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Supose a developer comes to you and says:

"Hi, I've been told about a development tool called Visual FoxPro. It's from Microsoft, right? I'm interested in knowing more about it and eventually consider start using it. Could you give me some directions to help me with that?"

What would you tell him/her? - Fernando Alvares
I'd absolutely point them Fox Central and urge that they consider very carefully what tool they choose as their primary development tool. I'd point out that while it's a flexible, fast and relatively friendly datacentric development environment, it also might be the dead wrong tool for the job. This is not going to be a popular choice here, but I'd urge that the developer consider other tools as well, and send them off to the Wiki...

Sure, we can use another VFP developer. But here we have someone who doesn't have a strong allegiance to a religious artifact who is presumably going to invest a significant amount of time, effort and money in acquiring proficiency with a new data-centrixc product. Unless there was a good match betweeb VFP and their development business, frankly I'd be hesitant to bring out the choir and preach the gospel; there's too much at stake right now for developers wrt investing in what is hopefully going to put cash in the pocket and give him a decent chance of making enough money to become a decent developer. Right now, there's a whole lot more .Net, VB6 and Java moving around for short engagements that might give them the opportunity to work with more experienced programmers to help come up to speed. There's certainly a whole lot more VB, ASP+ and the like showing up in the paper and on the job search boards.

I'd absolutely be certain to say that there are places where VFP is a near-perfect match for some projects, especially ones where there's some xBASE business logic to draw on to help with design and analysis, and where the project time is fairly long so that the learning curve time is there. VFP has been berry, berry good to me -- for some things.

But I'm looking at local job shop stuff, and whether the platforms are right, VB, Oracle, SQL Server, .Net and the like show their ugly list heads in the list of desirable talents. And there are just too many places where VFP isn't the right choice for the target platform, data set size and capabilities.

Look into VFP? Absolutely - drag them kicking and screaming off to play if they have the time. We need to lay in insulation for what might be a long cold winter, and the damned Hacker's Guide might keep the kitchen toasty for a few hours. Little home improvement projects done to help learn VFP provides plenty of things to do when the weather sucks in New England.

But I'd make sure that it wasn't the only reading material in the house, too!
I would tell him that VFP is an excellent language applicable in a very wide variety of business applications. I would also warn him that VFP will appear somewhat difficult, most especially because the documentation is often imprecise (or requires too careful reading with exact interpretation, if you prefer). But then I would quickly mention the UT as an excellent place to get help when things don't appear to work as explained in the documentation. I would also refer him to Hentzenwerkes to show that VFP is, indeed, a serious and capable language and that numerous books are available to supplement the poor product documentation. I would specifically recommend the Hacker's Guide as "must have" and that a thorough reading is in order.

I would also advise him to go through the samples/examples that come with the product in some detail. I would warn him that the framework that comes with the product is little known (in detail at least) by the more experienced developers frequenting UT but that nevertheless it could prove very useful to him and so he should not dismiss it.

Finally, I would tell practise, practise, practise. If necessary, make up some "application" and then try to code its pieces. Then embellish it a bit.

I certainly would encourage him to get into VFP. -- Jim Nelson
(2002.09.05)

Point him to www.lespinter.com editorial "Microsoft’s Best-Kept Secret". It has been around for a while but it still says it well.

Al Lambert www.mertzok.com "Fox runs our business every day!"
Originator: Fernando Alvares (2002.09.05)
See Also: The Product That Wont Die VFP Revenue Model VFP Revenue Model Problems How Does VFP Drive Windows
( Topic last updated: 2002.09.07 09:02:14 AM )