Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The FoxPro ecosystem

Neil Davidson has a great post on the Business of Software blog: The inevitable death of the ecosystem in which he notes how Microsoft is moving into arenas previously filled with their third-party partners and are now competing with them directly. The concern? "Third parties will start to leave the ecosystem and they won’t be replaced. "

So what about the FoxPro ecosystem?
With FoxPro being unleashed, we have a choice: leave it or tend it. The FoxPro community is full of great tools, some competing with each other while others are more complementary. But what is relevant here is that we no longer have to worry about Microsoft possibly coming out with a new feature that will hamper the existence of an existing tool. I recall when the new hooks for the report writer were first being talked about and there was an active discussion from Microsoft about how these changes might affect third party products.

Instead, we are free to build and enhance the great tools that we have been given and also come up with our own. And they can be similar tools or approaches.

Tod's post about automating project hooks referenced Rick Schummer's Project Builder tools - this was one of the first times I had even heard of this tool - because in the past, I've always just done it myself.

While there are other commercial tools available, developers are often a Do-It-Yourself breed. The FoxPro community has always had a good number of developers who are passionate about sharing their tools. Now's a good time to encourage other FoxPro developers to share their ideas and little tools they use.

Many will think now that Microsoft is effectively "leaving" the VFP ecosystem, FoxPro is a "dead product walking" (this is a term mentioned by Rafael Ruffulo in an upcoming article for ComputerWorld canada) - but ecosystems don't have to have major companies supporting it - as long as the other members of that community continue to support it.

1 comment:

Ed Leafe said...

"With FoxPro being unleashed, we have a choice: leave it or tend it."

There is a third option: reinvent it.

That's what Dabo is all about. Reinventing the magic that FoxPro offered, but in an open system that isn't controlled by some corporation whose interests don't parallel those of developers.

I want to keep developing great apps for my clients, and so I've focused my efforts on creating Dabo, so that others who also want to create database apps can do so without the shackles of Microsoft.