by Mark Trescowthick - AVDF Editor
OK, so we're late again! But this time we have a really good excuse!!!
Yes, we finally bit the bullet and went to our own domain name : www.avdf.com. This happened as part of a larger reorganisation, which included setting up our own hosting room and moving servers (physical and logical) hither and yon. And, yes, it took longer than we anticipated (thanks in part to our ever-efficient telecommunications giant). As we didn't want to release an issue in the midst of that shambles, we chose to wait.
Sounds reasonable, doesn't it???
The standout tool of the year may well come from two we have reviewed this issue - ActiveReports and ActiveBar.
ActiveReports actually generated internal dissent as to who was going to review it, which is no mean feat considering your humble Editor has normally to get out the bullwhip to get anyone to write articles at all! We've adopted it lovingly for internal use and bid a "fond" farewell to Crystal, at least for developer use.
Also reviewed this issue is a neat little Y2K tool developed in Melbourne. VisualScan 2000 by Romtree Software is a tool we've been using for a while now and, like the man from Remington, we liked it so much we bought the distribution rights. Unlike most other Y2K scanners, its keyword list is definable and it not only scans code, it also scans Access QueryDefs.
Which neatly brings me to...
Y2K and you
Have you started your Y2K compliance checking yet? Have your clients? I think that there's a real danger that many independent VB developers sort of assume that Y2K issues are for old grey-bearded COBOL types. Certainly, that's the feeling I get when I talk to some of them. That is not the case, ladies and gents.
Good old VB3 will catch you up soon as look at you, and so will Jet 2.5, if you let it. Even VB4, VB5 and Delphi can cause much pain, if you (or one of your juniors, or that programmer who left two years ago) tried to cut corners. If you haven't started assessing your code, now is the hour. It's no good waiting until you get hammered by clients wanting something done.
The same goes for PCs. Just because a PC is pentium-based does not 100% guarantee that it will handle 2000 without trouble. It goes a long way, I'll concede, but it's no guarantee. Especially if you're running old DOS app, or custom drivers, it really pays to wind the clock forward and check. And that's better done now than in 9 months time.
Software 1, DoJ Nil, MS Minus Bill?
Well, the Department of Justice got rolled, and we got to get Win98 (or Win95 SR4, or whatever).
As I think I probably made clear last issue, I think that's a great result. It keeps software in the hands of software people, as it should be.
The DoJ still have a pending Anti-trust suit against MS, but that's just fine by me. If they want to break up MS, and can justify that in court, then fine. My issue was always with their method, not necessarily their motive.
And, on top of all that, BillG announces that he's stepping back a little from the day-to-day to concentrate on the Next Big Thing side of Microsoft... now that's really great news, I reckon. Bill is certainly a man made for the NBT, and I've often wondered whether he wasn't getting stale just making that next billion or two. I think he's perhaps just the guy to take on the challenge of what comes next, and I hope it invigorates him - and, assuming he's successful, us.
I confess I was sorta hoping that he'd take a leap from software altogether and maybe decide to set up a manned station on the Moon or something completely wacky (heck, he could afford it!), but I guess that was a bit left of centre...
Welcome aboard this new issue... hope to see you in the ether.