Wiki Home

Vfp 7 And Vs DotNet

Namespace: WIN_COM_API
[Irrelevant material has been removed.]

Session Start: Wed Oct 04 20:14:14 2000[20:23] *** Evan Delay changes topic to 'VFP7 and VS.NET Report From the Miami Devcon'

[20:21] {BobLee} Funny thing happend this evening with by bag from Devcon...

[20:22] {Evan Delay} What was that, Bob?

[20:23] {BobLee} I was approached on my way home, waiting for a train, asking questions about if I knew about VFP etc... and I went home with a little side job tomorrow just because of the bag....

[20:23] {Evan Delay} Moral, Devcon pays!

[20:24] {CindyWinegarden} Cool story Bob!

[20:46] {Evan Delay} Hey Ricardo. Nice to see you here.

[20:48] {RicardoWenger} Hi Evan and all. I will be able to stay for about 20 minutes.

[21:02] {Evan Delay} Would you guys like to start off with some of the features that were announced about VFP7 and VS.NET. Rember not to break the Non Disclosure Agreement if you have signed one or bound by one.

[21:04] {DavidStevenson} I was very impressed with the MANY new functions and commands that seem to be added for supporting Intellisense, but will benefit us in other ways, too. GETINTERFACE() for early binding was a surprise.

[21:07] {Evan Delay} Ricardo what is the official name for the release from Devcon? An alpha, a preview?

[21:07] {RicardoWenger} The DevCon release is a Tech Preview.

[21:05] {GuyPardoe} Can anyone comment on the status of the OLE-DB provider for VFP? Is it there in the build that was handed out?

[21:07] {BobLee} Sorry to sound stupid, but what is OLE DB ?

[21:08] {GuyPardoe} OLE DB is a new DB access standard that supercedes ODBC.

[21:06] {RicardoWenger} The OLE DB provider is shipping and is in the build.

[21:07] {DavidStevenson} Ricardo, any comments about Gene's statement in his session that the OLE-DB provider will NOT ship with MDAC, but just with VFP itself?

[21:11] {RicardoWenger} Gene is correct. We decided not to ship the provider with MDAC because of the lack of freedom to distribute and ship. This way it will be easier for us to send new versions to you guys.

[21:12] {DavidStevenson} Ricardo, that's what I figured was going on. Of course, to some people that would look like another piece of evidence about MS not supporting VFP. :-)

[21:13] {RicardoWenger} I don't see why this is the case. People will be able to get easier hotfixes than if it was a system component. Believe me when I tell you that the cost of being a System Component is huge and not worth your and our time. Flexibility is the key here.

[21:13] {DavidStevenson} Ricardo, After release, will the OLE DB provider be downloadable freely from the VFP site, so ISP's for instance that need to install the driver for VFP tables can have easy access to it?

[21:16] {RicardoWenger} I don't exactly know how we're going to provide it to you. It certainly will be very easy to do though. Probably a download. Also, it will be added to all our redistribution mechanisms for VFP and VS applications. Redistribution won't be a problem.

[21:07] {GuyPardoe} Should we expect it to be fairly stable at this point or is it too premature?

[21:08] {RicardoWenger} The provider is very stable. You should try and test it with ADO right away and send us bugs if you see any.

[21:13] {DenisChasse} We already heard about VFP not being able to use CLR. Are there other things in VS .NET that we won't be able to use from VFP?

[21:14] {EdRauh} Ricardo, what mechanism will be used to discover the new interfaces offered by VFP-developed services when deployed via copy? Is there a probe of the SDL performed, similar to self-registration, or is there more to it? (Is it that obvious I worry about installs?)

[21:18] {RicardoWenger} The SDL is an XML representation of the typelib. It will be selfdescribing and lives together with the DLL where the component resides.

[21:21] {DenisChasse} Can you tell me what is SDL?

[21:22] {RicardoWenger} SDL is Service Description Language. A WWW standard for describing components.

[21:14] {RicardoWenger} As we said at DevCon, we focused for this version on the multiple features and the integration that we showed you there. We believe that you can call VFP components and web services very well within .NET. We're in the planning stages of the version after the next and need your feedback on what you think.

[21:14] {BobLee} So what about web forms ?

[21:04] {DenisChasse} Are web forms going to be supported?

[21:17] {RicardoParreira} Web forms, for instance, look like a very nice tool to speed up web programming. That would be very nice to have with VFP. Can we have web forms without the CLR?

