Bob’s Post In Full

I spoke about Bob’s post to the community in a previous post. He’s given me permission to regale it here in all it’s glory. So here ’tis.


Update on the Clarion UKCUG meeting

I’m back in the USA after a great trip to the UK and France. The Clarion UK user group meeting in Cambridge was a very good time. I had a chance to meet with some great folks, and it was a superb location. My thanks to Richard Rose for organizing the event, and to all of the developers who attended. I had a chance to speak with many of those who attended, and I came away with a clearer understanding of what developers want and need for both Clarion 7 and Clarion.Net.

Between Scott and myself we covered the gamut, from updates to the Clarion 7 UI feature set, to the new functionality in the Project system, Class Browser, Window and Report Designers, source code Editor and much more. Then I did code walkthroughs and ran live Clarion WinForm applications, WebForm apps, Web services, and Mobile applications. My presentation alone ran about 4 hours.

Because we covered so much new territory it’s natural to expect that some of the information would be misinterpreted, and upon my return I found that some information posted at and at is a bit off the mark and has created some confusion.

I’ll try to clarify a few things here, addressing the items posted that were not quite accurate, and also answering some questions sent in via email to our sales/support team that were generated from the incorrect information.

  • Clarion.Net can use every driver that we currently ship
  • All of the standard Clarion file access syntax is supported and is unchanged, i.e. OPEN, NEXT, PREVIOUS, GET, REGET, etc
  • Clarion.Net can utilize any .Net data provider. A .NET Framework data provider is used for connecting to a database, executing commands, and retrieving results.
  • The .NET 2.0 Framework includes the data provider for SQL Server (for Microsoft SQL Server version 7.0 or later), the data provider for OLE DB, and the data provider for ODBC.
  • Almost every SQL backend provides their own .Net data provider
  • The data provider for ODBC lets you connect to any data source where an ODBC driver is available.
  • The Topspeed and Clarion drivers are being ported to .Net managed code as native providers; all of the other drivers are accessed via a bridge layer that is built into the Clarion.Net RTL. The bridge layer is invisible. In other words your code reads exactly as it does today using any version of Clarion, regardless of what driver you are using.

    To make this crystal clear, here is some code that I used to fill a Queue to show databinding of a Queue to a DataGrid control (and to a DataGridView control). It should look very familiar.

    (EDIT (Stu) :: Apologies for the List Bullets, tried my best, but couldn’t get rid of them all using stlye="list-style-type: none;", which is wierd, but anyway, decided to just leave them all in

    MainForm.FillQueue PROCEDURE()

    • OPEN(People)
        • MESSAGE(ERRORCODE()&’-‘&ERROR())
    • END
    • SET(People)
      • LOOP
        • NEXT(People)
          • BREAK
        • ELSE
          • SELF.QPeople.Id = PEO:Id
          • SELF.QPeople.FirstName = PEO:FirstName
          • SELF.QPeople.LastName = PEO:LastName
          • SELF.QPeople.Gender = PEO:Gender
          • ADD(SELF.QPeople)
        • END
      • END
  • You also have the option to access your FILEs using a combination of the ADO.Net objects; DataTable, DataSet, and DataAdapter. I showed an example of this at the meeting.

    Hopefully the above points will clear up the confusion regarding drivers and file access options in Clarion.Net.

  • As regards the post that stated the Clarion 7 compiler had been ported to .Net managed code – it is incorrect. The Clarion 7 compiler is native code.
  • As regards the post that read "64bit Native Compilers for .NET". It is also a bit of the mark. The 64-bit version of the .NET Framework 2.0 enables .NET applications to run on 64-bit workstations as 64-bit native applications, and in most cases, applications developed using the 32-bit .NET Framework can be ported to the 64-bit version of the .NET Framework without any source code modifications.

    I think the confusion stems from the fact that I asked the attendees .. how many of you would be interested in a 64bit native compiler .. i.e. a port of the Clarion 7 compiler so as to produce 64bit native code.

