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I fully support mda's idea of a collective letter, as well as any other reasonable idea, because I think that we must do something to ourselves. It's better than just standing still waiting for MS, or do we really think that The Sky is Falling?

In terms of market share, if MS kills VFP, they will have one less gun to fight against competition. Who knows if the dBase clones may rebirth, and how about the new developing tools to come from outside MS. And the installed base, and the thousands of developers using VFP? They will shift to VB?

I really can't understand why not to sell both products (VFP and VB). Take a look at the soap industry (serious!) there are just a few companies, making and heavily advertising each one of their many brands. Why? They have different customers in mind (sometimes the diference is very subtle) and, better, they crowd the market with these many brands, to make competition to their own products! Are they fools? Of course not! -- Fernando Alvares
The real estate industry has an even more blatant example of this: Cendant Corporation owns Century 21, ERA, and Coldwell Banker, and they ALL cater to the same groups of customers! -- Alex Wieder
Yes, I'm in complete agreement with that. You'd think that a company as big as Microsoft would be broad minded enough to pursue a multi-pronged strategy, instead of pushing one idea to the exclusion of all others. - mda
I agree that it doesn't really matter what clothes you wear in the coffin, unless of course, it was the clothes that got you killed in the first place. -- Chris Carey
Personally, I'm content to die with my boots on. But I'll be be watching out for those guys comin' at me with them six-shooters, and I don't think it's my clothes that they're after. - mda
I agree with the sentiment of most contributors on the page but I would like to add an additional angle to the Marketing side.

In this country (UK) it is not the technician / developer that makes the decisions on what tools are to be used for a system project or even copration wide it is the management, whether they are IT literate or not.

Over the last few years I have seen many, many bad, expensive and time consuming decisions made in this area, I personally have closed down 2 Fox systems in 3 contracts, sad but it is the trend and the reason is very simple, decision makers are lead by a ring through their nose.

There is little consultation, investigation or review into the best tool for the job (and most of the time it is VFP), the mantra has become The Microsoft Standard is VB so we will use VB?it used to be "No one got fired for buying IBM".

No matter how much we ask of Microsoft, we have to convince the corporate management that VFP(X) is a comprehensive RAD, 2nd, 3rd tier development tool.

I am convinced (in this country at least) that the size of the nose ring is proportional to the managers position on the corporate ladder and beyond a certain level it obscures their view completely.

As for the vote; I would sign the letter. ChrisJohnson
Right on, Chris! I've taken the liberty of adding your name to the Yes list. - ?mda
It is a good idea to create a topic named Open Letter To Microsoft where people could express their ideas about what they think should be written in such letter?
The continuous compilation of these ideas could produce the draft of a letter of fine content, expressing some of Fox community's desires and anxiety. You may notice that, depending on the contents, people would or would not be willing to sign it. -- Fernando Alvares excellent!
To paraphase Albert Einstein: When I die I'm going to ask God to explain 1) fluid dynamics and 2) Microsoft's intentions and marketing of VFP. Perhaps he'll have an answer to the former. - SpencerRedfield
While at one time this would have been a good idea and would have voted yea, my growing cynicism concerning this matter has led me to the conclusion that to rely upon Microsoft for anything is folly. - JeffPace
That's OK Jeff, I can relate to your cynicism. I gather that you'll be moving from VFP to VB then, or perhaps C#? - ?mda
Actually, now that you mentioned it, I will be taking a look at Borland's Kylix for Linux development to leverage my skill-set. However, I must say that your idealism is refreshing - reminds me of the old days... Keep it up. Prove me wrong. - JeffPace
Thanks for expressing your opinion, Jeff, but I don't think this is idealism. The point is that some people just don't give up so easy from the things that they think are important, even if it seems to be (very) dificult to keep'm. Anyway, you can be sure that we'll be trying to bring you along us. -- Fernando Alvares
VFP Jobs are just disappearing Go to www.computerjobs.com and find for yourself!!!
We, in Latin America, need to have a translated version of VFP.
Here in Brazil we almost have no job in VFP because MS doesn't care about us. - Gilberto Ruiz - Brazil
That's right, Gilberto, versions 3 and 5 had a Portuguese version, but version 6 didn't. -- Fernando Alvares
See UT thread "LET'S GET PROACTIVE" (Thread #448795) for my 2 cents nice job mda! - Michael Schwaid
Steve, I took the liberty of refactoring the vote list, putting in column format, because I observed some dificulties when people added their names. We have to find a way to tell them not to use diacritical marks when typing their names (take a look at the lots of ?) I hope this was a good idea, if not, I'll put it back the old way. -- Fernando Alvares
Yes, Fernando, I was just noticing the same issue myself, and I agree with the one-name-per-line format. - ?mda
Thanks Mike (for that you've being doing for all of us).
Fernando, I was thinking of doing it too. It's much easier to read and edit/add signatures. Feel free to do constructive refactoring. That's what the wiki is about! -- Alex Feldstein
[via Usenet, alt.os.multics] I'm not a Multician, my only excuse being that I was born too late. My own computing experience began at the end of high school, which happened to coincide with the microcomputer revolution. I have silently subscribed to this newsgroup for a long time simply due to my interest in retro-computing, and great admiration for those that originally invented the systems that we still re-invent, imperfectly, today.

