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Future of Visual Foxpro RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello friends,

    I have a general question. What will be the future of VFP? The reason for asking this question is because, our company is planning a major commercial software development. So far we were very much satisfied with VFP. But now doubts are being raised whether we should base our investment on this platform or consider something new like VB.NET. Especially when we hear that the products will not be served beyond 2009!!!

    Any sincere opinion will be a big help.

    Thank you.

    Sunday, December 3, 2006 8:24 PM

Answers

  • VFP will be in production and supported to at least 2014, probably longer since this is such a well known language.

     

    Sunday, December 3, 2006 11:39 PM

All replies

  • VFP will be in production and supported to at least 2014, probably longer since this is such a well known language.

     

    Sunday, December 3, 2006 11:39 PM
  • I think the future is very bright. As I know FoxPro is a database and dev language purchased by Microsoft in 1992, and now known as Microsoft Visual FoxPro (VFP). It is very flexible and if you have a stable version I don't think you need to be served. Always exists solutions to resolve a problem and it run also on Linux OS so I think that all applications developed can run for long time. I have applications developed in Foxpro before 1992 and they are still running fine now.
    • Proposed as answer by Stankovski Friday, October 23, 2009 5:15 PM
    Monday, December 4, 2006 1:07 PM
  • Financial Investment companies here in the US often use the phrase "past performance is not an indicator of future returns". The same holds true with software. Just because old applications continue to run fine does not mean they will continue to do so in the future. For example, there are currently issues with FoxPro and Visual FoxPro running on Vista. I doubt Microsoft will go back and fix these issues with Fox versions that are no longer supported.
    Monday, December 4, 2006 2:38 PM
  • As far as Vista is concern, there is still hope of SEDNA update which will make foxpro interface similar to vista. Beside VFP will work on Vista (as 32 bit). But still we dont know what will be there after Vista. Last but not the least, second part of my original thread was - what next after VFP? Which other tool give the same ease of development environment (keeping in mind - learning curve).

    Thanks once again.

    Monday, December 4, 2006 3:00 PM
  • ALL aplications made under Windows 95/98/nt/2000/xp...etc should work on Windows Vista without any corrections if Windows  Vista is a serious operating system.
    Monday, December 4, 2006 3:11 PM
  • We have been a VFP shop for almost 10 years.  It is a great environment for quick development and stable applications.  That said, we're done with new development in VFP.  Here's why:

    -The won't be a 64-bit version.  In my opinion, this is the biggest end-of-life indicator for this product--even more important than Microsoft's support until 2014.  Sure Vista and server 2007 have 32-bit compabitility mode; but I expect by the next Windows OS releases (3-5 years down the road), running 32-bit software will be a dying trend.  Some larger companies may even have initiatives to run 64-bit software whereever possible.  Why process 1/2 the bits at a time when you don't have to?  By 2014 VFP will be equivalent of modern day Cobol.  There will be a bunch of legacy apps left that should have been converted years ago.
    -Have you seen the new .NET 3.0 stuff?  WPF offers extremely flexible anchoring capabilities--something that works okay in VFP, but not great.  WCF Services offer new levels of sercurity and binding methods.
    -DLINQ and XLINQ.  These 2 language enhancements are going to save .NET developers lots of time.  Simple tasks will be simple code.  Plus there is a tool that will build business objects from a relational database.

    Brian
    Monday, December 4, 2006 5:44 PM
  •  bes7252 wrote:
    ...running 32-bit software will be a dying trend.  ...  By 2014 VFP will be equivalent of modern day Cobol.

    OK, I heard the same thing 5 years ago: "Drop VFP-5 and switch to Visual Basic" (which, thankfully, I never did).

    Are you (and/or others on this forum) certain there won't be a VFP 64-bit version, verily? 

    Are you (and/or others) certain 32-bit VFP software is doomed in 7 years?

    I hope VFP stays robust and adapts to Vista's premium OS ... and would like to know if I'm chasing the wind.