[21:19] {RicardoWenger} The Web forms are part of the .NET frameworks and the framework is based on the CLR.

[21:20] {GuyPardoe} Does the use of VFP7 objects under COM+ imply that my customers must run an NT server? IOW Novell only shops are out?

[21:20] {RicardoWenger} It's replaced by URLs and method calls to components that are self-describing.

[21:20] {EdRauh} What about system and AD objects like users or computers? Do they carry SDL as well?

[21:21] {RicardoParreira} So VFP will not have web forms until it gets in the CLR ?

[21:21] {RicardoWenger} Denis, if you are going to write .NET apps, your best bet is VS.NET. You can use your VFP components and web services.

[21:24] {BobLee} So we are looking at the .NET stuff, as being distributed apps, and Vpf's part in the picture is making components?

[21:25] {RicardoWenger} Bob, you hit it right in the head. .NET is distributed Web apps and you play with VFP components and web services.

[21:27] {RicardoParreira} So, if we need to do web apps we will have to learn VB.NET and ASP+ for the user interface?

[21:27] {RicardoWenger} People, unfortunately I need to leave now. Great questions from all. Hope I helped clarify some. David, Evan, and others that I've talked to can clarify some of these questions too.

[21:27] {BobLee} Maybe I have been doing this too long, or something, but it appears to me that many VFPers are lone wolves, who like total control of the interface, data etc, and just putting my two cents in, being a middle tier, will take some getting used to.

[21:27] {EdRauh} Ricardo Parreira, Learn VB.NET, or C#, or other CLR languages.

[21:27] {Evan Delay} Thanks for dropping in Ricardo!

[21:28] {Evan Delay} Ricardo Parreira and Bob Lee you can still build a fat front end with VFP if you want to.

[21:28] {RicardoWenger} I will like some of your questions so I can answer later and forward. David or Evan can you help? Thanks. [Editor's note: see below for this additional material.]

[21:29] {GuyPardoe} Bob, you may have a point there. It's different for everyone. But it IS becoming more important to play in a shared environment.

[21:30] {DavidStevenson} As it now stands, VFP7 can play with .NET, make Web Services, and also build completely standalone apps.

[21:30] {DavidStevenson} A pretty good position to be in, as far as flexibility goes.

[21:30] {EdRauh} Look at Biz Talk - a tool that visually charts a stream of execution built from components that pass XML.

[21:30] {BobLee} You are right. VFP is quite flexible.

[21:31] {GuyPardoe} Can a CLR app (i.e., VB7) be a simple Windows desktop app?

[21:33] {Evan Delay} Guy, yes.

[21:34] {JohnThornton} What is CLR?

[21:34] {Evan Delay} Common Language Runtime. It will replace the VB and VC++ runtimes.

[21:35] {DavidStevenson} John, Common Language Runtime, which sits on top of the .NET framework to compile the output of VB and C# managed code.

[21:34] {GuyPardoe} Let me throw this one out again, does COM+ mean I have to have an NT Server?

[21:35] {RicardoParreira} For someone who is starting a web based app which should be the best way to follow ? Wait for .NET? ASP and VFP COM server? Anything else?

[21:36] {RicardoParreira} I'm half way with ASP em VFP Com server!

[21:36] {DavidStevenson} Guy, good question. There will be a .NET framework for Win98 I hear, but don't know how extensive it will be. I doubt that it will handle the COM+ features.

[21:36] {GuyPardoe} Don't wait... move on something now.

[21:37] {Evan Delay} Ricardo, I wouldn't wait, just read up on how to ensure your COM will be .NET compatible.

[21:37] {RicardoParreira} I don't like the idea of adopting West Wind. I would prefer to only depend on Microsoft! (It's enough to depend on one company)

[21:37] {RicardoParreira} How do I make the COM .NET compatible ?

[21:38] {RicardoParreira} I thought COM was by default .NET compatible!

[21:38] {GuyPardoe} I understand your feelings... but West Wind has a great product (Web Connect)

[21:39] {DavidStevenson} Ricardo Parreira, ASP+ is supposed to remove some of the headaches of ASP/COM development, like having to shut down IIS to install na new build of your COM object, etc. If you can live with that, and ASP's sometimes instability for another year, I guess you could just focus on good design for your COM components, etc.

