For a while now, I have debated whether or not to post this entry. About six months ago, I wrote most of this article, then decided not to post it. So yeah, I’m wishy-washy on this one. Since then, Microsoft has put a lot of emphasis on HTML5 and introduced Windows 8 and the Metro UI, leaving a lot of existing MS developers wondering about the future of their previous technology choices. With that in mind, I think it’s good to look at Microsoft’s treatment of VFP and how their decision processes work in regard to development tools.
Can you believe it has been over four years since Microsoft posted A Message to the Community and announced that Microsoft would cease development on Visual FoxPro? It has been over three years since Microsoft released VFP9 SP2 and Sedna, and over six years since VFP 9.0 was released! While I was saddened that Microsoft chose to cancel VFP, I appreciated the sensitivity the Fox Team, particularly YAG, showed to the Fox community. However, at the time, I wished Microsoft would have been more transparent and given a more thorough explanation of their reasons for making that decision. YAG may have been constrained in what he could/should say in his position, and I imagine there was some disagreement with the decision within the Fox Team, but those are just guesses. Regardless, we didn’t get an official statement from Microsoft, other than it was happening, and the Fox community was left to piece together the reasons. That led to comments like “writing on the wall”, “head in the sand” and conjecture on lack of sales vs. lack of marketing, etc. Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that VFP was not a “strategic product” for Microsoft, but why was that and what does it mean? Answers lead to more questions, but I think that is worth exploring.
Note that this blog entry is just more conjecture/opinion. I don’t have any more facts than you do. I am just putting all the pieces I have on the table and building a picture. Over the past couple of years, I have debated whether or not to write this, because it is a negative subject and obvious flame-bait. But I think enough time has passed now and it could be a good thing. To move forward, you have to let go of the past, and this has helped me do that. I still use VFP as my primary tool, but this has helped me “get over” Microsoft’s decision. It may also be helpful in deciding where you want to go in the future. Now, I am in no way defending Microsoft or saying I agree with their decision. I am just trying to understand why they would make a business decision to discontinue FoxPro. Statements here may be “obvious” or “old news”, but I think it is helpful to pull it all together.
“Not a Strategic Product”
Enough disclaimers, let’s get to the subject at hand. Microsoft has stated for some time that FoxPro was not a strategic product for them. What does that mean? To my mind, a strategic product is one that Microsoft would invest in heavily and recommend as the primary path for their customers. MS would build upon the technology and form an entire “strategy” around it. VB was strategic. COM was strategic. .NET is strategic. Fox was not. Why not? To answer that, I think you have to look at why Microsoft bought Fox Software in the first place.
Why Buy Fox?
So, why did Microsoft buy Fox Software. I will quote an article Jordan Powell wrote in FoxTalk when Access 1.0 and FoxPro 2.5 were about to ship:
Microsoft was working on its Access DBMS which uses a modern variant of the BASIC language. It had to have been embarrassing for Microsoft to have such a glaring hole in its product lineup. They had no DBMS, and their partnership with Ashton-Tate failed to get Microsoft SQL Server off the ground. Some of the marketing types at MS realized that FoxPro was the best version of X-Base out there, and had been trying to talk Bill Gates into doing something about it. They knew that the X-Base language commanded a huge segment of the market and that a product which used the X-Base language would get them into the DBMS market in a big way. They had the marketing resources to put behind FoxPro, and Fox had some interesting and useful technology — not to mention some very talented people, the kind Microsoft likes.
More recently, Ken Levy wrote the following in his blog:
The purchase of Fox Software for $173 million in 1992 was very strategic for Microsoft, and was the biggest corporate purchase Microsoft had ever made up until that time. Borland had purchased Aston-Tate’s which included dBase III and IV, and had Paradox. And growing in popularity at the time was PowerBuilder as the king of client/server tools, with Sybase releasing PowerBuilder 12 last year ironically based on the free Visual Studio Shell runtime. Microsoft needed three things from the Fox Software deal – the Fox developer team, the Fox technology, and the customer market share of FoxPro/FoxBase. Microsoft was just starting work on Access and it was more targeting power users, but there was still some overlap. Visual Basic was still in its early days.
Basically, Microsoft wanted a stronger presence in the database market and they were in severe need of database products, people, and technology. Fox Software was a perfect fit for them. To give you a little more context, in 1992 the xBase market was still booming, Access (Cirrus) was still in development, Visual Basic 1.0 had been released and VB 2.0 was in development, and the first release of SQL Server for Windows was not until 1993.
I think if you asked anyone “in the know” at Microsoft, they would tell you that the Fox acquisition was a resounding success (unlike other much more expensive acquisitions that Microsoft has recently dumped). They got a solid product, key technology that made its way into several other products, and valuable people that went on to take major roles in the company. Why then did FoxPro not share that level of success? I do not believe Microsoft had malicious plans to kill FoxPro from the beginning, but the landscape had changed, as it tends to do in technology. The xBase market declined.
xBase Market Decline
FoxPro was first and foremost a competitor in the xBase market. As that market declined, so did the value of FoxPro as a strategic product to Microsoft. What led to the decline of a technology that had been so popular in the 80’s and early 90’s? Technology trends are constantly changing, but here are few key things that in my opinion diminished the xBase market:
dBASE IV: dBASE IV was a buggy disaster, and it was two years before they released version 1.1. Borland bought Ashton-Tate, but could not undo the damage. dBASE for Windows was not released until 1994. This was good for FoxPro, which became the biggest fish in the xBase pond, but the pond itself began to shrink.
Lawsuit: Ashton-Tate sued Fox Software for cloning dBASE. The suit was dropped when Borland bought Ashton-Tate, but it could not have inspired confidence in the xBase market.
Client-Server: By the early 90’s, client-server technology picked up in popularity and developers were beginning to flock towards database servers and client-server development tools like PowerBuilder and VB. At the same time, Microsoft was trying to enter the server market with Windows NT and SQL Server, so I’m sure there was strong emphasis on this style of development from them. I believe there was talk of a “FoxServer” product at Fox Software, but it never saw the light of day before the Microsoft acquisition.
Those are reasons that the xBase market declined, but about now you’re thinking that VFP is so much more than an xBase tool. I couldn’t agree more. VFP can go toe-to-toe with VB, PowerBuilder, Delphi, .NET, and others. If FoxPro was supposed to “go quietly into the night”, someone forgot to tell the VFP 3.0 team, because they transformed the Fox into a full-fledged OOP development platform ready for the 32-bit world and beyond. So, why wasn’t the emphasis there from Microsoft?
An important point to make about Microsoft is that they are a follower of development trends, not a leader. With a few exceptions (the VB GUI designer comes to mind), Microsoft has not been the one to create a development trend. “Embrace and extend” was their motto, and they have done well with that. Windows was Microsoft’s answer to the Mac. .NET is Microsoft chasing Java into the enterprise. They follow current trends and they do so mercilessly. Even now, Microsoft is emphasizing HTML5, leaving Silverlight developers thinking “Wait, I thought we were on the cutting edge?” It would be out of character for Microsoft to promote and strategize around a product built for a market that was trending downwards. It’s nothing personal against the Fox, it’s just not in their DNA.
FoxPro Market Decline
Even with the xBase decline, if FoxPro revenue had continued upward, I wouldn’t be writing this article. Sales declined, and there are several reasons for that:
Power Users: Going all the way back to dBASE you could question whether it was a platform for power users with development capabilities or a platform for developers that power users could use. It was both. Visual FoxPro put it squarely in the developer category, and Access took over as the preferred database for power users. The result: much fewer licenses sold.
VB, SQL Server, .NET: VFP faced a lot of competition from other products within Microsoft. With the emphasis always on the latest trends, many developers felt compelled to move to other technologies.
Visual FoxPro: That’s right, VFP itself. While VFP 3.0 was a massive improvement in development capabilities (and most of us are happy with that decision), it was also a big leap from FoxPro 2.x in terms of learning curve. It took some developers quite a while to make the jump, and some never did.
Not Invented Here Syndrome: Microsoft took a great product and made it even better, which makes their treatment of FoxPro all the more frustrating. But Fox was still the stepchild and it was never going to supersede other products developed internally. By the time Microsoft purchased Fox, they had already made significant investments in VB, Access, and SQL Server. Those would be Microsoft’s strategic products while Fox would continue serving the declining xBase market and otherwise fit between the lines.
People had been foretelling the death of FoxPro since Microsoft bought it in 1992. What made 2007 the year when Microsoft finally decided to cancel it? Had sales declined to the point that Microsoft could no longer justify Fox development? Did they want to use the Fox Team in other parts of Microsoft? Did big customers move to something else? Were the people that cared gone or no longer in a position to do anything about it? Your guess is as good as mine. We will never know.
There are a couple of ways to look at this: 1) Microsoft always wanted to cancel Fox and they finally got their way, or 2) in spite of Fox not being a strategic product, Microsoft continue to create new versions for Fox developers. I tend to think of it as the latter. While there was always a question of Microsoft’s commitment to FoxPro, by the release of VFP 5, it had become clear that it would not be a strategic product. Per Ken Levy’s blog:
In the initial years after the Fox Software merger, Microsoft put a huge effort and lots of resources into creating VFP 3.0. There were about 50 people on the Fox team with a big marketing budget. In the following years, both Access and VB grew in market share and also competed in ways with the VFP market (and messaging), and by the time VFP 5.0 was released, many upper managers wanted Microsoft to just end VFP there. In fact, they did for a short time. I was there, in a meeting with 40 people, and the formal announcement was made to the Fox team that VFP was dead. It was very early 1996, and that meeting lead to the Gartner Group releasing their report that VFP was dead, which had a major impact on future VFP sales.
Most of Microsoft’s competitors would have ended it right there and VFP 5 would have been the last version. So, the real question isn’t “Why 2007?”, it’s “Why not 1996?”. Ken Levy continues:
But the Fox team members along with the community helped convince the developer tools management to keep VFP evolving while decreasing the resources. In fact, the primary reason VFP lasted another decade with 4 more versions released was more about Windows sales than VFP sales. There are many Windows machines running VFP apps. When Steve Ballmer jumps around like monkey boy and yells “developers, developers, developers”, he’s thinking about selling Windows and Office more than sales of developer tools.
If VFP 5 had been the last version, then I may have never had the joy of working with Visual FoxPro, because I really didn’t make the jump from FoxPro 2.x until version 6.0. In fact, I’m not sure where I’d be today, as I took my current job back in 2000 to upgrade a Fox 2.x app to VFP. So, I’m definitely thankful Microsoft saw fit to continue development.
That said, Microsoft’s handling of VFP support since the announcement has been appalling. VFP 9 SP2 introduced several bugs. After months of begging, we were able to get them to fix one key bug, but others remain that will never be fixed and must be worked around. Microsoft claims that VFP is supported until 2015, but I’m sorry, that’s not support. To be clear, I’m not blaming the Fox Team for this. I’m blaming Microsoft for the fact that there was no Fox Team and management was unwilling to provide resources to fix these problems. Real support ended when the Fox Team was disbanded and assigned to other projects.
So, what now? That’s the big question Fox developers are asking themselves or have already answered. I don’t know about you, but I continue to be extremely busy with Visual FoxPro as my primary development tool. I also keep tabs on new technologies as they are introduced with an eye towards how they could benefit me. Maybe that will be the subject of a future post.