    Tuesday, December 5, 2006 1:23 AM
  • >> Are you (and/or others on this forum) certain there won't be a VFP 64-bit version, verily?
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/vfoxpro/roadmap/

    >>
    Are you (and/or others) certain 32-bit VFP software is doomed in 7 years?
    To say I'm certain would be an overstatement. It's sort of a gut feeling comprised from the last 3 years of VFP-related information. There are almost no new books...there isn't currently a plan for version 10...the publication we were getting for over 7 years became redundant and focused on specific uses with limited use...the newsgroups I watch have slowed down to a crawl--sometimes no messages for a several days...etc.

    Another indicator--the Sedna code has to do with interaction between VFP and VS, but I haven't seen anything that gives VFP the ability to host managed code. We can access managed code, but we can't use the nice interfaces or benefit from the new controls. I think we're being quietly coerced away from VFP to VS. They're giving us tools that expose us to VS, but in truth they want us to see what we're missing. Maybe they're right. I haven't used VS enough yet to know for sure. I do know ClickOnce deployment is very nice. In 15 lines of code I can have my application automatically check for new versions upon load and update itself.

    My hope is that development time will significaly reduce and my users will still experience a signficant difference.
    My biggest fear is that development and/or training time will increase significantly.

    Best of luck to you in your decision.
    Tuesday, December 5, 2006 2:58 AM
  • I would think that the future of 64 bit is in doubt. With the fiasco of 64 bit hardware needing not only a 64 bit OS, but also 64 bit versions of software that often is not available, and were often a 32 bit version of the software simply won't run on a 64 bit system,  64 bit hardware as user stations may be doomed.

    Tuesday, December 5, 2006 5:20 AM
  • I used to be a VFP-only developer. But with the advent of .NET plus user requirements where a web app is most appropriate, I started using ASP.NET. Now, I still use VFP for small to medium LAN based apps. I believe it still has its uses.
    Tuesday, December 5, 2006 5:47 AM
  • This has been almost a touchy subject for me. I started using foxpro about 3 years ago and as soon as I really got into it I was hooked. When I heard that VFP was being "phased out", I was, to say the least, somewhat devistated. I keep hoping to hear that Microsoft has changed their mind and will continue to release new versions, but I'm not as hopeful as I used to be. I haven't personally dived very much into the new .NET world yet, but I see that it is the way to start heading. Not only is there less support and less forums and what have you, there's also quite a lot less VFP jobs out there and most of them that you do find is usually converting legacy code as opposed to creating new innovative apps. I'm not really looking forward to it (yet) but I'm going to have to start really delving into .NET - gotta keep up with the times.

    I did hear, though, that Microsoft was planning on releasing a version 10 as its final release, but that could just be heresay. Well here's to hopin...

    Tuesday, December 5, 2006 8:51 AM
  • "should" and "do" are two different things. Fact is, many applications have problems under Vista.
    Tuesday, December 5, 2006 3:03 PM
  • Microsoft has already said that Longhorn Server will be their last 32-bit server OS.
    Tuesday, December 5, 2006 3:04 PM
  • Microsoft has never said that VFP.Next (Sedna) will be version 10. I talked to Alan Griver (yag) last month in Germany and he said the decision on what to call it or how to package it hasn't been made yet. My bet is that it will be more of a service pack or "plus pack" or "VFP9-R2".

    Also, Microsoft has stated that there are no current plans for anything after Sedna, but that's the way it's always been with each release. That the next version hadn't been planned, but there was one. My take on this was posted a year and a half ago. See:

    http://www.craigberntson.com/blog/2005/06/end-of-road-nope-just-bump.asp
    http://www.craigberntson.com/blog/2005/06/puzzle-pieces.asp

    Tuesday, December 5, 2006 3:12 PM
  • Craig,

    You are an author, speaker and very active VFP-guru.  What % of the time do you develop in VFP today?  What other language(s) are you using?  How has this changed in the past 3 years?

