Tech Friday: Programming my Brains Out

It’s been a busy two weeks at TFNP World Headquarters, and I’ve been programming my brains out on several projects. Interesting to note that perhaps none of the programming languages are particularly esoteric or sexy…just things that Get The Job Done.

Visual FoxPro Version 9.0 — The latest version of this continues its incremental improvements, while being the fastest way to do ad-hoc data manipulation of any kind, from data that comes from any environment. The new report writer has several enhancements…and you can chain reports now. VFP is available for something like US$279, and you can compile and release programs for it without any additional runtime or licensing charges.

Access 2003/Visual Basic for Applications. As several people recommend, the best thing to do when programming Access is to dump all the macro stuff, eliminate separately stored queries, and do as much as possible in code.

Microsoft ASP.NET. Looks promising. I tried to convert a project to this…but decided to revert back to the original Dreamweaver/ColdFusion code, because I wanted the final product to be available to all web browsers, not just Internet Explorer. Visual Studio 2005, the current Beta 2, looks incredibly cool. I’m actually glad that I didn’t spend a lot of time with VS2003, as it looks as if 2005, which is the proverbial third release of the product, will be brilliant but still restricted to the Microsoft platform…and still relatively expensive to buy.

Dreamweaver MX/JavaScript/ColdFusion MX. Still works like a charm for web-based applications. Dreamweaver will also produce code for ASP.NET, Java Server Pages, and PHP web-based back-ends. Dreamweaver also makes sense (to me at least) of cascading style sheets. Since ColdFusion is Java under the covers, the cross-platform compatibility is good. DW will also produce code for Java Server Pages running under Apache/Tomcat. One question going forward is the fate of both Dreamweaver and ColdFusion after Macromedia merges with Adobe.

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