That said, I *am* a long-time Fox enthusiast, having begun with the original Fox BASE compiler as distributed on a 360k floppy with no editor, and was surprised to find another VFP'er on this newsgroup. I fully agree with your assessment of its being the absolute best beginning to "concept to realization" tool ever invented, the closest contender (IMHO) being Borland's Delphi. I work in a large (70+ coders) IS shop and am, as far as I know, the only Fox programmer there. VFP is not an "official" tool there, but if someone needs a quick method of getting something DONE, they know where to go. As a result, I'm generally kept busy doing "favors" in addition to my regular duties. Had it not been for FoxPro we'd have been hard-pressed to fix our Y2K design flaws in time... I used it to build a repository of our AS/400 applications that uncovered package dependencies our sysadmins never new existed due to weak configuration management. I had intended it to be a prototype - it wound up doing the entire industrial-strength job.

I was never particularly happy with Microsoft's buy out the product, thinking at the time that it would be the kiss of death... that it would be raped to bolster the pathetic Access database engine. To an extent I was correct. Microsoft raped FoxPro and starved it and left it to die. This product has proved that some products are just too good to die easily, though I also fear for the future.

I was happy to vote in favor of the open letter to Microsoft, whatever good it will do. Best wishes to you, too, and everyone here. - DaveLeigh
Folks, I have no doubt: Visual FoxPro will be what the VFP community wants it to be. If we go around saying "VFP is dead! VFP is dead!", then if I were Microsoft, I'd serious consider killing it, because even its proponents are calling it dead. However, if we as the VFP development community continue to provide the compelling argument, "VFP is more alive than ever!" then Microsoft has a market for a product.

Let's face it: Microsoft is in business to sell software. If there's a market, they'll make it -- if there's not then they won't. The market for VFP is developers. If we developers use it, demand MS to rightly support it (and finally spend the $$$ for marketing it deserves), then this great development tool will continue to grow and thrive.

The bottom line about the future of Fox: IT'S UP TO US, not them. Mark Van Ouse
Opinion: I've evaluated Power Builder, Oracle 2000, C++, VB, and Delphi. VFP is the best client-server, OOP development platform, bar none. We have 30 client-server apps running on a WAN/LAN between numerous major American cities, with SQL Server 7.0 using Merge Replication as a backup strategy. We are rolling out new apps on a monthly basis. We will be starting an OLAP initiative, with VFP as the front end generator, creating Dynamic HTML with West Wind. Last week, we merged with our sister company, making us a $4 Billion mortgage corporation. I anticipate hiring VFP developers like crazy.
And yes, I think Microsoft should have their collective heads examined for not pushing VFP.
The upcoming Intellisense, for example, is way ahead of VB and VC++ implementations. I've tried it with our existing class libraries, and the QuickInfo displayed our parameters and comments without changing a single line of code!! Also, the Automated Test Harness is phenomenal (as we saw in Miami Beach.)
Note to Microsoft: pushing VFP does NOT reduce your profits in other tools, it enhances them. Pay attention: we OLE into Word, Visio, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook. We use SQL Server everywhere. What more do you want from us?
Lastly, I send Microsoft e-mails every year, telling them that if they kill VFP, I will NOT use any Microsoft development tool; I'll use Delphi or Power Builder, and switch to Oracle. -- JohnBaerg
RIGHT Patrick Gilles
Would you consider identifying yourself and your company? You might even pick up some good VFP programmers. Michael Chean
In light of the apparent need for self marketing in the VFP community I've created a page called VFPSuccess Stories. Michael Chean
Great idea, Michael. In the future we, sure, will need success stories when sending material to MS (that's right, we WILL be sending!). Marketing people, but most of all good VFP success stories. -- Fernando Alvares
There are other ways that Microsoft is trying to push us away. According to their own certification site, you can get your MCSD in C++, Basic, or FoxPro. Yet, they can neither point you to valid third party vendor sites for help, on-line classes, books, nor can they offer, in-house, anything but the test itself and the Visual Studio documentation (with all three products). Go to C++ or Basic, there are dozens of vendors sites, books to study, etc. The implication is that VFP programmers are somehow less professional than VC++ or (insert howls of laughter here) VB programmers. ThomSimone
Now there is a book. See Cert Fox. I would contend that taking the exams and getting certified is one of the best ways to send a message to Microsoft and show your support for the product. -- Randy Jean
Annonce de la Beta 2
La réponse de Microsoft : VFP7B2 More
Since Visual FoxPro 7.0 is not a .NET language and does not share the Visual Studio.NET IDE, the decision has been made to ship it ahead of and separately from Visual Studio.NET. This will enable Visual FoxPro developers to benefit sooner from the new features in the product and to enjoy the productivity enhancements Visual FoxPro 7.0 provides.
Pourquoi VFP ne pourrait pas être un langage dotNET ? WHY???
Le moins que l'on puisse dire est que tout ca n'est pas très NET.
Patrick Gilles
I think that the most important thing is for MS to make a solid commitment to VFP. I think the second most important thing is that the marketing be targeted at Microsoft itself. This means that the VFP team and others at MS do an inter organizational marketing so that wehen you go to the Dog & Pony shows the MS people don't indicate if you bring up FoxPro that you are talking about a dead product. VFP is an obvious product for businesses that aren't going to require something like an SQL server. MS personnel should be aware of this and promote it as such. It should also be pointed out that Access is a desktop product and in making SQL queries isn't really a match for VFP.

