Driver Specials

I don’t normally talk about this kind of stuff, but SV has got a special running on it’s Drivers, check it out.

For all the Aussie Readers, Geoff (of Data Down Under) has sent an email out with a link to his site, where he’s got the specials running too, obviously. Here’s the link.

Good Coding!

Devcon, Aftermath

I’ve put up a post on the Aussie Devcon website .. go check it out.

Old Tom was a Killer Whale. His myth and legend and reality are sprinkled throughout Eden.

Old Tom’s skeleton can be seen on display. Pictures and Paintings and any number of knick-knacks can be found throughout Eden.

Old Tom. He represents the best thing about Devcon.

Eden is a place of subtle magic. The best thing about Devcon 2008 for me was that the surroundings magnified the experience to such a degree that even without the wonderful content it would have rocked.

Friday, In Which We Sat In The Dark

Friday started out with Bob Z giving us the once over a "Top Secret Shush Now" build with the Appgen.

Admittedly, it was cool. It looks like it will be an extension of what we already know. Not revolution, but evolution. Other people have already said this. I like that it’s the same. There’s a lot of good about the current Interface.

Although people will get their funk on, when Bob Z said "soon" this time, I was inclined to believe that it is going to be soon. Of course, there’s a whole barrel of fun when the Appgen comes out, because it’ll get broken half a hundred ways to sunday, and loud voices will express their discontent.

But everything on Friday would be overshadowed by events outside our control. Bob Z spoke, Diego spoke, and then Bob F spoke. One minute we were there, sitting, listening, writing emails, reading blogs, laughing at Bruce’s antics. The next minute complete darkness enveloped the town.

No. I tell a lie. It was only _half_ the town.

It’s a strange thing, to see lights in the distance, down the main street, but to be walking around in total darkness. Awesome! Everyone went to either the pub, the pizza shop, or the local chicken joint.

Electricity arrived back in time for a scrumptious dinner, and the bonding began.

People are the biggest reason why I love Devcons. Making new friends and acquaintances, watching how different personalities interact, trying to build together solid relationships that will carry our community onwards.

Of course, MOST people go to Devcon to grow their business, to become better at using Clarion, to establish business contacts.

And a fair bit of that went on.

Saturday, In Which A Panel Was Adjusted

Saturday’s talks began with Lils George, who hails from India. I must admit, on speaking with Brett, I got his message all wrong. My understanding was that he was speaking about getting people to Contract _for_ them, but others have said it was getting them to Contract _for_ you.

Anywhichway it was a strange occurrence. I’m not sure what to make of his stuff (brochures etc). Lils was certainly well-meaning, and for a small number of devs (relatively) it was a show of faith that he travelled all that way. However, I wasn’t really swayed. Indian Development Houses have got some rough stereotypes going against them, and I don’t think we were given any reason (from Lils’ talk) to disbelieve them.

Bob and Diego then took us through some very interesting stuff. In particular, the Mobile Development space is looking like it will be very sweet indeed. This was a big talking point amongst people. Some folk have already gone with VS because they cannot wait. Others are waiting in the hope that Clarion The New will give them unprecedented Development abilities for Mobile applications.

Michael Summons gave a fantastic talk on Business Practices. Michael runs his own business, along with lecturing for a University. His talk was clear and concise. I mean, it was really really good. Michael is passionate about getting Clarion into the Universities over here, and thinks Clarion .Net will be the product to do it. For what it’s worth, I agree completely.

Kim Davies then jumped onto the "awesome talk"  bandwagon, delivering a Marketing Slant on Business Practices. Both his and Michael’s talks would be super to have as bullet points, so as to refer to when going through the daily processes of working your own (or someone else’s) business.

Following that, Bruce (The Man From Capesoft) gave us a pearler of a talk on Customer Service. Bruce’s First Rule/Law, which comes in many slightly varying forms, made it’s compulsory appearance (Don’t Believe What They Say).

Then we came to the Panel. Since this was my idea, I’ve got some thoughts that might sound a bit hard, but it’s only bashing me .. so that’s okay.

The Panel was good. We got some great conversation out of it. Voices got raised, lowered, altered. Opinions were thrown around like missiles. Some people learned things, others stuck their head in the sand.

The Panel did what it was supposed to do.

But. It was weighted wrong. I realised this almost from when we sat down. We had three Soft Velocity folk and one Bruce folk.

