Day 2 (Capesoft Training)

Bruce’s joke for the day

q.) How many programmers does it take to change a lightbulb?

a.) The lightbulb works fine in my office.


We are into the guts of stuff today .. Bruce is getting us in the Web session to get going, experiment, ask him about compile errors and broken stuff.

Today has been very .. intense. Only because we’ve pretty much been able to work away and ask Bruce questions .. when he’s free. Ha ha.

We got a very good rundown on how to use Frames within NT4WebServer. In fact, Frames have made it into both days so far. They are, according to Bruce (and he’s right) good tools when used effectively. Of course, mostly our brains remember the bad uses. But they have great value.

I’ve continued along with my NetWeb project into the second session today. There’s three of us bogans up the back of the SQL session part 2.

Anyway, I’ll upload some photos tonight hopefully.

Photos from Day 2 (Click for lightbox .. box)














Day 1 (Capesoft Training)

Today began the 5 Days of Awesomeness .. also known as .. Capesoft Training + The Aussie (Clarion) DevCon.

Unfortunately I can’t split myself into three, because there are three sessions going at once. Bruce, Jono and Geoff are all giving of their best to us. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some feedback from people as to the other sessions.

Today I went to 1) the first NetTalk WebServer session, and 2) the Look’N’Feel session.

1) NetTalk WebServer

This Session was an introduction to using the WebServer. From what I saw, most people were there to create their first WebServer app. So Bruce began with some basic questions, reasons as to why or why not you would go with NT4 WebServer, what’s good about CSS and what’s bad (heh heh) .. and other important web serving information.

2) Look’N’Feel

This Session Bruce went through a number of the Capesoft Templates, those that would enhance the look (and feel, obviously) of an app.

Mostly, we gasbagged about methodologies and Google and other important stuff :).

The other sessions went well, although sometimes a little slow apparently. Slow in that people had trouble with getting things to work.

The SQL Session was quite large, and they seemed very hard at work every time I popped my head in.

All in all, it’s 6pm and I’m just leaving the building now.

There’s kind of a different feeling to last year. We were all together, AWAY last year .. which made it more of a group environment i guess .. this is a little more sterile .. but not in a bad way.

It’s good. More tomorrow.

Photos from Day 1










Aussie DevCon 2007 .. Part 1 (The Capesoft Boys)

Wednesday through Friday we attended "The Capesoft World Tour 2007", the Aussie Leg.

There were too many choices to make for these three days! Bruce, Jono and Geoff all had very interesting seminars throughout the three days.

You can look here for the breakdown of sessions.

If one thing can be said for the Capesoft guys (and lots can be said) it’s that they can hit the heart of a matter very quickly. Almost a pre-cognitive ability .. hmmm, could there be Mutants walking amongst us? [ .. cough .. ]

And this is, forgive my presumption, one of the more important things you can learn from developers like Capesoft. How to approach problem-solving. How to ask the right questions.

I’m not sure if I can explain it any better than that. But if you spend any time with Capesoft, or indeed others, then watch and learn how they approach development. How they seek out the heart of the matter, or how they don’t. How often does Bruce say "That’s not really important ..", or "You’re looking in the wrong place ..".  I guess it can wrankle, but I prefer to see it as a good learning process. You could also just not ask stupid questions .. but Bruce says there are no stupid questions, only stupid people. So .. hmmmm. Ha ha.

Technically, I saw a specific example of just how powerful the Capesoft products, and their training, are (is?).

My workmate Bill brought along a semi-formed app built on NetTalk 4 WebServer templates. It was a new "lite" version of a far more comphrehensive and powerful desktop system.

Over the five days of conference, Bill had transported from TPS to SQL, added Multi-Database functionality (first in TPS, then SQL), other fancy SQL functionality, Letter merging, Word Document creation, extra PDF functionality, an "Inbox" feature, and TPS and SQL program in the same source code!

Freaking amazing. Just fantastic. Awesome.

In my own app, I was able to nail down some specific functionality (sorting of browses dynamically, graphing, reporting, other funky stuff). It was just very cool seeing a pie graph appear with meaningful data out of a browser.

If you don’t use any Capesoft products, then possibly the value of three days of training might not be that much. I’d still argue you could learn a lot about development, but then, you can learn that kind of stuff listening to any good dev, of which many abound all over the net, amongst other places (you might be one too, heh heh).