Secondly, to add a little Adam Smith capitalism, VFP should be taking advantage of all markets to get the product and MS software much broader exposure. I am talking about other operating systems. There is a burgeoning market in Linux that would allow VFP to get in where MS is tacitly ignored. There are in addition a lot of other operating systems such as IBM's. Not being tied to an operating system's common language should give VFP a very strong market advantage over competing products.

The question is whether Microsoft will exploit this for the benefit of the product. After all VFP maybe the best product that MS has. - JohnChambers
There have a lot of misunderstanding about VFP. I just have a meeting with my customers. They send 3 Software Eng., when I tell them about WEB enabled project by VFP. They all look at me and query about VFP. They thought that VFP is a very old product and to be obsoleted. I really sad. Yes... VFP to be obsoleted purposely by MS although it is the most productive database development software which I even used.
Yes, Definitely. We should think of a way for MS to make more money out of VFP - after all one efficient VFP developer makes heaps of SQL licenses unneeded. Maybe license runtimes? This is the main reason MS marketing people try to bury the product.
EylonMeroz , Israel
AT LAST! Somebody else sees why MS IMHO is going to quietly murder VFP in a dark alley! Licenses - at exorbitant and extortionary rates - for SQL Server! Once they have sold VFP to a developer - thats it for them - no royalties, no further ripoff possible! And we hope they will spend millions trying to get rid of the entrenched mindset of most other folks who don't use VFP that VFP is ancient history or just a plaything for wannabe programmers - DREAM ON!! One of the best tools in the world and they are going to kill it because they can't figure out a way to turn it into a cash cow. Makes me sick! JohnMcAdam

VFP is actually a very good front end for C/S databases so use of VFP does not automatically mean loss of license revenue. Certainly I think my company has only one client left that does not use SQL Server or Oracle for data. IMHO we need to emphasise VFP's C/S abilities as another reason why it *is* an acceptable option for business. -JohnRyan

I agree that we can and should show MS how they can and do make money from VFP. They don't need to resort to runtime licensing (which would not be practical or well received) to make plenty from the indirect sales that VFP generates because it's so well integrated with other MS technologies. In fact, someone else suggested that MS give away VFP free, which I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss as a plausible money-making strategy. - ?mda
Michael, Microsoft gave away Internet Explorer and invested a ton of money into developing it. In return they were taken to court. I don't think MS is open to the idea of giving things away anymore. Alex Wieder
If a letter is sent then a copy should be sent to Gartner Group - they did at least as much to [try to] write FoxPro's obit as MS did [Andy D 8-)#) ]
I agree that Visual FoxPro should be marketed more to the developer community. But to try to place the blame on Microsoft for 'not adequately marketing VFP' as the cause for idle consultants is incorrect. Any consultant that does not have enough work either is dishonest, overpriced, doesn't know how to get customers, or just not good enough. This applies to any trade - those that are good are always busy, those that aren't, aren't. I know two other trades in addition to consulting, and this has always been true for me in all of those trades. Gregory Gum
I've been thinking about this topic for along time. How does one measure "Will Microsoft Market VFP?". A single ad in FPA is marketing. In this case, the topic question has been met. However, none of us will be satisfied with this. So, that opens the question...how do you measure this? A month of ads in CIO Magazine? eWeek? InfoWorld? I say that no matter what MS does, there will be people dissatisfied with it, and the complaints will continue that MS doesn't do enough. That's one reason I won't sign such a letter. It is asking MS to do something, but not clarifying what is satisfactory. -- Craig Berntson

An ad in a vfp related publication would be preaching to the choir. If anything that would serve to shut up a few voices here, but wouldn't do much for the product (i.e. it would be a waste of money). I'd say active marketing would be more in terms with this proposal if it meant having MS representatives actively mentioning vfp wherever they go to toot their horns.

