How to get started in DE8 when you have already mastered DataEase for DOS.
The best thing you can do when developing in DFW and especially in DE8 is to forget about DFD. The skill and understanding you have acquired over many years of DFD use is of course invaluable when it comes to learning, understanding and using DE8 but if you think it is DFD you will constantly be disappointed.
It simply isn't.
It share a lot of the same functions and functionalities and to a far extend a lot of the same logic, but it is a different product. You can say they are both Volvos but DFD is a 1980 240 and DE8 is a 2014 V70. Same brand, same basic idea but no shared parts.
Our illustration is supposed to "showcase" the point. It might be hard to see but it is a highly customized Volvo 240 estate from the DFD era. A lot of our legacy users seems to think that DFW is or should be something like this. Basically a Volvo 240 with a lot of adoptions.
Again. It isn't!
DFD was basically designed to be a standalone database where everything ran on the same computer. When it became a Network version the only thing that happen was that it worked on a shared hard-drive with some basic locking rules thrown in.
DataEase for WIndows was designed to work in a client-server manner. The forms/reports/procedures have no direct relation or knowledge of the files they query. Where DFD basically had an open file and pointed into it, DFW work on data sets i.e. cursors or Mutliviews as they are called in DataEase.
When you search in DFD it finds the first record that match the search and then it takes a break and wait to see you are happy. In DFW it finds all the matching records, and return you a dataset with all of them neatly sorted the way you have asked for. You can move forward and backwards and you can also narrow down your search inside the data-set (drill down) but it has no knowledge of the record that lives next to it in the table.
If I hadn't known where you come from (been there myself) I would think it was seriously weird that anyone would search in a database by "geographical" approximation but to be honest, I used to do that all the time myself. I would remember that the Order I wanted was close to an order to British Telecom so I would search up that order and then simply single step on till I found it.
Sadly this is not a feature that any other system ever had I believe and DataEase has never had it in DFW either.
So we need to forget about this way of searching and to be honest, forget about searching in forms altogether really.
In DFD we did everything in the same form, because it was quite arduous to jump around in an application and in DFD you couldn't really have more than one form on a table anyway.
In DE8 you can have as many forms as you like on a table, so why not make a search form. Google have set the standard for modern searching, and that is what expect to see today. Enter what you look for and get a result set and hopefully the one you are looking for is within it. If not try another search and another search till you are happy.
Over the years since the development of DFD ceased and the DFW development started a lot of stuff has changed and even though the DFD users really love DFD and how it operates, the methodology is outdated. We could at some stage of course have stopped the time and decided that DataEase lived its own life in its own world but since that never happened it has moved on with time
The CRM sample that is included with DE8 showcase this a little in the address book but it can be extended much more than that.
There is no quick fix for moving a DFD app to DE8 and get it to work in the real world. It will take some learning, trial and error but if one is interested in developing applications it will be worth it.
So the advice to old DFD users that is contemplating moving to DE8 is:
1. You don't have to! There is no legal requirement or obligation for you to move to DE8. If you want to buy "of the shelf" or use Alpha-Five, .Net, Ffenics, C#, Access or anything else to convert or develop your solution in that is your choice the same way it was your choice to use DFD in the past.
2. If you do choose to go down the path of DE8 forget about DFD and focus on the new stuff first. All the stuff that is shared with DFD you already know, so focus on the stuff that you don't know. It might surprise you, and you might even think that it is better than DFD.
3. Don't make a commitment until you are sure. Play with it for a while the way you played with DFD before you sank your teeth in. You should have a honeymoon phase before you start with the nitty gritty.
4. There is a lot of tips and tricks, advice and discussions on this website. Browse around and download samples. Go under the objects and view/steal the code.
5. Don't start with migrating your DFD app. That is the last thing you should do. Why?
a) It is boring and you will focus on all the things that is different and all the things that doesn't work the way you are used or not work at all. b) You might realise that it is much better to simply build your new version from scratch in DE8 using your old and new skill to make a much better and contemporary version of your system. What is the likelihood that your 20 year old system is best practice anyway? c) DataEase is about rapid and eveolutionary development. We almost lost our way and spent many years trying to convert old code to new code that it took a lot of effort to get to work at all (Migrations), but why didn't we simply focus on making things easy in DFW too?
You might think that this article is a little "negative" but rally we just try to shake you up a little. Our experience (and it is considerable) with DFD conversions/migrations/users is that they are the least happy and least successful DFW users, basically because they struggle with moving on.
We all need to move on, and since all DFD customers most likely have gotten the best return on investment in the industry on their systems we should all look forward with a clear conscience whatever we do.
You can't hang around in the past and neither can we, and if that means that this is where our ways separate we should both do it with a smile on our face. We tell you that you don't have to migrate, convert or upgrade to anything if you don't want to but if you want to explore, learn and use DataEase 8 as a new and exciting opportunity, nothing would make us more happy and we will again welcome you with open arms.