Which professional environment to choose? 
Author Message
 Which professional environment to choose?

Professional programmer needs help to decide
--------------------------------------------

I am a partly independent Norwegian computer programmer. Recently, I
have produced a modular business transactions system with the Paradox for
Windows enironment. But my product has not been a success so far,
for several reasons.

One reason is that Paradox, or Windows, or the
combination, not has been able to provide the neccessary stability for
professional use. My system simply crashes now and then, for reasons I
often have no control over.

I have less such problems in Windows 95 than in earlier versions of
Windows, and there are differences between versions of Paradox,
but it is still unacceptable. Of course the comp.databases.paradox
newsgroup gives numerous tips on the issue, but the basic problem is still
there and my system still cannot be trusted.

I also have a major problem with speed. Even on a computer with lots of
RAM, etc, my system is simply SLOW. That is, of course, because of
the Paradox database system, being quite advanced.

My overall impression of Paradox after two years' attempts of professional
use is that the system isn't intended for the professional market. An
astonishing example could be that the Runtime add-on-package, which makes
it possible to create installable sets of my application for sale,
always fails if my code covers more than one diskette! It seems it was
never even tested...

Finally, it should be mentioned that my knowledge of the system (Paradox)
always could be better. There are always courses one could take and books
one could read, but it should not be neccessary to study for years to be able
to do standard programming. Or is it?

As far as I can understand, I have a choice today:

Either:
Throw away my old Paradox enironment and my old code. Get
something new and fancy which supposedly work better, and re-code everything
carefully and maybe a bit better. Use the opportunity to make a whole new
version of the old product. There are not many users to convert data for,
anyway. Then live a happy life with big sales.

Or:
Accept that the trouble-free programming enironment doesn't exist.
Read books on streamlining, debugging ang securing the code.
Go through my old code line for line and object for object, and adapt it to
the Paradox enironment's weaknesses. Let out fancy but vulnerable functions,
stream-line the system for speed, and hire a good-looking salesman who will
talk away the problems of stability which might remain.

I also now and then have a third idea of starting growing bananas instead,
but the issue will be skipped here owing to climatical and other problems
outside of this newsgroup's coverage.

As to changing the enironment, especially delphi flashes like a christmas
star in my mind. It is said to be low-level, which should give more control to
me, no? Less chrashes owing to environment errors which I am not responsible
for? It is also said to give quick code. And, of course, rumors
of short development time rest in the back of the mind.

Other systems than Paradox and Delphi might of course be of interest, but
I need a database system of professional quality where the resulting code can
be sold for use under Windows 95 without licensing and legal problems.

So, I would like some qualified opinions on this problem.

In general: I am tired of my old environment, is it worth the efforts
to throw away old code and knowledge, and take up something new?

And in special: How about changing from Paradox to Delphi? Anybody with
experience? My primary concern is stability, as you see.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Svein Olav Mytting, Europe                         Democracy must be stopped



Sat, 25 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which professional environment to choose?
...I should probably add to the considerations in that last message,
that my experience comes mainly from Paradox 5.0.
Can somebody convince me that 7.0, or whatever is out today,
would be a glorious resurrection of an outstanding product for me,
when we start talking stability?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Svein Olav Mytting, Europe                         Democracy must be stopped



Sun, 26 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which professional environment to choose?

Quote:
>I also now and then have a third idea of starting growing bananas instead,
>but the issue will be skipped here owing to climatical and other problems
>outside of this newsgroup's coverage.

Well, Svein, some things are constant even half-a-world away.  You're
certainly not the first independent programmer who sorely wished that he could
grow bananas instead.  :-)

You're also not the only person who wished that, if only he could find the
perfect development environment, all of his problems would disappear and
billions of dollars in sales would come gushing forth.  Alas, it is not that
way -- and the salespeople who suggest that it may be so are, unfortunately,
salesmen.  :-/

Paradox, if properly configured, is among the most consistent performers you
can find.  It has earned me a comfortable living in spite of MS-Access ;-) and
when I dump 50,000 records or more onto it I know that, at least, it will not
die.  It has been known to do, shall we say, unusual things.  It has
limitations that, thankfully, Delphi can circumvent.  But... would I recommend
that you s{*filter*}what you have and start over?  No.

What you need to do is to step back, accept that you implemented what you did
as best you could and in what is probably still one of the best alternatives,
and make it work as best you can.  If you find a situation where you think
that Delphi might be able to help -- and you can quantify that "I think" into
what passes for solid evidence in this ol' world -- then yes, Delphi can be
useful.  But there's no magic bullet.  Give up your quest for it, assess your
situation, and move on from there.