136 Replies to “Why Microsoft Cancelled Visual FoxPro”
Why wouldone support VFP when you can sell a copy of Access to every user while selling only one copy of VFP to each developer — a no brainer from marketeer Balmer’s point of view.
The canonical reason for this has always been that Foxpro apps sold copies of windows, not copies of the IDE
Hi, just ran into this randomly, but for heaven’s sake, punctuate. We’ve been doing it for centuries. We’re taught to do it in grade school. It’s done for a reason (easier to read) and even it wasn’t it makes you look lazy and sloppy. Have you considered what a potential employer googling your name would think of this?
Earlier this year, the blog was converted from Foxite’s internal system to WordPress, and this is the result. I haven’t had a chance to fix it.
I have been a vfp developer since 1997, and the cancellation of vfp by microsoft pains me. To me developers be it of vfp or any other platform are always left orphaned wen such cancellation happen, bearing in mind that they have big applications developed on this plaforms that are running out there and it will take more than time and money to convert the to new platforms.
Thanks Joel, your reasoning of events is sound as I always felt MS just wanted to cannibalize the Fox engine for SQL. I cringe everytime I have to write code outside VFP to handle what VFP can do in a few lines of code. If anyone is using or has found a suitable alternative they like, please post here. We continue to use VFP 9 and MS-SQL, but the trend is to move to .Net. I started using QuickBasic in the day, then VB – to talk to barcode systems – but neither were ever really intended to do heavy database development, nor was Access – Microsoft has done a dis-service to the development community by axing VFP and wish Fulton never sold it to them. Sadly, no one has taken up the baton to carry it forward, so excellent source code and a cherished developer tool dies on the vine, while most of my colleagues have moved to Java. My two cents.
dBASE was first exposed to me almost 30 years ago (in early 1980s). I have been developing PC applications for over 20 years using dBASE, FoxPro and VFP5. I regret that Microsoft has not developed anything for me (or any other VFP developer) to convert or at least help convert a VFP application into another language. As Microsoft Office continues to evolve, my VFP5-based applications are no longer compatible with Office 2007 and beyond. I can no longer invoke an Excel worksheet and send data to it. Can anyone tell me whether this problem can be solved if I upgrade my VFP5 to VFP9?
Now that the PC market is shrinking, Microsoft Access and VB will soon become “Not a Strategic Product”. I hope someone will port the VFP engine to the Android system so all my previous application systems can be ported to Android platform.
Since then, I have tried VFP 9 SP2 with Office 2010. The problem seemed to disappear.
Yes, keep VFP alive.
Lianja.com or AlphaSoftware.com – but you may have discovered these already.
thanks for this article, which makes a lot of sense.
When I look at my .Net/C#/Winforms program, which replaced the former VFP program, I must say, VFP is much more efficient. In .Net I need about 5 times as much code as in VFP to accomplish the same. And: The .Net program is now about as ‘modern’ as my VFP applications. It is, in fact, outdated, 2 years after it was rolled out.
Also I don’t believe anymore that MSFT will ‘kill’ VFP in one of the next Windows versions. Win8 is a desaster, and MSFT will refrain from giving up any established technology which supports Windows. VFP and VB6 (and all the other 32-bit apps) will be supported for many years. The hype about hand-held phones replacing fully sized computers will die down, because it is just not possible to do that. MSFT might even come back to VFP, but I don’t predict that.
Today VFP is still the best tool for database desktop applications in Windows if you use it with SQL Server in the backend. That’s easy to do, and gives you a robust technology which will run on Windows for many years. Of course I would love to change to a technology that really promises more future than VFP. But my impression is that that technology just does not exist yet.
My 2 cents…
Yes, the technology does not exist yet, and a SQL is easy to hack. Light Switch is way behind the VFP 9 technology. I’m developing web applications and iPhone/iPad apps, however I’m using VFP tables to run this apps. They supposed to make VFP.Net, and I think for not doing they are putting at risk many large companies that switch to SQL. I’m repeating, SQL data is easy to hack compare to a local data (VFP ORACLE)
Hi everyone, I am using VFP9 and I frankly tried to switch to the new Era, by trying MySQL and even SQL Server, but very frankly i find VFP much more powerful in terms of an effective relational database that you can link to as a developer from any other RAD or GUI development tool to create your user interface to make modern looking and appealing.
In the regard of discontinuing FoxPro, I suggest for a class of world wide developers to take the responsibility to handle the development of VFP on their own, like what Delphi developers did in Lazarus (Free Delphi RAD).
Thanks Ashraf Sada. Have you made any progress of using VFP 9.0?
If you have, please guide me. I can even pay you a price for it, if it helps using VFP 9.0 after Sedna.
Your quick answer will be appreciated!
Thanks Joel for this most informative piece. There is a proverb: THE FARTHER BACKWARDS WE LOOK, THE FARTHER FORWARDS WE SEE! In light of all the .NET development and the cancellation of Fox by MS, your article is a resource to anyone who wants to think next 5 – 10 years as to what’s most workable presently or in due course.
Again, thanks a bundle! .
The things I miss most about FoxPro were there very early: the Command Window, the data browser and the desktop. I think it’s just a cognitive coordination thing but those three features made the difference to me. When I look for a replacement for FoxPro those are the things I am looking for first and I am not finding it. For example, the Visual Studio Command Window is a weak thing.
The language used doesn’t matter too much to me. I went so far as to have Fox run Perl statements from the command window and display the results on the desktop as if they were Fox commands. Limited success but imagine the power 🙂 Maybe a better programmer could do better.
I hope some of the developers describing themselves as what Foxpro should have become take note. If so, please study these 3 elements carefully. A lot of thought was put into making them, I’m sure.
hello guys! good day! to all of you there, I was working as an instructor of computer subjects and i taught programming and i used Foxpro for 13 years, because it is a user friendly IDE and easy to understand the code, its object, SQL, and the organization of panels are pretty understandable and it has the advantage on vb with access, html. because, it incorporates them at once Foxpro, there is database, SQL, programming software, with shell and GUI i mean Excellent software created on earth…. but it gives me pain. when microsoft discontinue the product….
the idea i think, microsoft wanted to be monopoly the software development thanks to the open source, i will shift to them.
I am an Xbase developer from dbase III plus. I am still using VFP 9.0 now. Xbase language +foxpro data cursor is perfect match to fit most of my supporting clients are small business. Our clients are using a simple file server and under 20 PCs in a small LAN. I have tried in diff solution to fit our clients requirments, such as HTML +CSS +SQL +PDF, .NET +crystal report +SQL, ACCESS +SQL, JAVA…etc. Those of them are too much ‘addon’ parties; I think why not all in one solution. ‘Program code compiler +report writer +quick data handler +input form +simple programming language’, much expected! I tried unix FOX 2.X, it is very great in text mode, it is free to under now. Therefore, I am looking forward to an open source VFP in coming years.
I am a Foxpro developer, as I have been since 1991. I have had my grounding in dBase 111 Plus, Foxpro For Dos from 2.0 to 2.6, Visual Foxpro 6,7,8 and now 9. Visual Foxpro 6.0 and 9.0 are the best of the group by far.
I continue to develop and use the product with other engines like MySql.
I intend to push foxpro to the limit and create data storage linkages with other engines using foxpro as the application development environment and report generation engine. Foxpro 9.0 has the capacity to allow for the creation of classes to provide functionality for cross-platform access and manipulation.
Just wanted to thank you for the great write up. I have finally been able to sleep at night since I stopped supporting all those named vendors. I retired in 2009 and have not missed a single day of the confusion and frustration brought about by the product support supplied by the various vendors of dbms. I am sure there is a special place in Hell reserved just and justly for them. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
4 thoz hu komplane ’bout speling an such: Who made you perfect?
Is it still possible to get hold of VFP?
If you mean “can you still buy VFP?”, the answer is yes. Ask on the Universal Thread or your favorite forum for reliable places to purchase, or you can find plenty on Google. Versions 7-9 are also still included in an MSDN subscription.
It is really desperated while sometimes ago when i heard the discontinuation of services to VFP by MS. I am too a VFP lover in a long time run. My concern really matter when connecting to SQL server, which i had to code extra lines. Guys, can’t we make a VFP community to bring this message to MS as a matter of restructuring and to see if any updates or a new version of VFP to be launched to MSVS.
I think, it is really a point of proper message delivery to broadband MICROSOFT to turn a very new page of VFP version change.
My best regards,
I have been developing in VFP since the 90’s and I made a point to upgrade to every new version that MS released. I have also gone down the need to switch path b/c MS stopped development. I tried, Java/VB.NET/PHP and used MySQL/MS SQL. I have circled back to VFP every time. I am a database applications developer and there still to this day is no better tool than Visual FoxPro to develop our applications in. For modern interfaces check out ActiveVFP on VFPx CodePlex it is easy to setup and it allows you to target all of the new devices using VFP.
My path through database land: CCA, Omnis, dBase3+, Clipper Summer87, VFP6, VFP9, Postgres, now reluctantly SQLServer. A small VFP6 system I developed in 1999 is still running. Today, after being retired for 4 years I went back to that old place to find it alive and well. In need of a few tweaks to be fair. For example VFP6 will only export 16000 ish records in xls format. Soon fixed by subdividing and filtering a huge archive table that had been growing like topsy for 15 years. In my defence, a ‘better’ system had been on the horizon for a decade but never arrived to improve on my bespoke solution. When it finally does I can be confident that all that preserved data can be unlocked with ease from an industry standard file format – but for how much longer?
I recently re-engineered a system of mine from VFP9 to VB.NET. Why? Because of future maintainability and, it must be said, because its a non-profit making application and cooperative development on a shoestring is cheaper using the free Express offerings. Faced with needing to RAD a data heavy appplication in record time I’d still choose VFP but, like parts of the anatomy “everybody has an ******* and Excel.” A pal in my motorcycle club even heroically developed a serial comms driven timing results application in Excel. I thought of re-doing it in VFP but sadly decided to go with the flow and VB. Give me a huge text file of data in even only vaguely structured form though and I’ll still turn to VFP9 to parse it into something meaningful.
Microsoft counted on your loyalty to them. That is why they decided to discontinue VFP. Why are we discussing moving to .NET an inferior product to VFP9 for desktop application and database development, when they are cancelling their very own Microsoft VFP. Switch to Oracle or some other company if you want to send them the message of keeping VFP. I for one always recommend non Microsoft products to customers. Anything from databases to software development packages I tell them don’t choose MS, and I tell them about VFP. You would be surprised at how many developers don’t know the VFP MS story. If a company screws you over don’t bow to them and buy there next product. I use both the products, VFP was an A+ compared to the D- .NET PRODUCT. VFP did things in 2 lines that in .net you have to save a file for and code. It was an intergrated database, forms, and reports package all in one. In all my years I never have seen a better product for computer science than VFP and MS discontinued it. Like the Xbox vs PS switch if you want to get there attention don’t stay MS or they will do it to you again.