And I've also been thinking about this topic. To date no letter has been written and I don't really think that it's necessary anymore as our point has been made (judging from the response we got). The topic now seems like a futile exercise in beating a dead horse, so I personally think it should be closed and we should all move on with our lives... - Alex Wieder

Craig, ads in FPA and Fox Talk, positive remarks buried in forums and assurances privately made by Microsoft to members of the VFP community don't count as marketing. Those assurances sound more like words of appeasement, just preaching to the converted (to paraphrase Alex). We need authentic marketing that is perceived by the outside world and the broader Microsoft community. A single earnest mention of VFP in Microsoft's own Direct Access Newsletter, a mention in MSDN that doesn't read like an obituary, these simple acts would do more for VFP marketing than any costly, overblown ad campaign. We'll take it from there, at no expense to Microsoft.

Microsoft's persistent failure to take even these obvious, zero-cost steps is destroying the public image of VFP, and with it the VFP job market. In neglecting to do even this much Microsoft hasn't simply failed to market VFP. They are obstructing our own well-intentioned efforts to promote VFP. We are painfully reminded of this every time we look for a new client or try to sell a VFP-based solution.

What do you think is the source of the persistent, annoying rumors of VFP's demise? It is simply this: Microsoft's blatant lack of VFP marketing and promotion carries the obvious implication that they want to kill it. This is the reasonable conclusion that any normal person outside of the VFP community would reach. You don't defeat this sort of rumor by simply denying it and blindly pretending to go about business as usual. You kill these rumors with credible marketing. I thought I was pretty clear in my own draft open letter about precisely what first step I would recommend. If you've got another specific suggestion, I invite you to make it. Then we can let the whole VFP community discuss the alternatives and convey our suggestions to Microsoft collectively and unambiguously. Doesn't that seem sensible? - ?mda

That's why I said that an FPA ad would not be enough. While it technically is marketing, it won't make people happy. As for the persistant rumours, it isn't all from MS. The Gartner Group would like nothing more than to show they were right and will keep stating that VFP is dead. Unfortunately, CIOs listen to them. -- Craig Berntson

To advertise in FPA is only "marketing" if it is part of a campaign to raise the profile of the product. In such a campaign, advertising takes place only if it is a sensible way to expend available budget to achieve this goal. The point is that without a coherent strategy, advertisments are do not marketing make. Your comments about Gartner (first raised by me back in 1996, I believe) prove the point. A useful marketing campaign includes a strategy to manage Gartner et al. Advertising in FPA? I don't think so. - John Ryan

The rumors of VFP's intended demise are a direct consequence of Microsoft's inaction. Don't blame the Gartner Group for arriving at the same conclusion that any reasonable businessman would draw from the glaringly obvious omission of VFP at every turn. This isn't just the slanted perception of some industry pundits, it's the prevailing view of the entire world outside of the VFP community itself. Nobody but Microsoft is to blame, and they could fix the problem instantly and effortlessly simply by doing as I suggest. Would it really upset you to see a mention of VFP in the next Direct Access Newsletter? They'll be blasting out another issue tomorrow. Is that too soon, or shall we wait another week? If Microsoft does nothing else, at least they could stop hindering our own efforts to promote their product. That is all I'm asking. - ?mda

No problem with that at all. However, IMO, you won't see much until VFP7 ships. -- Craig Berntson

I must agree in general, that Microsoft needs to be able to have the balls to promote VFP as much as it would any other of its products. I.e. any venue, any forum, any event, and by any means as MS would actively promote VB, or .NET, it should promote VFP. I must agree with the other contributors, that ads in the VFP, or on the Virtual Foxpro Users Group, or other VFP-oriented venues would be preaching to the believers. So, let Microsoft take VFP “out of the closet” as it were, and make VFP a respected development platform, and give credibility and desirability to its large community of developers – Chuck Funderburg
We, all programmers in VFP must do utilities programs as freeware or shareware and load it in WWW.download.com. In the main screen of the program we annotate: "This program has been developed with Visual Foxpro, the most powerful programming tool of Microsoft" Every body that uses the program will never forget it.
Victor F. Rodriguez, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
I've been using "Fox" for a long time. But it seems like we are a dying breed.