What I should have done was gotten one SV, one Bruce, and two people from other areas. I’ve got a couple of people in mind for next time (if I’m given that responsibility).

Also, the topics needed to be more .. thought-provoking. More controversial. More stimulating.

Saturday night was upon us, and everything came to standstill while I shouted myself horse at the telly watching the Waratahs go down to the Crusaders. It’s okay now though, cause we got Deans! Heh heh.

I had an absolute blast doing the Trivia Night. Sure, there were a lot of mistakes. Celebrity Heads was a shocker. Ha ha. Fighting over whether Darth Vader was a cartoon character. My profuse and humble apologies to One and All.

But it was really really enjoyable. And I hope it was for everyone there. We had a bunch of laughs, and discovered some random facts, like the lyrics for Old Man River. Urg. Another poor choice.

Sunday, In Which We Gave Away A Lot Of Stuff

Michael gave us another talk on Sunday morning, for which I either wasn’t there, or was so brain-dead from Saturday that I don’t remember it. Suffice to say, others have said it was good.

Bruce then hit us with some great wisdom on using Views. Lots of people, at least the ones I talked to, learnt at least one or two things from this talk. Bruce then gave the obligatory Capesoft Bling talk. He showed us their new product, TabTree. Not bad at all.

Then Diego gave another technical wizardry talk on Clarion Win 32 and Sharp.

Then Bob rounded off with some mapping out of the future. That Clarion.Net AND Clarion 7 are the future.

Synopsis, In Which I Opine About Stuff

I’m not a Technical Evangelist. I’m a Community Evangelist. It’s not hard to see. Dave Harms is a Technical Evangelist. He knows his stuff. Bruce Johnson is a Technical Evangelist. This is a distinction I’m coming to see more as this gig goes on. The Technical is vital. It is what most level-headed Developers want to know about. People go to the Devcon to find out what is new in Clarion. What Clarion can do for them, better than the other Dev offerings.

Community too, is vital. Goes along with the Technical. Without it, there would be no Devcon to hear about the Technical. It’s the Australian Clarion Community that has drawn the Soft Velocity people the last two years. We are a good Community when we are together. There is laughter and brains whirring and some egos bashing against each other.

The Devcon gave me a good view of the Community, at least the Australian contingent. We are doing well, and there is excitement in the air. But more than that, we are not standing still. There are people making money with Clarion, using it to it’s fullest.

Community is about getting to know guys like Ken, like Michael, and Kim (again, heh heh). It’s the new blokes from Adelaide, it’s watching copious amounts of wine be consumed,  it’s listening to Geoff talk about how he feels that all the pain was so definitely worth it .. and a thousand other moments. I could list a lot more, but some folk might get a tad embarrassed, heh heh.

The Devcon was a success. My post at Aussie Devcon gives a more verbose thankyou list, but in summary, thanks go to:

  • Geoff. He made it happen. ‘Nuff said.
  • Bob Z, Diego and Bob F. They created the content.
  • Bruce. He travelled from far far away and brought us much good.
  • 3rd Party Providers, for their phat lewt.
  • You. The Community that was there.
  • And one other facet that I didn’t write about in the other post .. The Folk of Eden. What an awesome bunch of people you are. You gave us such a good time, not just accommodating us, feeding us scrumptious meals, but in your hospitality. You made us feel very welcome. Thankyou!

What Is Clarion?

Clarion is a Rapid Application Development (RAD) software development tool, currently owned by Soft Velocity.

Using the Template system, you can quickly generate windows, forms, browses and more, simple and efficiently. Code generation is first class, and embed points mean you can inject your own code into any place you need it. Alternatively, you can hand code procedures and applications as you see fit. Your Dictionary (Database structures) fits seamlessly into the Application and the Templates.

Clarion 6 is the primary version in the field at this time (March 2008).

Clarion 7 is in Beta. There is no official release date at this time (March 2008).

Clarion .Net is in Beta. There is no official release date at this time (March 2008).\r\n

We done sipping the coolaid? Ready to take the Red Pill? Open up the Scary Door?

Let’s cut to the chase. Read on.

Clarion will make you money faster than any other development tool there is.

Clarion will enable you to create software which solves business rules like no other development tool in existence.

