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VFP Road Map Discussion

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A place for anything you want to say about the VFP Road Map

Perhaps some of you don't go back this far, but I remember a great product called dBASE II/III and I remember what happened when a couple of little known companies called Fox Software and Wordtech Systems decided that they could make a better dBASE than Ashton-Tate. Along this line and with the announcement having been made, over the next few years, I think there will be an awakening of alternative thinking in regards to what VFP offers and new product offerings. I've never liked VFP being tied to MS. As a former Foxbase+ developer, I liked the community Fox Software offered much better. I recall that they used to publish a book annually listing all the Foxbase+ commercial apps so that developers could support the development through proliferation of commercial applications. This was long before the internet had taken hold, and I felt more connected with Fox Software and Wordtech Systems than I ever did with MS.

The key is that VFP will NOT be replaced by a MS offering, but perhaps some other company will step up and offer a product that has similar functionality. Adversity is the mother of invention. While continuing my VFP development, I will be watching for product development along this line. And I will be particularly interested in those that offer cross-platform development options (like Dabo) - after all, MS is not the only game in town and with the growth of OS X and Linux offerings, why not keep your options wide open and diversify at the same time. --- John Fatte', CPA

Just want to bump this topic up to recent changes for historical purposes. Funny to see how different people feel after the announcement. I love this quote from Craig Boyd: "2007 could well end up being the Year of the Fox!" If that isn't the understatement of the century. -- Randy Jean

Great call to pull this up, this my favorite by craig boyd:

"So the MS VFP Team releases the greatest version of VFP ever (this is not hype but fact), and announces plans to enhance the reporting engine, and announces that they have just had the budget approved for Sedna and will be providing major improvements in extensibility/iterop, and that somehow gets construed as VFP is on it's last leg? I don't get it. If that is true, then MS has just won the all-time award for the Worst Exit Strategy ever."

I guess he is right and he should provide MSFT the award for the worst exit strategy ever. --Mark

Aha, here it is. The original roadmap found in the wayback machine. Anyone else see anything saying that there will definitely be no more core development? Anyone else see that March 13, 2007 will be a day of reckoning? Yeah, me neither. So again, we just had to know how to pick who's blog or wiki posts to believe. -- Randy Jean

Ken Levy VFP Devcon interview:

"David Stevenson: I think the thing that would most concern people is whether the door is actually closed to further enhancements."

"Ken Levy: A big direct answer the best we can on that question is that there is a possibility that there won�t be any enhancements after Sedna, and there is a possibility that there will be. We would have answered the question the same way after we shipped 8 and people asked about what�s beyond 9. We�re being totally honest and we�re just not dancing around it in any way. There is no one at Microsoft who has had meetings or decisions, and we�re waiting for two more years to plan that out."

Doesn't seem like a BIG direct answer to me. So, they didn't even wait until 2 years and didn't wait until after Sedna was released. Frankly, I'm not as concerned with core enhancements as I am a deadline for support, and then that's it. It will be dead. I remember thinking: "Y2K, that's way off" - that was in 1990 and it sure didn't seem to take very long to me. -- Randy Jean

Finally! A Road Map for VFP ! It's about time, MS. I've asked about the Road Map for 2 years, 9 months, and 11 hours (GMT) - and FINALLY - POOF! One Exists ! ya-fricking-hoo!!! Now lets see if Ken and his gang o web-byters can actually promote the Road Map back at the MS Developer Tools Main WebPage. Truly Remarkable its taken so long, and even more truly remarkable something actually exists called a VFP Road Map. William Sanders
I didn't realize this before, but it seems to me the term "Road Map" is overloaded. When one compares the VFP Road Map with, for example, the firefox roadmap. I think most people would agree that the difference in quality/quantity of information is pretty striking. - lc
There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Dave Aring is working on a hand-held VFP GPS to augment the Road Map. However, the design for the circuitry is in its third Agile iteration.
Given the remarks below from Ken's blog from May 19, 2005, and now having had a quick look at the above 3 pages, I'm still left 'assuming and/or guessing':

"Our goal is that when the Visual FoxPro Roadmap is released along with some basic Questions & Answers on the VFP FAQ page added, there won't be anything that insiders know that members in the Visual FoxPro community won't know. We want to expose all that Microsoft is planning, thinking, doing, etc. (transparency) around Visual FoxPro long term so there are nothing to assume or guess. Top Microsoft executives have already seen the Visual FoxPro Roadmap details, and the Visual FoxPro team has already started working on enhancing Visual FoxPro beyond version 9.0 (aside from service pack efforts). People should keep in mind that our goals and focus is on how Visual FoxPro apps run in 5+ years rather than on specific VFP IDE, engine, and language features."

