Associated Data Developments Ltd.

Home | Database & Software | Website design | eCommerce | Web Servers | Web Services | Internet Apps | Broadband | Technologies | Site map | Links | Contact us
Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!

Quotes from VFP/Linux discussions:

~~~  "I conclude that there are two ways of constructing a software design: One way is to make it so simple there are obviously no deficiencies, and the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies." -- Tony Hoare, Turing Award Lecture 1980

VFP is not "just another DB"... nothing comes close to the power of the fully OOP VFP developement package, in terms of Rapid development, reusablility of objects and its built-in data engine.

VFP is an extremely powerful, fully object oriented, RAD tool for developing database applications. It is often compared with Delphi and VB... neither comparison does it justice: Imagine the OOP power and flexibility of Delphi, combined with the Ease of use (and variant-like weak typing) of VB without the horrible, inconsistent VB syntax (not to mention that VB is not OOP at all). All the variations on C (C++, C#, Java, etc) are more flexible and powerful (without considering data access power), but they take MUCH more code (and libraries) to accomplish the same tasks that can be done gracefully with VFP.

The native database is incredibly fast (for databases under 2 Gig in size), it supports ODBC for non-native databases and it's interpreted which allows for very complex commands of various kinds.

It's very easy to do database stuff in it, it's OOP and it's GUI.

Let's not forget, MSFT purchased FP. Fox Software was a small company from Ohio I think that made a well designed, elegant xbase engine. It ran on Xenix/Unix. Our company ran a multi-user business system on Fox that was comparable to a mini-computer system. This was when everybody else would be happy runing Wordperfect with their single user DOS/Windows session. It was/is? extraordinarly flexible, for example there were some extensions written by a programmer at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena that were simply amazing. I think Java/Python/PHP have somewhat taken the limelight, but this illustrates that once you have a great peice of software, people will write other great peices of software that works with it. One programmer who wrote a retail system in Fox called it the COBOL of the 90s. And I agree with you point - the software simply gets the job done. Often consultants/managers get lost in the "we can do this in JAVA (or .NET or whatever) it'll be cool", where the real requirement can be met in good ol FoxPro. So everybody gets distracted by FUD, while the FPers keep writing code that works. But point also taken that RAD tools!= great design.

- On VFP's relationship to all this, the concepts that comprise VFP are just too significant to go away. It is a fine programming language and product development system that can fit into any future paradigm. The problems with computing systems aren't caused by anything to do with VFP, they are organization and systems management problems. And, even if MS does drop VFP at some point in the future, someone else will pick it up. That's why I'm not that worried that much about MS's plans one way or the other. IMO, a big reason MS has kept VFP "alive-enough" is to keep the competition at bay. Imagine if MS dropped VFP and some other company picked it up - with a focus on making it stronger to compete with SQL-Server + something else? That's what MS is afraid of.

Speaking as the lone Java guy in an MS/FoxPro dominated shop, this subject is of special interest to me. In a nutshell, no other environment has the native data handling capabilities combined with a syntactically simple (which I think can still run dbIII+ era code!) base language that at the same time is still evolving (mutating?) to allow for some real OO design if you want it combined with a decently friendly dev environ and GUI builder tools combined with a single point of sale and support that makes the PHBs feel comfy. Someone nailed it in an earlier comment when they mentioned that the user community is keeping Fox alive. The users have been so vocal and tenacious that I think MS has said, "Screw it, let's just keep five or ten guys working on Fox and they can do whatever the hell they want with it." Every time a new version comes out, my Fox flag waving compatriot mentions how it has about ten new features that he's thought of since the last version and that he's been wanting, or that replace a hacked together solution the community has come up with, etc. Most of the time I point out that the new geegaws are already in Java, but it's never sufficient to make up for the lack of native data handling or GUI building...ugh. Fox is a product MS got right in spite of their best efforts to kill it.

Fox is a product MS got right in spite of their best efforts to kill it.

Errr... No, actually, Fox is a product that someone else got right (Fox Software), which was then bought by MS.

You are being too paranoid.

One of the advantages with VFP has always been that the client app/exe/whatever is 100% license/royalty free. As opposed to a VB/SQL Server type solution where MS will clip the ticket on the number of seats the solution you provided takes up. (Or per processor if above 50 or 60 seats.)

As an aside MS has wanted to force VFP developers to VB or .NET for a while, but the community is very loyal (and vocal) as VFP is a damn good product.

Wow. I'm impressed by this. VFP is like the elderly uncle that just won't die and vacate the den. The more Microsoft tries to kill it, the more momentum it gains.

