The recent annoucements around Visual Fox Pro 9.0 have brought up a bunch of memories, and have me tempted to install VFP for the first time in years…
Whether or not you have a chance to give VFP 9 a try, if you are planning on getting into .NET or VB .NET specifically and have a FoxPro background like me, you’ll probably find these books useful;
I came to Microsoft’s development products through FoxPro (2.6 for DOS), after having worked for a couple of years doing Clipper, DBase, RBase, etc… Eventually I ended up at FoxPro, and it was wonderful… After countless hours spent writing code that manually did joins of two file-based tables, having SQL right in the language was a beautiful thing. I spent so much time in FoxPro (for DOS and Windows, and for the Macintosh), mostly working on accounting systems and a TV contract management system (that ran on a network of PowerMacs), that the experience still affects my programming to this day. Whenever I type End If in a Visual Basic program (or VBA/Access), I type “EndIf” as one word (which is the FoxPro language keyword). EndIf is not correct syntax for VB, but the editor has always, and still does in Whidbey, automatically corrected this typo for me. So, as a testament to the negative side of auto-correct, I have never really learned to type it the right way. Not that I mind, but it does make me worry about kids happily mispelling words every time they use a computer to produce an essay for their teacher, and never even knowing they made a mistake.
Visual Fox Pro has always been a wonderful product, but I never really got to use it, because by the time it came out I had started using Visual Basic, and I’ve never really left that language since… I did a few projects in VFP here and there, and at times it seemed leaps and bounds ahead of VB, but I didn’t choose the language of my projects back then, so using VFP was never really a consideration unless the customer requested it or they already had an existing FoxPro code base and I recommended a VFP solution.
The great feature set of VFP has always been nagging at my mind though, and the recent release of VFP 9 is no exception. I know it is likely an absolutely wonderful programming environment and language… it has always been very productive and very well tuned to its core task (user interfaces to database systems, which probably describes 80+% of the business apps in the world). I doubt I’ll find a project to use it on in the immediate future, but if you are like me and have a MSDN subscription, you might want to install it anyway and give it a try…