I say again, there is no magic bullet.  But there are PLENTY of salespeople
who will claim that there is, and that they sell it.  :-/

-Mike Robinson
 Sundial Services, Scottsdale AZ  (602) 946-8259; fax 874-2068



Sun, 26 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which professional environment to choose?

Quote:


>>I also now and then have a third idea of starting growing bananas instead,
>>but the issue will be skipped here owing to climatical and other problems
>>outside of this newsgroup's coverage.
>Well, Svein, some things are constant even half-a-world away.  You're
>certainly not the first independent programmer who sorely wished that he could
>grow bananas instead.  :-)
>You're also not the only person who wished that, if only he could find the
>perfect development environment, all of his problems would disappear and
>billions of dollars in sales would come gushing forth.  Alas, it is not that
>way -- and the salespeople who suggest that it may be so are, unfortunately,
>salesmen.  :-/
>Paradox, if properly configured, is among the most consistent performers you
>can find.  It has earned me a comfortable living in spite of MS-Access ;-) and
>when I dump 50,000 records or more onto it I know that, at least, it will not
>die.  It has been known to do, shall we say, unusual things.  It has
>limitations that, thankfully, Delphi can circumvent.  But... would I recommend
>that you s{*filter*}what you have and start over?  No.
>What you need to do is to step back, accept that you implemented what you did
>as best you could and in what is probably still one of the best alternatives,
>and make it work as best you can.  If you find a situation where you think
>that Delphi might be able to help -- and you can quantify that "I think" into
>what passes for solid evidence in this ol' world -- then yes, Delphi can be
>useful.  But there's no magic bullet.  Give up your quest for it, assess your
>situation, and move on from there.
>I say again, there is no magic bullet.  But there are PLENTY of salespeople
>who will claim that there is, and that they sell it.  :-/
>-Mike Robinson
> Sundial Services, Scottsdale AZ  (602) 946-8259; fax 874-2068


Mike, I agree with much that you say, yet I disagree with your
conclusion. Here's why:.

He needs to do *something* with his code. It's slow and its unstable.
Like you, I would blame neither problem on Paradox.

It's far more productive to change algorithms than to change
languages, even if you're comparing a compiled language with an
interpreted (or pseudocompiled) language. A good algorithm in Paradox
is going to be *much* faster than a poor algorithm written in
carefully-tweaked assembly code.

And two years does not a programming wizard make; I figure it
generally takes about five years in the trade just to qualify as a
journeyman. (Although two years is usually *plenty* of time for a
journeyman to pick up another language/environment/whatever.)

It's possible that a few tweaks here and there could solve both his
speed and stability problems. On the other hand, the old idea that you
"build one to throw away" has a lot of merit to it. When you write it
the first time, you're inventing something new, and you learn a lot of
things not to do. When you rewrite it, you're an expert at that
particular app. It makes a *lot* of sense that your rewrite will be
far better than the original app, if you're any sort of programmer at
all. I think that if he has spotted a real  market, and not just an
illusion of one, the market probably justifies enough effort to
rewrite the application.

The question then arises, as to what language he should use for a
rewrite. If he rewrites in Paradox, he needs to do one rewrite. If he
rewrites in Delphi, he needs to do two - because although he know his
app, he doesn't know Delphi, and the first one will be one to learn
on, not one to sell.

I'd be inclined to use Delphi if I were he. Everyone talks about
reusable code, but the ultimate in reusable code is the printf()
function in C, which does anything and everything, but it is so huge
as a consequence that no self-respecting C programmer uses it for
anything except quick-and-dirty throwaway programs.

And code maintenance is inherently expensive. It takes a lot of study
to figure out what's happening with the code, and object-oriented
programming means that every project ends up being written in its own
separate language. That makes it even harder to figure out what's
happening when you are maintaining old code.

On the other hand, RAD is driving down the cost of writing *new* code.
At some point, it's a lot cheaper to write new code than to try to
modify old code - and I think we've reached that point.

Writing the first version of his application in Delphi is not an
investment in the app. It's an investment in his programming skills -
and with machines becoming obsolete in 3 years, languages becoming
obsolete in 6, we all constantly have to reinvest in ourselves. I
think it makes more sense to rewrite the app twice in Delphi - today's
technology - than to rewrite the app once in Paradox - yesterday's
technology - and he definitely ought not be futzing around trying to
fix his existing code if he can't begin to see where he needs to
change it. If it's that unstable, there's probably no error-trapping
anywhere, and that means *everything* needs to be rewritten anyway.