I bought one of the first copies of "Fox" when it came out in 1983 or 1984? At that time, I seem to recall, it was named Fox BASE, to distinguish it from dBASE, on which it was modeled. When we first loaded it and ran our accounting application, the speed difference was so stunning (remember we had 1 Mhz. computers and thought turbo speed at 1.7 Mhz. was stunning too), we shelved dBASE and it's still collecting dust. I don't think we ever touched dBASE again.

Originally, Fox Software was a small company consisting of Dave Fulton, one other programmer who's name I can't recall, and Janet Womack who was using the new xBASE dialect to write small programs for their gas and oil customers. I got to know them when I had a problem with the first version and they couldn't recreate it. So I put my computer in my car and drove from Virginia to a small office outside Kent, Ohio. They saw the problem and immediately fixed it. I spent the afternoon talking to them and drove home the next day. Very nice folks.

Over the years, it has been called Fox BASE, FoxBASE+, Fox Plus, FoxPro and VFP.

I got one of the very first Fox versions for XENIX, a Unix flavor, and it's still working, though it's long since stopped being supported.

And there used to be lots of programmers who knew "Fox". In 1985 or '86 when I advertised for a Fox programmer, I got 50 candidates in 2 days! Last year, when I placed essentially the same ad, it took 3 months to find 1 available candidate, and even then the skill level wasn't as good as we would have liked.

The problem: It's not taught in the local schools. People don't learn it any more. In fact, we've considered giving VFP classes on weekends not as a money making venture, but out of a sense of self-preservation. Who will carry on our business if we can't find new programmers, if don't train them ourselves? It's a huge responsibility and undertaking which is why we haven't done it yet.

So, yes, anything you can do to convince Microsoft to spend some of their hoarded billions to promote VFP, to get it on the curriculum of local technical schools, to market it widely would be of immense benefit and interest to us and the future of our company. -- Jim Jacobs, BoardRoom Software, Inc.
You are more than welcome to add my name to your list of voters in support of additional marketing of Visual FoxPro by Microsoft. I have been programming in the FoxPro and dBase languages since 1984 and have enjoyed the language and its progression into the Visual Windows realm. I think to many developers discount Visual FoxPro and instead trudge through their database project with VB. Visual FoxPro is an awesome tool for writing database concentric applications, it as with all languages, doesn’t necessary meet all needs, but that can easily be overcome with the use of ActiveX, OLE, COM, etc.

I thought it was interesting that the VB community asked Microsoft to remove some of the new features from the new VB 7 to keep the language more in tune with its previous history. My guess is that for some change is hard. Visual FoxPro has significantly changed and been enhanced throughout its version releases and version 7.0 looks to continue that theme. I am looking forward to the new features and changes when the product releases.

I am concerned that the departure of VFP from the Studio realm will harm the language more than it will help it. I think it follows that old IBM thought pattern used in the 80’s. Well if it is from IBM is must be good, which would translate today to, oh that is not a Visual Studio product? People relate and marketing is all about perception and not quality.

I always find my self asking why does Microsoft continue to pour the monies into Visual FoxPro development if it will not stand behind the product? -- T. Guy Hodgdon, MKT Software Designs, Inc.
I really don't get it. Why do you think that the VFP community is so apathetic? Have they just given up and decided not to fight the VB, Java, C++ onslaught?

I work with a bunch of college grads that know nothing but VB or C++ and while they are still green in terms of application development experience, they some how have the idea that VFP is some sort of throw back to the stone age, text only based and totally non object oriented. Good grief, where do they get this kind of stuff?!!! When I SHOW THEM how quickly I can import data from MS SQL server or Access and put together some forms in either native VFP or using Visual Pro Matrix their heads start spinning and they want to know what kind of Magic I am using.

When I explain that we are a full on object oriented language with classes, inheritance, polymorphism and all those other buzz words, they gasp. They ask "Why would MS keep such a thing secret?" My answer is always "I don't Know why!" When I explain further that VB only recently ( I believe ver. 6.0 ) got inheritence they shuffle their feet and say "Yeah Well........." with no further response.

When I continue to show them the power of the commands you can execute at the command window, they flip out. They ask, "Did YOU write the BROWSE command? I tell them NO IT IS ALL PART OF THE POWER OF VFP. I Tell them I did not write USE, INDEX ON, SET FILTER TO, SET RELATION TO, DELETE, RECALL, ZAP, COPY TO OR APPEND FROM EITHER.

