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Why Visual FoxPro?

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Visual FoxPro has long endured as the preferred data centric application development tool. Visual Basic, Visual C++, Delphi, .Net, PHP and the like have no data manipulation abilities in the language and must rely on external databases such as SQL Server.

Beta testing of a 64-Bit compiler compiled Visual FoxPro EXE is scheduled to begin in April 2013. This if successful will be a "quantum leap" for the Visual FoxPro community. Microsoft dropped Visual FoxPro on the main stumbling block that to produce a 64-Bit compiled EXE was simply too costly in development time to do this! Well we all know now this was pure smoke screen! The main reason Microsoft at the time bought out Fox Software was to kill other DBF competitors such as Ashton-Tate.

In fact this came to pass! Of course, Microsoft also wanted access into the source code of Rushmore technologies that the original Fox development team had in order to boost performance of their other data base products including SQL Server. Added to this, Microsoft wanted to kill the offering for a development environment (Visual FoxPro) that enabled developers to produce applications without utilizing Microsoft’s SQL Server product. SQL Server is Microsoft’s primary profit engine. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the Visual FoxPro language has continued to flourish. The Visual FoxPro developer community has advanced Visual FoxPro to where there are more tools at the disposal of VFP developers than they ever had.

With or without a 64 but version, Visual FoxPro will run in Windows as long as there is a way to run 32-bit applications. Windows Server 2008 which supports running 32-bit application is supported until 2018. Since 90% of business applications run on 32--bit platforms, future versions of Windows are likely to support 32-bit applications for any years. Killing 32-bit application support would mean losing most of the corporate market which Microsoft vitally wants and needs. Taking advantage of Windows VM (Virtual Machine) functionality, even a 32-bit OS can extent Windows support for Visual FoxPro indefinitely.

Here’s why Visual FoxPro has endured and is by far the best data centric application development tool :

    • Ability to develop an application far more rapidly than using other languages by entry  level  or advanced programmers.
    • Built-in high performance database engine.
    • Great application development prototyping tool for a team of engineers and developers because of ease of learning and maintenance of applications
       by non-programmers.
    • Large and very active developer community for programming support, eliminating any need for Microsoft technical support.
    • Very low cost for Visual FoxPro and supplemental software, many being freeware and open source (CodePlex and VFPx http://vfpx.codeplex.com/).
    • Very extensive third party sources of supplemental software, extending Visual FoxPro’s impressive native capabilities.
    • The number of installed active Visual FoxPro applications is very large.  The number of developer is estimated to be over 500,000. 

The Visual FoxPro community is very active, adding functionality in the form of software classes design to be incorporated in Visual FoxPro applications and third party packages, extending Visual FoxPro to new levels. The Visual FoxPro community has active developer and user groups, forums and blogs where members freely exchange programs, knowledge and techniques. A number of companies offer formal training for Visual FoxPro developers and users. The SouthWest Fox developer conferences such ashttp://www.swfox.net/2011/sessionstrack.aspx and the VFPx open source software site http://vfpx.codeplex.com/ with free downloads are indicators for the high activity level of the Visual FoxPro community.

The functionality of Visual FoxPro is thoroughly documented in Microsoft’s web based knowledge base. The Visual FoxPro community has an even more vast collection of knowledge on the web forums, blogs as well as e-books and printed and e-journals.

At MicroComputer Task Group, Visual FoxPro emerged as the preferred application development language, beating out Basic, Visual Basic, C++, Visual C++, Delphi, .Net and PHP and others.  The major benefits of Visual FoxPro are:

  • Ability to develop an application far more rapidly than using other languages.
  • Built-in high performance database engine.
  • Great application development prototyping tool for a team of engineers and developers because of ease of learning and maintenance of applications by non-programmers.
  • Large and very active developer community for programming support, eliminating any need for Microsoft technical support.
  • Very extensive third party sources of supplemental software, extending Visual FoxPro’s impressive native capabilities.
  • Very low cost for Visual FoxPro and supplemental software, many being freeware and open source. 
  • The number of installed active Visual FoxPro applications is very large.  The number of developer is estimated to be over 500,000. 

