FoxPro puts Microsoft Out To Pasture

Filed Under (Visual FoxPro) by WildFire on 20-03-2007

FOXPRO PUTS MICROSOFT OUT TO PASTURE

I was offline for almost five days due to a series of client visits.

(Yes... I still don't have an internet connection at home.)

Just minutes when I went online, someone sent me a private message with a link to The News.

Microsoft Puts FoxPro Out to Pasture
Daryl K. Taft / March 13, 2007

Along with that link came her 'whine in the rocks'.

Those who have been following Fox-related matters knew this day would come.

Even the 'stubborn and optimistic' FoxPro programmers like me.

Personally in the past two years, I wasn't bothered much by the 'lack of support' rants... I was bothered seeing VFP team members, leaving and transferring one after the other.

But I always remained optimistic.

Along with my dog... and my pet tiger.

Boom.

Magnifying the wound was it being announced on the 13th of March.

If MS or YAG announced it on April, May or even February or any other month it wouldn't have bothered me. But March... March 13. Argh.

They should make announcements like that on February 14.

Seriously, it's a sad day... for the people behind FoxPro and its users and developers. No matter how optimistic one is... no matter how we can always console ourselves with that 'it's a mature product we don't need additional features anymore' line.

It is a mature product indeed, but it still won't change the fact that it's sad.

Nor does it change the fact that, sad news like this does not mean it's the end of the world.

MORE PASTURE LINKS

So after reading that article and the official announcement in Microsoft's site, I went out to check Andrew's site for a series of related links in his Future of (your) Development Lies in You, Not Microsoft blog post.

Here I am thinking that the future lies in the whining and the ranting and that actual coding is only around 2 percent of the entire software development process... : )

If I can squeeze some time within the month, I will compile a series of posts related to this.

STATING THE OBVIOUS, AGAIN

So, since it is still 2:45AM, too early to fire up another Fox-related project in this day's tasks-in-line list of mine, let me post once again the common facts that were posted again and again.

0000 There is no Microsoft Visual FoxPro version 10. It's official. But there's VFP X and there's VFP Y, and who knows a Linux FoxPro 10 might come out somewhere. (Oh did I mention 'facts'? (Hmm... did they mention there will be no Microsoft Visual FoxPro 11 and 12? (Was there ever a Visual FoxPro 4?)))

0001 VFP9 is supported and will exist until 2015. That's 8 more years. Well at least that's what the lifecycle says. I look around and I see applications developed in Clipper 5.2 and FoxPro 2.6. I still see Windows 98SE powered machines and... calculators still exist. Even typewriters.

0010 VFP9 SP2 will be released within 2007. Its target/focus is VISTA compatibility. And the FoxPro team always delivers.

0011 SEDNA Project will be released for FREE... more importantly as an OPEN SOURCE project.

Sedna is built using the extensibility model of VFP9 and provides a number of new features including enhanced connectivity to SQL Server, integration with parts of the .NET framework, support for search using Windows Desktop Search and Windows Vista as well as enhanced access to VFP data from Visual Studio.

So we have a VFP core... connectivity with the SQL Server, .NET framework integration, support for VISTA... extensibility... pancakes, magic potions and all.

0100 The FoxPro community exists... MVP VFP exists... the internet exists... MSDN articles are still archived... e-books exist... the whines will never die. Problems will still exist. Choices exist.

Come on. Do I really have to mention them all?

Bottom line is, we developers exist to solve problems.

Problem solvers... we are.

If problems are solved... become extinct, we can easily recreate them.

In fact, some developers who are in the 'higher places' have 'invented' so many problems already in the guise of 'technologies' that those ought to be enough to occupy us for the next few years.

We even compartmentalize the solutions to these problems. We give solutions that are web based (even if a simple desktop approach is enough). LAN-based solutions, mobile... web and more web.

No matter how the list will go on, there will always be a room for a 20++ year old mature and reliable tool.

Oh wait... this mind barf isn't going the way I intended it to.

I'll re-organize things later... let me just end with this:

If someone, your client probably, or perhaps your boss... will mention that VFP is discontinued/ravaged/pastured or whatever... tell him no. Tell him that in fact you are keeping TheLegacy alive by working on Visual FoxPro 7000 and point them to CodePlex.

Of course you have to move your arse to CodePlex before them.

But you have choices too, you can learn new things, no harm really. Integrate new things and other tools with VFP.

You can also opt to whine and rant, because it makes for good entertainment in between coding.

You can re-learn C/C++ and create a new XBase language with DBF support. You can even use CSharp, or Python or Java or assembly language if you like.

You can change careers too. Becoming an assassin or a spy would probably be more thrilling than proliferating the web with more whines.

And of course you can always continue working on practical solutions and applications using Visual FoxPro.

Your choice, Hal.