Southwest Fox 2018 Early-Bird Deadline approaches

Simple quick reminder: save $50 by registering before the early-bird registration deadline next Tuesday, July 31st.

If you still need to register, please head over to the registration Web site today:

Every registered attendee gets admission and white papers to all regular conference sessions. Don’t miss this chance to learn from the best and mix with your peers.

See you in October!

Southwest Fox 2018 is a GO!

We have some good news to share today. Thanks to the support of the Visual FoxPro community, a very generous supporter who made a large donation, and our many sponsors, Southwest Fox 2018 will proceed as planned October 18-21, 2018 in Gilbert, AZ.

We really appreciate all the support people have shown for the conference with early registrations! That said, the decision comes with a serious calculated risk because we are still many registrations short of the break-even point. Please continue to spread the word to your colleagues, clients, user groups and anywhere else Visual FoxPro is spoken.

If you haven’t yet registered, there’s still room for you. Register before August 1st for a $50 early-bird discount.

Southwest Fox 2018 Super-Saver Deadline is days away

Registration for Southwest Fox 2018 has been open for a few weeks and there are just a few days left until the Super-Saver Registration deadline. If you register before the end of June, you save $125 and we’ll throw in a pre-conference session worth $99. Not only that, but you’ll be entered in the drawings for a scholarship that will reduce your cost even more and a license of Stonefield Query SDK, a $2,500 value. Check out the speakers and topics on the conference website.

Please beat the rush so we still have some fingernails left when July begins! No need to wait, we won’t charge your card or cash your check until the middle of July!

Southwest Fox 2018 Registration is open!

Registration for Southwest Fox ( is now available. See for a list of speakers and for a list of 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, 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 send out any “We need your help” appeals so please do not wait; register 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 we have committed to going forward (sometime after July 2), so this is not is a reason to wait.

We look forward to seeing you in October!

What do you want to learn, 2018 edition

We’re working on the Call for Speakers for 2018. So, as in 2017 and 2016, we’re providing a list of topics our attendees have asked for. These come from the evaluations filled out at last year’s conference. If you’re thinking of submitting session proposals, you may want to take a look and see whether anything on this list (or one of the earlier lists) is something you feel able to speak about.

The Call for Speakers says this, but we’ll repeat that we encourage submissions from those who haven’t spoken before. We think it’s healthy for our community to give new speakers a chance.

Here’s the list of topics last year’s attendees mentioned, cleaned up and consolidated a little. As you can see, they span a wide range of areas, from core VFP topics to extending VFP to business and technology.

  • Some vfpx items
  • More on keeping vfp and our apps modernized
  • SQL Server
  • Converting from DBFs to SQL Server or another SQL database
  • How to download and/or scrape data from web pages
  • How to automatically have an application post data into a web page.
  • Not just cloudify but how to webify vfp.
  • Continued Web topics.
  • More on web development and maximizing knowledge of VFP in other environments.
  • C# for VFP programmers part 2
  • C#
  • Architecture/OOP Design
  • Apple and/or other watch apps
  • HIPAA compliance in general and in relation to VFP
  • Team Building
  • More on the marketing side
  • Challenges of the Independent Consultant Part 3

If there are topics you’re hoping we’ll cover this year, please add them in the comments.

Save the Date for Southwest Fox 2018: October 18-21

Geek Gatherings LLC is officially asking you to save the dates for Southwest Fox 2018! The conference takes place October 18-21, 2018 at the San Tan Elegante Conference and Reception Center, the same great location as last year.

We choose speakers from the developer community based on their session proposals. We are always looking for new speakers. Watch the Call for Speakers page of the conference website; we’ll post the Call for Speakers in late February.

As in prior years, we run a substantial risk in running the conference, primarily the tens of thousands of dollars we have to commit to the conference center. So, once again, we ask you to register for the conference before the July 1 deadline so we can make our go or no-go decision.

All the details about registration, speakers, sessions, and more will be available in May.

Special Request!!!

If there are any topics you hope will be covered this year, please send them to, right away.

Why you should stay at the conference hotel

One of the things we like to do with this blog is open the curtain and tell you about what goes into creating Southwest Fox and especially the financial considerations. We think it’s helpful to us and to you if you understand why we make some of the choices we make.

In this post, we want to talk about the economics of conference centers. In planning a conference, there’s a choice between holding the sessions at the same hotel where attendees are staying and holding the sessions at a separate facility.

We’ve found that it works better for us and our attendees to use a single facility. Why? First, of course, because it makes it easy for attendees and speakers to go back to their rooms during the day to drop things off, pick things up or even take a nap. When the hotel and conference center aren’t together, that can be harder.

But the primary reason for using a single facility is that filling hotel rooms with our attendees gives us leverage.

We use that leverage to negotiate a room rate for the conference. We push to make that rate better than what you get booking directly or through a third-party. We also push to have that rate available not just for the conference dates, but for a few days before and after the conference, so that you get it if you want to come out early or stay late to visit friends or relatives, to do some sight-seeing, or just to sleep in or sit by the pool.

We also use that leverage (along with the leverage of buying a lot of food) to get the use of the meeting rooms for free. Normally, there’s a fee for using conference meeting rooms; it’s typical to have a basic fee to use the room for a three or four-hour block and then an additional hourly fee. For a conference like ours, which needs rooms to be set aside for us for three and a half days or more, those fees could be enormous. But the other income we bring to the hotel means they’re willing to waive those fees.

In exchange for this, our contract with the hotel commits us to filling a certain number of hotel rooms. The hotel blocks those rooms for our attendees and, if we fail to fill them, we must pay the hotel for them (unless the hotel is sold out). We work to find the optimal number of so-called room nights that ensures our attendees get rooms at the conference hotel, but doesn’t obligate us to pay for rooms that won’t be used.

Why are we telling you about this? Because we know that sometimes, despite our best efforts, you can find a little better room rate online, or you can find a cheaper hotel nearby. In 2018, a new Hilton-branded hotel is supposed to be built next door to the DoubleTree where we hold Southwest Fox. Based on what we’ve learned about the particular brand, rooms there will likely cost less than rooms at the DoubleTree. But those rooms will not count toward our guarantee.

So we’re asking you not to stay there. If enough people stay elsewhere or book at the DoubleTree without using our special conference code, it will cost us more to run the conference, and we’ll have to charge you more. So you might save on your room, but have to spend the same amount in added conference fees in future.