Month: October 2015


I’ve released TwilioX to VFPX.

Twilio is a service for sending text messages through their API. It’s costs are very reasonable – $1 a month and then .75 cents for each text. Twilio handles all the technical part of sending a text making things very easy.

The code for sending text is also pretty darn easy:

SET PROCEDURE TO w:\vfp7com\prog\TwilioX
o = NEWOBJECT("TwilioX")
o.cAccount = "YourAccount" 
o.cAuthToken = "YourAuthToken" 
o.cFrom = "YourTwilioNumber" 

IF !o.SendText("ToNumber", "Messsage")
    ?"Send", "Failed", o.cErrorMessage
    * Good Send


Don’t Be This Guy

I got this email a little while back:

“We¬†will be transitioning off Foxpro to (other company) in October or November”

Granted, clients don’t owe me anything, but this company has been a client for 20 years. I’ve pulled their bacon from the fire numerous times. I’ve successfully navigated them around a Y2K disaster, upgraded their system from Foxpro 2.6 to VFP, and got them on the web with a robust West Wind application.

No discussion of any problems. No discussion on how to move to a new system. Just an email out of the blue saying they are done with the 20 year relation.

Etiquette alone requires more than a one sentence good-bye. Hell, they didn’t even give me a period. Don’t be this guy. Show a little gratitude for the business partners you have.

Update: They of course ran into a couple problems on the conversion over to the new system and it was an emergency to fix it. Did they call the new company they hired? Nope, called me. I’m the guy that can solve any problem quickly. They are the programmers they’re going to pay 10X what they paid me.

Update 2/21/18: I have some stock in this client so I get some schadenfreude each February when the annual report comes out. In the five years before they let me go, they paid me less than $200,000 dollars. They’ve paid the new guys $1.2 MILLION so far. Additionally:

  • They had to hire 3 extra customer service reps because the new software is so much slower than my software.
  • The new software totally screwed an accounting function (that mine handled just fine for years) – which cost over $60,000 in staff time to remedy.
  • The report mentions multiple projects put on hold while IT issues were dealt with.

Yeah, it’s petty to take pleasure in it not going well, and it even hurts me financially via a lower dividend, but I’m OK with it and wish them continued struggles.

Southwest Fox Conference 2015

I’ve just returned from the Southwest Foxpro conference. As usual, it’s an amazing amount of great information crammed into your brain in just three days. I always come home from this with lots of ideas to immediately put to use. The highlights from this year:

Things I Didn’t Know About

I spend a lot of time with my head down, banging away on the keyboard, getting done all of the things that need doing. Because of that, I sometimes miss out on cool new things. The cool new things this year were:

  • dbSchema, a tool that will turbocharge my work with SQL Server. It makes creating & editing tables so much easier, documents the database, quickly lets me write the SQL syntax I can never remember, instantly creates test data, and automates the updating of client databases with changes I’ve made. I’ve been home less than 48 hours, have already installed it, and it’s already saved me a bunch of time. Thanks to Tuvia for presenting that.
  • Angular.js – A new way to do data-driven websites. A Rick Strahl session is always drinking from a firehouse. It’s going to take a while to get myself up to speed on all that I need to start doing this, but I left this session with my mind blown. Very cool stuff.

Things I Knew, but Applied Differently

Foxpro has a ton of features and all of the tools available for Foxpro really extend things. While I might know about those things, I sometimes have to see them in use to grasp how I can apply them.

Doug Hennig‘s session made the Themed Toolbar in VFPX click for me, Rich Schummer’s session on creating¬†Thor tools sparked immediate ideas on things to do, and Tamar Granor‘s session on SQL Over & Above showed a better way to do my reporting. All of those are going to find their way into my daily work.

The SUYA on Remote Apps from Black Mountain sparked an idea for my vertical market product and Phil Sherwood‘s talk on marketing sparked a number of other ideas.

Wait, What Did You Just Do?

You’d think that after 20 years of working with VFP every day, I’d know it pretty backwards and forwards. Each year though, I see someone do something casually with VFP that I didn’t realize you could do. This year it was Tamar highlighting some code, right-clicking, and doing Execute Selection. I had no idea you could do that. Very handy.

I’d gladly attend a session called “Watch Tamar Work”. She wouldn’t have to present anything, just watch her go about some programming, and see what little things I’d learn.

As an added bonus, next year’s conference will be in September which means I won’t have to miss my wife’s birthday to attend as I did this year. She wasn’t happy.