EndIf or End If?

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;

Visual FoxPro to Visual Basic .NET, by Les Pinter

Microsoft .NET for Visual FoxPro Developers, by Kevin McNeish

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…

Author: Duncan Mackenzie

I'm the Developer Lead for the Channel 9 team, formerly worked on MSDN as a developer, content strategist and author.

15 thoughts on “EndIf or End If?”

  1. VFP9.0 is indeed superb – try it and the productivity just blows you away…

    It is a pity the product profile is kept so low.

  2. Congratulations. I’d like to know, if you could help me, how to use dbf (foxpro) files in visual basic .net
    Is it possible to do that?
    If you can’t (or don’t want to) help me, thanks anyway.


  3. Yep, VFP 9 rocks, allright!

    Baltazar: You can use dbf’s in .NET using the VFP OLE DB provider. I have not tried this myself, though, so I am unable to give you any code examples, but I bet some googling will provide you with an answer.

  4. Visual FoxPro is the best most dominant data centric with powerful automation development tool I have ever used, it’s also blazingly fast. It’s the best tool to use with a data centric application either with its own native data engine or SQL.

  5. This is probably the most patronizing piece I have ever read with respect to VFP. I particularily like the references to the books by Les and Kevin right below VFP9. In other words, buy VFP9 but use .NET instead.

    This is just another slick example of how MS attempts to force developers to use certain products. What MS fails to realize is that VFP developers would probably give .NET a shot if they just cease all efforts to force it. It is for this reason that I will probably learn Java instead, not to mention the fact that there is MUCH MORE Java development going on than .NET.

  6. “VFP developers would probably give .NET a shot”

    I gave it a shot, came back dissapointed.
    What they don’t understand is that Java was never more productive than VFP.
    So trying to copy Java into .NET wouldn’t do any better.
    Instead they should have focused on porting VFP to Linux to gain the terrain they lost to PHP and Python.
    Well, too late. The damage is done.

  7. I don’t get to do VFP as much as I would like to, but I always have it installed for Ad-Hoc use, its just better and more flexible than the VS.Net data tools/Qeury Analyser/Enterprise Manager combination (especially manipulating multiple data types).

    I recognised that moving away from VFP was a big step backwards, but had to do so to remain viable as an independent contractor (at least here in the UK).

    Looking forward to playing with VFP9 though.

    To use an American term ‘You guys Rock!’

  8. Let me see if I got this straight…

    “I doubt I’ll find a project to use it on in the immediate future..”

    …but yet he conveniently has links to two books to get you out of VFP 9.0.


    Yeah, I read MSFT blogs to get away from ineffective MSFT marketing. NOT!

  9. I used to be a VFP programmer…moved to VB6 due to the needs of the dev shop I was working for.

    VFP was great to code with (don’t know about now as I haven’t used it since V5) but I found coding with VB6 okay (did miss the code reuse that came with inheritance tho’) and now with .Net I really can’t imagine it’s raison d’etre except in supporting legacy apps.

    What I do remember was a lot of bitterness from VFP community about the way that MS had left their well loved language tool behind. Understandable I guess but somewhat childish.

    Personally I enjoy coding but in the end it’s a mean to an end (getting paid!) not a religion. Get over VFP chaps, learn .Net (VB.Net or C# doesn’t really matter) and leave your bitterness behind. It’s all about the business!

  10. “……leave your bitterness behind. It’s all about the business!”

    So what if tomorrow MS decides to dump VB.Net or C# and introduce a new development tool/language VB.NOT and C*, I mean the problem is – you invest a lot of time learning a tool and then it gets changed on you for no reason, also, I use both VFP9 and C#, you make it sound as if .NET is so much superior that VFP, at what? I just don’t see it?? When it comes to data centric project or Windows applications (remember windows applications!) I always select VFP as the superior platform with an SQL backend and C# for the .aspx applications.

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