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Suggested replacement software for FoxPro

    Question

  • We have a database product developed in FoxPro that we will need to re-do, and I would like to know what would be the best product to use. Briefly, we have a list of less than 200 chemicals to which workers are exposed, and a series of questions and lab tests to do depending on what chemicals are involved. When workers are exposed to multiple chemicals, the FoxPro-based product essentially collates the info, removes duplicates, and distills it down to the questions and tests necessary for that worker's unique set of exposures. For example, Chemical A asks about the worker's hearing and requires a urinalysis; Chemical B asks about sight and requires a hemoglobin level; Chemical C asks about hearing, sight, and cough, and requires a hemoglobin and chest X-ray. When a worker is exposed to Chemicals A, B, and C, the FoxPro-based product prints a sheet that says to ask about hearing, sight, cough and get urinalysis, hemoglobin, and chest X-ray. (This is much better than the worker coming in on Monday for a urinalysis, Tuesday for a hemoglobin, and Wednesday for a urinalysis, hemoglobin, and chest X-ray!) We update the list of chemicals occasionally, and also add, remove, or change questions and tests to do for existing chemicals.
    As FoxPro is being "retired," we are planning to re-create a similar application using different software.
    Do you have any recommendations for what product would be the best for such a purpose? For example, Access, SQL, other Office product, Visual Basic, etc.
    Thanks!
    Monday, January 25, 2010 6:38 PM

Answers

  • Hi Naomi,
     
    >> then ASP.NET with SQL Server sounds like a simple and logical choice.
     
    Assuming that such an application would run also on a laptop in the fields: Would you really suggest to install and run  Internet Information Server as well as SQL-Server on that laptop, just to have a "modern" replacement for a perfect desktop-application?
     
    Up to now, Any Web-based App is just a joke compared to the comfort and ease of use which is possible in a "classsic" desktop app. Even with tons of Ajax and JavaScript you can't make a web-app as usable as a real desktop app.
     
    If it's a pure inhouse used app, then a webbased app might make sense, but then again: SQL-Server for about 200 records?
     
    This sceanrio is exactly the strength of a VFP app: Just copy the app plus 2 more DLLs into one directory and it works on any decent Windows without any further installation and configuration hassles. And Microsoft does not have a replacement (yet?) with a comparable ease of programming and ease of installation.
     
    VFP9-driven apps will surely work out of the box for at least the next ten years, thus a recompile and facelifting for that app would be the best/easiest thing to do for now. 
     
    Of course, if the OP is willing to spend some (or a lot) more money, a complete rewrite in VB.NET including a "Click-Once" installation and SQLCompact would be the next best choice...
     

     

    wOOdy
    Microsoft Visual FoxPro Technology Advisor
    Microsoft "Most Valuable Professional" from 1996 to 2009
    Visit my XING profile! Don't know what XING is?

    *´¨)
    ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
    (¸.·´. (¸.·` *
    .·`.Visual FoxPro: It's magic !
    (¸.·``··*


     

    • Proposed as answer by tushar kanvinde Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:30 AM
    • Marked as answer by Martin_Xie Monday, February 01, 2010 8:41 AM
    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 11:48 AM
  • The reason for change is that the security department will no longer allow FoxPro! (Yes, just because it will not be produced by MS does not mean it ceases to function, or has become non-secure, or ...!) The decision has been made, the die has been cast, etc.
    This product will be used by about 150 remote sites. Thus, the idea of a Web-based application is appealing: we update the info (e.g., change the tests required for a certain chemical) as we wish, and all users instantly use that info without having to download and install an updated product.
    The size of the database itself is extremely small (200 records, which, eventually, may become 2000). (I won't be the programmer, but "in days of yore," I would have preferred doing something like this in BASICA!)
    IMHO, SQL server express + C# is an ideal candidate to handle it (other .Net languages like F#, VB, IronPython, IronRuby ... would do too, just my preference is C#). Doing such a thing with C# and Silverlight is something that a .Net developer could complete in a very short time. If the table count is at maximum 10 then I would suggest checking www.ideablade.com for express version (free but supports up to 10 entities - read it as tables). 
    • Proposed as answer by Naomi NModerator Wednesday, January 27, 2010 8:13 PM
    • Marked as answer by Martin_Xie Monday, February 01, 2010 8:42 AM
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 3:06 PM

All replies

  • If the list is so small you may try Access (even if it is slow) ...vb is ok too...
    dni
    Monday, January 25, 2010 6:54 PM
  • Is your application not working? Does it need major revisions? If it's working and doesn't need lots of work, why replace it? Out in the world, I see applications still running in FoxPro 2.x, which shipped its last version in 1992.

    Tamar

    Monday, January 25, 2010 10:12 PM
    Answerer
  • You can go with web based application and SQL Server database to allow growing of this application. If you decide to go this route, then ASP.NET with SQL Server sounds like a simple and logical choice.
    Premature optimization is the root of all evil in programming. (c) by Donald Knuth

    Naomi Nosonovsky, Sr. Programmer-Analyst

    My blog
    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 5:48 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi Naomi,
     
    >> then ASP.NET with SQL Server sounds like a simple and logical choice.
     
    Assuming that such an application would run also on a laptop in the fields: Would you really suggest to install and run  Internet Information Server as well as SQL-Server on that laptop, just to have a "modern" replacement for a perfect desktop-application?
     