When I execute ANSI STANDARD SQL on VFP tables they start to swear using four letter words beginning in "S" and ending in "T". When I explain that I can create either a Cursor or a new table in my SQL by using "INTO CURSOR" or "INTO TABLE" they start asking if they can borrow my VFP CD to "evaluate further" the possibilities of using VFP for development.

My question is... THE SAME AS THEIRS.

Why would Microsoft want to Keep such a thing secret? It is sort of like that movie, Field of Dreams... If you build it they will come. Well, if you SHOW THEM, they will come also. Let's get it out there. Nothing does data like FOX !!! Access people cower in fear when 5000 rows start to become a reality in their tables. Some of my MS SQL server friends think that 200 megabyte tables are large. COME ON PEOPLE!... I have queried VFP tables with over 300,000 records (rows) and got response times in under 2 seconds. Rushmore Rocks!!!

VFP definitely has the power to handle most of your data and application development needs.
How do we get the fires burning to shed some light on Visual FoxPro. -- Norm Ong
I have tried VB, Access, Power Builder! All i can say VFP is the fastest, the most reliable and the best! When it comes to rapid application development,a dn database developemnt no one beats Visual Foxpro. Microsoft Corporation Please Market VFP

Reygie Blanco, Chase Technologies Software Architect - Philippines
Work Decision Engine(WDE)
Object Oriented Pseudo Code

do case
case mywork.workenvironment NOT = "FUN"

mywork.file_resignation()

case mywork.workenvironment = "FUN" and mywork.salary = "LOW"
if mywork.salary = "BIGDEAL"
mywork.file_resignation()
else
mywork.activate_petiks_mode()
endif


case mywork.workenvironment not = "FUN" and mywork.salary = "HIGH"
do case
case my.health = "LOW"
mywork.file_resignation()

case other.company.salary > mywork.salary

if other.company.apply() = "HIRED"
mywork.file_resignation()
else
mywork.activate_petiks_mode()
endif
endcase
otherwise
mywork.loveyourcompany()
endcase

No, this is, at best, obselete since Ken Levy was appointed marketing PM last fall. At worst it's naive and ill serves the community. The "votes" that will get Microsoft's attention is number of copies sold and cool high profile projects. -- Nancy Folsom
---
God, we manage to dodge the last bullet mda launched by b!tch!ng and moan!ng about how MS wasn't marketing VFP, they market VFP, come out with a solid product, and guess who just didn't see a new version of VFP in the cards for him. I have other battles to fight with allies who'll live up to their threats. mda killed any credibility a document with his name on it might carry! -- Ed Rauh
---

While I agree that adding Ken to the team is a huge step forward, I have to think that your requirement of seeing sales figures and high profile projects as being a chicken-or-egg thing. How do you expect big sales and high-profile adoption if it remains a relative secret? Waiting for big sales numbers before deciding to promote a product seems backwards, IMO. -- Ed Leafe

I believe VFP needs a fulltime marketing manager. Ken has a lot on his plate and this could be delegated to someone who will actually put the case studies on the MSFT website and do more than links to existing fox websites and links to internal memos that talk a great game. Peter Diotte

I have no doubt that Ken Levy is a great chap, but he is not a magic wand to make the 99.4% of people who voted "yes" stop worrying, no matter what the handful of people in the other group might believe.
I agree this is obsolete because we did nothing about it and probably never will. -- John Ryan

Interesting... what is "obsolete" in this context, the problem itself? Then why people keep adding their names to the list if this should be considered an obsolete thing? On the other hand I don't believe people are doing nothing, perhaps they're not doing what some may expect. That's sad. - Fernando Alvares

Fernando- I was responding to the announcement that this list was obsolete because Ken Levy was appointed last Fall. I don't agree with the logic but I do agree with the effect. Obviously most people apart from the handful of "leaders" who voted No, would have liked to see a letter. But with no page updates for over a year and no transfer of names for months to the list maintained elsewhere, one must conclude that traction has been lost and this page has lost its purpose. -- John Ryan

On the contrary, John. The purpose of this page is to make it easy for people to add themselves to the list. This page serves as a logical extension of the main list, to reduce the burden of maintenance. As noted in Fernando's History of FoxPro (see http://www.foxprohistory.org/articles_20.htm), the total count of Yes votes, excluding duplications, numbers over 1100. Including Nancy's entry on this page, the number No Votes now stands exactly at 6. It has been almost a year since I stopped actively promoting this campaign, but it has acquired a life of its own. You have my letter, and the arguments have been made. They are no less relevant or compelling today than they were a year ago. The only conclusion one must accept is that the matter is not concluded. - ?mda

