by Mark Trescowthick - GUI Computing
Despite the fact that VB4 didn't quite make it to Australia in time, its official launch in Australia at VBA '95 was certainly a success from my point of view - but then, as organiser, perhaps I'm biassed! What I found particularly interesting was the fact that Microsoft chose the event to also launch VC++ 4 - a turnaround from just a year or two ago when VB wasn't even considered a 'development tool'.
It was an interesting experiment to have two events this year, and it certainly helped keep the event to a manageable size. However, the interaction between Melbourne and Sydney developers was missing, and I believe that's a key ingredient. I'd expect that VBA '96, whenever it might be, will be in one venue only.
From the first session, the emphasis was fairly and squarely on VB 4 and 32 Bit computing, with Keith Pleas' developers' guide to Win '95. And that emphasis was maintained, with an excellent session on the Win32 API from Gary Wisniewski and with sessions on Windows '95 interface design and distribution from Messrs Pleas and Kinsman.
As usual, Joe Robison provided a wealth of information and inside gossip and Jonathan Zuck was, well, Jonathan - his session on Jet 3 and KickBack on Client / Server development were both great. Microsoft's Rick Hargrove did a tremendous job of explaining just what '3-Tier Client/Server development' really was, too.
A surprise hit were Patrick DuBoys' two sessions on Visual C++ 4 - both very well attended and informative (once Patrick got past the anti-French sentiment!). I might even consider C++ again... or perhaps not.
The two Delphi sessions (given by Ross Garner and Jim Karabatsos) were both virtual sellouts in both cities, which reflects the continued interest in Delphi by VB developers. It made it all the more surprising that Borland were a last-minute pullout.
One request we had this year was for a 'business stream', concentrating on Case Studies and successful solutions. We're working on that for the 1996 event, and at this point it would seem we may expand to three days... stay tuned for more details.