Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Visual FoxPro Sedna goes Open Source - VFP lives on

As most of you know by now, the Microsoft VFP team announced that Sedna, the next release of extensions to Visual Foxpro 9.0 will be released by the end of Summer (Northern) 2007. The annnoucement also confirms what we in the Fox community knew for a year or more, i.e. that there will be no release of Visual FoxPro 10.

Some people I talked to feel shocked and surprised by this announcement. This shouldn't be so. Look at it this way, FoxPro is a mature product with a great set of features. It does the job well and does it fast. What features could Microsoft add to this great platform that would justify the amount of money they would have to spend to create a new version, test it and release it? There is no set of features that could add that much more value to what we already have.

On the other hand, the very good news in my view, is that Microsoft has agreed to release Sedna and all its extensions as a free product. I'll say it again. Free, at no cost to you whatsoever, ready to download! This, plus all the community enhancements in projects like SednaX (at Codeplex.com) make FoxPro an even greater value.

Yes, VFP 9.0 SP2 is on track to be released later this year (also free). Official Microsoft support runs until 2015. There are thousands and thousands of FoxPro apps running out there, many of them still in old versions like VFP 6.0 or even FP Windows, and yes, FP DOS 2.6! This goes to show you that the Fox will live for many many years to come.

The MVP Program, and FoxPro support forums and newsgroups, let alone blogs, will continue to exist as long as there is a community and a need.

By the time official support expires FoxPro would be 23 years old in Microsoft plus almost 10 years before that, in one form or another! What other piece of commercial software, with the exception maybe of Flight Simulator, has had such a successful run?

Let's rejoice, the Fox will live on for years to come.

11 comments:

  1. Hi Alex:

    The problem, for me, is the lack of support from Microsoft. Not need of a new version, but the support is what clients want, is what make them more secure about future.

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  2. Nothing has really changed.

    There is still offical support from Microsoft until 2015. There are, and will be for years to come, several forums, newsgroups, blogs and boards about VFP. You can ask questions today, and tommorrow. The Fox MVP program still exists and will continue.

    When was the last time you, or anyone else called Microsoft directly with a VFP question? If you call MS today, or in the next few years, they will still help you.

    Nothing has changed other than the VFP 9 core (exe) stays the same (SP2) and that any future development will be open source (@ Codeplex for example).

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  3. Former VFP Developer8:46 PM EDT

    Hi Alex,

    I appreciate your positivity about Sedna and the open source efforts related to VFP, but my concerns far outweigh anything positive resulting from these efforts.

    A potential problem is that the core exe may become incompatible with Windows versions beyond Vista, or incompatible with future computer hardware. I have no proof that this will happen, but there is a definite concern in this regard.

    Also, I don't think we know in 2007 that we will never require additional core features or functionality in the future (the stuff that will never be accessible to modification without having access to the core source code). Application technology and requirements are always evolving, and I find it hard to believe that VFP 9.0 will remain adequate for development requirements in fhe future.

    I believe that companies using VFP should plan on migrating to other platforms, which will be supported in the long-term, and which will continue to evolve with the times. Given the news, I believe that staying with VFP for too much longer is a very risky option.

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  4. Former VFP dev,

    I do not know how viable VFP 9 will be in the future, vis-a-vis the next OS after Vista. You make a valid point, which is why I always advocated having more than one tool in your belt.

    I have been doing C# and .NET for quite some time now. I can read VB.Net fairly well and in a pinch I could even write in it.

    The point is that everybody should know more than one tool. Never limit your options. You owe it to yourself, your customers and your family to stay current and flexible.

    That said, VFP will still be a powerful tool for years to vome.

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  5. Choosing an open-source language as an alternative helps insulate you from these "end of road" scenarios.

    We now use Python and PHP a lot, and are using a lot more web interfaces at the desktop. Those languages may not be ideal for developing GUI desktop applications, but they are portable to other platforms.

    If we can't deploy our code in Windows any more for some reason (such as a management decision to stop using Windows) we should be able to move our code fairly easily to Linux or some other platform.

    It seems like open source languages will continue to thrive and be enhanced as long as there is an active user community. I wish Microsoft would release the source to the VFP core at some point - at least after they've milked all the revenue they can from it. Otherwise, I fear it will be relegated to history as a terrific product that died due to lack of support.

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  6. Anonymous11:35 AM EDT

    I Love Foxpro and have developed a order/entry time and material tracking program for my company. Now that foxpro is a dead product I can't afford to use it anymore. I now need to rewrite my program as it has come to be the core of our business. I can't take any more chances at being tossed about by the whims of Redmond and sadly nothing out there compares to foxpro. MS has really screwed up and screwed me.

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  7. Stop the upgrading frenzy, if you migrate to product XYZ you will surely be changing all over again when the company that owns product XYZ decides it is time to change.

    I have yet to come across anything that has lasted as long as FoxPro and still can not find a product that does what it does - that is allows you to use one tool to build applications quickly & reliably that companies small, medium and large can use.

    I have become found of MySQL and PHP but I will never go to another Microsoft product for the applications I develop. Life is to short to be on their churn and burn schedule.

    So far as support is concearned when you use a mature product you really do not need much, chances are when you find a bug there are about 20 ways to skin the cat and you can work around them.

    Oh I thihk I have to buy a new computer chair, the company no longer makes mine and I have no support! :)

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  8. Hi, Alex, everybody, VFP Developers & Not Believers
    Let me share a few comments,
    I found this site which last update was on 2007... I've read some really pessimistic comments regarding to Visual FoxPro... Let me tell you a little thing ... VISUAL FOXPRO IS ALIVE !!! Pretty ALIVE !!!! This is end of the year 2013 ... I've been a VFP lover for the last 20 years ...
    I still use VFP in my job, I am a freelance since 2002 ... I've been working with Fox2.6, Visual foxpro 6, 7, never the version 8 and currently I am a SQL Server 2008 DBA and ... do you want to know a secret ...?? All my administration interfases are built with Visual Foxpro 9 SP2 and I use the code provided in Sedna project as well. My customers who belong to important corporations are happy with our job, they never doubt my suggestions about building the control systems with Visual Foxpro SP2.

    So, let me tell you, all of you, Visual Foxpro is alive... really strong ... and widely supported not for MS but for all of us ... All faithful people who never left behind the real power hidden under the code of Visual FoxPro ...
    Long Live to the FOX ... !! Its eyes, its tail ... bright as never in the past years !!! The FOX will live as long as we write code that make happy to our customers and friends ... and, of course, to ourselves !! And remember NOTHING RUNS LIKE A FOX !!!

    My name is Jesus Alberto, I live in Mexico but I work around the world ... And the core of my toolbox is a DVD with Visual Foxpro 9 and a lot of code and apps written for run under the FOX environment everywhere ... it ought to be so, no matter what...
    Best regards,

    Jesus Alberto
    VFP Developer, DBA / SQL Server 2008,
    Mexico, D.F.
    2013

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  9. Thanks for your comments Jesus Alberto. Although it is not my primary language anymore and I did stop VFP coding for about 4 years, I have started a project a few months ago for my employer where VFP was very well suited to it. I requested they purchase VFP 9 and am happily coding in VFP again, even for a small project. :)

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  10. Can any one say from where I can get VFP 9. ? Please

    Dipankar

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  11. From Microsoft dealers. I bought a copy for my company last year. They are still available.

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