I came across this searching for vfp 9 service pack 2, microsofts site was not responding. Glad to see its still active. I have worked with Foxpro since’s its inception back in what the mid 80’s. I worked as a system programmer for a manufacturing company that had written their whole operations system in Foxpro for Dos. which if windows 7 would run, I would still be using. Plain and simple foxpro worked and worked well. The version for Unix died pretty quickly, back in the 90’s I was a consultant for another manufacturing company that was Unix based and hired me to rewrite their mail order system. Loved the developers conference in San Diego when Microsoft introduced version 3.0… Boy was that a big deal, met some great people there. I went on to work for a data management company and there was no other options in our opinion. I still can get foxpro for windows to work under XP mode in windows 7 when I need something that I find easier to do in the older version, but 9 is my normal day to day db. I do work in the direct mail industry and you constantly manipulate/format raw data for addressing & variable printing and I cannot think of any other product that would even work this way. Some like the junk they call access, I have never been able to stand it. Even our current mailing software is borland dbase engine driven..! has been for years. It is a shame that somebody can’t come out with a product that is close to what even foxpro was let alone visual. I purchased Alpha and yes it works but I’m addicted to the command window and the ability to do everything interactive and require thinking….. guess I am a dying breed.. !
After many years developing in the dBase III / FP / VFP world, I semi-retired about 4 years back. A couple of years back, a call from a large company got me back into the workforce, as they had inherited an old DOS FP 2.5 app, which no one understood. Fortunately for me, the app, written back in the mid 80’s resembles a version of SBT Accounting, which I cut my coding teeth on, way back then.
While a decision to replace this app is still underway, I continue to keep this old girl ticking away (it has it temperamental moments, with new versions of Windows. But, we manage to keep things moving).
So, while the Fox maybe dead, the legacy continues….and continues to pay well 🙂
From a programming perspective, VFP 9 was (and is still) a great OO language to work with. I’ve dabbled in others, but, like others have mentioned, the richness of the VFP language allows one to do things in a handful of lines, whereas .NET and others, require a lot more involvement. For a small to mid sized business, VFP caters well as a desktop app.
I love to see others still running some DOS applications. I am not a developer per say. I learned enough to keep a SBT system going my employer purchased. And when the hardware cash registers we purchased for way more money than they should have been died I wrote our cash register program and we are still using it today.
I am being forced now to upgrade to Windows 7 32 bit and my Dos Foxpro software works just fine in it. I had a little problem with some of the Windows Software I wrote in Visual FoxPro5 when I did the change to Windows 7 but with the help of good people on forums I got it all ironed out.
I even found a piece of software from Italy that works great to capture the LPT out put to a windows printer and it works Great. Its called Printfil and they have a website at Printfil.com. I am not involved with them in any way other than being a customer!
I wanted to say Thank You to all you developers that take the time to post stuff for us end users who are just keeping our old stuff running.
I was reading that VFP9 has some bugs, If I was thinking of getting a newer version before they are all gone would I be wise getting VFP6 and staying away from VFP9?
It’s hard to say what an upgrade would mean for your app, but for those of us using VFP9, it is clearly the best version and the most compatible version with Windows moving forward. It would be more accurate to say that VFP9 SP2 introduced a few bugs. That’s disappointing, but I wouldn’t call any of them showstoppers. One or two have been fixed via hotfix, for others we have workarounds.
Like some of the other contributors, I retired a couple of years ago having grown from dBase 2/3/3+ to VFP6 via 3 and 5. Most of my systems are still running without problems. I recently tried to extend a booking-in system in VFP6 using my windows 8 based laptop and had problems trying to change the frame size, so back to my old XP machine (also now no longer supported). ‘Buy a new version of VFP’ I thought then I came across all the comments about MS stopping further development. Is it worth buying VFP9 anyway, does it run properly under Windows 8? How much is it and where can I get it?
You might first visit one of the FoxPro forums such as Universal Thread, Foxite, and others to see if they can recommend a solution to your problem with VFP 6. VFP 9 is definitely the best version of FoxPro, while retaining backwards compatibility, so it should run your existing code with few if any changes. VFP 9 SP2 included changes for better compatibility with Vista, which means it also runs better on Windows 7 & 8. My VFP apps run fine on Windows 8.
VFP 9 is available in MSDN, but otherwise you can no longer purchase it directly from Microsoft. Google turns up several other vendors that sell it, although I find the legitimacy of some online resellers questionable. I’d visit a FoxPro forum to ask for a reliable source.
32-bit is coming to an end and so it seems is my VFP. I have several clients across the country that have been using my software for more than 20 years. Virus protection is also vanishing into oblivion and the hype is for 64bit and cloud. I have to find an alternative and rewrite Accounting and Points of Sale systems.
Win8.1(x64) does not allow me to install VFP9 and I one has to work with two networked desktops next to each other to assist in the translation process. The keyboards and mouses (mice) are forever in the wrong place. It is a nightmare!
Yes, I am also retired and over 65 and have moved from Basic (on the BIOS with 48kb RAM/16kb Static and EMM’s that pushed it up to 640kb) and NATURAL/ADABAS. I eventually got stuck on VFP and have been in love ever since.
I fear that I will die before I can make the transition into the .NET environment and it saddens me that a lifetime of effort and pride may be coming to an abrupt end.
I herewith salute all my fellow VFP developers and I share your enthusiasm for the product which was well ahead of it’s time.
Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure what your particular issue is, but I am able to run VFP 9 on Windows 8.1 x64 with no problems. I know 16-bit DOS/Windows apps no longer run on 64-bit machines, unless you run them inside a 32-bit VM like Windows XP mode. 32-bit apps should run fine though. You might visit one of the FoxPro forums to see if your issue can be resolved.
I’m running VFP9 development on windows 10. No problems. I got to this page while looking for a VFP9 replacement. I don’t think I really want/need to do so now. Heh, I’m sticking to what works well.
Then about 5 years ago I started a company and got very serious about the Cloud using Amazon AWS. I managed to master JQuery and CSS3 and I’m now splitting my time between C#, Java for Android, JQuery, CSS and MySQL/SQL Server.
I am extremely comfortable in all the above technologies but I can EASILY EASILY EASILY say that Visual FoxPro was the absolute best development environment ever. It blew away VB 6.0 and access is a sad joke of a database. I worked projects with VB/Access 15 years ago and it actually enraged me that it was more popular than VFP.
I lost faith in VFP when it did not embrace the internet. I learned ASP and then ASP.NET and I would have loved to have seen what VFP could have done with web development had the team been given their druthers.
Quite honestly I believe Visual FoxPro could have changed the world had it been embraced by Microsoft wholeheartedly. These days I am in and out of databases and IDEs and this and that and it’s fine. I feel like I’m in the thick of things and I can express myself in many languages. It also helps that the past year or so has really seen web development technologies get easier thanks in part to Chrome, Firefox and IE 10.
Web development was nightmarish if only because the tools for developers were so god awful but that is no longer the case. We now have NoSQL for infinitely scaling simple data and fairly decent front end tools. I am no big fan of ASP.NET and I do all my web development using HTML & JQuery. In fact I try to do just about everything clientside these days. And I try to stay away from MySQL/SQL Server as much as possible. I’m not always successful but I like to scale infinitely and database sharding is a nightmare and that was one of the things that bothered me about VFP. It could not handle big data.
I didn’t really mind using SQL Server as a VFP backend but I just always wondered what a VFP Server could have been like. Probably glorious if they could have maintained the language; particularly in stored procedures. I still use VFP from time to tie whenever I have to clean up dirty data or the like and it is AMAZING how fast my fingers will start pumping out code. I still remember all the syntax (well my fingers do anyway).
I am glad I made the transition away from VFP when I did as I got to finally get into heavy web development which I felt sheltered from in my VFP days. The web was sexy and well desktop database development; not so much. Well at least VFP was a contender. I think everyone who was lucky enough to have a long run in VFP must have done something right in a past life because VFP just had so much good karma.
Goodbye VFP! I still miss you.
Thank you Joel and all other contributors.
I graduated from Basic to Foxpro for DOS Version 1 and have updated through every version since right up to Version 9. While I am fearful from time to time at 70 years old I have decided to hope for the best and continue without trying to rewrite my rather large accounting program in a new language. Looking at the abysmal raft of alternatives out there I don’t think would make it before I pass on. So far it runs fine on every Windows version produced right up to Windows 8.1 and I am hopeful that the times Microsoft have been burned by dumb decisions (Word having no backward compatibility and neglecting the Start button in Windows 8) will keep them offering backward compatibility for a few years yet.
I am also hopeful someone will build a compiler down the track.
Bye, bye VFP you give me best day codeing. Divorce happens time to time. We all got one. So dont cry. You got your money back (I hope) when you sold your first application. Now find young “women” (like JavaFX) and ride again. Who wont to know how your EX wife looks 20 years ago. Make new produts with new “women” and enjoy your children (VFP aplication you made). However, free shooters (in programming) must become soldiers of big corporations. FRAMEWORKS OR LIBRARIES is the name of ” I dont know what is inside but I know when I put something what come out” . TRANSPARENT – you know someone else know (who is someone else). Nothing is in love but it is in controling. If I need to choose to pay and be observed or got something for free and be observed, I choose for free. So try to avoid Microsoft to be father of your wife. Thing is with tool like VFP you can create closed aplication system with nn computers and be unreachable to outside world. All new tools need to “update” need to be in internet. We want see what you doing. So you can be “WE” or you can be “OTHER”. May be I produce sh… in the text above or may be I am not “THEY” know.
Thanks, E = M * C * C or not?
Igor, you’re very clever.
You have to be kidding. The average age of the people replying is 50+.
MS Access can do anything Foxpro can do and uses a real language.
Foxpro was never a real language. It was created so non-programmers could meet a goal. As was Access.
It has a terrible IDE, and a non-standard way of doing everything. That was why it died.
The comments today aren’t exactly typical, to say the least. 🙂 I don’t know whether this one is flame bait or just a difference of opinion, so I’m treating it as the latter. Yes, some of us have been around a while, but wisdom, experience, and maturity probably aren’t the traits you are emphasizing. Of course, I’ll have to disagree on the “real language” statement. Access indeed became the database tool for power users. Visual FoxPro was then created as a complete object-oriented development environment, even included in Visual Studio for a while, and stood toe to toe with VB6, Delphi, PowerBuilder, and other desktop development platforms of its time. It is definitely different than those other platforms, which can cause hostility from those that find themselves maintaining an old FoxPro app in an unfamiliar environment. For those of us experienced with the Fox, it is a special mix of features that hasn’t been replicated elsewhere. However, as I watch history repeat itself around me, I’m sure one day something similar will come around again touted as the next big thing.
Actually, YOU have to be kidding? MS Access uses BASIC, as in Beginners Allpurpose Symbolic Instruction Code. It was originally designed for people to learn the basics of programming. It was never intended to be used for any serious commercial coding. It, along with Access, have survived because Bill Gates loved BASIC. No other reason.
I’ve been developing software since 1979. Have used them all. Various assembly languages, Access, BASIC (various), C, Cobol, dBase (various), Pascal, RPG, VB, and more, and as we moved into this century: HTML, PHP, Java, etc. In all that time, I’ve found THE best tool for developing desktop applications by a long way is Visual Foxpro 9. Nothing has ever come close, and there’s still nothing out there to compare with it, sadly.
“It has a terrible IDE, and a non-standard way of doing everything. That was why it died.” You can not do everything in non-standard way. You have to have some standard. And VFP deserve it!.
