DDD4 – Agenda voting closed

I am pleased to announce that voting for DDD4 sessions is now closed.

Thanks to all of you who voted – we received 211 sets of votes which is fantastic.

We’ll use those votes to help us prepare the agenda – 20 sessions will be selected and lined up over four tracks.

The agenda will be available early in November, registration will open then too.

On Gnostice, PDF creation, Delphi, Borland’s Turbo products

On the 22nd September 2006, Gnostice released version 2.41 of the PDFToolkit and eDocEngine for the [Delphi] VCL. As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m a great fan of Gnostice products – their PDF creation tools and components are a real boon to developers. Of course, this continued support for the Delphi VCL for Win32 and .net despite the divestment of the Borland IDEs, is confirmation that Gnostice passionately believe in the Delphi product name and the VCL.

Indeed, one need only look at the PDFToolkit VCL “road-map” here to realise that Gnostice are intent on producing an astonishingly feature complete PDF component set…writing for the VCL using the VCL – V3.0 looks to be awesome. Not surprisingly, there’s a similar roadmap for eDocEngine VCL – plans all the way up to V3.0 are well documented over here.

In an earlier post, I touched on the fact that Borland IDE divestment and the direction in which many component vendors seemed to be taking their products (towards .net and C#). Whilst this seems to still be the case, it’s worth noting that Gnostice are firmly focusing on three market spaces: the traditional Delphi VCL, .NET and Java. Their PDFOne .NET product provides support for PDF creation inside Borland Developer Studio 2005 and 2006 – with demonstrations being provided using the C# language, whereas their eDocEngine and PDFToolkit are fairly and squarely targeted at the VCL.

Of course now that the Turbo range of products are available, we see a renewed interest in the Delphi language and its direction. Knowing that Microsoft’s Express Editions are free, I can’t see the Turbo products being direct competition, therefore their existence presumably serves to further the Delphi language and provide heritage continuance (outside of the more expensive Borland Developer Studio-style all-encompassing product set). Given the career path of Delphi’s original architect, Anders Heilsberg (from Borland to Microsoft), this renewed interest might be what it takes to let Delphi and the Turbo products catch up with Microsoft. After all, here we are seeing much talk of .NET 3.0, yet Borland Developer Studio 2006 still only targets .NET 1.1. That said, Bob Swart makes mention of the next version of Delphi that will support .net 2.0, codenamed Highlander, over here.

I would like to see the Turbo products enjoy a shorter release cycle, providing them with an opportunity to target .net 2.0 and 3.0. With the next version of Visual Studio (Orcas) just around the corner, there’s not much time left to achieve this, but it should be a goal nonetheless.

Despite my earlier concerns about the future of Delphi and its language, it seems that there is a rekindled enthusiasm for the Delphi product set, fuelled more so by the reappearance of the Turbo mark that made Borland who they are today. Indeed it was the original Turbo range that provided the inspiration for the VCL and their [Borland] re-introduction of this famous branding will take the VCL to new heights – a point not missed by Gnostice who have plans in place for native VCL product releases/upgrades right into 2007.

eDocEngine VCL – comprehensive, generic, 100% VCL electronic document creation component suite for Borland® Delphi™ and Borland® C++Builder™.

PDFtoolkit VCL – powerful component set for Borland® Delphi™ and Borland® C++Builder™ to manage, manipulate, view, print, enhance PDF documents and process PDF eForms.

PDFOne .NET – 100% .NET component library to implement PDF based software solutions.

PDFOne Java – 100% Java library to implement PDF based software solutions.

Gnostice Plans for 2006
PDF Toolkit VCL – Road-map
eDocEngine VCL – Road-map
Turbo Downloads

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FinalBuilder 5 [Beta] Press Release

VSoft Technologies Pty Ltd is pleased to announce that the next major version of our flagship product, FinalBuilder 5, is now in beta testing and is slated for release around the end of October 2006. FinalBuilder is an Automated Build and Release management tool for Windows software developers and software release engineers.

Canberra, Australia. September 26, 2006 — FinalBuilder 5, the next major version of FinalBuilder has entered beta testing in anticipation of release around the end of October 2006.

All new purchases of FinalBuilder 4 from 1st September 2006 will be eligible for a free upgrade to the new version. All existing customers with current Software Assurance as of the release date of FinalBuilder 5 will also be entitled to a free upgrade.