The VFP user community is of course mostly responsible for this. Sites like UniversalThread have "kept the flame" going for many years, much to the chagrin of Certain People at MS that would very much like the thing to die and go away. This is the difference between VB (which got effectively killed with .NET) and VFP - the people who use it. They're a vociferous, dedicated and almost fanatical bunch. But they've gotten their way every single time.

I remember the endless threads back in the mid 90's on Usenet about how VFP was on the way out, to be replaced by VB and VC++. They're on their 8th version now, going strong. VB only got to 6, and MS never really solved its problems (VC++ is a different issue - it's actually used by Microsoft so they can't touch it). Guess who's laughing now.

And I doubt this time things will go differently.

I think that little ol' VFP has the gurus at MS stumped!

MS has an extremely valuable asset:

1. Awesome, reliable product
2. The model of a loyal and thriving developer community

And doesn't have any idea of what to do with this asset!

The VFP user community is of course mostly responsible for this.

Exactly. You can't imagine the number of times that we have been told by Microsoft to move to VB, VC++, Windows DNA, .Net, or whatever the flavor of the month is at Redmond. And I must say to those who think that VFP is simply the old FoxPro with the word "Visual" tacked on: you don't know what the hell you are talking about. I program in Java and Python, and I have to say that VFP's object model is just as strong as either of those languages. I've written 3-tier apps against MySQL backends with web interfaces, simply because the VFP object model makes programming business objects so clean and easy.

VFP is unique among MS products in that regard. VB had a faithful following, but it was always too big and too loud and too contaminated by weekend "programmers" to have an effect over the company. VFP folks - they're the Mujahedin of Microsoft users. Trust me, you don't want end up surrounded in a newsgroup by six angry VFP knights in shining armor with issues and a grudge. Talk about flame wars.

I mentioned those Usenet threads in my original post - I'll eat my crow now but back then I thought they were on crack for being so vocal about a tool that everyone else saw as dying (like BSD *grin*). Plus, the "inside word" from Microsoft at the time (~1997) was that VFP was indeed going to be killed. Haha - Not.

That's life, I guess.

So it's their own product and their trying to kill it, it probably violates their application standards, what's it do actually work, or is it that it doesn't crash enough to be a true ms product :D

If GOD Had ment me to use M$ products .... I'd have been born without a BRAIN.

I always love demoing VFP to someone whose impression of it was formed back in the DOS days. Things like the Class Browser usually stun them, and then manipulating MySQL tables in an interactive browse, all from the Command Window, usually knocks them for a loop. I've programmed in many other languages in my time, but I still think that VFP kicks all their butts.


Yep, It sure does. I inherited a nasty FoxBase app (yes, I said FoxBase) a few years back which really didn't play well with modern hardware/OS/networking. I opend the code up in VFP, and it was running fine. A few weeks later, it had a GUI with no major code revisions....the old text-based interface still worked just fine if someone wanted to use it. And I don really consider myself a coder....I was just a lone sysadmin who needed to make some things happen quickly.

Anybody rememeber that crap from a few years back that VFP was going to become a part of VB? Never heard much about it after a year or so. Gotta love those hardware VFP users.

Ancient history - Aston-tate tried to kill Fox because it was too good - instead Ashton-tate was defeated by its own law suit against FOX - that was better than David and Goliath.

MS (another Goliath but smarter) bought Fox because it was too good. MS pigeonholed VFP but it keeps wanting to break out from the MS marketing machine. MS must hold it down. But they can never kill it.

I think this is where the real contention is. Microsoft isn't going to press the issue about running VFP on linux because it's clearly anti-competitive. They will, however, try to stop their DLLs from being distributed to non Windows machines. Microsoft's distinction here is absurd. They want to force developers to distribute MS DLLs with their VFP software so that it is impossible to distribute software to non MS machines without violating the FoxPro EULA.

Let us not forget, several years ago Ashton-Tate sued Fox Software and SCO alleging patent violations. The suit was dismissed when it was revealed that dBASE was secretly derived from a public domain mainframe programming language called JPLDIS. But then there was an appeal and the original trial Judge reversed his own ruling so the issue was never resolved in court, and the acquisition of Ashton-Tate by Borland included a provision dropping the suit. Borland's chairman at the time, Philippe Kahn, conceded that the dBASE language is an open standard. (Facts according to the 1992 FoxPro 2.0 Developer's Handbook by David M. Kalman (Bantam Computer Books))

Since VFP contains a lot of this dBASE language at its core, we could argue that VFP is Public Domain at least in part.

Bruce makes a good argument. Of course, he makes a good argument for JAVA in TIJ as well, but JAVA falls flat on it's face in real world application due to performance problems...

> Just 5 years ago it was DCOM this, DCOM that, it was the panacea du jour.

Oh, but now there's .Net, and *that* will never change! We should invest all our money in re-writing everything to .Net!