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June 2, 2005

End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 4525 days ago on June 2, 2005

Microsoft took over FoxPro (technically "merged") in 1992, a few months before the release of Access 1.0. At the time, Microsoft badly needed its own desktop database to complement its other Office applications. My theory is that aquiring FoxPro was a kind of insurance policy, in case Access fell flat. In reality Access was a huge hit, leaving FoxPro as the bright but awkward sibling in the product line-up. I've always liked its common-sense language and fast, robust database engine. FoxPro also got object-orientation well before Visual Basic.

For years I've been hearing people say that Microsoft killed FoxPro. It is untrue, even ridiculous. FoxPro was at version 2.0 when Microsoft acquired it. Microsoft released new versions for Windows, Mac and even Unix. The product is now at version 9.0.

However, it is true that Microsoft never knew how to market FoxPro beyond its niche. It now appears that FoxPro really is coming to the end, and that there will not be a Visual FoxPro 10. There will be a new product, codenamed Sedna, but this is focused on .NET interoperability and Longhorn compatibility. Further, there are no plans for a 64-bit FoxPro, a shame given the advantages of 64-bit for database applications. It looks like Microsoft is doing its best to support FoxPro users and developers, but not evolving the core product any further.

If anyone is feeling nostalgic, relive the past with this great FoxPro History site.



Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 4525 days ago by Paul Morriss • • wwwReply

I went on a course on customising a Microsoft Great Plains personnel application built on FoxPro. Afterwards I wondered just where FoxPro fitted into the Microsoft family, and why it was needed given Access. A quick Google didn't turn up any answers. Your article confirms what I concluded eventually - a bright but awkward sibling. I find it strange that Microsoft kept it going for so long. If it were VW for example, and you couldn't distinguish the Golf and the Seat Ibiza then sales of the latter would drop and they would revamp it (as they have done) or kill it. I guess with software the installed user base has a lot more momentum than with cars.

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 4524 days ago by BJ • • • Reply

Ashton-Tate had a lawsuit against FoxPro at the time Borland acquired it. Phillipe Kahn decided to kill that legal action on philosophical grounds. Microsoft almost immediately acquired FoxPro, produced a Windows version before Borland could do the same for dBASE, then sold it at a loss which (thanks to paying too much for Tate) started the downward spiral of Borland. Of course Microsoft used pricing on Access to help kill Paradox too. The purchase of FoxPro was really part of a larger plan to damage a competitor (plus part of a rumored personal vendetta against Phillipe).

FoxPro Contract

Posted 4486 days ago by Suzy Wiley • • wwwReply

Hi,

I am looking for a FoxPro contractor who has worked in the insurance sector for a 3 -9 month contract at a Lloyds syndicate.Basically data migration and development work

Re: FoxPro Contract

Posted 4470 days ago by Mark Scott • • wwwReply

I have a number of contract staff here who work for our company in the office but are happy to go out to clients on contract. What do you need specifically?

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 4468 days ago by Craig Boyd • • wwwReply

Tim,
How ironic that in an entry declaring, once again, that VFP is dead we find someone looking for a FoxPro developer. This Chicken Little stuff wore thin years ago.

Visual FoxPro 9 is the most commercially viable release yet. And as for Sedna, what part of that project spells "end of the road"?

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 4468 days ago by Tim Anderson • • • Reply

Craig, FoxPro remains a great product and yes, there is still demand for Fox skills. As to Sedna, it is focussed on interop with .NET and SQL Server 2005, and making Fox apps work properly on Longhorn. That's positive, but I read it to mean (most likely) that there won't be a FoxPro 10 or any major new work such as a 64-bit version. So to my mind Sedna points towards the end of the road.

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 4289 days ago by Travis Sutterfield • • • Reply

FoxPro jumped into the top 20 for Microsoft with the release of 9.0. Why would Microsoft create and incredible update to the fastest database engine and have several people purchase this product just to eliminate it. Ever since Fox 2.x people have been saying Fox will go away. We started using Fox because we would like to use our applications before we retire than wait for our IT staff to do a lesser job in .NET.

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 4104 days ago by The quick red fox • • • Reply

Don't forget that It's this xbase's(clipper,dbase,foxpro) that make the pc a popular to bussness application and make windows what it is today.
Thanks also to Novel.
Don't forget that.

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 4037 days ago by Furio Filoseta • • • Reply

Foxpro occupies today 18th place on the TIOBE index, rated A--. Access is nowhere to be seen.

Another interesting fact is that in 2004 Foxpro didn't even appear on the index. Maybe .NET database programming is so tedious that developers everywhere ARE turning to Foxpro to get things done.

That will change with LINQ -maybe- Also, LINQ will make a Foxpro.NET very possible.

So, it seems the jury is still out on this one.

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 4037 days ago by Tim Anderson • • • Reply

The jury is still out; but I don't take much notice of TIOBE because of its doubtful methodology.

Tim

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 3916 days ago by Anton Hinxman • • • Reply

In reality the question is one of supply of skilled FoxPro resource.

If you look at the position of a director of IT trying to deliver on-time then you have to look at the stock of developer skills in the market. If you select FoxPro, and have a good systems designer/programmer team, then all OK but if the skills diminish and become poorer then you have to look at the wider market.

The IT director is then forced to say that the risks of developing / committing expensive development time to FoxPro may be unwise should such scarce resources be run over by a bus or otherwise leave.

There is a wider and more significant business risk to making such development language choices. How many IT people / students cut their teeth on FoxPro?

Anton

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 3901 days ago by Henry C, Magday • • • Reply

It is possible that microsoft will release a new version of Visual Foxpro, i heard about the codename SEDNA, what is it. Is is Visual Foxpro.NET??????

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 3827 days ago by Anton Hinxman • • • Reply

In my view this Sedna move is a way of hiding the future limited objectives of VFP. The development costs will be reduced as will the user base of developers.

IMHO it is going the wrong way but, at the same time, VFP needs an OOD exclusive language and a data/presentation split to help it move on. This is NOT going to happen because of the way VFP is built for speed and where it commercially sits.

So long as we have:

Use <TheTable.dbf> in 0 Shared && Open the whole lot... ug

We have a fundamental design server/data issue not helped by the development language. Something has to happen to move this data tool off onto the servers as data rules based engine rather than a heavy desktop application.

Perhaps ridding VFP of its name is a good thing???

Anton Hinxman

Re: End of the road for FoxPro

Posted 2883 days ago by Asger Ali A • • wwwReply

We have been using foxpro 2.6 and now upgrding visual foxpro 9. In my end foxpro product easy to understand and easy database handling. I request to MicroSoft Please include in the .net frame work. I heard foxpro going to stop, lot of users still in foxpro track.


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