Meeting Recap for January 11, 2003


Our first jumpstart session had a low turnout .. but we’re hoping it was due to the weather and not the concept. We discussed the concept of frameworks quite a bit and several people were interested in the Mere Mortals framework. Because of this, we’re going to see if we can arrange to have Kevin McNeish speak to our group in the future. No promises .. but we can try!! We also addressed several miscellaneous questions that people had.

We’d love to hear what type of topics you’d like to see discussed in future Jumpstart sessions!!

Regular Meeting

Our regular meeting had quite a large turnout (or maybe it’s just that it seemed large because we were all squeezed into a smaller meeting room this time.) We discussed a handful of miscellaneous issues before starting our main presentation:

-       We thanked Jan Wells for bringing the donuts!!

-       We discussed the expiration date on the VFP 8.0 beta. It currently has an expiration date of January 31, 2003. It’s highly unlikely that the final product will be on the shelves before that date. At this time, there’s no official announcement from Microsoft about the release date or whether they will provide a utility to extend the beta. So at this point, it’s “Use at your own risk!!”

-       We discussed the 2003 VFP conferences and encouraged everyone to go to at least one conference. Here’s the lineup (you can find links on our website for more information):

o       Essential Fox, Kansas City, Mo, April 25-28
o       DevTeach, Montreal, Canada, May 10-13
o       Advisor DevCon, Palm Springs, CA, June 15-18
o       Great Lakes Great Database Workshop, Milwaukee, WI, October 11-15

-       We mentioned the passing of Ed Rauh, a long time member of the Fox Community. If you’ve ever visited the Universal Thread, it’s likely that you’ve seen his posts. He was amazingly intelligent and answered all kinds of low-level issues. He will be missed!!

-       Someone asked about the materials from Rick Schummer’s and Steve c’s presentations last month. I’ve sent the files to Martha and asked her to put it on our website. Give her a few days before you look for it.

Main Presentation

Once the miscellaneous issues were out of the way we dove into the main presentation, “Introduction to SQL Server”, presented by Cathy Pountney with assistance from Rick Bean and many others. It was a broad overview of SQL Server and some of the differences between SQL Server and VFP.

-       SQL Server has a much higher security factor than DBF tables. Individual tables are not stored in individual files on the hard drive. The entire database is combined into one file and it takes the right amount of security to get to it.

-       The developer version of SQL Server comes with the Enterprise Manager which has all kinds of tools and utilities for maintaining the database. You can create new databases, change existing ones, perform backups and restores, and lots of other stuff.

-       MSDE is the “free” version of SQL Server. It’s basically the run-time only that you can distribute to your clients. This means you can own the full-blown version of SQL Server and develop a system with SQL Server. When it’s time to distribute to the clients, you can give them MSDE for free and the app will run. However, there’s a limit on the number of concurrent users before performance starts dropping. At that time, you can convert the client to the full-blown version of SQL Server and it won’t require any changes to your code.

-       We discussed indexes and how they differ in SQL Server. In VFP we’re all used to creating our indexes and then never touching them again. Whenever we SEEK information, we tell it what index to use. Well, SQL Server is a little different. It considers itself smarter than you and it determines which index is the best for each query. To do this, it keeps statistics on the data and indexes. A query that has been running just fine for 2 years might all of a sudden come to its knees. When this happens, you can use the Query Analyzer that comes with the developer version to monitor these statistics and make modifications to the indexes as needed. We also discussed the fact that it’s worthless to create an index on something that doesn’t return a definitive result .. for example .. don’t bother creating an index on a logic field. If all it does is return two different values, SQL Server won’t ever use it!!

-       We discussed some resources for SQL Server information:

o       Someone mentioned that Pinnacle Publishing offers a free “SQL Server Newsletter” that comes via email each month. I’m not sure on the details about this, but if you’re interested, I’m sure you can find it on the internet.

o       Andrew Coates wrote a three-part article in FoxTalk on Managing SQL Server through VFP. You can get this article from his website at

That’s about all that I can remember about the SQL Server presentation. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at the special SQL Server Class presented by Jim Duffy in Lansing on Saturday.


The February meeting is scheduled for February 8, 2003. I’d say “I hope to see you there”, but I will be out of town that weekend. But don’t despair; the meeting will go on as planned without me. At the moment, we don’t have a specific topic planned. So as always, if there’s anything you’d like to see at a future GRAFUG meeting, or there’s anything you’re willing to present, just let me know.

Regarding the Jumpstart session for the February meeting, Mike Potjer has volunteered to be the expert and hold the meeting if there’s enough interest. Please RSVP to me if you’re interested and let me know what kinds of questions you have or topics you’d like to discuss and I’ll pass it on to Mike. If there isn’t enough interest, we’ll cancel the February Jumpstart session and I’ll resume it as planned in March.



Cathy Pountney - GRAFUG Secretary

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