Thursday, April 08, 2010

VFP Stack Overflow: What's In A Name?

In the latest issue of FoxRockX, Ken Levy has an interesting op-ed piece called the Visual FoxPro Stack Overflow. I'm not sure if the latest issue is a re-hash of the original which was posted last summer.

It's a little like the similar page on the VFP Stack, nothing all of the possible VFP projects, including VFPX, VFP Studio, etc, etc. What would you call it? The community decided a few years back that VFPX was a better term than VFP.Next. Is that still the best term?

Perhaps more interestingly in the piece, Ken noted that the FoxPro trademark was dropped by Microsoft years ago. As a result, FoxPro and VFP can be found through search engines without anything having to do with the VFP Development tool. This is where the whole concept of stack comes up. If you consider that LAMP is (Linux,Apache,MySQL,PHP), what would a better term for VFP be?

The bigger issue here for me is that how do developers "get" Visual FoxPro, without MSDN, moving forward.

If you consider the tools that are available, it might be possible to build a front-end IDE to VFP - similar to the (abandoned?) VFP Studio, that would simply run the VFP compile steps in the background. Just an idea but it certainly is doable.

One challenge, of course, would be ActiveX controls but if you look at the work being done over at VFPX, there are a lot of places where you don't necessarily need ActiveX.

While a lot of the work I do now is in Visual Studio, I'm using VFP pretty much every day as one of my tools. Building a UI or executable for just specific pieces (such as the Data Explorer) might be another useful way of using it in a day to day environment.

Are you actively using FoxPro on a daily basis? If so, chime in and get involved in the discussion.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately as much as I still love to work in Visual FoxPro, I have to make my living in Visual Studio. If you want to be a part of the future, FoxPro is dead.

WildFire said...

Hi Andrew... our team is currently working on five new VFP projects. Alongside with the VFP-powered systems we are maintaining.

While I do hope that someone or something 'magically' creates that 'thing' that would take VFP to a 'next level' ( awareness and IDE-wise )... I think I would rather focus on solving the clients' needs.

For now we make VFP work with some PHP/MySQL modules through a VFP+macro+cursor+MySQL coding approach. We also use some C# codes for some OS level coding.

Pretty much solves every problem so far.

Personally the thing that I accomplished which makes me feel good these days is being able to introduce VFP to two 20+ year old developers in one of our real world project.