FinalBuilder 5 adds a huge range of new features. Integration with the AccuRev and MKS Source version control systems has been added, taking the total number of supported VCS’s to fifteen. Also, Version Control support has been added to the FinalBuilder IDE via the Microsoft SCCAPI. This allows your project file, persistent variables file, and the project data file to be managed in your version control system by FinalBuilder. The available operations are: Add to Version Control System, Get Latest Version, Check Out Project, Check In Project, and Undo Checkout.

Some of the new actions added in FinalBuilder 5 include:

  • PsTools Actions
  • Serviced Components Registration Tool [REGSVCS]
  • WGET Action (HTTP Get)
  • String and Path Manipulation actions
  • Microsoft Deployment Project
  • Stack & Queue actions
  • Manifest Generation and Editing Tool [Mage]
  • ILMerge
  • Sandcastle actions
  • ADO Dataset Iterator
  • Image manipulation action
  • PDF Actions
  • Windows Installer (MSI) database manipulation
  • IIS FTP Administration actions

For the full list of what’s new in FinalBuilder 5, visit:

FinalBuilder is an end-to-end build and release management system; capable of automating the entire build process, everything from integration with version control systems, compilation of source code, deployment, and burning a CD or DVD. As well as increasing the speed and reliability of the build process, FinalBuilder increases staff productivity by relieving them of the repetitive and error prone tasks.

Pricing will remain the same as FinalBuilder 4, which starts at $379 per developer for FinalBuilder 5 Standard Edition and $499 per developer for FinalBuilder 5 Professional Edition.

For more information, visit the FinalBuilder website at http://www.finalbuilder.com

About VSoft Technologies Pty Ltd
VSoft Technologies is the leading provider of automated build software for Windows developers and configuration management engineers. Founded in 1997, VSoft Technologies are based in Canberra, Australia.

# # #

FinalBuilder and Finalbuilder ActionStudio are trademarks or registered trademarks of VSoft Technologies Pty Ltd. All other trademarks mentioned in this release are the property of their respective owners.

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It never ceases to amaze me…when one reverse light is enough…

I know many cars have just the one reverse light. However those that have two, must have them both working in order to pass the UK’s MOT – a test that determines whether the vehicle is roadworthy or not.

I parked up at my local Tesco store today, with my mother-in-law in tow (not literally, honest), a gentleman reversed into the space next to me, I noticed that his driver’s side reverse light was not working. So I mentioned it to him as we walked to the store.

Imagine my surprise when he said: “one of them is working, that’s enough”. Not the simple “thanks, mate”, that I’m used to getting when I do my good citizen bit.

Of course, I responded with a simple: “oh, that’s alright then, goodbye”.

Now, if he were to turn up at an optician’s reporting that he was having problems seeing out of one eye…imagine his surprise if he was told: “one of them is working, that’s enough”.

Free: Acorn Archimedes – A440 – 4MB – Morley SCSI card – ARM3 – Keyboard – Mouse – PRM’s

I’m making space in my loft and have made the decision to dispose of my long-standing friend, my Acorn Archimedes A440. It has served me well: it got me through university (thanks to Computer Concepts Impression DTP application); it got me in to event-driven/message-oriented development way back in the late 80’s; it was a trusty friend, never let me down, rarely crashed, could be left on for weeks without a reboot. And through emulation, it could run most MS-DOS applications too.

Anyway, it’s going to the tip this week – I’ve seen it’s little brother the A3000/A3010 on eBay for £0.99p so I don’t hold out much hope of getting much for it.

I’ve got the RISC OS 3 Programmer’s Reference Manuals available too – they weigh rather a lot, so unless you’re collecting in person, I’ll probably have to recycle those 🙁

An Eizo 9060 monitor suited for the Arc is also available…last time I used it a few month back, the horizontal shift needed to be tapped before it lined up properly, but after the tap, it was fine. If you want it, it’s free: collect only though.

There are 2*160MB IBM SCSI drives, a Digital SCSI drive (I can’t remember the size), the original Seagate ST-125 (20MB, I think), SCSI cables (made by the bloke at Morley Electronics). There are about 150 magazine discs (Acorn User, Risc User, etc.), too many to list here. I’ve still got an Impression dongle, although I note that Computer Concepts released a de-dongled version in 1996.