But if you use Capesoft products, then there is absolutely no question as to the value of attending their training. Their tools should be adding that much money-potential to your product(s) that paying for it isn’t a problem. If it is .. then start saving now for next time!

Definately, I’d say you should go with something specific in mind. Whether that be a product you want functionality added to, or just to learn how to use their products.

All in all, the Capesoft segment of the DevCon was a wonderful time. We made jokes, ate those round white mint lollies, and drank heaps of water. Or at least i did. Wait. We also talked, discovered new tricks, fabulous products, and gave our apps an injection of raw talent, power and good looks.

Aussie DevCon 2007 .. Intro

Leading up to this year’s (2007) Aussie DevCon I was a mess of stress (the Talk) and excitement (the Everything).

Since a youngster, or before, I’ve loved companionship, friendship, fellowship .. As an older teenager I discovered Youth Camps .. and forget about it. Going through Uni, my life revolved around the next Camp, the next people event .. along with Girls, who provided the other half of panic and stress too.


Suffice to say that my mind was on big things this year.

We had three days of Capesoft Training. As readers of this blog (and DevDawn) know, I’m an unabashed fan of their work. But more than that, well no .. more importantly, they are genuine individuals. You can talk to them one-on-one, as a group. You can share a laugh, talk about rugby (these might be the same thing). You can discuss religion or go for a swim with them (Bruce, stop me! I’m waffling! Heh heh).

Then there was the two days of actual Conference. For the weeks previous, I had been concentrating on my talk (ask the guys I work with, or my better half). It was a huge dot in the calendar. Not because I was nervous about talking .. anyone who knows me for more than five minutes can see it’s plain I like talking. In front of people, or even by myself. Makes no difference, there’s always an audience :). I was nervous because of the _import_ of what was happening. I was nervous because I wanted to do very well. I was nervous because of who was there .. you, the community, Capesoft, Bob Z, Russ, my workmates.

It sounds very egocentric, and it is .. but the main focus of my mind leading up to the conference wasn’t the content of Bob’s speeches (Clarion 7). It was that I would deliver a talk that would fire the hearts and minds of those who listened.

Thankfully, Tony had put the talk in the middle of Saturday, so there was a day and a half to concentrate more on the other, more important, things. The talks, the people, the food. Oh baby, we had some good grub.

Okay, the intro is done. I will post Part 1 tomorrow, and Part 2 the day after. Splitting the five days into two, or possibly three segments.

Then, I’ll have six or seven posts that make up my talk. Also, a .DOC and .PDF will be put up. So possibly ten days straight days of content from PMyC (like the new shortening .. i’m thinking about doing a KFC .. ha ha .. and thanks to Bill for that)! Whooot.

Aussie DevCon 2007 .. Part 2 (Friday Content)

I’ve decided to split posts about the Conference in half .. but not chronologically, or by content.

The split will go thusly. The Content, and then The People.

"The People" will look at .. well more than just the people. I’ll talk about my observations of the Aussie Community, issues that were addressed, what people were talking about, etc etc.


Sometime Friday afternoon the Conference began proper. Bob Z was sighted. Tony gave a welcome speech. People arrived. Clipboards were opened. Three rooms were opened up into one big one. And everyone ate those little white mints. Man, they were hard to bite down on.

Our first session with Bob and Clarion 7 was all about the IDE. And you know what, if i recall correctly, we got through the entire couple of hours without a single question as to release date.

It was certainly bubbling about in the thinning mind-o-sphere, but quite amazingly, noone brought it up. Well, not till Saturday. Ha ha.

Anyway, what I’m going to do now is give you my notes. As they will be the best indicator of an individual point of view. I’ll just say, I don’t think I’m a good journalist. While i can certainly be obnoxious, I tend to wander off into various levels of reality, getting distracted by possibilities and dream-like sequences.

So here goes. My notes on Clarion 7 – The New IDE.

There will no doubt be quite a number of discrepencies in this report .. If you find them, please comment/email and I’ll update .. in RED no less :).


I’d also like to apologise for the dodgy, dodgy Editing. I’d forgotten how frustrating it is to take something from Word to HTML .. well, it is probably easy .. except I was trying to put this Live Writer in between, and then ended up spending heaps of time finding a wysiwyg editor (landed on Nvu) because I needed something that’s a lot better than Live Writer .. and Live Writer has a stupid limit on how large the page can be .. and .. AND .. Bruce! Quick .. Waffling again! ARRRGGGGG!!!!

