There are a number of essential Tools (I know, I called them Mods, but the gamer in me is strong) for Clarion.
The Keys to the wonderful Kingdom of Kla .. I’ll stop that now.
As with other "Must Read" posts, this will grow and mould as time goes on. So if you believe there is a tool not here, please don’t hesitate to contact me and we’ll go through a series of barbaric rituals and competitions to see if your suggestion cuts the mustard.
Or, I guess you could start a blog yourself, and put your own list up :).
Initially, these are strictly tools that you should not go without. The Bear Essentials.
1. The Newgroups (news.softvelocity.com)
I’ve spoken (previously) about my respect for those that give of them time in the Newsgroups.
The Newsgroups are possibly the greatest tool there is at this time. They provide the largest compository (that I know) of information relating to Clarion.
You get answers to questions. The Third-Party newsgroup is a most excellent source of specific template questions.
You get information regarding the Clarion Community across the world. What is happening in various countries. The meetings, gatherings, beer swilling.
You get people at their best, and at their worst. Probably one of the most frustrating things about the newsgroups is inherent in their nature. They are one-way. Imagine if you had to talk through a generic robot for conversation. You couldn’t control the tone, the color, the face, the waving of the arms. You must deliver your messages slowly, and while this would give time to frame and think about your replies, in reality, more often it seems to make people more aggressive.
Of course, I’m more inclined to saying stupid stuff while in front of people. So take that last paragraph with a flavoured grain of salt.
The one true blight I see with the newsgroups is their inability to provide me with accurate results to my searching. Perhaps someone can knock up a webapp that sucks down the newsgroups and spits them out Tag-Cloud style. Something like that anyway would greatly enhance the ability to search.
The Google Groups version of comp.lang.clarion would have been that answer .. but alas, for some strange reason I know nothing about, it’s not a true mirror of the SV newsgroups.
Blurg. Enough. Newsgroups are number one on the list because of what they provide. They are the centre of the community. Knowledge, relationships, support and marketing. It all happens there, and there it happens the most.
2. File Manager (http://www.capesoft.com/accessories/fm3sp.htm)
This is, without a doubt, the greatest third-party template in existance for Clarion. And I’d suit it up against most anything else out there.
File Manager 3 (FM3), and the previous (2) version, although I’ve never used it, is a Template from Capesoft. You buy it (from the next "Tool"), and you install it.
What it does is give you the freedom to change your File Structures with wild abandon, and not have to worry about writing your own conversion functionality.
Plug it in. Set a few vars if you’re like me. And leave it. Nothing simpler.
I tried to think of an example involving Cars sold without Steering Wheels, but then realised, we release new versions of our software at a far reduced cost to already existing customers. I wonder if Ford would go for that business model? You own a Territory, no probs, get the Territory 2 at a discount of 60%. Ha ha. Nice.
3. ClarionShop (http://www.clarionshop.com)
This was a harder decision to make. Can you really count ClarionShop as a tool?
I (obviously) went with Yes, but not without hesitation.
While putting this list together, I had to think about truly, what is essential to a Developer getting better and what they do.
While it’s not exactly clearcut, ClarionShop fits the bill better than most of the other _things_ I could think of. Even if you’re just going to subsist on File Manager 3, you have to buy the template. And Clarionshop is the largest and best shopping centre for Clarion Templates.
The folks at ClarionShop are professional and helpful. Support is most always speedy, and more than willing to help with problems that crop up due to digital distribution (say the loss of passwords, etc).
.. The Promise Of More
Technically there’s only one "Mod" in the list. The post definately has future development/enhancement written all over it :).
This is really bare-bones. There are many more tools (templates and otherwise), that take Clarion from this earth, and park it squarely in place of the sun. And you didn’t even have to build the spaceship, or the air-ventilation.