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VFP Framework Positioning


Namespace: VFP
(This conversation between Steven Black and Ed Leafe dates back to Sept 1999 or so...)
VFP Framework Domains
In the Visual FoxPro realm, for the most part we're seeing commercial frameworks that are not domain-specific. Is this a good sign? This begs the question: Why has nobody yet taken any of the good general frameworks and specialized it commercially for a given domain, like banking or patient care and so on? There is a huge niche business opportunity here: Take a Frame Work, trim it with everything needed for other developers to create apps in, say, manufacturing, and sell that.-- Steven Black

In my experience, clients start with Codebook and create a specialized version for their own business needs by placing domain-specific code in the i-layer[1]. These i-layer classes are then re-used in the different apps created for the business. But the additions are specialized to such a degree that they would not be re-saleable (assuming that they would even want a competitor to have this code). Personally, I've developed in so many different business domains that I don't feel knowledgeable enough to create a specific set of classes for any particular field. -- Ed Leafe

Nonetheless, assuming you had stayed within a particular industry, and assuming there is a crying need for domain-specific frameworks (I think there is merit to that) then you would have a very nice niche. A good manufacturing framework could fetch $10,000+ (and be a bargain), plus yearly subscription fees, and I'll bet that a number of serious developers with serious customers would opt for that. How did SAP get started? Or Peoplesoft? Or SBT, for that matter? I'll bet you this is basically their story.-- Steven Black

I'm sure that if such a niche could be identified and properly exploited, it would indeed be lucrative. But I wanted to get back to the definition, which mentions applications "within a specific domain". A domain is defined by the problem which needs addressing, and if the problem is "how can I write a VFP app quickly and efficiently?", the domain is not limited to a specific business type. As a consultant, I may be asked to work on a medical app, a manufacturing app or a banking app. Having a framework like Codebook allows me to handle all of these and more. It addresses my problem, not any one of my client's problems - that's what I do :-) -- Ed Leafe

I would tend to think that one of the driving factors in the development of Custom Frameworks is the need to develop a domain-specific framework that just doesn't bolt on very well to one of the existing Commercial Frameworks. Visual FoxPro's Codebook framework is pretty good at leaving out domain-specific code, but can still be a big nut to crack when a developer needs something that doesn't fit with its design model. -- Kristyne McDaniel

Here's something I find lacking in the frameworks I've seen. Many applications track information about people. I think there should be a class that provides access to a people datasource, a screen that uses that datasource. Even if "people" is too vague and would have too many possible UIs, a core behavior could be offered that could be subclassed per application domain. If not that, then at least provide a class for City, State / Province, Country.

This class is something that can be packaged. IMO it would save developers' time in almost every application. -- Mike Yearwood

Such as, VFE Full Contact -- Randy Jean

Is Full Contact available? The Website doesn't say. It sounds like more than I'm talking about, but could be an example. -- Mike Yearwood

[1] i-layer: intermediate layer.
Category Frameworks
( Topic last updated: 2003.09.02 07:44:57 AM )