Friday, 30 October 2009

Simple FDO development tip.

When you develop any application in .net in Visual Studio using the FDO API you would normally reference the following dlls from your SDK bin directory.


However, when debugging/running the application, you need to have *all* the files from the SDK bin directory in the application's output directory, otherwise things will break.

You could create a post-build event to copy these required files, or alternatively you could do this:

Right click your project and choose Add - Existing Item

Browse to your directory that contains your FDO dlls, select everything and choose Add As Link

Create a "com" directory in your project, and repeat this process for the .sql files in the "com" directory.

Now these linked files are in your project. They should have a shortcut overlay to indicate they are linked files. Select all these linked files, and set the Copy to Output Directory property to Copy Always

Now everytime you build your project (for debugging or deployment), your application and everything in your FDO bin directory are copied to the output directory. No post-build hackery required!

Visualizing textual geometry

Wouldn't be nice to "see" what that gibberish you just typed actually looks like?

Coming in the next release of FDO Toolbox, yes you can!

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

FDO Toolbox v0.8.8

Here's a short bugfix release. The installer has an updated .net framework detection routine, which should now properly work on Vista and Windows 7.

This release also includes official GDAL dlls missing from the previous release (meaning you now have a more capable OGR provider) and fixes some data preview issues with the Oracle Provider, bringing Oracle support up to a usable level.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Is FDO Toolbox an FME?

Here's a question that was thrown my way during FOSS4G:

"Are you trying to do an FME?"

The answer: Yes and No.

Yes, because like FME, FDO Toolbox can do transformation of data.

But also no, because FDO Toolbox is a multi-purpose tool, of which data transformation is one such purpose. The data transformation of FDO Toolbox is for simple scenarios (converting one data source to another) and I intend to keep it this way. FME does what it does well and can handle whatever complex scenario you throw at it.

If you need to do simple conversion or basic transformation of data, FDO Toolbox is suited for the job. If you need to do complex data transformation/massaging, then use FME which was made to serve this purpose.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

FDO Toolbox 0.8.7 (Fresh from FOSS4G)

Here's a new release of FDO Toolbox, fresh from the FOSS4G 2009 conference. This was the exact build I was demonstrating during the presentation, which went better than I expected.

Being my first presentation (ever!), I had been frantically practising the night before just to get the content and pacing right. I guess it all paid off at the end, as the presentation went quite smoothly, with none of the stuttering and loss of words that I had during my test runs :-)

The new main features include:

Enhanced Bulk Copy

The bulk copy mechanism has been drastically improved in this release, it has a whole new user interface and XML file definition. The changes are too much for this post, which I will leave for a future post.

IronPython Scripting

With the introduction of a IronPython scripting engine, FDO Toolbox now has a 2nd extensibility point. You can now customise and drive FDO Toolbox through python scripts. I will be posting some example scripts in the near future to demonstrate what can be done with a scripting engine.

The side-effect of introducing IronPython is that the minimum .net Framework requirement is now 2.0 SP1. The installer has been updated to check for this version. If you have .net Framework 3.5 (or 3.5 SP1) installed, you will already have this installed.

Note: My presentation slides are also available for download from that site. The presentation (as with every presentation at FOSS4G) has been recorded, so expect a video version to crop up soon.

Monday, 19 October 2009

FOSS4G 2009 beckons.

I'll be flying off to Sydney tomorrow for FOSS4G 2009, but I won't be attending Day 1.

Instead, Tuesday will be spent fine-tuning my presentation material with the help of my Sydney-based colleagues for the main event on Wednesday, and I'll be mingling about on Thursday, finally departing mid-Friday afternoon.

Hope to see you there.