Thursday, September 8, 2011

September: Steve Ellenoff on upsizing without pain

We continue our Southwest Fox previews continue this month with a visit from Steve Ellenoff on Tuesday, September 13. The meeting will begin at 7PM. We'll be providing dinner this month, so come as early as 6:30 to join us. Please email tamar@tamargranor.com if you plan to share our dinner, so we'll make sure to have enough. Don't forget to mark your calendar for our October 11 meeting featuring the return of Menachem Bazian with another Southwest Fox Preview.

Steve will speak on "Working with Remote Data the 'VFP Way': Upsizing to SQL Server Without Redesigning Your Application."

Ask any developer who has migrated a FoxPro application to SQL Server and almost every one of them will tell you that you need to rethink the way your application works: No more Browse windows, no more record navigation buttons, no more XBASE style mentality. In other words, not only do you need to re-code your application for the actual data handling, you also need to re-design the way it works! That's funny?! I don't remember my customers asking me to redesign screens and functionality just because they wanted to take advantage of the many benefits of using a robust remote database such as SQL Server!

So are we stuck to take this advice without negative consequences? The answer is a resounding NO! While it's true that "redesigning" our XBASE styled FoxPro applications while upsizing to SQL Server is a recommended best practice, there are several ways we can minimize the need to change the way our Fox applications look and behave. Furthermore, we can do so with minimal negative side effects. This session will cover a variety of strategies and tips which will allow you to upsize your applications to any remote data back-end, such as MS SQL Server, MySQL, and many others, with minimal impact on the look and feel of your applications. We'll also cover a number of "how to do that" tips for upsizing the application when migrating from FoxPro local data that I have not seen discussed elsewhere.

Steve Ellenoff is the president of SJE Consulting / Custom Technology Solutions (http://www.sjects.com) founded in 1999. With over 20 years of programming experience, he and his company continue to use Visual FoxPro and other technologies to deliver cost effective, feature rich, database intensive desktop and web solutions for companies small and large. Steve has been working with FoxPro since version 2.6 for Windows, although he considers his many years using Dbase and Clipper to be his unofficial start with FoxPro.

Steve has presented topics on FoxPro at several conferences and user groups, and had numerous tips published by FoxPro Advisor magazine. Steve is the author of the Win7TLib VFPX project (vfpx.codeplex.com), which allows VFP developers to tap into the new functionality of the Windows 7 Taskbar.

Steve also has a background in C and C++ development and headed the popular open source pinball project PinMAME (www.pinmame.com) for many years. Additionally he made many contributions to the even more popular open source video game project, MAME (http://mamedev.org). Both projects rely heavily on virtualization and emulation which have long been one of Steve's favorite areas of technology.

In 2008 Steve became one of the founding members of Big Guys Pinball, LLC (http://www.bigguyspinball.com). The company has used his software emulation and reverse engineering skill set to create a product that allows pinball owners to replace their "proprietary / no longer available" pinball hardware systems with common, off the shelf PC components.

Steve fulfilled a childhood dream in 2009 when he was hired to do contract work to help develop the video game: Williams Pinball Hall of Fame for XBOX360 and Sony Playstation 3 (http://xbox360.ign.com/objects/143/14307127.html). As a kid growing up in the 80's video game craze, Steve taught himself how to program computers at a young age for the sole purpose of creating a video game some day. Along the way, the dream got put on hold as the more practical business side of software development took center stage. When video gaming console developer Farsight Studios contacted Steve in 2008, the long forgotten dream suddenly became a reality. The game was released in September 2009 and was met with rave reviews from critics and players alike.

Steve’s latest hobby involves fulfilling another childhood dream, learning to play the drums. Although already a decent guitar player, bass player, and singer from his teen years, Steve always dreamed of making tons of noise on the drums. Prompted by the fun he had playing the “toy” drums for the Xbox360 game Guitar Hero: World Tour, Steve decided to purchase a real set of drums in July 2009, a vintage red Tama “Rock Star” kit. Armed with some great instructional drumming videos, Steve’s been banging away ever since and loving every minute of it!

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