VFP: Sydney Visual FoxPro User Group last Wednesday


This week at the Sydney VFP User Group we had a change in format. Instead of a presentation on a particular topic, we had four of our regular members present on an application they have worked on.
All the applications are written in VFP 7, 8 or 9 and most used 3rd party controls to improve their presentation.

Here’s a summary of each:

WINEfile by Peter Huish

A great VFP7 application by Pete Huish’s company (Tallships) for managing the production of wine from the vineyards through to the cellar door. The application is used in Australian states (QLD, NSW, SA) and throughout New Zealand.
The application uses the Sharp Grid control by www.datadynamics.com
They found that the product didn’t actually claim to have any FoxPro support, however it worked fine. The grid control requires a Recordset as its data source, so they used the function in VFPCOM.dll for converting a Cursor to a Recordset.

One of the aspects about the users of WINEfile, is that they are more often than not on very low specced machines. Many are still on Windows 98, with low RAM and small hard drives. This is one of the challenges for the user base, where VFP provides a good solution. Interestingly, all the main competitors are VFP based products.
Future enhancements include Web access and portable device access, and possibly support for SQL Server for larger clients.

KenSys range of Software by Rahul Desai

Rahul has developed a vast range of applications (all in VFP9) for a variety of industries.
In this presentation he covered the general features across all the applications, including all the comprehensive documentation.
All his applications have an Active Desktop style which allows shortcuts to be put on the application desktop.
Rahul has applied standards across the applications including things like displaying all mandatory fields in red until set.
He went through his date component (written in pure VFP) which has standard keys for setting dates etc.

MYOB Accountants Office product by Doug Bower

Doug talked about his work within the MYOB Account division.
The product is used by thousands of accountants across Australia and NZ.
The MYOB Accountants Office product:
Started in 2.6 (being programmed by accountants)
Then moved to VFP3.0
Then 5, 6, 8
Not moving to 9.0 yet, but waiting for the Vista side of things in Sedna to be confirmed.
The application uses a main exe that calls .app files of which there 374 at the moment.
Very interesting to see the structure of the program and the tables, as they are all under separate directories, and they keep backup .app files for each tax year (for backwards tracing if required).
We went through the Client app and then the report generator that they use. They developed their own reporting preview system which is an exposed COM object.
It supports built in use of barcodes in reports etc.
Many of the forms are data driven because a lot of the tax details changes from time to time and it is easier to add a new record rather than changing a form.
The product uses some of the Outlook bar controls from dbi Tech.

CashFocus by Cyril Baskir

This (VFP7) program is used for preparing budgets, and features a nice step by step process. The application uses the dbi Technologies treeview control for handling treeviews.
There is nice functionality for budgetting either by dollar amount or a unit quantity X price.
CashFocus uses grids extensively for data entry, plus a lot of right click functionality. Most copmpetitors use a formula based approach, however because CashFocus uses FoxPro it is able to use a double entry accounting approach. This is one of the great advantages of using FoxPRo.
the program uses Crystal Reports for all of its reporting requiements, with its built in control for the Crystal reports object (which can be distributed royalty free).

Overall this User group meeting was one of the best this year, with a stack of practical ideas and tips for VFP developers. A big thank you to the presenters.

We will be having more of these ‘Demo your app’ session in future meetings.

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