    Tuesday, December 5, 2006 3:59 PM
  • I have some idea what Craig's answer will be, so figured I'd jump in with mine, too.

    My work is 100% VFP, except that some of it involves interacting with other applications. (I do a fair amount of Office automation.)

    I should add that most of my clients are other developers and I get called in to tackle some tricky task in a project. Other work I'm doing is taking existing systems and modifying/updating/fixing, etc. Creating entire apps has never been a big part of my work.

    Tamar
    Tuesday, December 5, 2006 9:55 PM
    Answerer
  • I don't know if I count as a guru, but I am also an author and speaker. Unfortunately I can't answer for Craig, but I know he is also a full-time employee for a major Company so his time usage is defined, to some extent, by others.

    However, Marcia and I are independents and we use multiple tools. In fact I spend a fair amount of my time in SQL Server these days - but then I have one contract with a client who only  uses SQL Server! But even there I use VFP daily for handling off-line tasks and data cleansing.

    We probably spend in excess of 80% of our working time in VFP and this hasn't really changed over the years, nor do I see any real reason for it to change.

    Microsoft want everyone to believe that 64-bit is the way to go, but unfortunately this is a rosy-tinted view of the real business world. Companies simply do not upgrade hardware and software just because Microsoft release something new! Things like "Return on Investment" come into play and unless there is a good reason to spend money on new machines and operating systems it just wont happen! Imagine the cost of switching thousands of users over to 64-bit and then look at the benefit of spending that money....

     

    Wednesday, December 6, 2006 11:26 AM
  • I'll chime in.

    I also work fulltime for a major corporation (as Craig does). Companies often dictate what tools you are going to use. That said, I do most of my work with SQL Server as a back-end. Al my Windows Forms are done in VFP (9.0 for new work and I maintain a major app originally written in FPD2.x, upgraged over the years, and currently in VFP8).

    All of my web work nowadays (company's intranet and extranet), and where I spend most of my time lately, is in ASP.NET (VS2005+C#) with SQL Server 2000 as back-end.

    As Andy said, big companies are slow to move. I do not foresee any move for us to SQL Server 2005, Windows Vista or anything 64-bit for a few years.

    Wednesday, December 6, 2006 2:34 PM
  • Andy,

    You are at the top of my VFP all-star list--well, you and Cristof are tied.  I attended GLGDW a few years back and found your sessions very engaging and informative.  (Maybe it's just the accent.)

    >>Imagine the cost of switching thousands of users over to 64-bit and then look at the benefit of spending that money....

    At some point 64-bit still seem inevitable. My Dell rep tells me that many larger businesses cycle their hardware every 3-4 years.  In smaller businesses hardware lifespan doesn't usually exceed 5-6 years.  At some point the purchase of new hardware is inevitable.  If the new hardware is 64-bit, VFP ends up in "Compatibility Mode".
      That's a bad place for any software product to end up.

    Have you used VS?  Or looked at the .NET 3.0 stuff at all?  I'm curious as to what you think of it.
    Wednesday, December 6, 2006 2:36 PM
  • Right now, I'm doing almost all my development in VFP. I'm working on a project that involves VFP and Office automation. Earlier this year I did some C# work and next year I have an upcoming project that will be in C++. I'm also doing some VFP/.Net stuff for Microsoft.
    Wednesday, December 6, 2006 3:31 PM
  • i will tell you one thing about VFP future, you may surprised but it's TRUE

    " VFP will be the MOST common language through the next 5 years " how ? i will answer you

    until now we now three type of database applications (Desktop,Client-Server & Web applications), VFP is nice in Desktop applications and helpful in Client-Server beside SQL Server & Oracle and not bad in web applications( there are support for web service). but VFP not like .NET languages. the direction of VFP + VS.NET + SQL Server = "GREAT PROGRAMMING TOOLS" is common but for VFP Developers the others  see VS.NET + SQL Server = "Great" , and they ignore VFP, because they don't know it. this is the present, but what about the future ?  the future is not only "Web Applications" , there are 

