Thursday, July 10, 2003

FoxPro Jobs & Marketing

Ok - I know everyone says it's a tough market out there for FoxPro but maybe it's just that people are being too picky about the work they want to do!

Case in point: there's an on-site job in Kingston for 5 months. The catch? It's FoxPro 2.0 DOS. They want changes, they want lots of changes but they have no intention of moving to Visual FoxPro (still trying to find out why not).

I don't know if they will ever find someone to do that job - which is really too bad because that means that there's one less FoxPro application (Yes I KNOW it's DOS) that exists.

The customer knows it works and just doesn't want to change it, except for these additional modifications.

Kind of like one of my customers here in Ottawa - they have a VFP 5 application that they have fought tooth and nail to keep in a government agency. By now, the IT people are saying "whatever!". But they love their app- when I suggested earlier this year they move it to a more recent version, they balked with the primary reason being that if they had to involve IT, they would have to explain once again why they wanted it kept.

This is where I think the community's marketing efforts really need to hit. Forget about the splashy marketing billboards that everyone complains about not seeing for FoxPro - concentrate on getting the message out to those government agencies, and Fortune companies and even the smaller shops extolling the virtues of newer versions of FoxPro.

I caught myself the other day when a customer was asking what our application was built with: he suggested Access and I said, "No - it's with the Microsoft Visual Development Tools," then stopped and said "This is a Visual FoxPro application." For many years, VFP developers in larger companies promoted the MS connection as a way to get around the IT naysayers (who wanted to rebuild it in something else) but that also leaves VFP out of the promotion.

When I mentioned a Web Portal company in an editorial for FoxPro Advisor (http:/www.advisor.com), I got emails saying "why don't they promote the fact that they use FoxPro?" as if just by saying the word FoxPro, it would lend more credibility to the industry.

Frankly, I'm not sure if the end-user really cares - they just want a solution that works (and of course, VFP can do that!) but when people do ask, we should always be prepared to say "Built With Visual FoxPro!"
(Now THAT's an idea for Ken, YaG, Randy and whoever else is managing the VFP marketing effort - little stickers or a GIF that developers can put onto their application that proudly states "Built with Visual FoxPro")

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