Day Three :: Aussie DevCon

Edited :: 8th May 2006

Another Disclaimer, Again ::Apologies to any sessions that aren’t mentioned in these reports. I’ve said it before, my memory is faulty.

As Sunday’s are special to me, I did something special as soon as I woke, which wasn’t very early.

On went the togs, and before the sleep had fled my brain, or eyes, I jumped into the well landscaped pool.

And instantly became the most awake person within the campsite. Man alive! that was cold water. So, instead of getting out, I tried to jump around more, in and out, getting the body moving. That wasn’t working, so I sat in the heated spa that was next to the popsicle pool. This was just the ticket. If I sat in there for a bit, I was insulated enough to spend more time in the arctic waters before freezing. Twas fun.

Fun With Capesoft (Bruce & Jono)

Now, reader beware, there will be some ranting, some froth around the edges of my mouth.

At this point in the conference, we saw probably the best single capsuled event that should be the shining driving light of clarion.

One of the best things about the Web 2.0 phenomenon is watching the videos. I’ve seen countless showings of what these products can do, and most of them aren’t even out of beta form (Ruby on Rails – ROR – being one of the notable exceptions).

In this session, Bruce and Jono demonstrated what you can do with a generic (Wizard created) app and their bundle of addon templates. It was amazing. Not so much the app, for myself. I mean, that was amazing. Capesoft have some of the best functionality in existence. But more, I was caught in a vision of how things could be.

We need a video of what these guys did. Voice-over, watching the screen. From creating the app in the clarion wizard to watching Send To create a pdf of a browse.

And with that video, you could create the kind of momentum that comes with the Web 2.0 crowd. Seriously. It could be done .. it should be done. Look at how much interest ROR generated half a year ago. It only had that one video at the start, but man alive, what a video it was.

Same with the other startups.

The kind of functionality you can create for a database driven app in under an hour is overwhelming. I realise there are other factors involved, and that .NET has a lot of things going for it right now .. but there are other avenues. Other passages. And development should be lazy, as many have said before me. Good development has that lazy factor to it.

Back to the actual session .. this is what Capesoft provide. A way to create magical programs .. lazily. Easily. Without effort.

And really, Bruce waving his Mickey-Mouse hands around really were just icing on the cake.

The content was pretty awesome. Watching Jono work through the templates, adding the functionality, you really got a sense of how much Capesoft is integral to the success of Clarion. They are the beating heart .. Clarion being the body .. well, I don’t want to take that analogy any further, you get my drift.

Perhaps I’m being opinionated, well .. no perhaps. But I’ll stick to my guns on this matter. Even knowing that SV are working extremely hard on Clarion 7, getting it shipped and out the door, it doesn’t change the unease I feel that all these opportunities to be Pimp’n Clarion are not being leapt at.

‘Nuff ranted on the matter, for the moment.

Clarion 7 News

Ahh. Here I actually switched on reporter mode and took some notes.


That’s the new structure, as I took it from what Russ drew on the board. Nice. Simple to understand.

List of Points

  • Page-Breaks in the Report .. This has been forwarded to the Reports team, no word on whether it’s in for Initial Release .. Instead of window orphaning?
  • Unlimited Undos
  • Debugger .. No changes in Initial Release ..
    • conditional breakpoints .. maybe
    • ability to remember your session settings between use .. on the list
    • using the debugger to, umm, debug & compile .. not yet .. maybe later

  • Controls on the window .. change properties in code?? Not sure about this one, missed the point, because obviously we can already do this
  • Looking good .. new controls
  • The ability to take a C6 app and compile it in C7, add a few lines of code, and it’s in the new look .. Bob Z (and his team) have been working hard on this
  • every hotfix with C6 is kept (binaries) in sync with C7 .. C6 ==> C7 .. YAY .. C<6 ==> C7 .. same as before, not so simple
  • Soon (not this weekend) Bob Z will release C7 to all the CSV subscribers .. all the way up to gold
    • Bob could change his mind
    • Not Clarion .NET, that is, not included in this possible release

  • there will be App & Dct support when it goes gold
  • the new subscriber model is going very well for SoftVelocity .. this was one of my questions .. the word from Russ is that they are very financially viable
  • Batch compiling is built in .. Solution? files can be used to compile all Apps in a Project .. external batch compilers won’t be needed any more is the word on the street
  • Multiple (Same Version) apps open at the same time .. personally, I find this one pretty cool, not hype-monkey, but still gonna be handy when wanting my Tools app open the same time as Core
  • Class code does not have to be in LIBSRC .. not sure about this one, and for some reason, i have the following note — do we need the ABC love of code? Yes, No, Maybe — Not sure at all about that
  • Debugger in .NET is Brand New!
  • Templates won’t change much in .NET
  • a Template Dialog Editor in .NET .. Not in Initial Release
  • Template Debugger in .NET .. Won’t be in the Initial Release. Possibly we’ll get it a few dot releases down the track .. not sure about the previous three points, what they mean, i’ve got them down, so they must have been talked about, and most probably it means they are planned
  • Report Writer, UI Improvements .. has been given a lot of love
  • Initial Pre-Release .. we’re in charge of Source Code
  • Clarion .NET, the port to 2.0 is DONE .. Russ was very happy to announce this
  • Clarion .NET, it can call both sides of Namespaces .. that is, from C++, C#, .. ==> Clarion .NET, and vica versa, Clarion .NET ==> C++, C#, ..

And there we have it. In a nutshell of notes. There are some exciting points. Hopefully things will turn out. But as I thought at the time, I’m still excited about what Clarion 6 can do .. realising it’s bugs, I’m more thinking about what we can show the world right now.

