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Why VFP Is The Tool Of Your Choice

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Purpose of this page

All of us, the attendants of this wiki, use to say that VFP is a great tool, the best tool. We make the apology of its strengths etc. We use to say that VFP is the tool of our choice, we may use other tools also, as a complement, but VFP is the #1. It has plenty of features that can make anyone choose it, no doubt, but the question here is: What makes VFP the #1 choice for you?
The classic Les Pinter letter article:
VFP provides a robust, efficient development environment
Visual FoxPro 6.0 is an excellent development environment for business applications. It is a robust language enjoying a long history of enhancements and improvements. It is a truly object oriented language, including advanced functionality such as inheritance. Its future at Microsoft is strong. They have committed to continue to develop Visual Foxpro and have announced the release of version 7.0 late in 2001. Microsoft has billed Visual Foxpro as the 'premier' tool for building the middle tier in n-tier applications.

Visual FoxPro has an excellent community of developers. We all work together to solve problems and support our channel. Microsoft has stated that the Visual FoxPro community is the model that they would like to see all of their tools achieve. There is excellent communications and teamwork. We are proud to be a member of the Foxpro community. -- Dime Soft Business Solutions

See details at:

Thanks to Mr Bill Dimes Sr. -- Fernando Alvares
VFP Knows Data
I started my programming career with ancient languages like ForTran and IBM assembly then, among others that I've been working with, I can say that the best ones were PL / I, Algol and Turbo Pascal. These languages have in common many things: explendid implementation of control structures; full range of host computer data types; incredible features when dealing with blocks, functions and procedures; elegant syntax (that's why I don't like C, but...) etc. So I got used to all these features.

They are really great languages, but all of them lacked the most important feature that a language has to have today, IMO: a full native DataDefinitionLanguage and Data Manipulation Language. And that VFP has, and it is superp! I don't mean all those "exogenous" ODBC, ADO, SPT etc, I mean USE, SELECT, SQL commands, SCAN, UNLOCK, SEEK, native tables and cursors, views and all that well known stuff. Of course the exogenous" ones have they role to play and I'm not excluding them!

VFP still has a long way in front of it in the implementation of many well desired features to achieve those "common tasks" that the average programmer (myself included) are willing for. One of those could be to access Oracle, SQL Server, Informix etc using VFP's native DML syntax (why not?) thru the use of (maybe 3rd party supplied) add-on "driver DLLs" that could do the "durty job" between the program itself and the access routines of the DB - much like those "exogenous" stuff already do (even the DBC/DBF/... access could be a component DLL, just to make it generalized).

So, VFP has great features and it is a great tool, but above all, the best of all, for me, is VFP's native way to access data. That's why VFP is the tool of my choice. What other tool can beat it? -- Fernando Alvares
VFP Knows Business
The right tool for the job. What job is that? What most businesses need: control of their data; Collecting the data, manipulating the data, outputting the data. As shown above, VFP Knows Data. In comparison to alternatives, I think it is a happy medium between the heavy duty environments of SAP, People Soft, etc. and the feather weights like VB, Access, Front Page. I worked with People Soft for 2 years, and decided it was like a nasty collision of a space shuttle and an armored troop transport: big, slow, heavy, complicated, not as flexible as one would hope; but for many situations (getting into space, or getting troops across a battlefield against enemy fire. For the same 2 years, I watched a few VB programmers write a front end to collect and funnel data into People Soft. It was like watching bicycle mechanics: they didn't have many options, so they wacked out form after form, cut and pasted code, and went into a tizzy trying to figure out how to keep string delimiter chars (quotes) in addresses from crashing their SPT code. I see VFP as the Porsche: well designed, enjoyable to work with, gets you to the grocery store and back so you can feed your family. Given the choice of working on a troop transport, Porsche or bicycle, I will be a Porsche mechanic.

VFP Knows Developers
The IDE. The command window. The debugger. The SUSPEND command. Developing apps in VFP is a fairly enjoyable experience. I am sure that results in better apps.

VFP Knows People
The community, the support forums (I could do without the half baked answers), the beta team, the wiki, the chat room, Devcons, Vfecons, Whilfest, Hentzenwerke Books, the local users groups. It seems that the caliber of people that have chosen VFP have a certain something that makes them the type of people I like to work with. I think the allure of VB and Access's ease of use attracts the type of people that want a free ride. Perhaps it also has something to do with the enjoyable experience: we enjoy talking about it, as opposed to bad experiences causes people to find something better to do with their spare time.
-- ?CFK
Nicely worded Carl! Hope you don't make the other tool users too jealous. ;-)
Strong Object Oriented model
When the Fox team decided to take VFP into the 21st century it became the de-facto standard for a high-level language that supported OOP in a very elegant way, IMHO. This allowed the "old-school" people like me to ease into this paradigm. The Class Browser, Project Manager, etc. I cringe when I have to use the VB IDE. I can't stand the unorganized property sheets, etc. There are little to no visual clue as to default vs. non-default methods and properties. But I digress....

Plethora of available tools
So many excellent tools and frameworks that are either VERY reasonably priced or FREE.

Plethora of available tools in the language
So, VB (and others) are so incomplete that for most apps you need to use external components (ActiveX controls and the like). Sure you can use most of them in VFP but the point is that VFP is so complete and powerful that you do not need to spend the extra money in most cases. Need grids? You have them. Need to process data? it's in the box. Framework? It's in there too. OOP? Yep. Text processing? Yes (and fast!) -- Alex Feldstein

Plethora of resources, online and off
The Wiki, UT, CompuServe, etc. I could go on all day. Not to mention the offline resources as CFK mentioned above.
-- Randy Jean

Intellectual investment
Because I have almost 20 years experience in xBase tools and I'll be damned to give that all up just because my tool is not the most popular.
-- John Koziol

Tell me a quicker way to develop a data intensive desktop application.
-- Peter Easson
Because there exists no other PC-oriented development tool that allows for data manipulation so easily, combined with the extensive command-set enabling everything needed. Up till know all COM-like stuff is also there (in the end), the n-tier is supported and ... what more to ask for ? Okay, we always need more, but these things can be created easily yourself.
A very main thing is that VFP is an interpreter, with all the benefits of that (macro's being one of the most important feautures). What we all don't see so much, is all the effort MS has put in letting this interpreter be as fast as a real compiler. Don't underestimate this effort and which results f.e. in the interpreter knowing the connection from a IF - ENDIF which a normal interpreter doesn't know (scan all lines in order to find the matching ENDIF), and Fox before didn't know that too. Who asked for this ? IMO nobody, but was done anyway.
This is why it all seems so inconsistent with the marketing of VFP which just isn't there, but overall gives me the idea that VFP will stay. For that matter, someday somehow there will be an MS-idea put forward we all didn't think of, but they already long know (??). On the other hand, it just maybe so that the shown effort of all the extentions can be easily copied from VB at the high level. IOW it may not be too difficult to create the extentions. Does anyone know how many persons actually develop VFP at the moment ? It's my guess that there are not as many as we expect.
-- Peter Stordiau
Simple mnemotecnic syntax and great help!
Contributors Fernando Alvares Carl Karsten Randy Jean
Category VFP Marketing
( Topic last updated: 2005.11.30 06:41:11 PM )