    Up to now, Any Web-based App is just a joke compared to the comfort and ease of use which is possible in a "classsic" desktop app. Even with tons of Ajax and JavaScript you can't make a web-app as usable as a real desktop app.
     
    If it's a pure inhouse used app, then a webbased app might make sense, but then again: SQL-Server for about 200 records?
     
    This sceanrio is exactly the strength of a VFP app: Just copy the app plus 2 more DLLs into one directory and it works on any decent Windows without any further installation and configuration hassles. And Microsoft does not have a replacement (yet?) with a comparable ease of programming and ease of installation.
     
    VFP9-driven apps will surely work out of the box for at least the next ten years, thus a recompile and facelifting for that app would be the best/easiest thing to do for now. 
     
    Of course, if the OP is willing to spend some (or a lot) more money, a complete rewrite in VB.NET including a "Click-Once" installation and SQLCompact would be the next best choice...
     

     

    wOOdy
    Microsoft Visual FoxPro Technology Advisor
    Microsoft "Most Valuable Professional" from 1996 to 2009
    Visit my XING profile! Don't know what XING is?

    *´¨)
    ¸.·´¸.·*´¨) ¸.·*¨)
    (¸.·´. (¸.·` *
    .·`.Visual FoxPro: It's magic !
    (¸.·``··*


     

    • Proposed as answer by tushar kanvinde Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:30 AM
    • Marked as answer by Martin_Xie Monday, February 01, 2010 8:41 AM
    Tuesday, January 26, 2010 11:48 AM
  • What are your reasons for change.
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:25 AM
  • The reason for change is that the security department will no longer allow FoxPro! (Yes, just because it will not be produced by MS does not mean it ceases to function, or has become non-secure, or ...!) The decision has been made, the die has been cast, etc.
    This product will be used by about 150 remote sites. Thus, the idea of a Web-based application is appealing: we update the info (e.g., change the tests required for a certain chemical) as we wish, and all users instantly use that info without having to download and install an updated product.
    The size of the database itself is extremely small (200 records, which, eventually, may become 2000). (I won't be the programmer, but "in days of yore," I would have preferred doing something like this in BASICA!)
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 12:41 PM
  • I'm wondering, how "security department" can see that the product was developed in FoxPro? By the end of the day, all applications look the same - 0 & 1. The only way to tell is to look on "supporting" libraries.
    May I suggest something like scrambling? Or any other technologies, that will help to "hide" the origin of the developing language? Unless, of coarse, you really have some money to burn on new development...
    As for updates  - it could be implemented into program (and you'll find a lot of ways to do using VFP). BTW, what will happend to your app if ISP provider will go down?
    As for substition for VFP - I personally prefer VB (or VB Express). Access would be my second choice.

    Best regards,

    Foxer
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 2:34 PM
  • The reason for change is that the security department will no longer allow FoxPro! (Yes, just because it will not be produced by MS does not mean it ceases to function, or has become non-secure, or ...!) The decision has been made, the die has been cast, etc.
    This product will be used by about 150 remote sites. Thus, the idea of a Web-based application is appealing: we update the info (e.g., change the tests required for a certain chemical) as we wish, and all users instantly use that info without having to download and install an updated product.
    The size of the database itself is extremely small (200 records, which, eventually, may become 2000). (I won't be the programmer, but "in days of yore," I would have preferred doing something like this in BASICA!)
    IMHO, SQL server express + C# is an ideal candidate to handle it (other .Net languages like F#, VB, IronPython, IronRuby ... would do too, just my preference is C#). Doing such a thing with C# and Silverlight is something that a .Net developer could complete in a very short time. If the table count is at maximum 10 then I would suggest checking www.ideablade.com for express version (free but supports up to 10 entities - read it as tables). 
    • Proposed as answer by Naomi NModerator Wednesday, January 27, 2010 8:13 PM
    • Marked as answer by Martin_Xie Monday, February 01, 2010 8:42 AM
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 3:06 PM
  • One thing to take a look at is MySQL for the back-end plus PHP at the front. I haven't done this myself, but my son has built some very nice data-driven sites (including http://www.yalespizzwinks.org/winkipedia/) that way.

    Tamar
    Wednesday, January 27, 2010 9:53 PM
    Answerer
  • Other alternative, wamp/lamp, check: http://www.nubuilder.com

    Regards,

    Pablo

     

    Friday, February 18, 2011 3:25 AM
  • If the web site runs remotely at a web host, will the security guys care??  If not, you certainly can host a foxpro web app at a host like GoDaddy .  Simple to set up, cheap, and most (if not all) of that VFP code is re-used.  I just did a study of PHP vs ActiveVFp vs Razor (.Net):

    http://activevfp.codeplex.com   (see the table for comparisons)

    While I respect and admire PHP, it is sorely lacking in certain areas, namely performance.  However, it blows the competition away as far as 3rd party plugins and stuff like WordPress.  But man I would hate to see someone step backwards from VFP to PHP for reasons of less performance and losing the existing vfp code.

    Razor (.NET) is interesting.  The promise of an easy to use web tool and high performance.  But with the still steep learning curve for getting up to speed with the .NET framework and the minimal performance increase over VFP, it would be a bitter pill to swallow (at least for me) as far as rewriting code.


    Claude Fox - http://www.codeplex.com/activevfp - Open Source VFP web development
    Saturday, February 19, 2011 2:38 AM