But before we get to that, you need to understand the reality of what Clarion 6 is. We are looking at Clarion 6 for the moment, because Clarion 7 is not yet released. I will say here that Clarion 7 and .Net will have a completely new IDE, amongst other things.

Slap In The Face ..

It’s a 16 bit IDE. That’s right. For anyone used to MS Express Editions (or even MSVC++ 6 IDE), or IDE’s like Sharp Develop, you will have a rude slap in the face when firing up Clarion 6 for the first time. There is no code completion. There is not a normal text editor with normal word-like functionality. It’s basic.

.. But Don’t Give Up!

Be prepared. And don’t be discouraged! Working in Clarion will give you great power once you become familiar with it’s interface, and with it’s quirks.

Clarion gives you an unequaled integration between database and development environment. I will illustrate this with a short example.

Business Problem:

Brad Pitt needs a program that will store each of his movies. That’s it. You’ll need a Movie file. One file.

Clarion Solution:

Create a Dictionary in the IDE.

Add the Movie file.

Add the needed fields (like Name, Date Released). – Brad doesn’t care about the other Actors. He only wants the Movies. So no need for any 1:M child files. –

Save Dictionary and create an Application in the IDE.

Attach the dictionary to the Application.

Create a Browse procedure using the Clarion Templates.

Set the Browse to display the needed fields.

Enter an Update procedure name in the appropriate Template section.

Create the Update procedure using the Clarion Templates.

Add the fields to the window that need to be updated.

Press CTRL-r.

Huzzah! You have just created a program for Brad Pitt!

But more importantly, you have solved a Business Problem in about half an hour. Not a complex one, but that doesn’t matter. Solving complex solutions is only a matter of breaking them down into simple ones like Brad’s movie list. The fun comes with making sure all the simple solutions mesh together.

Clarion is a development tool like nothing else on the planet.

Read What Can Clarion Do For Me? to learn more about Clarion.

What’s Doing

Okay. I’m very trashed. Going to just list a random order of things happening lately.

– played a bit of WoW again, finally. Missed the crack-e-ness.

– played a very tiny bit of the Witcher with the new patch that lessens load times. Made it much more enjoyable. Will have to continue with that.

– movement on the Tech Evangelist role for SV (Clarion).

– decided on a revamp for Pimp My Clarion, as of now going to create it in NetTalk, host it myself.

– got the web server and basic web system functionality into the Freight system.

– almost got the Tafres (Freight System) web site finished and ready to launch. Just need to fill in some of the content.

– working on a new patch for Jaymoe. Still trying to do too much though. Changing the UI. It’s not going to happen easily or quickly. Going to have to work out which way to go.

– a new beta of Dr. Explain came out. Looking forward to getting stuck into the added features.

– actual work is getting pretty convoluted. I took some initiative and started assuming the role of Team Leader for my project. Noone has corrected my assumption yet, although had to deal with some wierdness.

– read some interesting stuff about Ruby on Rails .. 1. here and 2. here. Well, the second link has a more global topic. Warning .. Extreme Language, specially in the Zed rant. But very interesting. It sounds like a complicated mess, with massive egos and guys who don’t know much about programming, and guys who do, all fighting together over important and not-so-important stuff. Which is of course a global and lame statement. Ha ha. If you want to find out about what’s going on in the Rails community .. read Zed’s rant.

– Sword of Shadows (JVJ’s site) came out! Read it asap and loved it. This series is one of my all time favourites. Got one of the most awesome fantasy quotes ever. "Kill an army for me Raif Sevrance. Any less and I might just call you back."

– almost finished watching Heroes Series 1 through again. Just finished "Five Years Gone" last night while exercising.

– Exercising like a maniac on the bike we got as a combined christmas pressie. 30 mins to 1 hour a night, 5-7 nights a week. It’s crazy. But awesome because you can do it in front of the telly. Ahhhh. However, really cuts into .. well .. time.

That’s enough for now. Regular updates will hopefully be more .. regular.

The New SV

The SoftVelocity website (here) has undergone an overhaul.

Gone are the drop-down lists. Instead there’s a right sidebar. There’s a community section at the bottom, and the new branding backgrounds etc appear.

Clicking on one of the sidebar links (I picked Clarion 7) takes me to a three column page.

What was the right sidebar at the homepage is on the left. The right sidebar here is a list of links for specific "bling" points Clarion 7. In the middle is the main chunk of writing about Clarion 7, with a little top menu for Details, FAQ ..