  • As regards the post that indicated that you’d be unable to access TPS files from other .Net languages. I showed a simple example where in Clarion.Net we read a TPS file, filled a Queue and then loaded (databinded) the Queue into a .Net DataGrid control, and then opened a WinForm to display the data. We then took a C# application, and in 3 lines of code created an instance of the same Clarion.Net WinForm and showed the form displaying the data from within the C# app.

I hope all of the above clears up any items that were confusing. We’ll be posting all of the information presented at the UK meeting right here in a series of movies, and if you have any other questions on the information that came from the meeting feel free to post them here, or in the Clarion Community forum.

Clarion All Road-Mapped

Bob Z has posted again, regarding the Clarion Roadmap.

It’s great (awesome even, although I use that word far too frequently) to see this communcation. Getting another look inside, seeing how the development is going, what purpose and direction they (SoftVelocity) have.

Keep it up Bob!

Here are two snippets of interest ("Spirit" being Clarion 7, and "Hidalgo" being Clarion .NET) ::

Spirit is currently scheduled to be completed and released this year (2006). It will support development of Win32 applications using any version of Clarion from 1.5 to 7.0. We’re considering releasing tech preview builds to Core Subscription users as we get closer to RTM, and before that organizing an Alpha release team, primarily to allow 3 rd party vendors to prepare new editions of their products.

The current plan is to release Hidalgo in calendar year 2006. Prior to the RTM for Hidalgo we’re considering releasing Clarion.Net subscriptions and tech preview builds, but that will depend largely upon how quickly we can get the heap of new language syntax documented, and the new Template sets tested.

Train or Bus? Or Flying Carpet (Writely)

Sometimes I’d like a flying carpet. Not all the time. I’d use it sparingly, you know, not to pop down to the corner store. But important things.

It would help living in the city. Although then everyone would want one. And the skies would become crowded with threads and I imagine some small problems would occur.

But at least I wouldn’t be wanting to lift a bus in rage.

This morning I waited over half an hour for a bus. It was after 7am .. so they should really have been kicking in. In that period, right at the end of the half-hour, one finally arrived .. full to the brim. No more people.

Like Blackboard out of Mr Squiggle I was .. "Hurry Up! Hurry Up!".

Missing my chiropractor appointment wasn’t the worst part of the exercise. The tradgedy that really got my boxers in a squeeze was that I had missed out on some very much needed sleep. 7am is a rather early hour for me, considering the hour i rest my head.


Now onto the real substance of this post.

Writely. I’m still using it, even with the Post Title issue. It’s too valuable a tool. Being able to have my posts stored elsewhere, with nice functionality when editing, just makes my heart all squishy.

Shortcuts. Keyboard. Shortcuts.


The two circled above are really the beesknees.

1. Saving with CTRL-S.

This removes the inherant fear of the web, it’s apparent loss-ful data state. It allows me to never be scared of the back button again (I’m looking at you, WordPress Admin). Now, if WordPress came up with a processor like Writely, well .. bam. It’d be awesome.

2. Adding a link with CTRL-K.


I have, in the past, typed my links out in full, or copied them from the header of the page i wanted to link. Using CTRL-K is another removal of needing the mouse, although you do have to actually get the link. So if you are linking a page that you don’t know the url, you have go through a few more steps. What would be cool though, is to have a shortcut system within Firefix itself.

E.G. CTRL-1-V .. pastes the url of the first tab in Firefox. CTRL-4-V would obviously paste the url of the fourth tab.


Tagging allows similar functionality to most other document systems.

Christine D. of the Ultimate Tag Warrior (WordPress Plugin) very kindly showed me that you can embed your tags into the document before posting to WordPress, and it will then read them. Of course, this means you would have to double entry the tags. Another falling short on Writely’s ability to send information. Probably not ability. Probably design I guess. But it seems like something relatively easy to fix, like the Title issue.


Posting to your blog is actually pretty easy. You fill in the above details once (Writely supports one blog only at this time), and then you can post away to your heart’s content.

Writely is a good tool. I’m looking forward to seeing what Google do with it.

Next on the agenda is a look at my experiences with joining the Exclusive Use Of Gmail club. Not sure if that’s a club. Maybe it should be. Like the "No Homer(s)" club before it. Or not.