Whoa mda, I'm too old and wily to fall for straw-man arguments. The page *is* obsolete- the burst of enthusiasm ended over a year ago when the busy Change Log below suddenly stopped dead. And there are names that have sat there for 6-8 months without "being moved to the other list" as promised. I'm not criticising but "Names were last moved from this page onto the main list on 6/3/01." is pretty indicative.
Perhaps a newer version or a service pack is indicated? -- John Ryan

I'll make you a deal John, get me another thousand names, and I'll update the list, pronto. :) - ?mda

MDA, I'm sure your pal JVP could give you 1000 more names (including Joe Bob) in a flash. -- John Ryan
Sept. 9, 2002: Point of Information!!! I signed the list a year ago and placed myself on the new list. What ever happened to the letter written a year ago? Was it sent to M$? What was the response?????? - Kenn Leland, Orange County Califoria

Kenn, it's pretty clear that Microsoft has been monitoring these pages on a regular basis. The main list and my letter are where they've always been, in plain view, and Microsoft certainly has seen them. To my knowledge, Microsoft has never made any direct acknowledgement or reply to the letter, but judging from Ken Levy's statements, the mere thousand or so people who voiced their concerns over the lack of VFP marketing have had a neglible impact on Microsoft's willingness to promote VFP.

Since MS seems to attach so little significance to a modest request from a paltry thousand customers, I would prefer to wait until a substantially larger number of people have added their names to the list before undertaking the formality of mailing the letter to Microsoft. I do believe that the FoxPro community is large enough to supply a number of names that would persuade Microsoft to change its attitude toward FoxPro. I don't know how long it will take or what action might precipitate a much stronger show of support, but I will patiently await that event. - mda
I'm still a VFP newbie, and this is only my second post on the wiki (although I'm out here every day trying to gain as much knowlege as I can from the seasoned veterans), but I'll throw out my two cents anyway.
If more schools offered VFP courses, there wouldn't be as much of a need to market it. I believe one of the reasons VFP doesn't get as much attention as VB or C is because there's so much lack of education about the product itself. You can't find any colleges that offer VFP as a course (at least I have yet to find one). I imagine if any of today's students asked their teachers why VFP is not offered as a course, along side of C or VB, the respone would be "VFP" is old school, a thing of the past", and it's that kind of response that sticks with new developers when they have to decide what language to use for their development needs. My point is this - if more colleges offered VFP courses, there would more new developers familiar with it, which in turn would lead to more new developers out there using it along side other languages. I'd be curious to know the age groups of developers using VFP. I'm guessing that as years go by, the numbers in the higher age group would stay the same or go up a little, while the numbers in the younger age groups would go down - this is just a wild guess.

Frank Milhofer
After Careful consideration, I've added my name to the list for signing the letter. I am not certain given the stuff I've read that this is even still bieng actively pursued, however I believe that such a letter could be helpful in some ways and at the very least augment other on going efforts to increase the exposure of VFP.

The "sky is falling" paranoia I can do without, but I can understand the concerns and recognize the need to create a sense of urgency in order to galvanize certain individuals into action. In the end my decision was based solely on the repeated omission of VFP from MS publications and events where VFPs features should have thrust it squarely into the included pile.

On the brighter side, VFP 9 has gotten some increased exposure and Ken Levy has taken a few steps, albeit baby steps, in order to increase it's exposure. Lately he has been working on some Case Studies for inclusion on the MS site (good news since the last case studies that included VFP were VFP 7) and has been actively seeking additional case studies to include.

So, I guess I'm left with my question which is: Is this still being actively worked on or is it a dead idea/issue as some have surmized? -- Craig SBoyd

Hi Craig. I wouldn't say it's a dead issue, just in a state of suspended animation, like Microsoft's VFP marketing efforts. Your support is much appreciated. Let's hope for some good news in the much anticipated June announcement. - mda
My name was on the list, and then today -- 05/30/2005 -- I notice that the main page has been edited (Recent Changes). So, I go look at the list page and my name is gone (perhaps others as well?). Anyone know what happened? -- Craig SBoyd
What's the problem if Microsoft finish to kill VFP, it's a fact that improve the marketing for VFP always was a bad idea for Ms Sql, VB and .NET . So the the developer team might go thinking about to find who will pay them for make the equivalent version of VFP for linux platform, i mean not a copy but a NEW tool software development something like Visual Zorro pro or whatever, if they can't do this, well the time will go pass and the hard true would be shining in our faces. I am using Foxpro since 1994 so it would be so hard lost the pleasure of work with VFP. But money it's money.
Like Les Pinter and other pioneers of whom i've learned so much on fox , i 'll learn about some
other tools to use, because i don't have the money, the resources and the brain to make my version of VFP in linux like python , php, etc. So at least Microsoft is thinking to free the code of VFP totally (Managerial suicide) i guess that our future of VFP developer with jobs it's very dark, maybe here in my country it's take more time because we are in the third world , but i think the problem is more seriuos for the developers of Developed countries. -- Victor E. Torres Tejada
So, it's been like 5 or 6 years now, people that were on the list are dead. Whether a letter is ever written or not, there will be no significant marketing of VFP by MS. The best marketing VFP gets is this site and others like it, that show VFP in a positive light. With that in mind, I propose killing this topic and all the other doom and gloom topics here and focusing on the positive. - Mike Feltman

