Meeting Recap for April 13, 2002

FoxPro News:

The first Essential Fox conference is now behind us, and I think that
overall the consensus is that it was a success. One exciting aspect of
any conference is when we are given a sneak peek of new features planned
for the next release of Visual FoxPro, and we were not disappointed. In
addition to some of the features revealed at DevCon in September, the
following new features were revealed at Essential Fox:

- Forms have a themes property which allows you to specify if it
responds to desktop themes or not.
- Editboxes support hyperlinks.
- You can right-click between column headers to "lock" a column in
position, so that you can scroll to the right in the columns to the
right of it, and the column(s) to the left remain fixed (like the freeze
panes feature in Excel).
- The image control has a rotate property, and supports animated
graphics.
- The GETFILE() dialog is resizable.
- MODIFY STRUCTURE displays a lot more information on the first page.
(Sorry I can't be more specific about this).
- Many of the features of the View Designer that made it virtually
worthless have been addressed:
* The "View SQL" window now displays the DBSETPROP() commands used
for the view.
* The "View SQL" window is supposed to be TWO-WAY now, i.e. changes
can be made in the window, and are copied back to the View Designer.
(This feature didn't work in the demo).
* You can now specify which tables/aliases are involved in a JOIN.

If you're not already aware of it, the Fox Team at Microsoft is
conducting a survey to determine how all of us use FoxPro. This is an
opportunity to let them know how you use the product, and maybe even win
a nice prize! Here are the details:

The VFP Team at Microsoft invites you to participate in our brief survey

for Visual FoxPro. This survey only takes a few minutes to complete and
you will have the opportunity to win a GREAT PRIZE. This is also a
great opportunity for you to provide important information to Microsoft
about your needs and usage of Visual FoxPro.

To participate in this survey, go to:
http://surveys.maritz.com/s250/index.html?name=site5&password

As a thank you for your time, you will be entered in a PRIZE drawing.
There will be one prize of a free registration pass to Visual FoxPro
DevCon 2002 worth over $1000, one cash prize of $500, and five cash
prizes of $100. You must complete the survey by midnight on Sunday, May
12th, 2002 to be eligible for the drawing. Winners will be notified by
e-mail by May 25, 2002. To access the official sweepstakes rules, go to:
http://surveys.maritz.com/s250//rules.html

Thank you for participating in this survey to assist Microsoft in better
serving your needs of Visual FoxPro and other technologies.

The VFP Team
Microsoft

The speakers and sessions for Advisor Visual FoxPro DevCon 2002 have
been posted. Please check out the Advisor website for details:
http://advisor.com/CMX0209p.nsf/wSessions

All user group members are entitled to 20% off all Microsoft Press
books. To receive your discount, place your orders by phone by calling
1-800-MSPRESS. Give them the code MCPC to identify yourself as a user
group member and receive 20% off.
http://mspress.microsoft.com/

Whil Hentzen (Hentzenwerke Publishing) also offers a discount for user
groups on any of the great titles that he has available. Details will
be made available when I get them.

Main Presentation:

Building a Report Manager by Cathy Pountney

It's difficult to do justice to this presentation in a newsletter, but
here's a broad overview of what Cathy talked about:

* Who - Security. When we have a report manager, we have to include
security to ensure the guy in shipping isn't running the wrong report,
and to secure who can edit the report.

* What - Advantages of a report manager. 
1. User friendly interface - one spot to get reports
2. Sort and filter options. Sort by title, category, username,
filter
3. Consistency - all the reports are in the same place. Tie in fox
pro reports and third party reports. Subclass the way we run it, but
the user sees consistency
4. Batch reporting. The ability to pick and choose and run all the
reports at the same time. Month end reports.
5. Customization - data driven instead of hard coded. Don't need
to send them a new exe, just update the metadata.

* Where - Consistency. Everything is in one place. Including the
custom reports that they write. 

* When - Batch reporting, daily, monthly, yearly, prompt up front, run
at once.

* Why - Customization. A couple levels of customizations. Start with
the canned report. Find out if it is a global customization or an
individual customization. Give the user the ability to create new
reports, but this means they have to know the report writer. Give them
the ability to run reports in the run time. Let them restore the canned
reports.

* How - Implementation. Create the metadata, create a table that will
hold one record for every report and batch that we want. It will hold
all the information for running the report. Give them the User
Interface. Implement security, customization and batch reporting. All
these can be done in steps.

Here are a few links to resources that were mentioned at the meeting:
1) RPT to DOC / HTML
Go to the UT (http://www.universalthread.com) click on the Download
picture on the left, and choose the Visual FoxPro area. Next enter
'frx2' (without the quotes) in the Summary area and press Enter. You
should get back at least 3 entries. (They convert reports to Word or
HTML format with varying degrees of success depending on the report.) 

2) FrameWorks
Go to Fox Wiki - http://fox.wikis.com/ and enter 'Framework' or Start at
http://fox.wikis.com/wc.dll?Wiki~VFPFrameworkRoadMap~VFP.

3) OOP Menu's
GenRepoX - http://www.eps-software.com/isapi/eps.dll?products - ....
Visual GenRepoX 3.0
http://www.stonefield.com/techpap.html - Object-Oriented Menus Updated
4/13/02 !

4) Clear Report Tags - MS "official" 
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q257/6/24.ASP - "HOWTO:
Clear Report TAG, TAG2, and EXPR Fields Using .pjx Hooks".

5) RAS ProjectBuilder and RAS ProjectHooks
These two items together will automatically strip printer code out of
your .FRX files when compiling an .EXE, in addition to a lot of other
cool features. You can download them for free at
http://www.geeksandgurus.com/vfptools/pbuilderhook.htm.

Thanks to Sharon Hodgson for the copious meeting notes, and Rick Bean
for looking up most of the links.

Next Meeting:

The next GRAFUG meeting will take place on Saturday, May 11th, 2002. The
meeting will start at 11:00am and run till about 1:00pm or so. Rick
Schummer will be presenting "DevTools: Build, Grab, or Buy", a look at
when and how to build your own developer tools, and where to find
existing tools to purchase or download for free.

Also, Cathy Pountney will be giving away a copy of her new book, "The
Visual FoxPro Report Writer: Pushing it to the Limit and Beyond". You
must be a paid-up GRAFUG member to be eligible.

As always, if there's anything that you'd be willing to present, or
there's a topic that you would really like to cover at a future meeting,
please send me an email and let me know (potjerm@optimalinternet.com).

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