Registration is open!

Registration for Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ is now available. See the website for a list of speakers, VFP sessions and Xbase++ sessions. Super-Saver Registration, which saves you $125, is available only through June 30th, so don’t wait.

Putting on a conference is a risky endeavor. Conference centers require a guaranteed minimum income to block the dates of a conference; for a conference like Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++, that minimum is in the tens of thousands of dollars. We have to commit to the conference center by July 2nd and need your support by July 1st to make that commitment. We will not do “We need your help” appeals this year so please do not wait, get registered by June 30th! We know most of you like to wait until the last minute to avoid the credit card bill arriving too soon. We will not charge any attendee credit cards or cash any checks until sometime in the second half of July or early August (once we’ve committed to going forward), so this no longer is a reason to wait.

We look forward to seeing you in October!

Early-Bird Registration deadline is August 31

One last quick reminder: you can save $50 by registering with the early-bird registration discount. The deadline is this Saturday, August 31st. Every registered attendee gets admission and white papers to all regular conference sessions.
Here’s what a couple of our speakers have to say about their session.

A few words from Doug Hennig about his session “Fix Problems Fast with Advanced Error Handling and Instrumentation Techniques”:
“My company’s main product is unusual for a VFP application: it doesn’t have a fixed database structure that it works with or even a fixed database engine. It may have to work with a SQL Server accounting database, a MySQL customer relationship management database, or a VFP medical billing database. When a problem occurs, we sometimes ask the customer to send us a copy of their configuration files and application database so we can reproduce the problem, but that isn’t always possible. So, many times, all we have to go on is what we can log at the time the error occurred. As a result, we’ve had to become very good at generating detailed log information and analyzing that information to determine and fix the problem. Thanks to these techniques, there are very few problems we can’t track down quickly.
This session discusses the code we use for error handling and instrumentation as well as techniques for quickly tracking down and solving problems. feel free to use this code as is or adapt it to your own applications as you see fit. ”

A few words from Eric Selje about his “Unit Testing 201: Testing Our SQL Server Backends”
“I have received so much positive response from this session in the various SQL Saturdays and User Groups where I’ve presented it. The timing is really right for database developers to start exercising the same discipline of unit testing they’ve been doing for their code to their databases as well. What does this mean? Come to my session at Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ in October and find out! ”
Don’t miss this chance to learn from the best and mix with your peers.

Attendee’s session ideas

When we sent out the “save the date” notice for Southwest Fox 2012 last week, we asked people to tell us about topics they’d like to see included. As we receive them, we’re planning to put them in this blog, so prospective speakers can see them.

So far, we’ve received two suggestions, one rather broad, one very detailed:

1) One attendee says “I need to learn more about using SQL server.”

2) Another says “I would love a session on how to set up a remote database to access from a VFP application. For me it would have to be a ‘beginner’ session and include things like how to set up an internet server, what security issues there are and suggestions on how to deal with them, suggested tricks and techniques to use in the VFP application to access the data, and anything else needed that I don’t know about.”

If you have topics you’d like to hear about, either send them to info@swfox.net or just reply to this post.

Updated 21-March-2012

We received another idea from an attendee: I would like to know how to update and query a SQL Server database via XML from a FoxPro application for remote access to a database.
I know this is something Rick Strahl has worked with but his methods require his server application to process the transactions.

In case you are unaware, there are a lot of FoxPro user groups and regional conferences hosting Southwest Fox Rehearsals, you might want to check out a relatively new page on the Southwest Fox Web site: Session Rehearsals Rehearsals are important for a couple of reasons:

  1. Speakers refine and enhance their sessions based on feedback.
  2. Frees up slots of sessions already seen so you can see other sessions during the conference.
  3. Learn in advance of the conference, try things out, and ask the speaker more questions in person at the conference.

A couple of years ago I was able to see half the sessions before I even arrived in Arizona. I cannot tell you how much value that brought to me except to tell you it was a lot. This year I have seen several sessions and have a couple more to see before I arrive in Arizona. Even if you are not able to attend the conference it is an opportunity for you to learn from the presenters and provide them feedback so their sessions rock at Southwest Fox. I was particularly moved this morning because of an email sent to me by Mike Potjer of the Grand Rapids Area Fox User Group. Mike is a long time supporter of Southwest Fox and is attending this year. This past weekend he attended one of the many rehearsals Jim Nelson is doing for his two sessions on VFPX’s Thor. Mike wrote:

I hope this is already on your agenda, but I would really like to see a big plug for Thor during the Welcome/Keynote session of SW Fox.  I think Thor is the most universally useful productivity enhancement for VFP developers since IntelliSense.  I have created IntelliSense enhancements, and looked at creating builders, but adding functionality to Thor is much simpler than either of those, and really hardly requires any documentation.  And Thor blows away IntelliSense and the builder architecture in terms of making it easy to share what you’ve created.  ….  I really think Jim deserves accolades for this (not to mention all the PEMEditor development that laid the groundwork for Thor).  I told Jim that I honestly believe that if Thor had been available when VFP 9 was released, that it should have been included with the product.

Wow, talk about a session having an impact, and the conference has not even started. Hopefully you will get a chance to attend one of the remaining rehearsals held in the next two weeks before the conference gets rolling.

Speakers and Sessions Announced

Speakers and sessions for Southwest Fox 2011 have been announced. Continuing our tradition of trying to invite new speakers every year, this year we are pleased to have Steve Bodnar and Kevin Ragsdale present at SWFox.

The conference features 4 half-day pre-conference sessions and more than 25 main conference sessions in five tracks. Whether you’re still working only with VFP or extending VFP with other tools, you’ll have no trouble finding plenty of sessions to enhance your skills and widen your horizons.

Registration opens June 1.

Speaker Ch-ch-changes…

We have some news to share about our speaker line up for Southwest Fox 2010.

We are disappointed that Craig Boyd will be unable to present at Southwest Fox 2010; we look forward to his return in the future.

We are delighted that Jody Meyer has agreed to step in. She’ll present two topics: “Web Development using CSS – 101” and “It’s Easy & It’s Green: PDF Output.”  Jody did a terrific job as a rookie speaker at last year’s Southwest Fox. You can learn more about Jody on our speakers page (http://swfox.net/speakers.aspx) and read all about her sessions on our sessions page (http://swfox.net/sessions.aspx).

Only five weeks until Southwest Fox!

Two Great Reasons to Attend Southwest Fox

Kevin Ragsdale blogged about two good reasons to attend Southwest Fox this year. His reasons were the previews Bo Durban and Steve Ellenoff give for their Southwest Fox sessions. I especially liked these comments:

“During Bo’s session, my mind was spinning with new ways of approaching the web browser control in my apps. I couldn’t wait to get home so I could start working on them. Some of them I’ve already tried, and the speed increase on displaying HTML in my app is incredible. And this means Bo’s session alone is worth the cost of the conference to me.”

“In short, Steve’s done a ton of work that I have avoided like the plague.”

Of course, I think there’s a lot more than two good reasons: more like 200! One for each session (you learn a lot in each one), one for each speaker (you get to hang out with and pick the brains of the brightest VFP developers on the planet for free!), one for each attendee (networking with other developers is one of the most important reasons to attend any conference), plus the food, the fun (don’t forget go-karts this year!), and the gorgeous Phoenix weather.

If you haven’t already registered for Southwest Fox, check out the session line-up and who else is coming that you might like to meet or renew acquaintances with, then sign up for Southwest Fox before the September 1 early-bird deadline.