While Microsoft is not planning further enhancements to Visual FoxPro, this should not a deterrent to developing new applications using Visual FoxPro.  The Visual FoxPro community is very active, adding functionality in the form of software classes design to be incorporated in Visual FoxPro applications and third party packages, extending Visual FoxPro to new levels. The Visual FoxPro community has active developer and user groups, forums and blogs where members freely exchange programs, knowledge and techniques.  A number of companies offer formal training for Visual FoxPro developers and users.  The SouthWest Fox developer conferences such as http://www.swfox.net/2011/sessionstrack.aspx and the VFPx open source software site http://vfpx.codeplex.com/ with free downloads are indicators for the high activity level of the Visual FoxPro community. 
Microsoft has documented all the functionality of Visual FoxPro thoroughly in their web based knowledge base.  The Visual FoxPro community has an even more vast collection of knowledge on the web forums, blogs as well as e-books and printed and e-journals. 

A number of of application development products have software that are compatible with Visual FoxPro, namely as Servoy Developer, Lianja App Builder (Lianja),  Polar Fox (Alaska Software) and dBase (dBase LLC).  These products provide an effective path for migrating Visual FoxPro applications and extending investments in VFP applications for many years.  Moreover, Servoy, Lianja, and Polar Fox apps run on the Web and mobile devices as well as a LAN. 

Visual FoxPro will run in Windows as long as there is a way to run 32-bit applications.  Windows Server 2008 which supports running 32-bit application is supported until 2018.  Since 90% of business applications run on 32--bit platforms, future versions of Windows are likely to support 32-bit applications for any years.  Killing 32-bit application support would mean losing most of the corporate market which Microsoft vitally wants and needs.  Taking advantage of Windows VM (Virtual Machine) functionality, even a 32-bit OS can extent Windows support for Visual FoxPro indefinitely. 

MicroComputer Task Group’s expertise and success at developing HVAC selection applications should be a significant factor for a business in selecting a developer.   MicroComputer Task Group brings to the development project engineering, mathematical, and HVAC experience and knowhow not typically found in the typical programmer pool.

 

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With its local cursor engine, tight coupling between language and data, and powerful features, such as object-oriented programming, Microsoft’s Visual FoxPro 9.0 is a great tool for building database solutions of all sizes, from LAN (Local Area Network) and standalone desktop and client/ser ver database applications to data-intensive COM components and XML Web services.
Visual FoxPro 9.0 is an application development tool for building extremely powerful database applications and components. Its data-centric, object-oriented language offers developers a robust set of tools for building database applications on the desktop, client/server, or on the Web, through components and XML Web services. Developers will have the necessary tools to manage data from organizing tables of information, running queries, and creating an integrated relational database management system (DBMS) to programming a fully developed data management application for end users. 

Q: Can I use Visual FoxPro to build Web applications?
Visual FoxPro COM components can be used with Internet Information Services (IIS) to build high-powered Internet database applications. This is because Visual FoxPro components can be called from Active Server Pages (ASP). Visual FoxPro is compatible with ASP but works even better in conjunction with the more modern ASP.NET. The components will retrieve and manipulate data, and will build some of the HTML returned to the user. 

Q: Can you consume XML Web services with Visual FoxPro?
Yes, Visual FoxPro 9.0 makes it easy to consume XML Web services by integrating the SOAP Toolkit into the product.

Q: Is Visual FoxPro 9.0 compatible with Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005?
Yes. We improved XML support and added new data types in Visual FoxPro 9.0 which improves .NET interop and SQL Server compatibility. Moreover the 'Sedna' add-on pack includes improvements to the Data Explorer and the Upsizing Wizard. These have significant improvements to support SQL Server 2005.

Q: How does Visual FoxPro 9.0 compare to SQL Server?
We do not contrast Visual FoxPro versus SQL Server. We position SQL Server as a database engine and Visual FoxPro as a developer tool. While Visual FoxPro has a database engine built-in, it is not positioned as a stand-alone database engine only. The trend is for an increasing amount of Visual FoxPro based applications to use SQL Server as the data storage in the solution. Of course this is not required, it depends on the requirements of the solution. SQL Server offers security, reliability, replication, and many other features of a full relational database engine while the Visual FoxPro database system is an open file based DBF system that does not have many of those features. We leave it up to developers and companies to position and to compare various Microsoft products and technologies with each other and decide which ones are best for them to use when and how.

Q: Will there be a new version of Visual FoxPro 9.0?
No, but Visual FoxPro continues to evolve via it’s developer community.  The developer community is large and actively engaged in user forums, holding developer conferences and contributing significant ad-on’s on  VFPx.   

http://vfpx.codeplex.com/
codeplex
http://www.swfox.net/
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