REAL World – Day Two

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The day started off early. Again. I headed down for a great breakfast provided by the hotel, sponsored by RS. The RB and life talk were in full gear again.

As a side note, I couldn’t wait to talk to Bryan Lunduke about TVEase’s announcement that their Zodiak product would be on sale in June. I’m on the list and I can’t wait. As a home schooling parent, having a DVR would be very helpful. One that removes commercials automatically is sweet. (Ever have a kid safe show, all of a sudden show a commercial for “The Hills Have Eyes”?!? Please parden my French, but WTF!!!) We’ll be recording the History Channel, Discovery, Travel Channel, NASA channel and other goodies. Very cool.

Okay. Back to REAL World. The day started off with “Databases 1” by Brad Rhine. Brad and I spoke briefly earlier in the conference. Just a few moments in speaking with Brad, you can tell he’s a good guy that is as sharp as a tack.

Databases are my bread and butter so I definitely have a keen interest in this session. As the title suggests, it was very introductary but good. He was speaking on storing the record IDs in RB Listboxes in the cell tags. I’ve got to look into what that means. I had been creating zero width columns. Perhaps I’m doing that wrong. Brad did discuss the structure and generation of PKs in tables and definitely took an approach that I disagree with. He was structuring his PKs as compounds of multiple fields. I would suggest using a SP with transactions and store the PK as an integer in the table to make the RI between parent, and child, and XRef tables cleaner. Bottom line is that if it works for him, that’s the greatest success.

Next up was “Cross-Platform Interface Tricks” by … Brad Rhine. The main point of the presentation is that there are 10 key areas of potential interface problems when going from the Mac to Windows. Linux was touched on briefly and in passing, so that was a minor disappointment. I won’t go into what the 10 areas are here … unless you ask! {g} Another good solid presentation. Throughout the conference, there’s too many presentations based on slides however. This would have been a good presentation to have a couple of VMs running on the Mac to demonstrate the differences of the interfaces between the three major platforms.

Lunch time! I had the pleasure of sitting with Bryan and his lovely wife, Katherine, and some other developers. Geoff came and ate with us and we had a lively discussion on schools and kids and growing up. You know, typical conference talk. {g} Yummy food, good conversation.

Bryan talks RB and LinuxHere’s another topic that I couldn’t wait for; “Developing for Linux” by … Bryan Lunduke. Bryan did a great job of conveying the challenges of developing for a rapidly changing environment like Linux. He stressed the importance of developing with keyboard shortcuts for each function. Basically the application should work even if no mouse is connected. Another great take-away is the importance of packaging any software for distribution in .deb and .rpm packages. With these two repository types, you’re hitting most of the major distributions including Ubuntu, SUSE (openSUSE) and Fedora. What surprised me is the general lack of knowledge of Linux by RW attendees. I figure they would have been well versed in Linux by now. Perhaps they’ve been so busy building useful applications for their clients, that it’ll take some time to come around to Linux development. There’s definitely curiosity but the expertise seems like it’s coming down the road and just hasn’t gotten here yet. Coming, but not here yet.

The next two sessions where “Report Printing – 1” and “Report Printing – 2” by Keith DeLong. Reporting is a great source of confusion for me in RB. Reporting and databases go hand in hand in my world. Here’s my take-away from these sessions: buy a plug-in solution to get the features. Unless you have a specialty need, it’s better to buy compared to build. There may be open-sourced solutions that the community may be getting together for, but I don’t think they’re in existance today. Buy rather than build. You can thank me later.

The last session of the day was Mike Bailey’s “Internet Classes” session. Mike discussed the HTTPSocket, SMTPSocket and SOAPMethod classes. Interesting and good information. I’m thinking that I was a bit burned out by this time though.

I dropped my stuff off in my room and headed back down and got hooked into a conversation with Bryan speaking with another person (Sorry, I forgot his name) about developing commercial applications for sale (and profit) on the Linux platform. I personally believe that there is a place for commercial, closed source software, on the Linux platform. Heck, I’ve purchased RB Professional for Linux. I’m going to purchase an accounting system for Linux to help me with my books. Some things are a commodity and will probably have an option to download for free. Other things will be significantly complex and vertical enough that to get what you want, it might be better to purchase. Enough said … or not enough said. This is a big topic and I’ve given you the bottom line to a long and entertaining discussion. {g}

Next up? Dinner! Again, Dana and REAL Software hosted a great dinner, catered by the Omni Hotel. I’m not sure exactly what it was, because if it doesn’t come on a bun I may not be able to identify it, but it was yummy. The company was excellent, of course. On my left was Paul Lefebvre and on my right was Christian Miller. We spoke long about the ins and outs of being an independant consultant. Some things span technology, and this is one of them.

Dana from REAL Software, had trivia questions to win a Trish Murphy CD. Later they were giving chances to win a RB book. My lucky number wasn’t so lucky. Damn. I’m going to have to by the Trish Murphy CD all on my own.

One day left, darnit! And I’m going to have to bug out early too. I’ve got an early flight back to Atlanta so I’m only going to be able to make one presentation tomorrow morning. I’m missing some good sessions too. I guess I’ll just have to come back next year. Hopefully at that time, I’ll have some good RB experience under my belt.

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