    1 - Internet (2) & Grid Computing  2 - new programming paradigm replacement for Object Oriented

     Visual FoxPro will be the best programming language that support the technology of the future, but this will  not depend on VFP team in microsoft  , this will be the job of open source programmers (using VFP)

    Object Oriented which is the BASIC BLOCK of VS.NET is not so nice as we want from modern programming paradigm , OOP was very nice in the world of GUI and Information systems due to it's features (Encapsulation, Inheritance, Polymorphism, Composition, ...etc)

    but now we need new programming paradigm which take in mind (Complex data structure, event-driven,client-server,distributed systems, embedded systems , Grid Computing) 

    there are now 3 new programming paradigms ( Agent Oriented, Language Oriented & DoubleS (Super Server) )

    AOP & LOP are away from our discussion , SSP (DoubleS Paradigm) will target VFP SOON

    and this new programming paradigm will add new power to VFP so it will be the better programming langauge

    the new paradigm is based on a lot of new concepts (OOP Simulation , Networks, Servers, Chemial System, Electrical System, Human Interaction)

                    http://www.sourceforge.net/projects/doublesvsoop

     this programming paradigm  need contributes from professionals VFP Developers , it's BIG project

    the advantages of the new programming paradigm

    1 - OOP simulation but better than Pure OOP

                      1 - 100% OOP Power      2- Reduce need to inheritance by 50%       3- more encapsulation    

                       4 - ***Dynamic classes*** which can be created and deleted like OBJECTS in runtime

    2 - take complex data strucure in mind (Structue programming ignore data structure, OOP present only encapsulation for it, but SSP

           present organisation, virtual database mangment system for it based on chemical system 

    3 - take event-driven in mind       4- take client-server in mind (veto system) - best than AOP in that point

    5 - and more... THAN I CAN WRITE (THERE ARE 43 PAGES DESCRIBE ONLY WHAT IS DOUBLES ? )

    DoubleS paradigm support now xBase languages like Clipper,xHarbour & xBase++ and will target VFP soon

    Greetings,

     

                     

          

                                                      

     

    Thursday, December 7, 2006 6:41 PM
  • I agree about a bright future for VFP apart from MS in the form of Open Source developments.  Look for VFP to be more like a PHP or PERL type language with many developers the world over making improvements and the whole community benefiting.  Once this gets rolling enough, MS might even jump in and help out.

    Regarding 64-bit, I believe it's sort of over-rated and is being hyped pretty heavily.  You know IBM AS/400s had 64 bit chips and OSs in the early 90s.  Plus you just had to recompile existing apps to get them to run as 64-bit.  While the AS/400 is popular with certain industries, I bet most people have never even heard of it or it's capabilities let alone beat a path to it to take advantage of the 64-bit capabilities.  Some things I've heard about Intel/MS 64-bit - it will only have advantages for extremely large databases and may actually slow regular applications...

     

    Saturday, December 9, 2006 9:50 PM
  • reading these comments is making me feel more excited about the future for VFP than for some while. Can anyone elaborate further on running VFP on  Linux. How easy is it to adapt from VFP Windows to Linux useage and which distribution seems to be most suitable?


    A supplentary question. we know that businesses in Africa and other developing areas worry about cost and maintainability given how low GDP is in many of these countries. Given that most westerners use only a small part of the capability of packages like VFP 3>, excel 3> , is there not an argument for the startup distribution company in (say) Zambia to be able to use an earlier OS  and an earlier software like VFP 5  to be made avialable and supported locally rather than tell  them they need the latest bells n whistles super dooper OS and software when in reality it could be years before they need this capacity. If we in the west/north truly want to help Africa, it seems crazy we basically want to bin so much fabulous software prematurely. What do you 'pros' reckon?


    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 4:53 PM
  • I just found out (and I may be way behind and out of the loop) that Microsoft is planning to release the core portions of VFP DBMS to the open source society. There may be hope yet.

