Windows7 and DfD

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Windows7 and DfD

Postby JohnBaldwin » Mon Apr 18, 2011 3:43 pm

Hello all

Although I retired a good year or five ago, I still get called upon to maintain some DfD apps that I wrote but which haven't yet had a chance to be re-written (eg, in SQL or whatever) by my successors in the hard-stretched IT Dept.

Nevertheless, they and their network have almost entirely moved over to Windows7, and are apparently running the DfD apps satisfactorily.

In the last few days, I have been called in to look at one particular app with which there have been no problems in recent years ... but it had now seemed to have 'stopped working'. When I investigated, I could detect no problem with the relevant procedure, and so I made a copy of everything and took it back to my home computer (which still is on XP). I found 'no problem' and couldn't reproduce the failure.

The long and short of several hours' work is that on the work network, a machine still running XP does run the app satisfactorily while any using a desktop from Windows7 does not.

So the moral - on the face of it - is that there ARE differences and one cannot assume that everything will function as it has in the past.

(If anyone wishes me to be more specific about code which 'worked' satisfactorily in the one environment and not the other, I can elaborate.)
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Phil Winkler » Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:18 pm

But, John,

What is the difference in this case?
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Adrian Jones » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:43 am

32 or 64 bit Win 7?
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby JohnBaldwin » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:58 am

32 bit.

But things have moved on (as often happens in the IT world) in the last 18 hours.

My (former) IT colleagues have now 'resolved' the problem of running the DfD app under Windows7 and possibly getting incorrect results. The following actions are necessary:

1. Right click on the relevant DfD app icon
2. Select Properties
3. Select the Compatibility tab
4. In the 'Compatibility mode' box, check 'Run this program in compatibly mode for' and select Windows 2000

- and thereafter (it being 'sticky' in operation) you should find that the app behaves as written and anticipated ...

Hope this saves some other 'old fashioned' people like me (ie, those still using DfD) some heartache and time as the rest of the world 'moves on'.
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Pete Tabord » Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:53 am

DFD 16M will not run on any 64 bit version of Windows 7 . It will run on a64 bit machine if you install 32bit Windows 7. It will only network correctly even on a 32bit machine if you set it to an XP or earler 'compatibility mode'. (Which you can only do if DFD is installed locally and not run from a batch file). You will also need to ensure your server is win 2003 or earlier. (Or force it to use SMB1 network support).
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby JohnBaldwin » Thu Apr 21, 2011 11:14 am

Many thanks, Pete. May I infer that that is a authoritative statement and deals with ALL the issues involved (ie, that one can be completely confident that there are no other things likely to emerge which might of themselves lead to incorrect results)?

John
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Pete Tabord » Mon May 09, 2011 10:03 am

I can't guarantee there isn't anything else that is Win 7 specific, but I think it unlikely. This is of course on top of all the other difficulties already known with running DFD on modern kit such as addressing USB printers.

I have tried running it in various forms of DOS emulator, but the problem there is that even if you can get it to run you have to load DOS network shells (in the emulator) first. So on the whole I think using the compatibility option is the easiest solution. If you are obliged to use 64bit windows, the XP Virtual Machine (or XP Mode if your hardware doesn't support virtual machines)might be a way forward but I haven't tested it. I've tried to use XP mode for running old DOS utilities on my 64bit computer but it is far from intuitive.
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Gil Fleming » Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:45 pm

Just trawling the forum and saw Pete's comments about DFD not running on Windows 7 64 bit. This is true, but you can run DFD on a virtual 32 bit XP machine on a Windows 7 64 bit installation.
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Phil Winkler » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:34 pm

While that's true, Gil, on some installs it really runs poorly.

32 bit is far superior since it has ntvdm.exe which 64 bit does not.

There are few shops other then graphics places that will receive any benefit from 64 bit. Just so much hype, IMO.
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Graham Smith » Tue Jun 05, 2012 8:42 pm

Gil Fleming wrote:...you can run DFD on a virtual 32 bit XP machine on a Windows 7 64 bit installation.