Clarion 7


I’ve just noticed in IE that the apostrophes are all wierd .. I’ll update as soon as possible, clean it up.

– Pads

  • they have a pin
  • you can move them anywhere you want .. which is true of all the windows
  • you have the opportunity to decide how you best work with the IDE
  • everyone will find their own preference

the clarion header in the main window seems pretty huge

– Project

  • an App, in essence is a Project
  • now the Project is the big object .. the App now takes a second seat .. rather, the Project is now more visible than it has been.


– Solution,

  • this particular one was created by Bob Foreman
  • Solutions encompass more than Projects .. ahhh, the Solution is actually above the project, outside .. the project is a child of the Solution
  • There are a bunch of cool options for the Solution


– Project Options

  • output type, link mode, Target Name, Output Path

– start with debugger (F5)
– start without debugger (Ctrl F5)
Bob then pressed the right green button, and the build began and finished, and the Visual Styles Demo app started.

– Options

  • Build and Run Options (under General)
    • Output details
      • Quiet, Minimal, Normal, Detailed, Diagnostic
  • Clarion -> Application Options
    • Hasn’t changed much
  • Clarion .Net
  • Clarion for Windows
    • Enable project parsing .. relates to code completion, Clarion 7 has code completion in the system. When you open any app or soln project, it is parsed immediately, completely. Used to build the code completion db. And the Class Viewer, somewhere in here.
    • If you’re not gonna use the info, then you can turn it off
    • Someone had an app, 750 modules .. I have to wait .. this takes that away.   
  • Versions
    • Compile with any version (build, not just major) that you would want to compile with.
    • You can have individual builds
    • Let’s you take one IDE and let’s you use it with any version of Clarion .. we have known about this for a while.
  • Window Forms Designer
  • WINDOW Structure .. missed the last couple

-    Different Designers .. Clarion 7, .NET, ASP .NET .. going to go through all of them.

  • The "design" of these Designers is consistent across all versions .. which is a good obvious need

-    Opens up the "School" example app

  • "parsing" building parsing tables for Code Completion and the Class Viewer 

At this stage, Clarion 7 broke. However .. (Bob’s issues with laptops). This can’t have made him happy. So yeah.

I asked if Bob wanted to run the demo on my laptop .. which allowed him to go into his issues with slides .. etc etc.

-    Okay, the school example app

  • Worked the second time.
  • Showing us the class viewer
    • The icons, Bob mentioned some of their lameness I think
    • Works a lot like the c++ IDEs, which is natural, because it’s built offa SharpDevelop
    • MDI Tabs, Different Styles on Sheet combinations
    • Collapsing the definitions .. every piece of code
  • Which again, is like the better IDEs around.
    • Summary of what is within the collapsed code
    • Bookmarks are saved between sessions ..
    • Navigate Forward, Navigate Back ..
  • So every place in the code you visit is saved in a buffer

-    Now we’re looking at a WinForm version of the school app

  • Straight MDI .. not much to it (Bob’s words)

-    Another WinForm app with a twist

  • It has the tabs coming across like a new tab in Firefox ..
  • It’s using the same docking library that the IDE uses
  • It’s an open source library .. Weifen-lou??

-    Taking a look at some of the Designers

  • Comparing designing for Win32, WinForms, ASP.NET, Compact Forms
  • The Properties window (dockable etc etc) replaces the current Properties window in C6. A far far better interface .. oh man
  • I wonder if this whole IDE will scare people .. being too much like MS and other stuff .. OR too much NOT like the preceding Clarion IDEs

-    Powerful searching (and replacing)

  • Eg. Multi-DLL Solutions .. you can search across the whole family of apps/projects
  • Bob does a "Find All" .. which brings up the Search Results
    • Double-clicked on a search result, and the window popped up.  
    • Every key is stored in a text file, so you can change it if you want 
    • Ambient Properties
      • That you select more than one control .. change a property, and they all change .. like the F12 (similar in practice, but more powerful .. Bob’s words 

-    The IDE is looking slick .. and the window designer .. nice.

