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Recent Clarion blog entries
It's hard for me to imagine a Clarion developer who hasn't heard of Russ Eggen. A Clarion user for 30 years, he was both a consultant and an instructor for Topspeed Corporation. He was also a founding member of SoftVelocity when that company formed in 2000. He left SoftVelocity the following year to start his own company, RadFusion Inc.
Russ was a tireless Clarion advocate who helped many Clarion developers improve their skills. He taught numerous classes, wrote articles for Clarion publications, and was the author of the book Programming Objects in Clarion. His interests included flying, scuba, prog rock and on rare occasions politics.
I always enjoyed meeting Russ at DevCons, but that hadn't happened for a while. This year I was disheartened to hear that he was battling cancer. As his health deteriorated he had to stop working; a GoFundMe campaign started by Rick Smith raised over $23,000 to defray some of Russ's expenses. Russ's sister Julie was with him in his last days, and expressed gratitude to the Clarion community for their support.
Russ Eggen passed away December 24, 2016 at age 57.
In Part 1 Dave Harms introduced the idea of a feature toggle library, and wrote that the starting point for Clarion development should not be the data dictionary. In many cases the data dictionary comes at the very end of the process. But If the data dictionary doesn't come first, what does? There are a lot of different answers to that question, depending on what kind of application you're developing, the stage of development, and the scope of the requirement. In Part 2 Dave demonstrates his favorite way to design small- to medium-sized chunks of business logic.
What do you do when a customer requests a change or a new feature in your product that only applies to that one customer? Broadly speaking, you have two options: a feature branch or a feature toggle, and for most situations feature toggles win hands down. But feature toggles can get complex - does the feature toggle apply only at startup, or can it be changed at runtime? Does it apply to everyone or only certain users? What if you have more than one feature toggle (and you know you will): could there be groups of features you want to turn on and off? What if your feature is part of a web application? Will it apply system-wide or only to certain URLs? And how do you go about designing something like this? Here's a clue: as with much if not most development, if your first impulse is to open the data dictionary you're doing it wrong.
Rick Smith has started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise $12,000 for a cancer treatment for Russ Eggen that isn't covered by Russ's health insurance. Read more about it and contribute here!
You probably don't need any incentive to give Russ a hand, but here are some anyway:
Update: The campaign has exceeded its target with $13,719 raised as of June 25!
SoftVelocity has released a new H5 AppBroker to go along with the H5 support in the latest Clarion 10 EE release. H5 uses the long-standing AppBroker product combined with Bootstrap to convert standard Clarion apps to web apps. Because Bootstrap is a response web framework, Clarion apps with the H5 treatment can be viewed on mobile as well as desktop devices. More to come....
So you're running Clarion on a solid state drive and performance is terrific. But you've heard those rumors about how it's possible to wear out SSDs with too many writes. Should you worry? Dave Harms crunches the numbers and comes up with a surprising result. Try out the spreadsheet and see how long your SSD will last.
The office will be closed from March 23-31 but I will be checking email periodically. Please allow several days for subscriptions to be processed.
We've lowered the Clarion Magazine subscription rate to $29/year and have extended all active subscriptions on a pro-rated basis retroactive to Oct 1 2015. We're still working hard on the archive site rewrite and hope to have that back on line soon, and will be back to publishing on this site once that's done. Details to follow.
Our third party section has some news from the good folks at Thin@:
Finally, some DevCon news! Why has it taken so long? Dunno, DevCons are always busy times and this one seems even busier than usual. Maybe I've been spending too much time at the fabulous buffet, or perhaps it's the quarter mile walks to and from the the conference rooms (this is a BIG resort).
Today Johan van Zyl relayed a Node.js offer email in comp.lang.clarion. This is a promotional offer which is designed to get you signed up on a $29/month plan at Learnable.com. The first month is just $9 and you get the Node.js course and ebook. I haven't had any experience with Learnable yet, and it's probably well worth the $$$, but do note that you can cancel any time if you just want to drop the $9.
I've gone ahead and signed up for the $9 offer. I've done some work with Node.js but I'd definitely like to learn more. If you haven't played with it yet, I suggest you take a look. From the Nodejs.org web site:
There are lots of cool things you can do with Node.js - I've mainly experimented with it in conjunction with DocPad to create lightweight web sites.
Here's the offer text:
Last week was just jammed. It started off with two days of excellent NetTalk training, followed by three days of awesome DevCon presentations that ran to almost twelve hours on Wednesday and Thursday and about ten hours on Friday. Throw in some post-conference mini golf, a 5:45 a.m. wake-up for my morning flight, a lengthy (and unrelated to Clarion) meeting at a local community club barely an hour after my plane landed, an early morning sports practice for my daughter the next day, and by Sunday afternoon I was about as tired as I've felt in the last five years. I crashed for a couple of hours.
And of course there's a lot of work to catch up on after a week away. But I still have a bunch of notes from DevCon, and once I get those posted I'll write up some of my conclusions. Among other things I had a lot of interesting conversations with ClarionMag and DevRoadmaps subscribers, and I've learned a thing or two. I've started implementing some changes that I think will make ClarionMag folk happy.
Stay tuned, and thanks for your patience!
Michael Dettmer has posted some information on the CodeCharge web development tool, which he points out has a lot of features that make it similar to Clarion and WinDev. Generated code can be in ASP.NET (C#), ASP, PHP, Java Servlets, JSP, ColdFusion or Perl.
Our focus at DevRoadmaps is on two RAD tools, Clarion and WinDev. But there are lots of RAD tools out there, and we're always happy to learn more. After a question from a reader about CodeCharge, we've gone ahead and created a new page listing the available RAD tools. There are just a few entries - help us add more!
Developers who use RAD tools like Clarion and WinDev do so because they believe those tools offer a very real advantage over traditional hand-coder development tools. But are those advantages as great as they seem? David Harms looks at when and why RAD is a help and a hindrance.
Mark Riffey brought Mighty Moose to my attention, which led me to a few other products that similarly compile your .NET code while you type, and run any affected unit tests so you get immediate feedback on how your changes affect your code base. This is pretty cool stuff.
While looking at ways to manage database changes that happen as a result of application upgrades, Dave Harms comes across SQL Server's snapshot capabilities. There are some issues to be aware of, but if you need to roll back a database change, snapshots can help you do it in a hurry.