    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,2105307,00.asp?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594


    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 5:20 PM
  • ha...ha...haaaaa..."-The won't be a 64-bit version"...at almost 3 year and after vista (32 bits)...they release windows 7....oooo...on 32 bits....lol
    Wednesday, October 14, 2009 5:42 PM
  • 64-bit has advantages mainly for data not for programs.  Programs actually run faster in 32 bit.  The best of both worlds is to run applications in 32-bit and data in 64-bit (don't believe me, just take a look at how IBM implements 64-bit on their mainframes).  Then you can keep most of the data in memory.  For VFP, just use SQL Server as a backend to take advantage of 64-bit and keep the vfp apps in 32 bit - as I said, the best of both worlds. Don't get so caught up in the hype without doing your homework on the real advantages of new technology...
    Claude Fox - http://www.codeplex.com/activevfp - Open Source VFP web development
    Thursday, October 15, 2009 5:47 PM
  • Claude, can you clarify this statement "Programs actually run faster in 32 bit."? Because I think it needs more information. This blanket statement just isn't enough.
    Craig Berntson MCSD, Visual FoxPro MVP www.craigberntson.com
    Friday, October 16, 2009 3:40 PM
  • Sure:
    "The main disadvantage of 64-bit architectures is that relative to 32-bit architectures the same data occupies more space in memory (due to swollen pointers and possibly other types and alignment padding). This increases the memory requirements of a given process and can have implications for efficient processor cache utilization. Maintaining a partial 32-bit model is one way to handle this and is in general reasonably effective. In fact, the highly performance-oriented z/OS operating system takes this approach currently, requiring program code to reside in any number of 32-bit address spaces while data objects can (optionally) reside in 64-bit regions."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/64-bit
    Claude Fox - http://www.codeplex.com/activevfp - Open Source VFP web development
    Sunday, October 18, 2009 9:44 AM
  • Ah, yes Wikipedia, home of suspect information. What it says is, in fact, correct, but incomplete.

    First, 64-bit applications will run faster than 32 bit, GIVEN ENOUGH MEMORY. Most people get a 4 Gig laptop and throw 64-bit Windows on it. I recently installed Win7 on my laptop with 3 Gig and did some research, consulting several sites and talking to lots of people and determined that you need at least 8 Gig RAM before beginning to see any advantage to a 64 bit OS.

    Second, Many people use a 64-bit OS but with 32-bit applications. This happens most often on the desktop (see my first point), but I've seen on the server too. The OS has to run the 32-bit app in, what I put in laymen terms, a "compatability mode". The correct term for this is WoW64. This slows things down as calls are translated between 64 and 32 bits. There are very few 64-bit desktop applications, but this beginning to change and will continue to change over the next few years. The first big example of this change is Office 2010, which will be available in both 32 and 64-bit versions.

    I do agree with your statement that it's better to keep the apps running on a 32-bit OS and connect to a 64-bit server ... provided the server is running 64-bit software (for example, SQL Server). If it's simply a data store for VFP, then throw lots of RAM at it and run 64-bit.





    Craig Berntson MCSD, Visual FoxPro MVP www.craigberntson.com
    Sunday, October 18, 2009 2:02 PM
  • I use your book on Office Automation all the time.  VERY helpful.

    I jumped in with both feet this summer and rewrote my commerical app with a SQL backend.  It's out for testing now and everyone seems to love it.  I figure the app will run for the next 5 - 10 years with a SQL database and that's all anyone can expect anyway the way technology keeps evolving.  My customers are small businesses so the free versions of SQL2005 and SQL2008 should be adequate.

    Love this forum.  Very informative....
    JLB
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009 2:05 PM
  • Dear All VFP Lovers

    I am happy to see many good comments about VFP which encourage me to make more applications in VFP. I am a VFP developer since 10 years, and still working on it, my applications are running very good. Now my aim to build with SQL database.