  • Goes into Options .. WINDOW Structure Designer
  • General -> Smart Tags, Auto open Smart Tags, Suppress Transparency, UseVisualStyles by default, Select Toolbox .. missed the rest
  • Grid Options -> Snap Lines
  • Makes it very easy to visually align a control
  • Better than the snap-grid .. arguably 

-    Back into the WinForm app

  • There isn’t a keystroke to activate the Designer
    • It’s a tab at the bottom of the window (this isn’t in Clarion 7, only in .NET)
    • In .NET can have one class .. I don’t really understand what Bob said here, as to why it’s only in .NET .. should have listened better.
    • Can do Regular Expressions in the Search and Replace 

-    Bob goes into a couple of different design contexts .. forms, reports ..

-    Opens up an ASP.NET app, and then the Designer ..

  • Showing again the consistency between the Designers
  • uses IE to show the app
  • code is all Clarion code, for the ASP

-    Compact Forms

  • Can’t run (test) directly, but through the Device Emulator.
    • nice, looks like Eclipse/NetBeans stuff
  • This doesn’t look TPS files .. uses an XML dataset ..
    • But all Clarion code that’s driving it.

-    Clarion to CSharp

  • Since it’s a full fledged .NET language, you can operate with any other .NET language.   
  • Showed us a CSharp form, Bob :: "not that impressive, hard to do impmressive stuff in CSharp"

-    CSharp to Clarion

  • You can pop the CSharp data right into the Clarion code, and it’s seamless.

-    The UI is not completely done .. some things won’t fill in etc etc.

-    Can open lots of files at once .. DCTs, most other code files .. but the Solution (and App by extension) works differently, and can only be opened one at a time .. piped through a different section, or something I can’t remember exactly.

-    QuickView is distinct from Editing

  • Opening a number of fields at once, tabbed, opened top and bottom
    • In other words, all the docking capabilities are the dictionary too
    • Pretty much, get any kind of view of the dictionary that you want.
  • There is going to be extensive drag’n’drop capabilities
  • Sorting of fields etc, alphabetically .. etc etc
  • Switched away from IDs to GUIDs in the Dictionary 

-    Warren Marshall then asked

  • "possible to comment?? Out different parts of the dictionary in the IDE, and in the dictionary itself??"
  • Bob’s Answer:
    • Categories, you can Categorise the dictionary
    • So have a Category look like a dictionary to the AppGen

-    Russ then passed on a question

  • Possible to be able to have multiple dictionaries associated to one App
  • Bobs Answer::
    • No, initially, Yes with a virtualized dictionary

-    Q. something about the External Name .. possibly easily viewing the External Name, yeah, how to see it easy

  • A. search capabilities across all the attributes
    • Would be reasonable to declare the External Name was complete, detect it, and report an error. 

-    some more questions .. I was phased out a bit

-    Bob now takes us into the Invoice dictionary

  • List of all tables in dictionary was blank
  • Second list is tables actually on the diagram
  • Then the third window was the Diagram itself
    • Which is a visual representation of the tables
      • Which is techinally just another view of the Dictionary, strictly ..
  • "View as Diagram" will be an option
  • Such a big difference in the Interface .. it’s gonna rock
  • Tooltips on each of the Keys, and the Fields (all of it configured, tooltips, additional information)
  • Tables are scrollable .. not with a scrollbar, but with the arrow buttons in the header
  • Same dialog that you’d see in another view
  • Print Preview, Print, Print to PDF .. and although not in there at the moment, Print to Image
  • Annotations will persist
  • Being able to just see the Titles of the Tables, and their relationships.
  • Only available in the Enterprise edition .. just the Diagram Tool. 

-    Wrapping up the first session

  • Looking at the XPP
  • Applications Pad
    • Generate All, Generate, Edit
    • Lists as many apps as you have in your Solution
    • The XPP is a separate entity to the Project created above it.
    • E.g. Generating the XPP redoes the tree above .. the Project tree.
  • Now we’re seeing the App Gen.
    • Not going too deep, because it’s had some changes .. Bob stresses the complicated nature of everything. 

-    Determining Page Breaks in the Reports

  • I began the question, but really had no idea .. Warren took it over
    • A. it still is happening.
    • But, Clarion 7 is a superset of Clarion 6.
    • Fixes for Clarion 6 immediately go into Clarion 7.
    • Vica Versa.
    • Reports have not been revisited in Clarion 7.
    • So no. 

-    Some more questions .. kind of fading away.

-    one was .. Q. How many file drivers for the Compact?

