by Mark Trescowthick - GUI Computing

AVDF started life as “Visual Basic Open Forum” - a great idea from Stephan Grieger for a four or eight page ‘hints and tips’ sheet for the then-new Visual Basic. The first issue went to a grand total of about 300 developers. The phenomenal growth of Visual Basic, and Windows development in general, virtually forced it to grow, and so it became AVDF - which now goes to about 8,000 developers.

Unfortunately, that growth is no longer sustainable, simply on the grounds of cost - multiply 8,000 by about 30 pages and the reason is obvious. So, after this issue, AVDF will be returning, at least in part, to its roots. It will become a four or eight page publication.

Though I believe that AVDF offers value for money at something more like $10 per issue than its current $0, no-one anywhere has, to my knowledge, made a successful transition from free magazine to subscription magazine. And, though some of our readers might like to disagree, I see no real reason to assume that AVDF is any different. So we’ve decided to take a different tack.

1996 will see the debut of the new, slim-line AVDF and the debut of a new (still free) service - AVDF Online. AVDF Online will be both a Web and MSN service (at least, that’s the current plan) and will be part of a new GUI Computing offshoot, GUI Online Services. The paper version of AVDF will contain "pointers" to what’s new online, as well as continuing with some how-to articles.

GUI Online Services will be headed up by none other than VBA ‘95 speaker Gary Wisniewski. Gary, as well as being the author of TrueGrid and the dbGrid in VB 4, is also the co-author of the most popular VB Web page in the world - Gary and Carl’s home page (http://www.apexsc.com/vb/index.html).

To maintain continuity, AVDF Editor Anna Morgan will be re-locating to Sydney to join Gary and will remain as Editor of AVDF Online. The only real difference will be that she’ll be filling that role virtually full-time - a distinct change from the current situation.

For the past two years, Anna has edited and "published" (code for physically printing about 120,000 pieces of paper per issue!) AVDF and, though a reduced paper version will continue, now is clearly the time to offer her (and all our contributors) a word of thanks.

Each issue takes a huge amount of work and without the support of contributors - from within GUI, from our readers and from our US contacts - the magazine would not have been able to provide the information it has over the past two years. But without Anna, all that info would never have seen the light of day (all that whilst still retaining her role as chief stock control honcho)...Thanks.

The Black Label version will continue, and all Black Label subscribers will be receiving a letter within the next few days outlining their options for the future. We expect AVDF Online to debut in late January, about the time you’ll see the first issue of the new AVDF. Other than this, rather significant, "new event", the past month or so has been strangely quiet as the programming world digests VB 4. The new OCXs are starting to flow - not quite yet a flood, but certainly more than a trickle.

The consensus would seem to be that, for 16-Bit development, VB 3 is still the better performing alternative. In fact, I wonder whether Microsoft didn’t make an error even releasing a 16-Bit VB 4... perhaps a VB 3.5 might have been a better option given the performance penalty in VB4/16.

This would rather echo the Borland approach with Delphi, where I’m reliably informed that the 32-Bit and 16-Bit version will be kept separate and will not offer cross-compilation. This makes perfectly good sense to me. We can expect the release of the 32-Bit Delphi soon, I gather.

Of course, 16-Bit will soon be dead, so everyone says. Windows ‘95 is certainly chugging along with a good head of steam still - GUI certainly loves it - but I see more and more corporate users who see Windows ‘95 as a good reason to move to NT. The hardware requirements are, in reality, pretty much identical and NT is certainly a more mature and full-featured solution.

Still, Windows ‘95 does a great job of running the most important applications - DOS games like my current addiction Command & Conquer - so it will have a place in my life for some time to come!

So...this is the last issue for 1995, while we get up to speed on line. Merry Christmas, and I’ll catch up with you somewhere in "cyberspace" in 1996.

Written by: Mark Trescowthick
Oct 95