As one of the last Fox Team members I can state with authority that VFP died because it was a distraction from the strategic direction MS set for development tools, mainly .Net. It was due to die after VFP 7 but VFP 8 was approved and I honestly can’t recall who pulled that off. VFP 9 was approved due to heroic efforts by Levy and Randy Brown and some of the rest of us . After 9 we were told categorically there would never be a 10 but we could look into ways of extending 9 as long as we didn’t crack the core binaries.
Everyone in our food chain loved the product. We had team members who had never seen VFP before joining MS that became rabid fans. But it became harder and harder to get MS to commit the resources. It became a political liability for middle and upper management to support the product.
Ken Levy and Randy Brown tried very hard to continue VFP; they really put their necks out. YAG was compromised in what he could support. And it was not to be. This is part of the reason I left the team in July 2005.
Great post, John, Thanks
I love VFP. Still now I am using it.
Everyone knows —> “Nobody live on this earth forever” but Microsoft should not kill VFP / FOXPRO with sweet poison.
What happen to all Blindly lover of VFP?
Myself forcefully migrate to .NET, what we can do?
But still doing something on VFP, But VFP will goes in REST for forever.
From this incident, I learned We should have at least one open source language in our hand.
I have been using Xbase since the late 80’s then to Foxbase,Pro from the 90’s. I still use VFP mainly because I can’t find a suitable replacement that comes anywhere near.
If you are till using Foxpro take a look at http://www.alaska-software.co.uk. They successfully converted clipper developers and Xbase++ will soon be 100% VFP compatible and will compile 64 bit applications with .net and web combatibility
Please see below a recent email from Alaska. ps I have no affiliate with this company. Just a Foxpro programmer looking for a suitable replacement. Hope you find this useful
Dear Xbase++, Visual FoxPro and Clipper developer,
Today’s topic is “Xbase++ meets Visual FoxPro”, which of course we cannot begin to talk about without talking about Xbase++ and Clipper first.
Xbase++ and Continuous Delivery/Deployment
Product Portfolio changes and Prices
Xbase++ meets Visual FoxPro
Automated Updates for Xbase++
New Website, created with 100% Xbase++ – no more, no less!
Myth: Xbase++ is just a Clipper compiler for Windows.
Truth: Alaska Software did not just re-implement Clipper. What we did was classical re-engineering. As a result, Xbase++ is a 100% Clipper language compatible development platform with features such as intelligent multithreading, exchangeable database engines, a hybrid compiler creating native code and p-code for macro execution and a lot more. To make a long story short: Xbase++ definitively is the Clipper successor.
Myth: Alaska Software will abandon Clipper developers by making Xbase++ compatible to Visual FoxPro.
Truth: Well, this is a myth that a lot of people seem to like. However, the myth is wrong. In fact, the opposite is true as we are executing a different strategy for reaching VFP compatibility than we used with Clipper.
We analyzed Visual FoxPro in much the same way we analyzed Clipper more than a decade ago. In addition, core developers of the Xbase++ platform visited numerous VFP conferences and our library has filled up with books and conference material about VFP from all over the world – even from Russia or Brazil. After analysis follows synthesis. So we did that, too. And we did a lot of prototyping which we showed at various VFP developer conferences to get feedback. Based on the feedback and the experiences of early adopters we finally defined our strategy for reaching VFP compatibility. It is as follows
Identify the features of VFP which are outstanding and really powerful. Review
the features to make them fit for the next decades, then add them to Xbase++.
Case in point: Universal SQL and DataObjects in Version 2.0 to name just a few.
Extend existing Xbase++ commands and functions to make them compatible with
VFP, if they are not compatible already. This has to be done in a way that ensures
Xbase++ and Clipper backward compatibility. Case in point: all Xbase++ 2.0 ISAM
commands like SKIP/SEEK/USE are now VFP compatible. In most cases, only an
additional IN clause needed to be added, such as in “SKIP 1 IN Customer”.
Create a VFP compatibility library and a command definition for all the remaining
classes, commands and statements. Simply adding #include “vfp.ch”
to your source code should be enough to make Xbase++ understand the
DIMENSION command, for example.
Create a transpiler which transforms existing Visual FoxPro PRG/VCX/SCX files
into Xbase++ PRG code.
It should be obvious from this strategy that we will not abandon Clipper. Neither will we just transform existing Visual FoxPro code into Xbase++ source code.
With this strategy, we are going the hard way of taking the best from VFP, and making it better before adding it to Xbase++. And all this without breaking backward compatibility!
Myth: Polarfox is a Visual FoxPro developer’s future.
Truth: Polarfox is not a product name! Instead, Polarfox was/is the name of a re-engineering and prototyping project towards the next generation of Visual FoxPro.
We already have moved features and technologies from the Polarfox
project into Xbase++ 2.0.
With our continuous delivery strategy (CDI) we are able to add
features to the Xbase++ platform in an incremental fashion.
This process will continue until the design and modelling tools for
Xbase++ 3.0 are ready to be released.
A final word about the forthcoming Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ conferences being held on 16-19 Oct. in Phoenix, AZ. This year, our speakers will focus on two major topics specifically designed for you:
Basics about the Xbase++ language and deep dives into Xbase++ – great
for VFP developers and Xbase++ 1.7/1.8 users.
Practical sessions about how the new features in Xbase++ 2.0 can be used
in real-world applications, so you can become more productive and create
more value for your customers.
There is also a half-day pre-conference session about using Xbase++ 2.0 in parallel with your existing 1.x installation and projects. More details about the sessions can be found here and here.
Finally, thank you very much for your patience, regarding this rather long letter and with Alaska Software in general. Again: in case you have questions, please feel free to post them to the public.xbase++.generic news group.
I too noticed Alaska SW xbase++ and am very interested. I started using xbase in the ’80s with dBase II and developed a career around the xbase language. Prior to that I was a FORTRAN programmer. I liked it but took to dBase naturally. I have found it frustrating to move to anything else. I took a Java language course and hated it. There is just nothing as robust as the language as well as the file manipulation as xbase. I have pretty much retired and moved on to different interests but if there were an xbase platform I could use even for simple things like parsing or cleaning up files I’d go for it in a heart beat. Even better if I could create some mobile apps or tweaks for iOS.
My Dear Joel
Thanks for your effort.
In all neutral/natural work/sacrifices for promoting society; TIME is the decision maker. The team developed foxprow/VFP tried to do something better it was only possible for their services oriented thought. I am using foxprow/VFP since 1992. I do not know when I will left it. In programming concept VFP played a vital role to learn how to make a complete database program for client.
My personal view is that the team worked for men and that’s why possibility of its sustainability is more. Of course we do not know how it will happened .
As an industrial engineer and businessman I loved the Visual Foxpro experience! It was efficient and fast and editing was a breeze. I trained many people in VFP and many went into business for themselves making good money from the programs they wrote.
It had to be killed off as, as stated earlier there was no money in it for Microsoft! Business ALWAYS over rules technology, so developers are left with crappy inefficient tools to work with.
Like most people, I had hoped VFP would have been upgraded to support the net, cloud computing mobile apps and 64 bit technology, and like most people I was disappointed.
As a businessman I came out of program development as “profit realized was not worth the effort involved” anymore.
> cloud computing mobile apps
> 64 bit technology
I work with Fox since 1993, a have a lot of applications easy and quick thanks to FoxPro. The desktop applications, the server side applications work well, very well today too. The Rushore tecnology, the Fox language, the SQL language, the enviroment, the connections are powerfull and simple.
Now I’m trying to write new programs with C# and, after 4 years of use of C#, the developement time in C# is more than double, there are problems and questions under every corner. Using Fox you have few but powerfull comands and functions, exactly what you need, no more no less, only what you need to write a good application. With C# there are tons of functions, class and so on, and what you need is usually well hidden, a real nightmare.
I hope that Microsoft changes idea and, spending little money, MS can does a Fox 10 on 64 bit with the same features of VFP 9.0 (is enough to work well and sure for 10 years again). Please Microsoft …
I have been receiving so many requests recently and a lot of frustrated calls and emails from around the globe. I hear “I am struggling to access 32-bit data sources from 64 bit applications and 64-bit bit data sources from 32-bit applications”. So many companies have the same issue.
If you want to continue to use VFP as you or your clients are heavily invested in older 32 bit apps and want to run on newer boxes and technology like SSRS but can’t connect because the is no driver available CONNX Solutions can easily deliver the bridge. I’m happy to address this solution.
Sid Swartz – CONNX Solutions
I started with dbase 2, cpm 2.2 back in 1982 to write a program for my video specialty business which was drifting towards RCA CED video disc rentals. I started with a NEC 4000 series 8 bit system w/ dual 8″ 1.1 mb IBM forat floppies. Within 18 months I upgraded to a ITT pc compatible w/20 meg HD and transferred my files to the pc format and switched to a WordTech product labeled dBxl and a compiler called Quicksilver. To this day, the program I have written and modified over the last 33 years still works on Windows 7, 32 bit. Considering that all the companies which sold and serviced various programs catering to the business of renting VHS/DVD software have went the way of most neighborhood video stores, writing my own program in dbase was a very wise decision. I have used VFP 5 for years to generate necessary reports for business, however, the retail end is still a dos text based format in compiled dBxl. I have played around with MS access in its early versions and found it very tedious and not very versitile. I am not a power user and find current versions of VFP much more sophisticated than I will ever need, but nothing out there is better. Microsoft owes us legacy consideration.
I think most vfp developers should switch to access, filemaker or something with the same level of development abstraction. switching to .net without getting much slower involves a radical change of skill and development strategy. especially when you havn’t been seriously using any other framework for the last decade or so.
it’s a big step to actually automate a lot of things that were given you for free before.
and what do I get in return if I do that?
once you reimplemented your favorite vfp-functions you can add the parameter you always missed.
that’s it. you trade responsibility for power.
We have used VFP 9 for years and we love it. Our applications still work fine and fast. We love the ability to modify large data files from the command prompt. We just don’t know what we would do without VFP. No other application other than VFP can do what we need done on a daily basic.
QUESTION: Does anyone think Microsoft would consider releasing the source code (C, C+, assembly) to a person, company or organization so VFP could live on? That would allow for improvements in security and functionality. Maybe allow for an update to a 64bit application? I have always hoped that would happen. I would one of the first in line to buy.
MICROSOFT, can you help us? Can you hear us?
I, like many of you, have developed many applications in VFP, and I am happy to say they still work fine on windows 8.1 (X64)
VFP has many advantages still:
1-It is very fast with great IDE and a powerful database engine, and powerful reporting tools.
2- It is an interpreted language allowing dynamic scripting. A feature I used on a payroll application that allows great flexibility in changing payment scripts. (Compiled languages need to be recompiled after change)
3- You can run desktop application using local DB, Remote database server such as SQL, Oracle with ease using pass-thru SQL and powerful fox-pro cursors. I have also used VFP with cloud database using webservices (Php/MySQL) with excellent response time. (I used an INET component with a php web service for SSL communications)
4- VFP supports ActiveX and you can embed various components to enhance usability, including a web browser with the form to render all sort of documents: HTML, PDF etc
5-VFP run-time library is so compact that you can download a VFP exe file with all the needed libraries from the web quickly. (Set up exe are fast and compact)
6-VFP can run on web servers using VFPX or Foxweb making it possible to delegate some/all the processing to the web server.