Down the bottom of the site are the normal links for Contacting, Privacy, Home .. and the SoftVelocity Shop.

It’s good to see the movement. The change. I really like the peaceful colors, heh. Easy on the mind.

Kudos to SV for getting a new site done. Here’s to it being an integral cog in making Clarion adored and bought by the masses!

Soft Velocity Gets Busy!

Wow, the guys at Soft Velocity have motored up their blogging engines. Three more blogs in the last couple of days.

Clarion and MSBuild looks at how they have integrated MSBuild into Clarion 7.

Window Designer Video is, as the title suggests, a video showing the use of the Window Designer in Clarion 7.

And Bob Foreman gives us a look at the C7 Database Browser.

This is .. content. Very cool. It seems to be marking the opening of communication channels. And it’s great to see. Thankyou SV folk!

The Day The Whiner Cried .. A Call To Arms

A while back, I posted a short story on the main Clarion newsgroup. It was a tale of Foxes and Forests, inspired by some of the newsgroup messages posted in the presumed calm before Clarion 7 is released.

Some people are born to be whiners. Some people have an amazing ability to point out fault. Some people have genuine complaints against SoftVelocity. Others dutifully get about their work, barely raising their heads. Some, fewer than the rest, toil hard to encourage respect for SoftVelocity. There are plenty more categories.

In light of the firestorm on the newsgroups, I have a question that’s burning a big charred hole in my brain:

Is the community of Clarion important enough?

If we truly want a community that will thrive (and I believe most of us do), then enough. Enough of the crap that is spanked about on the newsgroups. Enough crazy weird-ass socially inept comments and agendas.

Sure, I’d love for SoftVelocity to be more open handed with the community. I wish they’d employ an evangelist. Change their protocols. Whatever. That’s a separate issue to the behavior I’ve witnessed the last while (and which has been around since day zero I’ve been told) within the community. It’s appalling. Seriously.

If you’re going to whine about some stinking fish that’s been out in the sun for weeks now, then buck up and cry somewhere else. The only thing that a constant whine does is bring down the community.

If you seriously have a gripe, then always pimping said gripe on the newsgroups is worse than foolish. You are obviously not getting anywhere, so find another way to whine. Another path. Get out and play a bit of rugby. Go for a swim. Start a blog about your woes with SV. Write articles. Make songs.

If you are going to write a song, then instead of writing about "hating the Ho-SV-shizzle", get passionate about a vision.

For the community to grow (it’s not right now, not really – middling is a word I’d use), then we need to start believing in a vision. A vision of shipping product. Of DevCons. A vision of making software that will be talked about. Of getting the best that Clarion offers, plus all the other zillion tools the developer has waiting on the interweb.

We, the Clarion Community, should by all rights be a force to be reckoned with. There should be hundreds of thousands of people using it. Loving it. Making it a better product by being part of the Community.

United we stand, whiners we kind of slouch.

I’m glossing over half a hundred issues and concerns, I know. Fixing every little problem isn’t the purpose of this article.

This article is a call to arms! It’s a fire in the belly, the beauty that draws you home. The joy of life. Belief!

There are a number of practical ways to start growing the community. Every good sermon has three points; I’ve got seven. You could do one, all, or another not-mentioned point. Whatever it is, if it builds the community, then awesome!

1. Start a blog and write about Clarion. Visit other blogs, comment. Take time with this, spreading the word out into the world.

2. Write about Clarion. Whether it be articles for Clarion Mag, or for the local newspaper. Really pimp this thing.

3. Join in on good discussions on newsgroups, IRC, Skype etc. Don’t be enticed by the Foxes and Snakes. They’ll pounce quickly and drain your life away, and apathy or anger will set in.

4. Ship products.

5. Ship good products.

6. Ship awesome products.

7. Believe.

Reading back over the article, I wonder if perhaps I’ve used some harsh words and made a few big calls. Normally I’d apologize for any bad mojo that’s going to be caused by this article. But I stand by my words. I don’t have all the answers, but I’m not going to sit idly by. It’s time for the community to grab life by the hojos. It’s time to pick up our torch and pitch-fork. Send the hounds out after the foxes and lets kick this place into gear.

In the words of the great Logan:

‘Nuff said, Bub.