Thanks for the upbeat assessment, Mike! Feel free to give us more examples of your positive thinking, but please don't hijack Will Microsoft Market VFP. The point is to express a widely felt desire to see better marketing and promotion of this fine product. It is understood that MS has stated no intention of doing this. Nevertheless, we are firmly, but politely, asking them to reconsider. - ?mda

How are you firmly asking them to reconsider? Has the letter been written, signed and sent?

My letter is here, it bears my signature, and it has been in plain view of Microsoft for years. Those who added their names to the list have done so for the express purpose of asking Microsoft to do a better job of marketing and promoting VFP, by clearly and openly indicating that they would consider signing such a letter. I and others are firm, inasmuch as we have steadfastly voiced our desires and debated the merits of our modest request, and these Wiki pages attest to that determination. As to any formal submission of a letter to Microsoft and/or a press release, this has not been done - to date. My personal feeling is that a much larger number of names would be required before such a step would be sufficiently likely to sway Microsoft, so I am patiently awaiting the day when a significant percentage of the VFP community has spoken up. If you are impatient, feel free to start your own campaign, craft your own letter, and send it whenever you like. I'll be glad to review your letter and endorse it if it seems reasonable. - ?mda

When a community the size of the VB community (at least 10x the Fox community) tried to convince MS to continue work on VB 6 and failed, didn't that give you a hint about "a much larger number of names would be required before such a step would be sufficiently likely to sway Microsoft"? -- Doug Hennig

You've confirmed my point that we don't yet have enough names. But I would add that the VB to VB.NET transition is more like the shift from FoxPro to Visual FoxPro, minus some of the effort that was taken to ensure upward compatibility of VFP. The situation with VFP's grim roadmap to the outer reaches of the solar system is quite different from what Microsoft has charted for VB. At least the option being presented to VB is something that actually exists and is being actively developed and promoted. On the other hand, VFP is in an indefinite holding pattern, running with a skeleton crew that could hardly be pared down any further. Perhaps by the time the New Horizons probe reaches Jupiter in 2015, Microsoft will finally have achieved its lofty goal of creating a product as good as VFP that only runs under .NET. In the meantime, we can hold our breath or live on faith in Microsoft's good will and infallible judgment.

We have at least as much justification as the VB community for being upset, we're asking for far less, and the percentage of the community supporting this focused request appears to be dramatically higher. I wouldn't entirely dismiss the possibility of, say, 50,000 authentic signatures having some significant influence. Maybe that's an unrealistic expectation, but we've got something else going for us: a strong argument that it would be in Microsoft's own best interest not to squander its investment and good faith in VFP. This is not a new argument, but it's worth restating: competition and evolution are good things. If .NET is so weak that it can't take the heat of the slightest competition from VFP right now, what does that tell you? Microsoft doesn't have to push VFP, but it should at least give it a fair chance to continue its evolution without undue preconceptions about where that will lead. Surely they can figure out how to make a buck in the process, but more importantly it would allow better products to emerge as a result - whatever they might be named. Microsoft's insistence on rigging the game to construct an artificial reality that avoids healthy competition and evolutionary forces simply is not a wise strategy. - ?mda

Point: If VFP9 programs work in Vista (and I can't imagine that they won't), and Vista's going to be around for a while, as well as XP, then why is everyone worried? As long as Microsoft continues to PRODUCE VFP, I'm happy.
I realize that the basis of the argument is that we want VFP to be popular so that it won't go away, but realistically it's going to be up to the VFP community to expound the benefits (I.E. what's the last time you saw a TV commercial stating "VB.NET! Buy it!"?)
I don't think it's going anywhere any time soon, and if MS does drop it, what's to stop the VFP community from then customizing it themsleves, or are we such poor programmers that we're incapable of editing and improving upon our own tool? If MS drops it, it'll become open source, unless someone buys it, and either way of the three, we win.
- Duffy Weber




See Also:
Will Microsoft Market VFP _ Will Microsoft Market VFP _ How It Started Open Letter Bogus Counter Arguments
Category Open Letter To Microsoft Category VFP Marketing
( Topic last updated: 2011.08.17 11:42:47 PM )