Tuesday, February 14, 2017

VFPX - Alive and kicking with new

I find it interesting that Visual Studio is celebrating their 20th anniversary and the post even made mention of FoxPro (see the comments) and despite all of the growth, it's still a tool kept in some people's toolbar (even back as far as 1997).

But moreso, the open-source VFPX is more than 10 years old (I believe the official birthday would have been around June , 2016). Nowadays Microsoft is open-sourcing more of its underlying code. I'd like to think that if they had this attitude 10 years ago, VFP would have been open-sourced but that's doubtful. The proprietary VFP engine and concepts have made its way into countless Microsoft products.

I always think about open-source projects as a bit of leap-of-faith. That's because open-source projects aren't always like the public domain projects of yore. By their very nature, they rely on a group of people providing feedback and pushing forward from a version 0.1 all the way to full release cycles. That's not just open-source, of course - Microsoft is notorious for starting projects and then abandoning , sorry, folding them into newer technologies. I came across an older project of mine that used DDE, it made me think fondly of building interactive spreadsheets with Windows 2.0.

But even though Visual FoxPro is a defunct product from Microsoft, the VFPX project is still going strong with over 14 updated projects in the past year. These projects keep FoxPro applications able to use popular products and technologies.

One of the best things is that many of them provide these functionalities without relying on special DLLs or COM automation. Need to go beyond VFP's limited Excel output? consider the XLSXWorkbook project. Doing payment systems? Look at Stripe integration.

The great thing about VFPX is that many of the older projects are still getting updated or do their job exactly as they need to and aren't obsolete.

VFP and the FoxPro community has always been one of "if you need it and it's not there, build it and then share it". That attitude continues to this day.

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