Mon, 27 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which professional environment to choose?

Quote:

> Professional programmer needs help to decide
> --------------------------------------------

> I am a partly independent Norwegian computer programmer. Recently, I
> have produced a modular business transactions system with the Paradox for
> Windows enironment. But my product has not been a success so far,
> for several reasons.

> One reason is that Paradox, or Windows, or the
> combination, not has been able to provide the neccessary stability for
> professional use. My system simply crashes now and then, for reasons I
> often have no control over.

> I have less such problems in Windows 95 than in earlier versions of
> Windows, and there are differences between versions of Paradox,
> but it is still unacceptable. Of course the comp.databases.paradox
> newsgroup gives numerous tips on the issue, but the basic problem is still
> there and my system still cannot be trusted.

> I also have a major problem with speed. Even on a computer with lots of
> RAM, etc, my system is simply SLOW. That is, of course, because of
> the Paradox database system, being quite advanced.

> My overall impression of Paradox after two years' attempts of professional
> use is that the system isn't intended for the professional market. An
> astonishing example could be that the Runtime add-on-package, which makes
> it possible to create installable sets of my application for sale,
> always fails if my code covers more than one diskette! It seems it was
> never even tested...

> Finally, it should be mentioned that my knowledge of the system (Paradox)
> always could be better. There are always courses one could take and books
> one could read, but it should not be neccessary to study for years to be able
> to do standard programming. Or is it?

> As far as I can understand, I have a choice today:

> Either:
> Throw away my old Paradox enironment and my old code. Get
> something new and fancy which supposedly work better, and re-code everything
> carefully and maybe a bit better. Use the opportunity to make a whole new
> version of the old product. There are not many users to convert data for,
> anyway. Then live a happy life with big sales.

> Or:
> Accept that the trouble-free programming enironment doesn't exist.
> Read books on streamlining, debugging ang securing the code.
> Go through my old code line for line and object for object, and adapt it to
> the Paradox enironment's weaknesses. Let out fancy but vulnerable functions,
> stream-line the system for speed, and hire a good-looking salesman who will
> talk away the problems of stability which might remain.

> I also now and then have a third idea of starting growing bananas instead,
> but the issue will be skipped here owing to climatical and other problems
> outside of this newsgroup's coverage.

> As to changing the enironment, especially Delphi flashes like a christmas
> star in my mind. It is said to be low-level, which should give more control to
> me, no? Less chrashes owing to environment errors which I am not responsible
> for? It is also said to give quick code. And, of course, rumors
> of short development time rest in the back of the mind.

> Other systems than Paradox and Delphi might of course be of interest, but
> I need a database system of professional quality where the resulting code can
> be sold for use under Windows 95 without licensing and legal problems.

> So, I would like some qualified opinions on this problem.

> In general: I am tired of my old environment, is it worth the efforts
> to throw away old code and knowledge, and take up something new?

> And in special: How about changing from Paradox to Delphi? Anybody with
> experience? My primary concern is stability, as you see.

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Svein Olav Mytting, Europe                         Democracy must be stopped


I have done a little development in both Paradox and now Delphi.  Other
than my inability to easily accomplish a copytoarray or copyfromarray
function in delphi, it seems to me to do anything Paradox can do although
there is definately more involved in coding.

Sorry I have no overall reccommendations for an approach but I hope this
helps.

Cory Elliott
CorpInfo Services
LA CA



Mon, 27 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which professional environment to choose?

Quote:
> <large snip>

>So, I would like some qualified opinions on this problem.

>In general: I am tired of my old environment, is it worth the efforts
>to throw away old code and knowledge, and take up something new?

>And in special: How about changing from Paradox to Delphi? Anybody with
>experience? My primary concern is stability, as you see.

I have one thing to say...make the switch to Delphi!  I'm not a professional
programmer, so I don't know all the ins-and-outs of programming, but I do no
one thing.  Making the switch from Paradox to Delphi is easy, and well worth
it.  After porting my Paradox app to Delphi (which took only about a week), my
users switched from not even wanting to use the app because of how SLOOWWWW it
was to ranting and raving on how great it works.  I haven't done any formal
testing on the increase in loading and database navigation speeds (searching,
moving from field to field, etc...), but the speed increase is very
significant.

-Mike

Oh yeh, I'm from the U.S. so please spare the criticism below.

Quote:
>----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>Svein Olav Mytting, Europe                         Democracy must be stopped




Mon, 27 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which professional environment to choose?

Quote:

> > <large snip>

> >So, I would like some qualified opinions on this problem.