D-Icons .. Dave Beggs

Now, on the previous day (I think) i’d won a cd of D-Icons, so I had vested interest in this session. And after some hilarious jokes and even more hilarious banter, Dave preceeded (proceeded?) to give away his secret. It’s easy. Axialis Icon Workshop. This made me happy. I’ve had said product for some time, and used it to modify icons where I need. But to create new ones???? That would require me to .. wait on .. Dave showed the way.

It’s really really easy. But also, I’m stoked because I don’t even have to do that, with the bundle of each set on the cd. Nice Dave, very nice. They went onto this baby (laptop) asap when I returned home. Am hoping to get an app out here on DevDawn showcasing them soon :).

Andy K – Finishing Touches

Last (to my memory) was Andy K with a rundown of his stuff. I’ve already given my thoughts in Day Two, suffice to say, it’s good. Visit his website (Clarion Tools) or drop him an email (not sure, his website has a contact form).


And so the bell tolled for the conference to end (it didn’t, there was no bell, but man they are cool). We had to bail pretty much straight away to catch our flight.

Thanks again to Tony & Dave. Excellent stuff!


Who Framed Who?

Frames quite possibly might be making a comeback. At least, in the Development side of things.

I remember, way back when, one of the few things to stay in my memory from uni was that frames were neccessarily evil. Not in and of themselves, but because of the way they were used throughout the web. Almost noone used them effectively. Because of sloppy code, they were given to ugliness, in form and function.

This is changing. For me at least, it’s because of Capesoft and their stellar product, NetTalk (mainly the WebServices part).

In it, Bruce explained a very simple method, which makes a lot of sense. It’s possible a lecturer said it way back when :) I was at uni, but probably not.

If you want a desktop application, that is mainly private use .. then frames are okay. They are bad because you lose out with the address bar .. and search engines struggle with their content.

This is cool. I imagine you could amalgamate .. have the public face of the site non-frames, and the private a mix of both.

Actually, for simple applications, no-frames doesn’t do too badly.

Clarion Templates :: NetTalk

Capesoft’s NetTalk is .. awesome.

I bought NetTalk a couple of months ago, in January, and so was a little bummed about missing out on the NetTalk4 cutoff. Not too worried though, I forked out for the upgrade this morning, and dived in. Edit: I had a brain freeze. The cutoff was 2005, so my big bad. It’s that thing where you skim-read to acquire the "gist" of what is being said. Bad habit. Heh heh.

In about 2 hours, I’d come up with a simple Task Management system.

This product blew me away. The ease at which you can get something up and running is second-to-none. Imagine developing in PHP but having the power of an ISAM database behind you. Well, if you know Clarion, then it’s even easier than that.

It’s almost as though Capesoft have created their own Framework, like Ruby on Rails, or any of the others coming out today. Of course, substitute Clarion for Ruby to make it work, but hey .. that’s fine by me :).

For me, it was a black box shot to pieces. My brain doesn’t innately understand new stuff. I’ve been dabbling in creating web software for a while, but mostly on other platforms of different generations (PHP, WordPress, …). The whole serving thing hadn’t really coalesced in my brain.

Thanks to NetTalk, it now comes a step closer. As long as I have some kind of port-forwarding enabled, and some static IPs, I can have any application I want running on the web. Served to anyone who visits.

This is the power I needed. Not the actual implementation, but that it broke open my mind to the possibilities. No longer do I have to think, "I could make this program, but how could I get it onto the net?" ..

Kudos again to Capesoft. They’ve come up with something very special in NetTalk.

Although it’s the Web Server functionality I’ve caught the hype about, there’s so much more.

I bought it to put in some basic email functionality into a logistics app of mine. Worked like a dream.

NetTalk is well worth it’s price. In fact, I would say, it’s worth far outweighs the price. Truly, the world of software development (Desktop & Web) is at the feet of the Clarion Developer. You just have to believe. Or something like that, heh heh.

NetTalk is to an Application’s Web Functionality, what Professor Kirke’s Wardrobe is to Narnia. (Bruce, that took me some time, trying to up my last big-quote-for-capesoft .. ha ha)

Clarion Templates :: File Manager 3

Capesoft are a company that creates 3rd Party tools for Clarion. As I’ve posted before, if you don’t know about Clarion, then take a gander. It’s an awesome development tool, taking away a lot of the pain of C++ and other languages like it by allowing you to bypass creation of stock tools, and get into the meat of designing software.

Part of the frustration with shipping software is the updating of any changes within the database. How do you do it? What convoluted mess of code do you have to copy, swap, call upgrade, hope noone is using, check for exclusive access … I’m not even sure how people writing in other languages cope. I guess you write you own upgrade tool.

Well, that’s what the guys at Capesoft have done. File Manager 3 (FM3) is a template that helps push Clarion from a "cool nifty enthusiast language" to "let’s change the world and create cold fusion while we’re at it" development tool.

Basically, it’s like this. In Clarion you have a dictionary, which contains the file structures, and you have an app, which contains the windows, the code, the look. When you change a field within a table, the physical file is required to undergo an upgrade. The process to upgrade your user’s files was complicated (as opposed to getting them to send you the file, upgrading yourself through the dictionary interface, and then sending it back), and created a lot of hassle.

FM3 takes all this hassle, crumples it up, throws it into the ditch, because the bin is too good for it, fills the ditch with gasoline, lights the ditch, then laughs at the stupidity of it all.

You plug FM3 into your application, setup whatever parts you need, and then bam … the files upgrade when your exe is run. There are some addendums to this, but at it’s heart, this is what FM3 does. Takes away any of the pain associated with changing File Structures and let’s you get on with the real job … coding up a storm.

So go take a look at Capesoft. Anyone who uses Clarion will most like already know about them, they’re that popular.

More Clarion 3rd Party Dev Shouts to come … and probably looks at other tools too. It’s all good.