  • A. Talked about how the XML was a dataset .. not a file driver.
  • A. You can use anything natively available on the compact framework .. at this point in time you can’t use any of the drivers most of us are familiar with in Clarion.
  • CESQL, XML .. anything else.
  • Geoff Bomford (even though your comment is just below Geoff, I’ll still update the post, heh heh) writes ..
    • I’m pretty sure that Bob said the TPS driver was being developed for use on compact devices, where it would be perfect because of the compact size of the database.

The Sleeper Awakes

Greetings my fellow earthicons.

I’ve been absent, it’s true. Many and varied have been the adventures experienced. Terrifying aliens, quantam light infarction travel, mega phaser guns, and killer drop-bears.

It’s true. I have been absent. But not without excuses. I have a hundred of them. The alien’s pet raptor-like-creature ate my work. I grew tired of meaningless programming when my brain was wired into the Borgmind. My kids needed the computer. The cockroaches took over our house. The Aliens with the pet Psuedo-Raptor came and ate the computer.

One of the reasons is .. Pimp My Clarion. I’ve released it just tonight, with posts that will go every day or so (timestamped to appear). It’s taken a while, mostly because at the end I decided to change hosting to Media Temple.

I have gotten through a big piece of functionality for Rasp. The last major piece for the next release is going to be harder I fear. Custom Content Pages. Basically a File created by Rasp, HTML (most probably). 

But along with this, there are other changes afoot. And more.

Aussie DevCon is arriving within the month. I’ve been preparing my talk for a while, but it’s still just points and notes. Lots of chopping and changing. Crazy ideas, firing one after the other make it hard to string stuff together normally. Have to go _monk_ (Zoolander ref.). Or, better, have to strip out all the crud and focus on the single purpose of what I’m talking about. Then fill it with better crud. :).

Alrighty, nuff for the mo.

Silence .. "Crickets Chirriping"

Yes. Chirriping.

It seems in a few months I’ll be presenting at the Clarion Aussie Dev Con.

Silence. Crickets .. Chirriping.

Can’t wait .. I’m thinking of speaking on the importance of Rugby in development. Or how the Wii will change the Clarion developer’s life forever. Or perhaps even this .. Why World of Warcraft 2 will be written in Clarion. All of it. Even the graphics.

Or not.

Should be a blast. We’re getting quite excited about the conference, and look forward to seeing familiar (from last year’s .. not sure if the apostrophe goes there) faces, and new noggins too.

Yesterday (Saturday) we were at friends, and our car sat without cover for about nine hours, six of which were in the full blast of a crazy-hot day. Sitting in a pew this morning, i reach into the kid’s Church Bag for their crayons, only to discover .. the bottom of the bag had become infused with a layer of wax. All but a few of the two boxes of crayons were melted, and those that were left .. they were tiny-fied.

This got me thinking (how?) .. some things in life are unstoppable. If you stick crayons in the sun, they will melt (unless there’s some new type of crayon with anti-heat-freeze molecules. But (and this is a pretty flimsy connection), acceptance of certain truths makes us better at what we do.

Microsoft have lots of money. So do Google. Steve Jobs creates a vortex of "i believe what you’re saying" around himself. Power comes from money. Yeah, we all know Ajax has been around since before the wheel. And sometimes it’s okay to jump on the bandwagon .. because you could be hitching yourself to a wagon that’s heading for the city of gold (which in the end, if that cartoon I watched as a kid was right, wasn’t really a city of gold. The first one at least).

I accept people aren’t going to be magically interested in any software I create. So I’m thinking up ways to bask in the juggernaut (any juggernaut, except maybe Cain Marko) that is the sun and it’s white-hot rays. Even if it’s just to gain some momentum. Or melt some crayons. Wow .. this is analogy is really hard to pull together. It’s just not happening.

I guess what it boils down to is this. The sun melts stuff. By myself, I couldn’t melt crayons half as well as the sun. I’m going to use the sun to help me out.

Substitute any company, technology, .. in for the word "sun". Oh .. and change "melt crayons" to describe the action you’re trying to make happen. Ha ha.


Well, I think that’s enough crazy-talking for one night.

p.s. Today’s links were brought to you by that herald of all things truth (it’s all of it true, every last word) .. Wikipedia. You can trust it completely, after all, everyone in the world get’s to help out writing it, so if you throw a million articles together from a million people, each of them changing a million other articles, surely truth comes out on top? (lame attempt at witty sarcasm)