And if you like that, you'll love this: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/amish-buggy-robert-harmon.html
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Fred Kingston » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:33 pm

:D :D :D You've been preaching that song for 20 years Graham.. It was funny then, and it's still funny.. We'll be dead in our graves and MS will still have a product that 4.53 runs on.. :mrgreen:
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Pete Tabord » Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:17 am

Fred, you can't run DFD on 64bit versions of Windows. Period. Or any other DOS product, for that matter. Your only choice is to use one or another kind of emulation.

One type of emulation is to set up XP virtual machines under Windows 7 and indeed DFD will run. Just as with any other emulator that has numerous disadvantages, not least that it has serious effects on the performance of the machine. Again, you still need to set up for SMB1 support plus all the historical kludges already needed. When I tried it 16M was unstable and kept GPF'ing, but that may simply be a question of finding (yet more) settings. Dease 4.53 worked a treat. (Of course it would!)

You could dual boot XP, you could run DosBox or something similar, but all of these have serious limitations and complexities that would have a modern IT department in hysterical disbelief.

The truth is, that for practical use in a commercial environment, the clockwork has run down, the gas has run out, and DFD - I repeat, like _any_ DOS product - is just rolling on the last dregs of its momentum.

Even I have had to finally find Windows alternatives for DOS tools like Norton Commander, Brief, GSR, etc. etc. which I used daily in development up until I moved to a 64bit machine a year or so ago. What's the benefit of the 64bit machine? It compiles Ffenics in half the time compared to the same machine running 32bit OS. And it _never_ BSOD's. (YMMV!)
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Fred Kingston » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:07 pm

Windows 8 is coming in a 32bit version. Businesses here that use DataEase, that I'm aware of, don't even know or talk about 64bit. If their using DataEase now, they've already made the decision they'll control their environments to accomodate their DataEase investment.. I'm running DFD5.X in all flavors of Windows with no tweaking and it's incredibly stabile.. I've got one client that's spent close to $300k over the years trying to go somewhere else. All failures. Even two other developers have tried to convert to more modern platforms. Both failures. Last major system I saw get converted parallel to DFD 453 was a total re-write. Cost was $3MM <-- That's right. MILLION.. Took 2 years and a team of project managers and a half dozen full time employees in a university IT setting. After having their DFD app put to sleep for 6 months, they called me and asked how certain reports worked in their old system so they could try to replicate what they needed in the new system.. The old report ran in seconds, and the new report took hours.. $3MM and the developers didn't understand the power of relationships..

Trust me my friend.. The owners don't care about the hoops and all the techno-babble about OS differences.. "just keep it running"..

:D
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Gil Fleming » Sun Jun 10, 2012 11:15 am

Fred, I have designed several very technical database systems over the past 20 years in DFD, including code to generate a complete website from within DFD. Much of the 'modern' functionality has come through calling external software (usually MS Word with macros) to dress up the output to satisfy the cosmetic and image requirements of the client. I still run a chemical manufacturing company using DFD for all core functions. However, the branching 9-option menu tree system still suffers from the requirement to go several menus deep and then reverse out in order to take a different path. I have circumnavigated this with DQL menu systems but it's always been a lot of work to achieve something fairly simple (simple to the user at any rate). I was excited by the release of DFW and that was an absolute disaster. Now I'm getting into ffenics and, with some little efort, I'm able to create a much more compact system with screens designed around the job requirements of the individual user. The ability to email an invoice, customised price list or statement to a customer at the click of a button, the ability to work with touch screens, the ability to have five or six screens of information on a tabbed control, all of these things give rich content whilst save time and money. I admit that ffenics has some quirky behaviour with things just 'breaking', but the end result is worth it and I'm sure future releases will improve stability and robustness. Users are getting younger and, unlike most of us, they have grown up with windows apps and UIs. I'm excited again about possibilities. In the days of DOS, DFD was definitely king of the hill. But then, at one time, T-Rex thought he was....
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Re: Windows7 and DfD

Postby Fred Kingston » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:14 pm

http://www.tnbankers.org/

Except for the graphic images.. this web site (look under the Banker, and Associates tabs) and all the Member actions and security is driven by DFD5.53

Their entire email system is centralized and driven by DFD via an Exchange server..
Their calendar and conference registration billing and scheduling is all DFD..
Their Continuing Education tracking for the state, going back 20 years, is in DFD and prints complete transcripts with a single menu..
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