[21:40] {DavidStevenson} Ricardo Parreira, however, West Wind is my current choice for ease of development, debugging and deployment -- and I can still use my COM objects with it.

[21:40] {GuyPardoe} Has anyone here been in any of the prior VFP betas?

[21:40] {PabloRoca} Guy, yes.

[21:41] {DavidStevenson} Guy, I was in Foxpro UNIX beta :-) and also VFP6.

[21:42] {GuyPardoe} While in beta, did you ever use the beta product in real production, or did you diligently wait for the released product?

[21:42] {DavidStevenson} Guy, there's sometimes a fuzzy fine line between development and testing.

[21:43] {DavidStevenson} I'm not admitting to using beta products for live apps, but there's a fine line between them.

[21:43] {PabloRoca} I was beta since FPW 2.6 and always wait for the final product in real production.

[21:44] {GuyPardoe} I know. I was in the last two VFP betas and I found it hard to do serious testing on non-production stuff.

[21:44] {PabloRoca} You have no help, and some more.

[21:44] {DenisChasse} Is there a product in VS .NET that is trailing behind and stopping VS .NET from being released sooner?

[21:44] {DavidStevenson} Denis. Yes, it's called .NET. :-)

[21:44] {PabloRoca} David, that's a joke? :)

[21:44] {DavidStevenson} I think also the WebForms and Win Forms designers are probably still pretty unstable.

[21:44] {PabloRoca} The OS maybe?

[21:45] {DavidStevenson} They had a hard time finding things about VStudio to demo at DEVCON, cuz it wasn't ready enough yet.

[21:46] {DenisChasse} So was it just theory then?

[21:48] {PabloRoca} As you can read in Rick's post in UT, he thinks that the .NET stuff will be full ready in 2002.

[21:48] {PabloRoca} Hmm...

[21:48] {DenisChasse} So another waiting game ... :-((

[21:48] {PabloRoca} I think so.

[21:53] {Evan Delay} Will VFP7 be called VFP.NET?

[21:53] {DavidStevenson} Robert Green answered that one like this... I don't know?

[21:53] {DenisChasse} Is there something that can be done in VC++ that can't be done in VB or either VFP?

[21:55] {BobLee} With C#, do we not have C++ anymore?

[21:56] {Evan Delay} Bob C# is a new language, it isn't C++. They are different.

[21:55] {VladGrynchyshyn} Denis, despite VC++ is more low-level language and tool, so probably yes.

[21:56] {VladGrynchyshyn} C# is just simplified version of C++, because "we will spend all our life to make aplication using C++" (Copyright not mine)

[21:56] {DenisChasse} That's what I thought. Thanks Evan.

[21:56] {BobLee} Sorry, thats just the impression that was given out a few times at Devcon.

[21:57] {DenisChasse} Bob: If you have that impression. I would guess that you are not the only one.

[21:57] {DavidStevenson} C++ can spit out "managed code" (runs on the CLR) or "unmanaged code", which is like it does now.

[21:58] {DenisChasse} SOAP is now available from MS site. Are there other development tools that will be available and that are going to be a part of VS .NET?

[21:58] {DavidStevenson} So in Visual Studio 7, C++ and VFP are the only languages that create "unmanaged" non-CLR code.

[21:59] {VladGrynchyshyn} What means "managed" code???

[22:00] {DavidStevenson} Managed code means MSIL (Microsoft Intermediate Language) which is Just-In-Time compiled (or optionally precompiled) by the CLR to the target OS that the .NET framework is running on.

[22:00] {DavidStevenson} If the CLR / .NET framework are ever ported to other OS's, the "managed code" should be able to run there.

[22:01] {DenisChasse} Ever ported :-))))) yeah sure.

[22:02] {PabloRoca} To which OS's they intented to port?

[22:02] {Evan Delay} Porting the CLR could be a big boon to a marginal OS.

[22:02] {DavidStevenson} They've been submitted as standards to ECMA, and committees are already being set up to work on the standards, and MS just intested 100+ million in Corel, who have a desktop LINUX, with the annoucement saying that Corel would be porting their apps to .NET.

[22:03] {PabloRoca} Only Linux?

[22:03] {DavidStevenson} MS info says that they are already building .NET framework for at least 1 non-MS OS -- in the context of a paragraph about mobile devices, so I would guess Palm.

[22:07] {Evan Delay} Thanks for everyone for showing up. See you next week. Same time, same place.