The main addition to the FAQ seems to be the first question:
"Q: What will be added to Visual FoxPro after version 9.0 and will there be a Visual FoxPro 10.0?"
A: 'they are working on Sedna...' From the descriptions, Sedna doesn't sound like a 10.0 but an add-on/tool to use with 9.0. Why not answer the second half of the question?? It's a non-answer that leaves me thinking ('assuming and guessing' despite what he said earlier) that there won't be a 10.0

I used to compare the current version to an older one a bit but I'm not sure had the version just prior to today's update:*/

I kinda snickered at the 'chicken littles' before but now I'm wondering if the sky really is falling now...

Andy Needham
No falling sky - just be aware that VFP is still supported by MS until 2014, a full nine years away.

I'm well aware of that but "supporting" a 9 year old version of a product vs. actively enhancing, updating, and releasing new versions of a product are 2 different beasts. If 9.0 is the last version, what percentage of VFP developers do you think would be starting new projects in VFP 9.0 7 or 8 years from now? Or even 4-5 years from now? Let alone trying to sell a client/prospect on using a tool that word has gotten out that it is "dead"... (And you know that stigma will get out there: just depends on your pull/reputation with your clients/employers.) I know some will still use it but will it be a majority of the people doing that now? I'll bet not.
I'm not interested in doing the whole 'VFP is dead/dying' or 'when is it going to die' thing here: it's already been done in too many other places including other Wiki pages.
The sky is falling and has been for a while now, just real slowly. I just wonder if/when it will accelerate. I think we are still a ways off from 9.8 m/s2 but we'll get there I suspect. ;)
Seeing that the Roadmap has project Sedna (interesting choice for a name) as a destination that requires VFP9, I think it's clear that VFP9 is the end of the road. And Sedna is somewhere out on the edges of our Solar System. Too funny.

Yet for me this is not unexpected with the mass exodus at MS, the renaming of the group Visual Data and the discussion of putting FoxPro type features into .Net.
- Wasn't a rename, it was a consolidation of two teams with similar mandates.
So the MS VFP Team releases the greatest version of VFP ever (this is not hype but fact), and announces plans to enhance the reporting engine, and announces that they have just had the budget approved for Sedna and will be providing major improvements in extensibility/iterop, and that somehow gets construed as VFP is on it's last leg? I don't get it. If that is true, then MS has just won the all-time award for the Worst Exit Strategy ever.

To me the entire thing is really exciting... imagine leveraging Avalon, XAML, Indigo, and WinFX from VFP. For instance: There is a huge gulf between VFP's ability in creating UI's and Visual Studio .NET's (again, this is not hype but fact)... and that gulf was getting even wider with the advent of Avalon. Now, .NET has some serious drawbacks as well... no native database, no native reporting engine, and some serious speed issues due to the .NET framework overhead. So what I see in our future is the ability to easily combine the best of VFP with some of the best of .NET.

It doesn't look like the end of the road to me at all. It looks like a big beautiful super highway with VFP developers creating applications that can do things that .NET only developers will be salivating over. It's a mammoth leap forward for VFP if the MS Team can pull it off. 2007 could well end up being the Year of the Fox! -- Craig SBoyd
I see a pattern forming as the years go by. Everytime MS announces that VFP will continue and enhancements will be made, the nine nasty nabobs of negativism are ressurected to comment on the plan. I own every version of FP and VFP. Everytime I get the next version, it's improved. -- Grady McCue
It's not all doom and gloom. While you will be able to leverage some of the upcoming Longhorn technologies, it remains to be seen how much of those you can use. XAML, yup. Avalon, yup. Indigo, maybe. However, the end is coming. See my response to the Road Map. -- Craig Berntson
Now this is REALLY funny. Craig Berntson on his blog almost 2 years ago says definitely no more VFP core development (other than SP) and immediately the other Microsoft insiders jump in with comments to do damage control and deny, deny, deny that anything of the sort had been decided. So, still, I'm wondering how any of us in the "community" could know for sure this was coming. BS! -- Randy Jean
Hi all. well, perhaps I'm the biggest fool around, but I'm starting a new project based on VFP 9.0. Yeah, I could develop it in .NET, but for me VFP is the tool that delivers by now.
About .NET, well.. yes, I'm doing something in ASP.NET, nice concept, great IDE, granted. But with VFP I can find everything I need, price/performance, programming model, fast data access and manipulation, easy syntax. I have to confess every hour I spent at VFP 9.0 is really hard to think MS gonna kill it. It works really great, best version ever. For my customers and for me, VFP still delivers. -- Carlos Pérez

Tsk, tsk, hear, hear

I know it has come to the point that any major adaptation of fox to the current trends will be a burden when trying to keep backward compatibility as a requirement.