    Foxynet, I think you also stick in VFP and dont bother about support and all, since the internet is there no worrie about support from vendors, there will be millions of VFP devlopers who can help you out.

    Can you reffer a good book to learn more about building VFP application with SQL server..?.

     I am sure that if any modern devlopers learn VFP they will jump to VFP becouse VFP coding is very easy.

    Zienu , Kuwait 



    Wednesday, April 6, 2011 6:25 AM
  • Hi,

    usually you won't get much answers on a 5 year old thread.... ;-)

    So here are two links to some recent threads to your question...

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/de-DE/visualfoxprogeneral/thread/83a6ed91-993a-44ee-9446-f2e71c3ea47b

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/de-DE/visualfoxprogeneral/thread/e73d70cd-107f-4283-bb06-4fd6349379ba

     


    Gruss / Best regards -Tom 010101100100011001010000011110000101001001101111011000110110101101110011
    Wednesday, April 6, 2011 6:38 AM
    Answerer
  • I've been developing application for 30 years using a variety of tools, Pascal, Fortran, C, Dbase IV, Clipper, Foxbase, Foxpro 2.0, VB, VFP, SQL Server, Oracle, etc - it's a long list. VFP is my favorite for it's flexibility. 

    History repeats itself. The debate over 32bit vs 64bit are the same arguments used during the transition from 16 to 32 bit systems and in 10-15 years we'll be discussing the merits of moving to 128bit.  My first programming job was writing software for a PDP 11/45 with 28K of RAM and 10mb of disk space (this was state of the art at the time). Compiling a 10,000 line application and executing in 28K was a challenge.

    In a few years everyone will look back and think about the old days when we only had 4gb RAM.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 2:49 AM
  • I am glad to see the discussion on VFP future continue. I have used both .NET and VFP to build professional deployed applications. In no case have I found .NET to be easier or better for client server application development. Since you can 'easily' access an Oracle, SQL Server, Paradox....database and manipulate the data in multiple work areas with 1000's of data commands it is clearly a data centric oasis for development. When I hear developers tell me they use a data reader object or a connection object or ADO object etc by a third party, which by the way you can use in VFP I smile because the simple fact is 2 short words 'use table/view/name' gives us access. I challenge any .NET person to tell me they have Reports, Database, Forms, and programming language all wrapped in one package usable by 1000's of users. That alone makes it win. As soon as I hear Crystal Reports, or Oracle Forms, or ADO, or any third party which changes according to releases I see what is better. Thin or thick application development, web services, internet operability, VFP3 until VFP9 all easily convertable amongst releases, no need for 5000 certification classes every three years, I could go on but I will stop. MS knows how to make money and getting rid of the best product they have ever purchasd so they can sell complicated, clumbsy ever changing code over and over to the businesses is what they are going to do. If your business is running fine don't change. I have run circles around my employees who are .NET developers. I build apps in 2 months they build them in 8 months and take shortcuts to make their lives easier using .NET. If the data needs manipulating add 6 more months. This is real life experience in both .NET and VFP. I don't speak to anyone from .NET unless they have developed in both, then I ask them to compare. My employees watch me and are amazed at how fast I fix their issues using VFP9.

     

    VFP I hope it shows up somewhere else in the future and I am all in.

    Thursday, May 12, 2011 8:33 PM
  • Hi

    In India there are very few or literally no foxpro jobs. And Remember India's Population is 120 Crores.  If at all companies need foxpro personnel that is only for converting them into .net application.

     


    Lakshmi
    Saturday, May 14, 2011 5:27 AM
  • Hi Lakshmi 

    I am 100% agree with you. Some company give VFP Jobs but they pay less salary. My Company also started Conversion for VFP Application to .Net Application.


    Please "Mark as Answer" if this post answered your question. :)

    Kalpesh Chhatrala | Software Developer | Rajkot | India

    Kalpesh 's Blog

    VFP Form to C#, Vb.Net Conversion Utility
    Saturday, May 14, 2011 5:45 AM
    Answerer