Other stuff:
British Birds – CD ROM.
Notes (the Really Good Software Company)
Wolfenstein 3D
!Shares 3
Acorn User Collector’s CD-ROM No.1
Computer Concepts Compression
Holed Out
Archimedes Assembly Language (Mike Ginns)
Archimedes Operating System – A User’s Guide (Alex and Nic Van Someren)
Archimedes Game Maker’s Manual (Terry Blunt)
Morley Electronics SCSI Interface – the manual
Risc User Vol.6 Issue 7 (June 1993)
Risc User Vol.6 Issue 6 (May 1993)
Risc User Vol.6 Issue 5 (April 1993)
Acorn Archimedes World – Vol14. Issue 3
Acorn Archimedes World – October 1992
Acorn Archimedes World – January 1994
Acorn Archimedes World – March 1996
Acorn Archimedes World – June 1993
Acorn User – January 1996 – Cover mounted CD – Acorn Education, Products and Services Spring 1996.
A handful of copies of Computer Concepts Archimedean

If you want any bits of it let me know, I will split. I’m looking for nothing more than the cost of postage.

If there are no takers by Oct 13th, I’ll take it up to the recycling center.

If none of this means anything to you, check out VirtualAcorn, The Icon Bar, Acorn Arcade and RISCOS Ltd. and you’ll see what all the fuss was about!

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New office, new location, am I using your wireless network?

We moved into a new office today. Our IT crew are here and are dealing with the infrastructure move over the course of Friday afternoon and the weekend. However, being the geek that I think I am (and some folks tell me that I am, so it has to be true), I turned up today with my laptop and “went looking”. I do a lot of travelling an as such use various wireless networks, most of them are secure by default, some are “open” but require authentication via a login and password, rarely do I connect to “any old wireless connection”, particularly the “open” networks with no security at all.

Today, it’s all change. This blog posting come courtesy of somebody else’s Internet connection. I don’t know who they are, or where they are (they’re close enough for me to get an ‘Excellent’ signal strength so I reckon I can see them were they to identify themselves).

It has been said thousands of times before: please, secure your wireless network. Even the most basic authentication is enough to put many “chancers” off. If you don’t you could find yourself liable to prosecution as “professional chancers” may use your Internet connection for illegal activities.

wireless networks

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XML as code

Via Alistair’s cakeBlog, I found this to be a good read.

Now, I am a huge fan of XML, and have gone through [my] three phases of XML usage:

1. 1999-2000: XML everywhere. Used it for everything, list boxes, drop-down menus, you name it – all populated from SQL Server tables. It was way cool. But, half way through the project’s duration (not feature set), realisation set in, hey, it take a lot of time to work with XML if it’s everywhere. Why don’t we just use it where it’ll provide some benefits?

2. 2000-2002: Refactoring from XML everywhere to XML here and there. Anywhere data had to cross boundaries, XML has its place – combined with web services, XML was starting to take shape.

3. 2002-today: Use it wisely…for syndication/content aggregation and connected systems. Extending the crossing of boundaries to between disparate systems.

I’m still in the third phase, although I have an idea about how XML will play a part in the next [fourth] phase, I can’t reveal it here just yet. It’s just not firmed up enough to write much about it.

Naturally, whenever I hear folks ranting on about XML and how bloated it is, I’m right in there kicking off a debate! However, Allen’s Just Say No to XML article is one that I will happily agree with. XML provides us with a super means of connecting systems together. However, by virtue of the XML DOM, it provides us with a parser and a syntax checker. Couple and XML document with an XML Schema, and suddenly we can control the order of the XML elements in the XML document and control data types…we’ve kind of got ourselves a language parser. And it seems that folks have latched on to this concept and are using XML documents to convey more than data and meaning, but to carry out specific programming instructions, i.e. XML, as a mark-up language, is being used as a programming language. Except it won’t be any programming language that you or I are familiar with. It’s likely to be a hybrid of the original author’s favourite “instructions”. There will be no language constructs, such as partial classes, heck there won’t even be classes as we know them. And, in the absence of XSLT, it’s likely to be procedural in nature.

If you’re thinking of using an XML document to add some form of programmatic instructions to your application, please, don’t. Learn how to use some of the many [free] language parsers that are out there, integrate them into your application and you’ll have a much more maintainable and robust application. And it’ll probably save you a lot of time – you won’t be writing what amounts to an interpreter were you to use XML elements as instructions.

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WCF Master Class – IDesign and newtelligence AG…


IDesign and newtelligence AG present WCF Master Class with Juval Löwy

Mallorca, Spain

October 30- November 3, 2006

The WCF Master Class is a 5 days training, and is the world’s best, most intense WCF training. There is simply no substitute for being trained by the world’s leading experts in the subject, and Juval Löwy offers a profound insight on the technology and its applications. The material presented goes well beyond anything that can be found using conventional sources.

This could be your chance for total immersion: TechEd 2006 starts right after Juval’s course – it could be the ultimate two-week vacation!

More information can be found here.

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