure they were fantastic, as I’ve seen tweets this morning from attendees who didn’t get to bed until 1am, and also references to tequila. Me, I’m bright eyed and bushy tailed having already gone for a jog through the golf course and saw an incredible moonrise right before sunup. I’ve had breakfast #1 (leftovers) and am heading over now for breakfast #2. Let the learning continue!