Additional answers to questions:

The day after the chat, Ricardo Wenger, VFP Group Manager (the big kahuna), followed up with answers to questions asked after he left the chat. Also included are answers given by Erik Moore, a VFP developer and MVP.

>>"So, if we need to do web apps, we will have to learn VB.NET and ASP+ for the user interface?"

Ricardo Wenger: Not necessary so. You can build web apps today. What VS.NET will bring you is a level of abstraction on top of all the standards: SOAP, HTTP, etc. This will make it easier to build distributed web apps and take advantage of web services. Today you use VBScript and ASP calling VFP components. Tomorrow in VS.NET you will use VB / C# and ASP+ and call VFP components and/or web services.

Erik Moore: No. Web apps are still HTML. As far as HTML generation tools, ISAPI applications are still supported (ASP, wc.dll, Fox ISAPI). All of the options we currently have will still be available. That's not to say that you won't want to learn ASP+. Especially since its precompiled, ASP+ looks to be a screamer, and it's packed with features.

>>"Can a CLR app (i.e. VB7) be a simple Windows desktop app?"

Ricardo Wenger: Yes. I showed at the DevCon keynote a Windows form that was consuming a VB7 class and a VFP component. One of the options in the .NET framework is Windows forms. They take total advantage of the Windows interface and don't use the browser to be rendered. It can be created simply by dragging and dropping components in the Windows form designer in VS.NET.

Erik Moore: Sure. That's what Win Forms are.

>>"For someone who is starting a web based app, which should be the best way to follow? Wait for .NET? ASP with VFP COM server? Anything else?"

Ricardo Wenger: That is an interesting question. My recommendation today is to look at the options available today and evaluate: ASP with VFP COM, Web Connection, etc. I I think that the most important thing to do regardless is to make sure and componetize whatever new app that is being written today to make sure that the tiers separate (presentation, business logic, data, etc). This will make the app easy to move around in the future.

Erik Moore: If you are starting a web based app, you don't really have a choice to wait for .NET. Even if it was available now, I'm not so sure I would dive right in for something with a deadline. Start writing your apps now. If you keep your business logic in stateless objects, the transition to .NET will be easier. As far as ASP with VFP COM servers, I think that's the MS line, but ASP still has scalability/reliability issues with this architecture, even in IIS 5.

>>"Does COM+ mean that I have to have an NT Server (are COM+ services available on Win98?)."

Ricardo Wenger: COM+ (Transaction Services, MSMQ, etc) are not available in Win98. You need to have NT4 with the option pack or Win2000.

Erik Moore: COM+ can't be hosted on anything but a Win 2 K machine, but a Win98 box can use COM+ components on another machine through DCOM, or even SOAP.

>>"How do I make my VFP COM components .NET compatible?"

Ricardo Wenger: To build them, nothing really. You either need to expose them as components or as web services today with the SOAP toolkit or later with VS.NET or VFP.

Ricardo Wenger: The interesting part of well architected .NET-compatible components though is that they need to be written as stateless. There are many documents about writing good distributed, scalable apps and they all talk about not keeping state. I'm sure that Rick Strahl can give a whole presentation about this {g}. An example: a method that opens a table, searches and returns a value. If you keep the table open and the record locked then you're keeping state. You need to make sure that all links to the data are closed when the method is done executing. Again, there are plenty of examples and publications on how to create stateless components. Actually, the ADO+ dataset is a good example of a disconnected, stateless component.

>>"Will VFP7 be called VFP.NET?"

Ricardo Wenger: We haven't made that decision yet.

>>"SOAP is now available from MS site. Are there other development tools that will be valuable and that are going to be a part of VS.NET?"

Ricardo Wenger: SOAP is not really "available". SOAP is an XML protocol like HTTP POST that has been standarized by the WWWC (World Wide Web Consortium). What is available from the MS site is the SOAP Toolkit. The Toolkit has the capacity to create web services from COM components and consume them too from VFP6 / VB6 and later from VS.NET. I think that the most valuable "tool" available today that is part of .NET is the .NET framework that you can download from the Microsoft/net site. I know that people like Rick / Markus / other gurus are on top of .NET and am sure that they're thinking about providing tools and help for VFP developers in this area.

Contributors: Ricardo Wenger Evan Delay Cindy Winegarden David Stevenson
Category DotNet Category Training Category Wednesday Night Lectures
( Topic last updated: 2000.10.07 02:52:31 AM )