Blog by Peter Lammersma - 

Recently, a dozen Uniface developers gathered at Uniface headquarters in Amsterdam. Some of them had driven for several hours to be here on time.

What was so important about this meeting? The answer is that these developers represent several organizations with one thing in common: they all trust Uniface for their most vital and business-critical applications. Something else the organizations have in common is that they all want to migrate to Uniface 10. That’s why they sent their developers to learn more about it.

A few weeks earlier, most of these developers had participated in a webinar where I told them about the major changes and enhancements in the latest version of Uniface. So, they had heard and seen a lot about these changes already, but on that particular evening in April it was time for some hands-on experience. As a well-known Uniface expert and business partner, I had been asked to guide my fellow developers through this process, and we had decided that ‘pizza session’ was a good name for it (more about this choice below).

The name reminds me of some evenings in my past. Software, cold pizza, and warm cola; what more does a developer need?

The evening consisted of three parts, starting with an optional slot for configuration support. Beforehand, the participants had received instructions on how to install Uniface on their notebooks and create a development environment. If they had run into problems, they were invited to arrive early so we could help them with the configuration. As luck would have it, someone did show up during this pre-pizza config support part of the evening. No, he didn’t need help, though – he just had a three-hour drive and loved to be on time.

According to Mr. Maslow and his hierarchy of needs  the second part of the evening was the most important. It’s obvious that in 1943, when he published his theory, software as we know it had not yet been invented. Nevertheless, everybody enjoys pizzas. Thirty minutes later, a dozen pizzas had completely disappeared, leaving the same number of developers eager to start.

The third and final part of the evening was the hands-on bit. At the back of the classroom, Ton Blankers, Uniface account manager, and Gerton Leijdekker, software architect, were present to answer any questions I couldn’t handle. I kicked off with some theory – just enough for the participants to get started. For the next two hours, a classroom filled with software developers worked on a couple of assignments.

This pizza session was all about the changes to the Uniface 10 IDE. I can talk for hours about these, but as I was limited to a 30-minute timebox, I focused on the major changes – for instance:

-          The terminology. What is a Main Development Object?

-          … and how is it related to the editors in Uniface?

-          What is the difference between Templates, Objects and Models?

-          … and is this really different from what we are used to?

-          What is the Compiled Modules Inspector?

The assignments were about enhancing the IDE with your own utilities. In three exercises, the developers created User Defined Worksheets and User Defined Menus. They learned how to use the IDE in Uniface 10. But the assignments were also about the changes in the meta dictionary to gain full control over the IDE.

Was it a successful evening? Everybody was able to install and configure Uniface 10 (which takes no more than 5 minutes), the pizzas were great, and everyone finished the exercises. But most importantly, the developers discovered themselves why Uniface 10 is so much better than all previous versions. And now they believe it is time to migrate to version 10.

We at Uniface were more than satisfied with the outcome of the very first pizza session of 2019. The security guys were curious, though: what was everyone so happy about? Mission accomplished.

Why do we call it ‘pizza session’? Uniface is just like pizza. Everybody loves it. It’s convenient. And with the right basis (the bottom), everything is possible. Used as a plural, pizza sessions, it is a reusable concept. Yes, we want to organize these sessions a few times a year. There is so much more to discuss and learn about Uniface. The next pizza session is planned for June.