7-Think of VFP as a JAVA on Steriods: It is faster,more powerful, more flexible and more compact than Java. replacement for Java.
8-The VFP Codeplex community is doing a wonderful job, let us all support them by testing their projects, giving them suggestions and financial support. (Totally free and Open Source )
9-There are many mature 32 bit applications, so MS will not drop support for 32bit applications any time soon. It will diminish productivity and impact the windows market negatively.
10-As stated by others VFP is a much better Rapid Development tool with robust executables. It has all the modern components, and can be easily used to develop Software as an Application (SaaS) projects which make the development language transparent to the user. (In addition to desktop applications that are more secure and private than web applications, and much more efficient, user friendly and faster)
I’ve been a DBase/FoxPro user and developer since the early 1990’s and made a very good living with the language. However I saw the writing on the wall when Microsoft announced the end of life for the product some years back. I spent the last 5 years converting tens of thousands of lines of VFP code to C#. I’m sorry, but C#, together with SQL Server, provides a much more capable programming and productivity experience than VFP ever did.
I have to also add that those who will continue to use the DBF file format on newer versions of Windows servers are exposing themselves and their clients to risks relating to corrupted data (especially CDX) files. This is a well known issue and it has to do with how Microsoft has implemented file locking at the sever level with their latest releases (2008 and beyond). If, as a software professional, you are recommending VFP to future clients, you have an ethical obligation to make them aware of this potential issue. In fact, you need to let them know VFP is no longer supported by the vendor.
My recommendation would be to use another language or switch to an XBase variant that is still supported by a vendor.
I am using XBases since 1989 (Clipper Summer 87, Clipper 5.x, FoxPro 2.x, ForPro for Windows 2.x, VFP 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9SP2 still my choice #1) and with attempt to learn other programming languages came to conclusion that programming languages are pretty much the same as any language that we use for speaking. When it comes to VFP as a high level programming language, with long time use it develops irreversible or difficult to overcome state of mind, the way of thinking and even mentality. If we better expressing ourselves in English language, which could be the first language for many, which they learned from the first year old and grew up with, then the second language will not be the same comfy as the first one, because the heart is not connected to that second language.
Knowing VFP and learning other programming languages creates internal conflict like “Oh, no! in VFP I would do it in few seconds and more effectively.”
The same as baby learns that it is easier to get milk from the bottle, than from mom’s breast and drops it crying out for bottle.
With years and years of using almost plain English programming language, of course, it will be challenging to learn C# or even complex sixty lines SQL queries in T-SQL, where comments built inside of the query.
That’s what we all have to overcome to pick up and truly appreciate other programming languages.
I still believe that brands like GOOGLE or Oracle may take and revive VFP.
Another thing is that we leave in time of non-senses and by that reason VFP cancellation is in the list of such non-senses as well as jobs outsourcing followed by paying doubles or triples for many unpredictable that accompanied outsourcing.
So, no surprises for me.
Long life VFP – you will survive these non-sense times!!
I’m still looking for anything, easier and faster than Visual Foxpro to manipulate day to day small company , and until now did find nothing on the same level.
Visual was a winner killed for no tech reason,
I too started with dBase III+ and continued with Clipper Summer 87. Created a few apps in dbASE for Windows 5.6 /5.7 by Borland. Well, the dBase legend still lives on. You could try the latest dBase release 9.5 from http://www.dbase.com It supports the dbf files, is completely object oreinted… It may require a bit of a learning curve, as I have not much experience with Foxpro… but dbase has a dedicated support forum which is really helpful. As with any software it has its own quirks, but even if I start out with another language platform, I simply return to dBase to get the job done!
Like so many of the above comments, I too had the privilege of working with dBase II, Clipper and then Fox Base prior to migrating to Visual FoxPro.
Does anybody remember DevCon 1992 with Dr. Brian Jones’ presentation on using FoxBase to schedule Desert Shield? Bill Gates was very impressed. We developers were humbled.
I wrote and supported applications for a plastics manufacturing company in Indiana for 25 years. What a wonderful tool to develop so many truly useful applications. Budgets, Sales analysis, Production scheduling, Inventory replenishment, modeling, JDEdwards conversions and uploads. The list goes on and on.
I retired seven years ago and now hear from my former coworkers the frustration after the company was sold and all VFP programs were turned off. Utter chaos has been the result.
I currently teach a freshman level computer science course which includes MS Access. It is a nice filter and fair reporting tool, but nowhere compares with VFP.
I remember suggesting to Ken Levy sometime in the ’90’s that it would be nice if somebody were to purchase FoxPro from MS to give it some real support. His reply was, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” Well, I still think it was a good idea.
I also remember rumors in the 1980’s of Fox developing for IBM’s AS400. What a combination that would have been. We could have ruled the database world.
We all had a really good ride with Fox. I only wish the next generation of programmers could have such a fantastic tool.
Good book: FoxTales: Behind the Scenes at Fox Software Paperback – October 1, 2003 by Kerry Nietz (Author) Purchase on Amazon.
Thanks for the Memories. (extended or expanded)
From my experience, Visual Foxpro contains everything – database, SQL, multimedia, Internet, reports,charts, graphics,ActiveX and OOP support. (We don’t have to install them separately)
Me too love its command window. Like many others, I too find it as a simple, but efficient tool to create a good desktop application in comparatively less time. Unlike other recent languages & DBMS, Visual Foxpro takes less memory and I think, a very good tool for creating small or mid level applications.
Let us hope, whether it is Microsoft, Ashton Tate or Fox Software or Google or Amazon or any Open source community give support for FoxPro development and joy to thousands of users/developers across the globe.
Let VFP be there for the present and future generations.
Thank you all for all your memories recorded here. Very informative.
Biju Joseph, India
Benz is a good car, doesn’t imply that Jaguar or BMW is bad.
I am not sure but it seems to me that the team developed the Oracle database is the developer of VFP.
It is true that VFP Programming works in a mode of “CAN DO EVERYTHING” which sounds not sound. As we know that cooking rice is easy; but you will be undone if you do not have a container. And if we are going back to thinking about rice cooking we have to face hundreds even thousands of issues. VFP is king in this respect to make someone comfortable in his logical thinking.
I do not find any (data loss/corrupt cdx/index) state which can not be settled in application run time.
So far i have guess VFP is still unique database programming tools for learning a complete database programming.
It seems the links for Alaska Software in an above post have been changed to:
I’m glad to see this article is being read 3+ years after it was published.
It shows how many great developers still exist in many languages. But they still know a good tool to work with and what to compare it too.
Microsoft needs to stop thinking in the box and pull itself out.
They know they were always in fear of being second and third in the market.
You can only go so far in the world by pulling apart and taking a piece of a great whole system.
Microsoft, you know the product and you need to think about how powerful and advance this Software was compared even to today’s current products in 2015.
If you don’t think the product lines up years later with your line of products, sell it to a company that knows the potential it had. And what it can be as the leader in today’s market.
If you are scared what can happen with your baby products of VB and Access, then think again of how powerful this product is to anyone!
Maybe it’s time for a company to re-invent the wheel (Fpro –FuturePro) and make it happen. Just don’t be a sellout of a potential wonderful product. Go with it and the seed you plant will grow to wonders.
Especially in today’s market where the web will carry a small voice to be a voice to be reckon with.
Thank you again everyone for your great feedbacks and Joel Leach for this article to see it’s still alive.
It brought back memories with great pride and joy.
Consistency of data is simply more than important. VFP can not handle the calculations where arithmetical issues not represent the situation. Eg. 1/3 = (?) 0.3333333333333333. Working with decimal places in VFP is Unparallel
VFP is king in data consistency.
Md. Musleh Uddin
I had never programmed before (other than the first Bridgeport CNC) milling machine. I had an idea for a job shop management system and started by hiring someone. Then he went on to other things and I was stuck. He recommended FoxPro2.6 and left me to my devices. Well, FoxPro saved me and I produced a system that manages all accounting, job management, quoting, routing, purchasing, etc. (updating along the way to VFP 9.0). It sold well and in 1986, I had 60 applications out in the real world. I also went on to develop other apps for different businesses.
I had stopped selling my signature ‘Profit-**’ when MS decided to drop VFP until I could update it to something that could easily be maintained. Well, nothing feasible was out there. Then I was hired to learn .Net C# for a web project… BIG learning curve, but it was successful.
Now, I am 70 years old and worried about my customers getting proper support if something happens to me, so I decided to rewrite ‘Profit-****’ in .Net. My biggest hurdle was to find a way to produce the 300+ reports present in my VFP application. So I used VFP to produce the reports. It works great as expected.
After 25 years, FoxPro still rocks. I, too wish someone could buy it and update it. It seems like such a big waste to let it die away.
I am really happy to know that you are 70 and very soundly describe the strength of foxprow/vfp. Perhaps to live long in Industry for MS (Microsoft), the optimum way will be to change their decision regarding VFP. Although Ashton-Tate with some other person/company developed it initially and I am sure MS never purchase it for making it die. Having cash might not be the focus in business in the long run. How you contribute in the society to promote it; is the LIVING POINT in the long run. Socrates, Aristotle, Pythagoras, Albert Einstein and many other are living today for their deed.
MS creates (copied) many types of contentment since a significant time behind along with creating severe pain in the industry in context of consistency. MS can take a remedial measure of removing pain by doing VFP LIVE.
Md. Musleh Uddin
I AM VFP DEVELOPER PLS FIND VFP.NET FOR WEB IT IS SUCH GOOD DEVELOPING TOOL AND V CAN FINE TUNE ANY TYPE OF QUERY AND FORM DESIGN IN VFP…PLS PLS DO ARRANGE DEVELOPMENT ToolL FOR vfp …IN WEB ARENA..
it already exists: FoxInCloud – http://foxincloud.com/
In the mid 1980s I was given a bootleg copy of dBASE II for CP/M (on two floppy discs) and for better or worse it changed my life for the next 20 years or so. I was in the L.A. area and would end up doing all sorts of xBASE work, including working for Wayne Ratliff on testing his Emerald Bay product, working at Ashton-Tate on dBASE IV, and working with Tom Rettig using FoxPro and VFP until literally the day he died. Thanks to everyone for all the comments and stories above, which I have skimmed over. It brings back so many memories of a now ended portion of my life. I met some great people in the developer community, but did not realize that unlike a profession like law or accounting or something, it would all fade away so completely in not that many years. During my divorce I simply assumed I could just jump into the first Internet boom, but I now realize today a lot of that work is done by people literally half my age. Reading the above comments has to make me wonder how different my life would have been without its c 20 year xBASE detour that peaked with FPW and VFP, but of course it is now all water under the bridge as they say. Thanks to all of you above who helped make the xBASE community as strong and vibrant as it was! Tom (now in El Segundo and still maintaining a FPW app about once a month)
Hi all, just a quick question, has anyone yet looked at dbase 9.5, can’t find any review or comments on it anywhere.
I just stumbled upon this site and I feel like I’m at a fraternity reunion.