> >In general: I am tired of my old environment, is it worth the efforts
> >to throw away old code and knowledge, and take up something new?

> >And in special: How about changing from Paradox to Delphi? Anybody with
> >experience? My primary concern is stability, as you see.

> I have one thing to say...make the switch to Delphi!  I'm not a professional
> programmer, so I don't know all the ins-and-outs of programming, but I do no
> one thing.  Making the switch from Paradox to Delphi is easy, and well worth
> it.  After porting my Paradox app to Delphi (which took only about a week), my
> users switched from not even wanting to use the app because of how SLOOWWWW it
> was to ranting and raving on how great it works.  I haven't done any formal
> testing on the increase in loading and database navigation speeds (searching,
> moving from field to field, etc...), but the speed increase is very
> significant.

That's most astonishing. How big was your app?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Svein Olav Mytting, Europe                         Democracy must be stopped



Tue, 28 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which professional environment to choose?

Quote:
> Professional programmer needs help to decide
> --------------------------------------------

> One reason is that Paradox, or Windows, or the
> combination, not has been able to provide the neccessary stability for
> professional use. My system simply crashes now and then, for reasons I
> often have no control over.

> I have less such problems in Windows 95 than in earlier versions of
> Windows, and there are differences between versions of Paradox,
> but it is still unacceptable. Of course the comp.databases.paradox
> newsgroup gives numerous tips on the issue, but the basic problem is still
> there and my system still cannot be trusted.

Suggests WINDOWS is the problem

Quote:

> Finally, it should be mentioned that my knowledge of the system (Paradox)
> always could be better. There are always courses one could take and books
> one could read, but it should not be neccessary to study for years to be able
> to do standard programming. Or is it?

> As far as I can understand, I have a choice today:

> ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Svein Olav Mytting, Europe                         Democracy must be stopped


Svein,

I have several PARADOX applications working with WIN 3.11 for WG which are
being used as the central control program for several businesses and
companies.  It is a great development tool.

Most are multi-user.  It works.  Takes some learning though to make it work
well.

The Run-Time system sux.  It is totally dangerous for multi-user apps.
Perhaps you could install both, just to prove that you would legitimately
like to follow the law.

I agree, it does appear that the runtime system has not been tested, just
put together ad-hoc.

--
Raymond Kennington


Keywords:

Consultant, Developer, Manager, Programmer, Teacher, Lecturer, Researcher,
Mathematician, Statistician, Mensan, ...

Database, AI, NN, Expert Systems, Probability, Modelling, Games,
Language Translation, Optimisation, Protocol Engineering, Software Engineering,
OOD, OOP, GIS, Simulation, Problem Solving ...

Delphi, C, C++, PDOXWIN, Lisp, Lex, Yacc, Design/CPN & OGA, COBOL, SPSS,
GenStat, GLIM, BrainMaker, ExpPlan, ...

Bush Dancing, aerobics, step, circuit training, sign language, board games,
table tennis, children, women.



Fri, 31 Jul 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which professional environment to choose?

Quote:

>I have one thing to say...make the switch to Delphi!

So just how quickly can you develop a relatively simple and
straightfoward database using Delphi.  That is, are there wizards
which, once the table has been defined will automatically populate the
form with the fields.  Or create sub forms, as they're know in MS
Access or Grid's as they're known in VB.

Tony
Tony Toews, Independent Computer Consultant
Jack of a few computer related trades and master (or certified) of none.



Sun, 02 Aug 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which professional environment to choose?

Quote:


>>I have one thing to say...make the switch to Delphi!

>So just how quickly can you develop a relatively simple and
>straightfoward database using Delphi.  That is, are there wizards
>which, once the table has been defined will automatically populate the
>form with the fields.  Or create sub forms, as they're know in MS

Yes, there is such a wizard (or rather, "Expert") in Delphi.

Quote:
>Access or Grid's as they're known in VB.

A nice grid is also included with Delphi. Using the field editor
you can design column headings and width at design time.

--
=\

=/



Mon, 03 Aug 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 Which professional environment to choose?

Quote:


>>I have one thing to say...make the switch to Delphi!

>So just how quickly can you develop a relatively simple and
>straightfoward database using Delphi.  That is, are there wizards
>which, once the table has been defined will automatically populate the
>form with the fields.  Or create sub forms, as they're know in MS
>Access or Grid's as they're known in VB.

>Tony
>Tony Toews, Independent Computer Consultant
>Jack of a few computer related trades and master (or certified) of none.

Yes, Delphi does provide a Wizard for doing just that.


Mon, 03 Aug 1998 03:00:00 GMT  
 
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