Update property settings in bulk with this useful utility.

SPEED Ferret Eases the Pain of Spec Changes

Update property settings in bulk with this useful utility.

Specification changes are one of the banes of the developer's working life. I've had customers come to me late in the development cycle with requests ranging from "could we have a blue background on all the forms?" to "oh, but we don't call that an order number, we call it a booking number-sorry, it's printed wrong on the forms we gave you." Depending on the size of the application under development, such seemingly minor changes can take hours or days to implement.

Consider changing "order number" to "booking number." To do a thorough job, you should change this term everywhere it appears on the user interface, rename all the controls holding that information so that their names make sense, and fix up everywhere that you refer to those controls in code. This can be a large (and boring!) job.

SPEED Ferret, from Black Moshannon Systems, is a utility designed to make this sort of change quick and easy. This utility does one thing, and does it extremely well: search and replace. So what's so cool about that? Answer: SPEED Ferret can search and replace in property values as well as in source code-functionality that Microsoft has never delivered in its development environments.

For example, suppose you want to change all of the form backgrounds in an Access project from dark gray to blue. Normally that would involve opening each form, finding the BackColor property, and changing it. With SPEED Ferret, you can do this as a search-and-replace operation that affects every form in the project. Or every form in multiple projects. Or every form except forms named "frmMenu" in multiple projects. Or...well, the flexibility here is amazing.

SPEED Ferret's also able to save your choices for future re-use. You can save find and replace operations, object filters (which let you limit the scope of operations to particular objects), property filters (which do the same for particular properties) and substitution lists. You can also help SPEED Ferret define "interfaces" to ActiveX components and COM servers that are not already on its extensive built-in lists; these interfaces let you extend search and replacement operations into new classes of objects. A handy wizard makes interface definition simple.

SPEED Ferret allows search and replace operations across both property values and source code. (Click image to view larger version.)

SPEED Ferret can do property searching and replacing in Access 97 or 2000 (including MDB or ADP files), SQL Server 6.5 or 7.0, and Visual Basic 5 or 6. Since it uses an installable driver architecture, I assume they're already working on Access 2002 and SQL Server 2000 compatibility.

The list price for SPEED Ferret is $149, and you can download a trial copy from http://www.moshannon.com/productdownloads.html. You may never have realized that a search and replace utility could be so useful, but once you try it you're unlikely to ever want to do without it again.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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