I started my computing career in mid 1980s
I worked with dBASE IV, V and VFP 5 and 6
I recently retired from 31 year government career, the latter half as Oracle DBA
The most useful VFP 6.0 applications I built
an HTML Editor
an Oracle Database Query Library Builder and Reporting Tool
I also find VFP useful for managing personal data related to
Contacts, Family Tree
Checkbook, Mortgage, Annual Budgeting
Appointments, Anniversaries, Deadlines
More robust version of Schedule that incorporates links and document repositories
Hobby specific – e.g. running database – race history, pace and fitness calculators, training schedule
digital assets (music, photographs, notes – file management of mp3, jpg, dbf, xml, … )
Professionally, VFP derived tools helped me to build robust Metadata Libraries that made RDBMS Administration more efficient, better controlled and easier to express to colleagues and customers.
SQL Code Libraries
HTML,CSS,JS Syntax Libraries
Table Layout / Data Dictionary
Data to Web methods
QPR/SQL to HTML, XML, CSV, DBF, SQL
VFP is great control environment for acquiring, documenting, integrating, analyzing and transitioning data and metadata.
VFP does a great job of building data transparent systems and delivers data portability and labeling capabilities that could bring true computing capability to the masses.
I could use advice from someone who has sold VFP exe apps commercially. I have a two year developer license for VP 9.0 which expires next year. I need clarification on legal boundaries of exe distribution.
Thanks to all who contributed to this great forum.
“Don’t * with My FoxPro” (VFP, Clipper, dBase) I am doing the debit card thaanggg thanks to Pete Sass . We debit the account, store the icon numbers and go from there. All via xml/vfp. Thanks Pete !
I still remember when MSFT purchase Fox – a few months later (or maybe it was after the first release of a MSFT branded version 2.5? 2.6?) – since I was active in the developer community – I got an invitation to a MSFT sponsored event at the Marriott Marquis in NYC…YAG was there, and I believe they had him speak, since he was (is) so well respected in the Fox community (he was working for Flash Creative Management at the time in NJ, if I’m not mistaken)…the thing I remember most was – that if the event lasted 8 hours, 7 hours and 30 minutes of it were spent by presenters talking about Access/VB…which really was odd, since this was supposed to be an event to allow MSFT to allay the fears of the Fox developing community at large…I really thought the language was dead at that point – another case of MSFT’s “If you can’t beat them, buy them…” strategy (the only one I recall them failing at was their attempt to purchase Quicken (Intuit?) so that they could shove MS-Money down people’s throats)…What a different world this might be if Novell hadn’t pissed them off with “Perfect Office” – Windows NT Server (ha) might have died on the vine, and MS might have stuck with owning the desktop…but…most of that has little to do with VFP. I see a lot of comments here of people wishing that “someone” would buy the rights to VFP and resurrect it – I doubt that will ever happen – because – for someone to buy it – it would have to be for sale – and – as everyone who’s ever developed can tell you – there was no better platform than VFP…certainly nothing from MSFT…so why would they risk having that competition again? I’ve only used Access when I was required to – same with VB – about the only other development environment that I’ve ever really taken to was “Magic PC” – which was originally based on Btrieve databases (Pervasive SQL) – but – I think that language is dead too…(you know you’re old when all of the languages you know and love are dead 🙂 ).
Anyway – I still use VFP – and if it ever IS revived, I’ll be one of the first to purchase it – but I don’t see that happening in my lifetime…I hope I’m wrong…
“Anyway – I still use VFP – and if it ever IS revived, I’ll be one of the first to purchase it – but I don’t see that happening in my lifetime…I hope I’m wrong…” . A big community in the world is shouting. I do not know whether any legal measure can be taken to make VFP Live.
WoW! Good to see the continuation of this string. Bought my first computer in 1982. Compaq Portable. Started using Condor 4gl then switched to FoxPro 2.0 DOS then FoxPro 2.6 for Windows. It has been my bread and butter. Good to hear that Windows 10 still support 16 bit apps (FoxPro). But where from here? FoxPro gave me the best (as I know it) screen generation tools. But what now? Is there a better way to create GUI without starting all over again? I’ll watch for some posts.
Best to you all!
I am using dbase-FoxPro-vfp since 1992. When I had complete my study i learn COBOL,Ingress,Sybase,oracle & dbase. I had choose dbase as my carrier and now in vfp.
We have 6 lakh users in India of our MARG inventory and accounting software.
When I had shifted to vfp from dos FoxPro, at that time i have options to shift in other platform also but i had choose Microsoft product vfp.
I know vfp is not earning product for Microsoft but Excel,Word, Windows, etc are also selling due to that vfp program.
If Microsoft will not think over it we will definitely shift our product in any other operating system and Microsoft mind it windows and there products are in sale due to us if we all vfp programs shift to any other os its a big loss to Microsoft.
For Mr. John Gaffey, about “I could use advice from someone who has sold VFP exe apps commercially. I have a two year developer license for VP 9.0 which expires next year. I need clarification on legal boundaries of exe distribution.”
It is the first time when i hear that Microsoft sold VFP 9 for only 2 (two) years….
All I know is that VFP 9 has only one variant on the market called
“Microsoft Visual FoxPro Pro 9.0 English” or “Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0 Professional Edition” – with 1 single CD and the price is around 600 to 1000 USD.
Anyway if it is true with your limited VFP 9 edition for only 2 years:
-Microsoft didn’t say anything about this type of license
– All EXE applications made by you in this legal time until next year are very legal over 100 years from now on because you made/build them in the legal period.
– The only limit is Bill Gates who will make a smart bit-shift on windows 11 and above stopping the functionality of some 32 bit app, like VFP9.0 (like he does with 16 bit MS-DOS app .)
Ms Granor Tamar said that VFP will still work for at least 10 years from now on (a very good news and I hope it will be true).
We are a group of programmers at the South Oil Company/IRAQ/BASRAH,
Is it possible for Microsoft to reconsider the possibility of developing a VFP? Due to the large number of users VFP!!!
All our systems are designed VFP language and we will be in critical condition if this great language stopped or is not developed to work with networks.
Thank you anyway.
I loved dBase (from dBase II though dBase IV). I moved to FoxPro 2.6. I moved to Visual FoxPro 6.0 in 1998. So much for Ashton Tate and Microsoft.
Since 1999, I’ve moved everything over to Linux (Red Hat distributions)…..first to Flagship, and over the past ten years to xHarbour.
So…..if you have any dBase/Clipper/VFP applications which need to be kept going in 2015……take a look at xHarbour for continuity into the foreseeable future.
We are a small operation handling large and very large VFP database files, owned by our customers and/owned by us, for two specific purposes:
1) We run through the USPS National Change of Address (NCOA) system for mailing list change of address services, for commercial customers and public agencies.
2) We process specialized consumer information files for sale to commercial customers.
We do write database applications solely for our own business use, and we are not an applications developer for anyone else.
We have been using dBase and VFP up through VFP9 since the early 1980s, and these precisely fit our commercial needs. We have been using a couple of old Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 computers, with shared drive access to other computers in our office. Now, we must upgrade to at least one new server, with Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system, presumably running in 64-bit in place of our older computers which all operate in 32-bit. The only possible substitute we have found for VFP8 or VFP9 is the Lianja App Builder, access to which they charge $695/year. We really don’t want to buy access to a software program, but want a software package that is ours to use without restriction after we pay for it. Also, we think Lianja is a more or less endless Beta operation which users pay a minimum $58/month rental fee.
We understand the most expensive version of Windows Server 2012 R2, the “Standard” version, sells for a premium price,
but is the only version that that has a virtualization feature than would enable us to run VFP8 or VFP9 on a new Dell server set up for 674-fit operation. We also understand that running 32-bit programs on a 64-fit platform causes slowdowns in job runs.
What are our likely options, based on the above?
I don’t know if you are having a specific issue, but in general, 32-bit programs run fine on 64-bit Windows without performance issues. I don’t have any problems running VFP9 SP2 apps on 64-bit Windows clients and servers.
If you are looking for alternative options to FoxPro, there isn’t one good alternative that stands out with the same feature mix. If the majority of your code is for processing data, take a look at xBase++. You’ll miss key features like form and report designers (those are planned), but you may be able to port over a good portion of your code. There’s also dBase. They match up better on a feature basis, but for some reason, they have never targeted FoxPro developers. I’ve heard their approach to development is different, so it may be difficult to port an app over. If you like Lianja, take another look at their licensing. You may not be required to renew that subscription every year if you don’t want to. Of course, there is a plethora of non-xBase options out there mainstream (.NET, T-SQL, Java, Node.js) and otherwise. You’re probably talking about a rewrite no matter what you do, but some options may be closer to your needs than others.
So do people still use Visual FoxPro ? What is a good alternative. Foxpro is so easy too use I would hate to adopt a new problematic software.
Yes, people still use VFP, and a primary reason is that there is not a good alternative. Take a look at the comments for various suggestions, but FoxPro has a special mix of features that is difficult to match. Microsoft had their reasons for cancelling FoxPro, but it still left a lot of us in the lurch. We’re not the only ones. Microsoft’s treatment of other development platforms (VB6, Silverlight, desktop development in general) has eroded a lot of the trust they gained in the 90’s. FWIW, the number of FoxPro developers continues to dwindle, but I do believe (anecdotally) that it is at a faster pace than the FoxPro apps still requiring maintenance and development. FoxPro jobs don’t pop up every day, but when a company is in need, they may have a hard time filling the position.
Dear Joel Leach
Your Post is talking since 4/5 years. Do you have any suggestion for VFP developer for staying with time.
I’ve thought about writing a follow-up blog with general information on alternatives. But I figure by now, everyone has decided what they are going to do, whether it’s to stick with FoxPro, supplement it with other tools, or move onto another development platform entirely. Do you think there is still value in an article about this?
Dear Joel Leach
“Do you think there is still value in an article about this?”
Because VFP is king to accommodate someone’s logical thinking. I have little knowledge on relational model (invented by Edgar Frank “Ted” Codd (19 August 1923 – 18 April 2003) was an English computer scientist , while working for IBM). But i can fulfill my customer desire by using VFP. We tried in 94/95 to 1998 on many govt. projects in Bangladesh with oracle database and with developer and many other IDE tools like TOAD. It was difficult to derive a tolerable state in consideration to time and/or finance budget. When we learn some few things on VFP, we became quickly comfortable with VFP and found that it is surprisingly meeting most of our purpose. Now in 2016 oracle is adding value in great for great business man/ organization. But I personally believe that oracle is creating pain in many context specially in the name of security.
I believe VFP or something similar to VFP will stand. As no one can teach you writing code, like writing poems ; it is one kind of perception which yields a natural output.
Please let me know what do you think?
There is no database programming tolls similar to FP/VFP in current world. The tools was consistent since its inception which ultimately added value to developer day by day.
I still use VFP at my company. We have .NET developers and Oracle developers. We are primarily a MS shop. I still run circles around the developers here. As a matter of fact I am their supervisor. When we have large projects many people are brought together to come up with solutions. They struggle for weeks and I let them. Finally they ask if I have any thing. Of course within a couple of days I write a script using multiple data sources tied together with quick screens and reports. The awe from the .NET developers or the Web Focus reporting teams is jaw dropping. I don’t share what I am doing unless someone is really interested. The people excelling at my company use VFP 9 and get things done faster. Otherwise the company spends thousands of dollars out sourcing. The small group of people here who use many development tools always stays with VFP. Access developers are always complaining about the next version or why 2003 doesn’t work with windows 10. .NET developers take 2 years to finish applications. But the VFP developers are always on time and ahead of schedule. Customers do not know what the application is written in and don’t care. The users tell my mangers I want to keep what I am using now which is a VFP application (which they always have to ask me) . If MS wants to discontinue the VFP product and not bring it back that is OK. I will definitely point my company to a non Microsoft platform if this happens. I am in position to do this because VFP has put me on top at my company. VFP is all components (Forms, Code, Reports, Large Databases, multi user)
Very good article like all others above (but this is a little bit interesting).
