Everything on Clarion Magazine is now free access! This includes the 1999-2011 archive, which is available as monthly PDFs.
We switched to an Atlassian-hosted site as of March 25, 2017.
Recent Clarion blog entries
Another good reason to register early - get your room at the Rosen! While there are other hotels nearby, there's nothing quite like staying on site.
See you in Florida!
I suppose it's always dangerous to say something's permanent, especially when talking about technology, but for the foreseeable future I've moved ClarionMag to this site, clarionmag.jira.com.
For some years now I've used Atlassian's Confluence content management system to deliver Clarion Magazine. It's a terrific platform - I love it and recommend it to anyone looking for a powerful and easy to use CMS. But it comes at a price; at the number of subscribers ClarionMag has, a license isn't cheap. It's not an unreasonable cost, especially considering what I've paid over the years in my own development time creating the previous versions of Clarion Magazine. Only it become clear to me in recent years that Clarion Magazine was transitioning from a business to a hobby.
I've thought a lot about why this has happened, and what inside and outside forces have been at play. But perhaps the best explanation is this: it's been a good long run of 18 years, and it's just time.
Only I don't want to let Clarion Magazine go, really.
The best option I could come up with was to move it to a low cost hosted site, where all the software updates are included and I don't have to worry about any maintenance issues at all, not even server certificates.
There is, however, a different price to pay. This site is limited to no more than ten active users. That means that I've had to deactivate almost all subscriber accounts.
The bad news is you can no longer log in, leave comments, save favorites etc.
The good news is you no longer have to log in or pay any kind of subscription fee.
I do expect to post articles from time to time. I still have the urge to write, and I still use Clarion in the majority of my consulting work. But you'll probably see even less about traditional Clarion coding and more about where and how Clarion fits in the larger world of software development. What matters the most to me about Clarion these days isn't its past glories, or the nuances of the language, but how Clarion coding can be done using today's best practices, and perhaps most importantly how we can all preserve the value of our work for the future.
So thank you everyone for all your support over the years, not least in the form of subscriptions. It's been and still is a wonderful learning experience, for which I am always grateful. I hope you'll all continue to enjoy this latest incarnation of Clarion Magazine.
Dave Harms, Publisher
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:
- For each qualifying donation Pratik Patel will provide a copy of his CYA IDE tool. CYA exports a TXA of your app every time you build, so it Covers Your App.
- Contribute $100 or more and get:
- A year's worth of ClarionMag for free
- Rick Martin's Format Assignment Alignment Addin
- Contribute $500 or more and get ClarionMag free for life!
- Contribute $299 or more and Mark Riffery will provide "The Interview" service to your or the business owner of your choice. This is a set of 40-50 tough questions about your business. You answer the questions, Mark answers. You'll gain critical insights and advice about growing your business, specific to your business and your situation.
- Contribute $250 or more get 16 hours of free consulting from Mike Gorman, via phone or GoToMeeting and you'll also get a five production user version of the Metabase System with one year of updates.
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@:
- GUI Manager – The Only Automatic Window Resizer Now Available!
- New Thin@ Solution Version Released
- THIN@ Solution is Switching Over to A Subscription Model!
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.