I can understand that only a new language designed from scratch can be the viable option for a futuristic platform.

But listen, and listen carefully, for I am the customer:
- I don't like C++, C# or C-Omega, don't try to push them thru my nose.
- I don't like VB.NET abomination, or the cruel joke that J# is.
- I wish the resources invested in Iron Python would be given a better use.

What I want is this:
- A language LIKE FOX
- With a clean syntax LIKE FOX
- With great data power LIKE FOX
- With a nice IDE LIKE FOX
- With a report writer LIKE FOX

Oh wait, you had it and now you are killing it.
Of course you are not going to deliver something like what I need in the next 5 years.
Well, I guess I will have to look for it in another place or platform.

Thanks but no thanks. Not one single word of support will come out of my mouth regarding any Microsoft technology when asked for advice.

That's how you treat your customers, that's what you get in return.

ASP? C++? Like VBers and Foxers, they will be forgotten too when the new buzzword comes around, be it XAML or Indigo or what next.
I'll give you the syntax argument, but who cares - take a look at how many string functions are built in to VFP that you would need to write several lines of code to accomplish in .NET - here is where legacy is better IMHO

Great data power - TRUE - this is where people always confuse the backend database with the cursor engine. I agree with your points about Foxpro as a back-end database, but .NET does not have it's own database of any kind AT ALL! So really what we're talking about is local cursor engive vs. ADO .NET - We use SQL Server with our VFP apps (or any other true relational database), just as I assume you might do with .NET, but having the local data engine I can take result set(s) and munge them (in the command window if I want to) to my liking a LOT faster than you could do writing programs that must use ADO for any such task.

I'll take the VFP IDE over VS anyday. VS.NET is crowded, unwieldy and intrusive, IMHO. (I'm surprised they didn't put "clippy" in there... "I see you are trying to write a program....") Also, if they haven't already, they could take a huge lesson in how a property sheet should really look and behave. And, VFP IDE is incredibly extensible. Not sure about VS in this area. Plus, command window. Maybe it's just a matter of taste, but the VFP IDE is one of the greater virtues of the tool, intellisense shortcomings notwithstanding...

Randy Jean
Besides its superior data handling ability, VFP is particularly good at leveraging other technologies. A better interop with .NET in Sedna may not be a bad thing and may not signify the end of VFP if we don't want it to. To me .NET is geared towards building enterprise solutions by a team of developers, perhaps .NET makes building complex things simple but to me it somehow makes building simple things a bit more complex. I think .NET does not overlap the entire market segment of VFP, what if VFP evolves to become able to build departmental or line of business solutions solution faster than using Visual Studio itelf? How Microsoft determines the future of VFP in my opinion depends somewhat on the positive attitude of us the VFP developers, if we can continue to demonstrate VFP is capable to build elegant solutions easier and faster in the right market segment, I don't think we need to worry too much about VFP future, not to say that VFP won't fade away, but it may not be in our timeframe.

David Fung
1) VB6 is dead, yet VB6 developers apparently outnumber all other Windows developers put together. VFP won't reach that stage of "death" until 2014.
2) Other developers are used to constant "innovation" that kills their previous work. Why is that so desirable? I only ever saw 2 FP releases that pointed to a complete rewrite and those were FPW and VFP3. Both brought heaps of *visible* business advantages that justified a rewrite. Perhaps we should ask one of the developers currently fixing their ASP.NET stuff because the latest releasse depreciates/changes so much, what extra business benefit they expect from all this extra work (apart from making it work in the latest version) ... business benefit may not be as closely coupled to regular new releases as some people think.

What about windows applications, remember Windows! How many of you have seen .NET windows applications? I have seen hundreds of FP and VFP applications out there? Some of the FoxPro apps have been running for more that 12 years without any major problems, can you say that about .NET apps? I have used C# to create Web Applications – works fine, however, did any of you try to create a simple windows application with a data entry form using .NET; Sorry, I just don’t see it (yet??).
I have seen .Net Windows apps. While I'm sure there are others, one commercial app I know about is 3M PostIt Note software. -- Craig Berntson

Yes, I know many businesses that run on post it notes - har har. Personally, I prefer v1.0 developed with the legacy paper and glue toolset. Very stable. gd&r -- Randy Jean

See Also VFP Roadmap Sedna Suggestions
( Topic last updated: 2007.11.11 08:05:38 PM )