Why is good in my opinion?
Because it made a complete synthesis about what we can do with VFP6-9 and what we can do with other development tools (C++, .NET, Java). Also we can see here how big is the real distance between those develpment tools measured in something like this:
A good senior VFP programmer can do an economical app in VFP ten times faster and ten times better than a similar senior developer who write the same economic app. in another development tool.
representing appreciation. simply describe dozens of issues.
You’d be even more productive and ‘jaw dropper’ using FoxinCloud
I still use VFP 6 and have made ODBC connection with database which gives me results directly into excel. Its the best way of reporting system in excel and with fields like date, month, year in database it becomes easy for reporting for various years of data in one excel sheet.
I learned in 1991 VFP 2.5 and clipper 5 and still after so many years of various software and database systems learning, i still feel VFP is the best. The programming is quite logical and meaningful and database is also well built in relational way and systematic, very less amount of scripting needed than other programs for programming.
Just came to know people are still feeling crazy to use as I am. feel proud hope one day VFP will be born again.
p.s. : thanks for the article. it explains the best and people below in comment.
I have been programming with the xBase languages since DBase III. I have a couple of new hires directly out of college, and they are amazed what I can still do in a little bit of code with VFP 9. I gladly thank Microsoft to keep the product relevant by not updating their Windows beyond version 10 and I may able to retire without never having to struggle with .net.
As someone has said before “A good senior VFP programmer can do an economical app in VFP ten times faster and ten times better than a similar senior developer who write the same economic app. in another development tool.”
I wish there would have been one more version that could have done a couple of more tricks, but right now, I am glad it’s still around.
I started making the program since clipper 5.0 to VFP 9 sp2 and access the MySQL database
up to MariaDB version 10 is by using an ODBC driver, including the MySQL database hosting
I also do sold all reports easily to MS Excel so that it can be used at will by the user.
Very fun when we automatically send SMS notifications to customers on transactions done with VFP.
Do not let VFP ends where there are still many opportunities to develop.
let’s make time for a moment the lovers VFP to stop by and fill out the petition
I am an expert in FoxPro 2.6 for DOS, a little “C” on a Ubuntu 15.10 platform. Talk to me. 🙂
Working with dbase II to FoxPro 9 SP2. Developed a lot of app’s and they stand the time for a lot of years.
Tried a lot of other solutions but always disappointment.
Servoy: you have to switch to fully JAVA; Lianja said they are VFP10.
Tested it for almost 2 years, but there are still a lot problems with big data in grids.
Hope anyone has a better Idea.
@SnelSoft I am also searching for a Foxpro replacement for my apps. I am starting to evaluate Lianja and Servoy. Could you elaborate on the area that you are not satisfied in Servoy or Lianja?
I have a lot of applications that were in Foxpro that I wish to port over to web based platform before I retire so that the next batch of people that take over these applications development can continue and I can enjoy my retirement in peace. But sad to say that I have not seen any development platform as rich as Fox especially with report writer function build-in. If anyone has had any luck in any web based RAD tools please do share here.
I have been using FoxPro since 1992. Have developed very big apps since then. Extensive ERPs with 100s of users.
The best combination I have discovered is VFP9 with MySQL at the backend.
Installing SQL Server is a Bitch. It is 1.7 GBs and needs the .NET framework, Powershell and what not. And takes a very long time to install.
With MySQL or MariaDB, it is just 107 MB and almost the same capabilities.
I now dont use any Remote Views etc. Just plain SQL Passthru. To deploy, only the EXE is required and no mess of DBC, DBF, CDX etc.
Am loving it.
Nice article, but it left out a bit.
While the business side is understandable, there was a history of disrespect/ignoring of Fox. Here are some examples:
Microsoft had some thing with DBMSs — I forget what at this date — and a Website with a form to fill out. One of the questions had a dropdown, a big dropdown with hundreds of entries. It was for which DBMS the person was using. Microsoft Access was on this list. Microsoft SQL Server was on this list. Microsoft Visual FoxPro was *not* on this list. This was year before 2007.
jFAST, a logistics system developed and used by the U.S. Armed Forces, was written largely in FoxPro. It was a big story in the Fox community. Did Microsoft pick up on this? No.
Fox saved the day with some data analysis relating to the Chunnel. Microsoft did not run with this either.
A member of the Vancouver FoxPro users group stated how, when taking the Microsoft rep to meetings with clients, he had to instruct the rep in advance to not diss the Fox.
Other can give more examples.
Must be UNICODE VFP 10.
i hope some day. google will take over VF9. to make best xbase programing. top in the world. VFP Not garbage. but is the best developer tool untill to day..2016. for database programing.
I agree and wish the same.
M Waqar Hasan Khan
I’ve just recently come across information about dBase Plus 10, released last year. Does anyone know anything about it ? I’m curious as to wether it is any good compared to VFP.
not at all good compared to VFP.
Do any one know any similar history like VFP in the Computer Programming Industry?
COBOL First appeared 1959; 57 years ago, still continuing
ALGOL 68 First appeared in 1968,, still continuing
C language First appeared 1972; 44 years ago, still continuing
C++ in 1983; 33 years ago , still continuing
PASCAL First appeared 1970; 46 years ago, still continuing
Ruby Programming language First appeared 1995; 21 years ago, still continuing
Python in 20 February 1991; 25 years ago, still continuing
Ada programming language First appeared 1980; 36 years ago , still continuing
VFP Last release v9.0 SP2 / October 16, 2007; 9 years ago. Development status Discontinued
VFP Only the product which Development status is Discontinued.
Source : Wikipedia
No, there is no any life cycle interruption from any software mentioned above.
All of them having new releases with many new features according with today times.
Bill Gates stopped intentionally developing Visual FoxPro starting from strategic reasons and purposes – selling other licenses types. The Fpd26 development for UNIX/Linux was stopped in 1996 from the same reasons. How looks the Linux world today if FPD2.6 for Unix/Linux exists or if Vfp9.0 were integrated in the web/http? MySQL and PHP would be the same today?
Visual FoxPro is still a powerful weapon (all in one gun) – somebody said that this weapon will be used until 2025 (I hope will be real).
A professional answer about why Microsoft destroys his child (FoxPro) we find here (from Forté Incorporated – Statement on End-of-Life of Microsoft Visual FoxPro):
VFP is the greatest tool ever developed. We need another experienced programmer willing to relocate to Kerrville, TX and continue working with us. If interested, email me….firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve been using fox software daily from their beginning. Started with foxbase since it had fantastic performance and I couldn’t afford dBASE. I think fox was a third to half the price. Glad I went with it. Upgraded though every version to vfp9. Running vfp9 on win 10 64 bit. Still occasionally run foxpro2.6 in a dosbox window for a couple of old apps, still works well.
I run a direct mail company and I think fox software was and continues to be a big reason for my success. Written several full blown oo APS, and hundreds of utilities to clean and format mailing lists and data. But much of my day is creating ad hoc commands in the command window. Gives immediate results! I actually preferred foxpro2.6 for this up until a few years ago, it seemed more stable and was easier to see the results on screen. Finally went all the way to vfp when Microsoft gave up the dos. Even to this day I have huge advantage over others in my business that use canned mailing software apps. They are so limited! Can’t say how many times I get a customer because nobody else could use their lists.
I do use an expensive program called accuzip that does address barcoding and connects with the USPS change of address files, it also sorts the mailings to the latest postal regs (countless changing rules ). May years ago I did most of this myself in fox, but it was too hard to keep up with post office changing rules and data every month. Interestingly, accuzip is written in vfp! I can’t imagine that thry
*****sorry typing on my tablet***
I don’t think they will abandon vfp anytime soon.
My only real problem with vfp is the 2 gig filesize limitation. Recently I took 10 million new York voters data and merged it with 10 million Florida voters. I did some tricking matching of duplicate names using various soundex, phonetic, and dob/age fuzzy logic. Problem was, the name adrees data and voter history files was about 30 gigs! Had to spend a lot time breaking it up into smaller pieces to work with it. That’s when I think about using mysql or something as a back end, but for most stuff you can handle a few million addresses no problem and super fast. BTW, I figured I’d get a few hundred questionable voters that travel between NY and fl. Wrong, over a million names! The states don’t purge their lists. Inter county moves remain on the state data files. Without investigating each case, you don’t know if they moved or they multiple voted. Our government at its best.
Sorry for the digression. If you can’t tell, I love FoxPro. It does what I need to do and better than anything else I can find. Hope I can get another 20 years out of it!
Hi JIM A,
Reading your post I recognize myself in your words.
Also I recognize myself in many posts above.
The coolest thing is that with how we solve in 5 minutes in the command window what others solve in 5 years (that’s from me). “ad hoc commands in the command window”.
For sure VFP will survive until 2025 probably. Not sure for 20 years from now on but for 9 years I hope. I am repeating myself here (as I said in a post above):
Ms Granor Tamar said that VFP will still work for at least 10 years from 2015 (a very good news and I hope it will be true).
The problem is that the new generations of programmers do not study dBase versions (dBase 2 – DBIV, fox 20, FPD26 to Vfp9). All the academies all over the world had taken out from their courses dBase (all versions). Only somewhere in India, Pakistan and China they are studying as an appendix technique, but very little. Seems that only in Rusia and Brazilia they are still studing FOXPRO.
The new age programmers know only C#,.Net and Java.
Meantime the link below regarding the next 10 years life of VFP9 was removed by the author from tomorrowssolutionsllc.com site.
So the link below is not longer available. Apologies for this error.
Fun reading all the posts! I too love the Fox! Started with dBase IV, but quickly switched to Foxpro once I saw it, and the incredible performance. Then, moved to FPW, VFP3, VFP5, VFP7, VFP8, and now VFP9 SP2. I have upgraded to every version, and would upgrade again if M$ would be so kind as to revive the product.
I have a VFP 9 desktop app that at this juncture is huge. It’s evolution goes all the way back to the mid 1990’s! It tracks Customers, handles Point-of-Sale, Inventory Management, Purchasing, Receiving, Service Tickets, Accounting, 500+ Reports, and more. These days, I work for myself Developing, Selling and Supporting the product. I truly love the work, and using VFP. It can use either VFP tables or SQLServer as the backend. Could easily add options for MySQL, Oracle, or DB2 if needed. Switching between VFP and SQLServer is simply changing a text file from VFP to SQL. Same code base supports either backend using the techniques outlined by Jim Falino in FoxTalk, September 2001, Turn your VFP App into Client/Server, a 12 Step Program. Thank you Jim!
Note: Even when running against VFP Tables, I have almost no corruption. I use to have more, but I think the Table Buffering techniques used with Client/Server really helped.