Bob Calms The Storm

Bob Z has posted on the Softvelocity Blog re the Clarion UKCUG meeting.

It’s a clarification post, addressing misinformation that occured on Dev Dawn (and consquently ClarionMag.

This will be a good thing for the community I believe.

Bob is blogging, talking to the community. One of the most common complaints I read on the newsgroups is SV’s lack of communication.

Dev Dawn was reporting straight away, and despite me not being there, going through Mark, it turned out okay.

I responded to each and every clarification that was shown to me. I’m not at all worried about changing what I’ve already written if it’s wrong, it would be silly to be so arrogant as to take that stance. But I’d do it again in an instant (with some more wisdom intact of course, perhaps a micro-second slower :)), because we’re the community. We pass info around.

Noone can be responsible for how someone else reacts to the information but that individual themselves, the only thing to do is to make sure the information is accurate.

So thanks to Bob for blogging. Clarifying. Communicating.

Jumping Into a Bandwagon

Here I am. Typing away within the boundaries of Writely.

Moving to GMail was simpler than I thought. Now it’s a case of testing out Writely, to see if it will help, amongst other things, my blogging.

So I’m bringing this post to you via Writely.

Okay. So there is a hitch. I might be being petty .. but the Title doesn’t come across from Writely to WordPress. That’s pretty lame. I had to add the title for this post myself.

Most definately puts a dampener on my enthusiasm to use Writely for blogging.

The other issue that has just come to mind is this .. There is more to a post than just the content. I have mutliple Categories (sometimes) and Tags. Tags especially are important. I like to add them to each post (mostly by way of the awesome Ultimate Tag Warrior plugin).

Makes me wonder just how hard it would be to knock together a little engine in between an html file and the xmlrpc.php functionality for wordpress. I’d have to say, probably not very.

Ha ha. It’s not that Writely DOESN’T send the Title across .. it sends across a BLANK title. When you Republish a post, it strips the title you may have entered yourself through the WordPress Admin.


Have been sick the last couple of days. Haven’t been able to dedicate the vast resources of my frontal-upper-lobal-braincells to blogging, as they’ve been preoccupied with the control of bodily functions that make babies of us all.

Heh heh. Waaaay too much info I know.

My morning’s reading comprised of this Ajax toolkits review. It’s nice to have them put side by side, looking at the benefits of each one. Will definately equip you with a bit more knowledge of what’s going on in that world.

Dojo, GWT, and Atlas excited me the most, on cursory glance.

Atlas because it’s gonna heavily integrate with a .NET Server (exactly whatever that means) and we know how much the commercial sector (read: Big Business Dudes) love to know you know .NET.

GWT because you actually write in Java (despite the problems this might bring). I like the idea that it translates on the fly.

And Dojo because it’s got backing from Sun and IBM, and because it sounds very robust, with a large amount of functionality.

So yeah. Not much of a thought today .. but enough for a blog :).


You’re Winner The?

Was reading this very interesting article (SlashDot) on the demise of TechTV, and came across this Wikipedia reference to Big Rigs.

Now, you read through that page and try not to laugh out loud. It’s awesome. So much the stuff of folklore.

I consider myself a gamer, but shamefully, today is the first i’ve heard of this game, which has achieved cult status. That’s pretty cool. It’s got it’s own religion. The Rigism message board is where most of this action can be found.

Now. The Development slant to this .. hmmm ..

If something so bad gains a cult following, perhaps .. If we know our product is not going to achieve the heights of massive success (whether from good design, massive marketing, great coding, or any mix), then perhaps we should not go for mediocrity, but plunge to the depths of LOSER-ness.

Create something so bad that it’s good. Come up with "YOU’RE WINNER" functionality.

Now, I’m not talking about newb-first-time-coding-clarion bad, or even i-can’t-design-a-database bad. It’s gotta suck so much, that it opposes any and all of the points it set out to win at.

For example, an Accounting System that cannot make any mathematical calculations, but just randomises a value. The windows to enter ciritical data have no entries on them. Reports have to be run before entering data. Nothing is saved.

Actually, this is harder than I first thought. Needs some better understanding of what constitutes as so bad it’s good.