I do worry about the future. However, I am encouraged by products like Web Connection, Fox In the Cloud, and Alaska Software. I don’t think I will ever port my main app to the web, it’s just too huge and I don’t think I have that many working years left. However, I am working on a couple of smaller apps that I hope to finish out my career with, and that hopefully will also give me something to tinker with in retirement, as well as a little extra income. 🙂
Yes, I am using VFP 9 for the new apps, but they are small and could easily be ported to the Web (WWWC or FIC) or Polar Fox. I could also move them to a non-Windows platform fairly easily. Honestly, I love Windows too. I have always loved Windows, from the time I first installed version 3.0. Up until that time, I had co-oped at IBM and had only used OS/2. I liked OS/2 as well, but not as much as Windows! Over the past few years, I took a pretty hard look at Linux. Linux has come a long way, I’ll give it that. I still prefer Windows.
It’s funny, I worked for Big Blue for many years, and occasionally would put together an app here or there to help with our Server Admin and Database Admin efforts. Yeah, I saw a few jaws drop from co-workers. Back then, Server and Database Admin was my job, but software development with VFP was my passion.
VFP is still an amazing tool and many thanks to the VFPX Community and all the VFP Giants that have helped me so much over the years. Working with VFP has been great, and I hope I never have to stop using it.
Microsoft and Fox have been good to me, I’ve earned a descent living because of them both. I would like to add my name to the list of loyal customers and ask Microsoft to release VFP 10, or open source the product. Maybe VFP is not strategic to Microsoft, but it certainly is to many developers like myself and our customers. Thanks to everyone in the VFP Community!
To reach me: email@example.com
Visual Foxpro lovers are still in action. There is a free tool has been developed for running the same desktop application of VFP with guided minor changes on web. Is it not amazing! Link is here : foxincloud.com
M. Waqar Hasan Khan
Developing any complete database related application in quickest time and smallest budget is not well circulated in industry. It needs to be circulated.
I’ve worked with DB since early 80’s with dBase III+ and switched to FoxPro immediately as soon as I discovered it. Finally made the transition to OOP with VFP3 and now VFP9.2. I’ve had a wonderful time with VFP and still work on producing applications even though I’m retired.
One thing I remember hearing about the main reason MS cancelled support for VFP was that at its higher capacity, it actually was found to be competitive against the lower end of SQL Server’s capability. Not sure how true that is, but something I have learned about VFP over the years is that there’s absolutely nothing that you cannot do with it
Microsoft acquired VFP for one, and only one, reason/ It was far and beyond Microsoft’s technical abilities (as is so common for Microsoft) and it was in the way of their own obsolete ancient SQL-based (IBM circa 1979) product line. They bought it, owned it, and then promptly threw it away,
Microsoft is NOT a technology company at all. It is strictly a marketing company with industrialist ideologies of the turn of the 20th century.
VFP had one asset that put it far above all others in -any- data processing platform: dynamic composite indexing. This reveals ISAM, VSAM and SQL as basically toys. Borland took notes as did others when creating Delphi and C++ Builder that utilized the VFP data construct. Powerful they are and remain.
Microsoft could not abide that whatsoever … so they killed it.
Professional developers worldwide suffered the great loss.
In other words, Microsoft did to VFP what they did to IBM and OS/2 … destroyed major technological advances for decades on end. That’s why to this very day the Windows-based PC platform is at least 30 years out-of-date. You pay for it.
Borland purchased Paradox, dBase and InterBase. They didn’t need to copy FoxPro. They got more from those products than Fox. Those products still use the Borland Data Engine, in fact.
Fox for cannibalize by VB and Access either Microsoft, and all of these Database Development Solutions were cannibalize by Datavase-Connected RAD tools in the 90s: VB, Delphi, C++Builder. In addition, Class Libraries like MFC and OWL were well-tooled for database access.
The software market was growing exponentially, back then. Sticking with xBase was limiting, when you could do more with a General Purpose Programming language. In addition to that, C/S and the web really started booming in the mid-late 90s.
Tools like dBase, Paradox and FoxPro were just never designed for that, and it was easier for Microsoft to start over elsewhere than continuously struggle to retrofit it – which always comes with incumbent community friction.
They learned that lesson with Visual Basic.
Also. Crying about lines of code is ignorable when the IDEs write 25% of it for you, anyways.
I thought the logical explanation for MS’ dropping of VFP was that its high-end capabilities competed with SQL Server’s low-end market. Maybe that’s not it, but I fail to see how other explanations justify dropping it completely.
VFP 3 was somewhat buggy and it must have taken a lot of work to finally get to version 6, which was much more reliable. I think another issue for Microsoft was that whereas VFP was initially included with .NET, the whole idea of .NET was interoperability, but it turned out that there was very little one can’t do with VFP alone. Whatever; I’m still using VFP 9 at least until I can find a satisfactory alternate.
Just a point of view.
I’m sure that this affirmation was repeated somewhere above but I will repeat it again:
– All the applications write in VFP9.0 SP2 and/or VFP6.0 will survive until Microsoft will close the access to the 32 bit application in the future versions of Windows.
– So the real end-of life of VFP9/6 will be when the 32 bit application will be denied by Microsoft (after 5 years or more).
Every developer and every client will delay as much as possible the moment of changing VFP app with .NET/C# or other platforms – probably until in the last-minute.
Written several full blown oo APS, and hundreds of utilities to clean and format mailing lists and data. But much of my day is creating ad hoc commands in the command window.
I have developed and still developed in foxpro for more than 10 years.
For new projects I looked for another tool that gave me the same ease and productivity of FoxPro.
I opted for Windev (www.windev.com).
I only need to master a programming language to develop for windows, linux, android and web.
The tool offers many advantages for you to develop business software.
It may be an alternative for some foxpro programmers.
Hi every one, I am system programmer and start with FOXBASE in 1985 ,and always love this method of RDBMS.
TODAY I AM VERY ANGRY FOR MICRO SOFT DECISION .
I love all version of fox like foxbase,foxpro,vfp. but vfp9 is the best.
I think maybe MS change his mind and countinued the grow of FOX.
FOX NEVER DIE !!!
FoxPro is still alive today in 2019 and will be in the next years.
Nothing was invented till now to replace the power of FoxPro.
A correct and obiective approach review about useful of FoxPro in 2019 you can read here:
Extract from this article: “…Visual FoxPro was released in 1984 and was discontinued in 2010. That’s 26 years of continuous use by many thousands of companies building applications in dozens of industries. A great deal of this software is still in use, and needs to be maintained, replaced, extended, or otherwise dealt with. ….”
Posted on October 13, 2011 by Joel Leach. In 2019 people are still talking on the issue…………
What do you think Mr. Joel Leach
There was one reason Microsoft cancelled Visual FoxPro. It was too powerful. It provided too much business logic and ability in a package that did not have any mechanisms of control. It’s the same reason Firefly was canceled. Firefly taught people how to be “honorable thieves” in the face of an evil, oppressive, over-reaching government. The powers that be could not have such a teaching going out to the masses, as people would learn from that show and emulate the same behavior. It’s also why the movie Serenity had such a different feel to it than Firefly.
For VFP, we need look no further than the direction Microsoft went in the years that followed to recognize why VFP was abandoned. Win8, subscription models, a push toward “the cloud.”
VFP had unlimited runtime royalty-free distribution. It compiled natively into Win32 binaries which ran locally, and didn’t have to have any online connection. It had a very small footprint of less than 20 MB for the runtime install, and it was fully expressive and capable in all areas (except graphics and networking, and those could’ve been added in very inexpensively).
Microsoft moved on to the always-on, always-connected, always-logged-in, always monitoring, always KGB-like recording of activities, remotely provided through their app store model of software development, trying to kill off Win32. It didn’t work, so Microsoft regrouped integrating the two and has become very slick and polished in how they gather information with Cortana. It’s so evil what they’ve done to people world-wide.
Visual FoxPro highlighted the outright failings of Microsoft’s money-focused model. It provided superior abilities across-the-board, and did so for the minimalist revenue source of only requiring developers to pay for their tools. It did not require every end-user to pay Microsoft any money, and they did not want that.
Microsoft had to cancel VFP because it embarrassed their money-focused model up one side and down the other. It still, to this day in 2020, raises its voice in opposition to their great “financial success.” It says, “I could’ve given you so much more. Other languages and abilities could’ve integrated to me, and everybody could’ve been empowered to such an extent, and without ongoing licensing fees, without a system of monetary slavery for all developers, all companies, all users, as with your current tools. I could’ve made people free.”
Microsoft is an absolute failure when it comes to the real goal we should all have of helping our fellow man achieve and do. The huge revenues they’ve taken in will testify against them with damning testimony on the day of judgment.
I came across this post today searching for who the actual developers were by name at Microsoft who worked on VFP.
(this site doesn’t have button for like)
“There was one reason Microsoft cancelled Visual FoxPro. It was too powerful.”
I agree with Rick – 100% !
And now with Node.js and its ability to interact with VFP COM (through winax module) – its very easy to interact with VFP business logic, its data and its frx reports through any frontend developed with Quasar, React, Angular, Vue, Svelte etc….
For those of you who would like to keep a FP for DOS 2.6 app running indefinitely and beautifully on Windows 10 systems; check out vDos to run the app, and Dosprn to handle printing.
I agree with Rick statement which said
“Visual FoxPro highlighted the outright failings of Microsoft’s money-focused model. It provided superior abilities across-the-board, and did so for the minimalist revenue source of only requiring developers to pay for their tools. It did not require every end-user to pay Microsoft any money, and they did not want that.”
I came from a background of Foxpro 2.6 and saw the migration into VFP, which had base strength of Foxpro. I personally feel that Microsoft bought Fox Software with the intension of learning it’s technology to advance their products. Foxpro was the most advance among the X-base/Sybase languages, with engines that exceeded even D-base 5 and others. In-fact, Foxpro could actually run d-base code at 10-15 times faster than d-base. I had a friend who experienced several errors running his code in d-base, and I introduced him to Foxpro, he tried the code, and everything worked perfectly and much faster.
Foxpro was build with extremely fast engines, and its original design gave it the capability to mimic a client server application. One could load foxpro unto multiply desktops, place the database/DBF files on a separate server, share the server drive and set each desktop path to the server database, which made the engines work locally, while the server served the data. This made Foxpro operate extremely fast, because processing power was based on the local machine, not resulting in process cluttering to the point that threading was necessary.
Foxpro was a champion, and back in the nineties when Access and VB was trying to make the market, it was just insulting to compare the two. Foxpro also had ODBC connection capability, that if someone wanted to use SQL Server, Foxpro could connect with an SQL database to use SQL client server technology. Data from DBFs could be exported into formats (e.g. Ascii etc.) that could be imported into SQL. I personally don’t believe the client server market is what affected it, and if it did, Microsoft did not market it to its full potential.
There’s no question, Fox Software and its staffing resource was bought with the intention to develop Microsoft technologies. One has to ask, why was MS Access continued to this present day, a database that was merely desktop driven, did not have client server potential, but made into modern day supported technology. There were other MS products including VB, that was way behind Foxpro as a development tool, yet support and development continued.
Foxpro had a huge market when it first came out and many D-base users had migrated to it, since it was much more efficient at running their code. So it swallowed a portion of d-base share and others. Obviously MS would not have bought it if it did not have the potential for profit. The question is, in what way. I think Rick nailed it, Foxpro was already on the market not as an end user product, but a developer’s product. To change that would make end users furious and possibly Lawsuits would be filed. The intension was not the product, but its technology and resources.
Like again! , this time for mr. Richard above
[June 10, 2022 at 11:54 pm ].