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How It Started This text was extracted from Should VFP Be In VSDotNet:
What will it matter how VFP is packaged if Microsoft doesn't promote it? For those who are inclined to debate this topic, perhaps it would be more constructive to shift your energies to drafting a collective letter to Microsoft encouraging them not to neglect VFP. At some high level they just don't get it, or maybe we're the ones who don't get it, and VFP deserves to die. Let's not argue about the clothes VFP will be dressed in when they lay it in the coffin.

The real point here, if you believe as I do that VFP is the best tool in the known universe for taking an idea from conception to realization, is to give Microsoft a little help appreciating the significance of this fact. I'm not so naive as to think that a product will survive on sheer merit. I learned that the hard way when Honeywell bought out Multics, a phenomenal operating system, and they basically pissed it away because the company was incapable of giving this adopted child a fair shot against its own oafish GCOS sibling. The parallel is scary, and I think it would be a mistake to ignore the possibility of a similar fate. I don't care how they package it, but I want to see VFP survive and evolve into whatever it really deserves to become.

It's ridiculous how Microsoft's marketing of FoxPro is so out of proportion to what it has invested in the acquisition and development of this product. I carry around Robert Green's 1996 article with me just to prove to people that Microsoft really owns and supports this product. This is getting a bit stale, don't you think? Somehow Microsoft seems to have gotten into a rut of reasoning that there's no point in marketing VFP, because people will or won't buy it anyway, not to mention the possibility of taking away the sale of one of their other products. What are they worried about? I'm not a marketeer, nor am I privy to the machinations of Microsoft's management schemes, but I think that common sense would indicate that they are shooting themselves in the foot by failing to make the most of this investment. We should lay out the case in terms that management can understand, because they clearly do not get it. You'll know when they get it, when you can mention FoxPro to a prospective customer and they don't say FoxWha?

Don't get suckered into letting Microsoft off the hook on this by talking to them about anything else, except specific bugs and features, not a bunch of vaporware bullshit. I'll bet that the majority of VFP enthusiasts, like myself, would enjoy participating in such discussions, but we simply don't have the luxury of being able to spend our time this way. A lot of people who would otherwise not be heard might be willing to sign a collective letter to Microsoft, and if it's a well crafted argument, targeted at upper management, signed by thousands of customers, it just might have some positive effect. It seems to me that wiki's collaborative editing facilities and all of your energies would be put to much better use in drafting such a letter than in debating the moot question of whether VFP be in VS.Net. - mda

Excerpts of the discussion which followed removal of the above text from Will Microsoft Market VFP:
Off topic comments have been moved to Should VFP Be In The CLR and Will Microsoft Market VFP. My apologies to anyone that feels their comments have been unfairly snipped. There were a lot of things raised here that weren't really on topic and this subject had denigrated badly into Thread Mode. These topics are obviously closely related to this one however. -- Mike Feltman

Thanks for factoring out Will Microsoft Market VFP, Mike. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it was off-topic, considering the number of times that marketing comes up in this discussion, and my basic point that a debate on Should VFP Be In VSDotNet is meaningless without addressing the more fundamental issue of Will Microsoft Market VFP. The fact is that the VFP consulting market has virtually evaporated thanks to Microsoft's continued neglect of any effort to promote VFP awareness, despite its admirable attention to VFP product development. - ?mda

This is a fact? We're very busy with VFP consulting here, have leads, etc. and I know a lot of others in the same position. It's not a fact, in fact, from where I sit, I'd say it's a falacy. -- Mike Feltman
Despite being a very little market when compared to the US, in Brazil lots of VFP developers abandoned VFP and are now working with VB and Delphi. -- Fernando Alvares
I'm not in a position to agree or disagree with that and there are certainly people in the US that have jumped ship as well, but IMO, the market for VFP consulting is strong for those that do it. As for why people jumped ship, it is most likely because VB marketing (as part of VS) has been crammed down their throats.
I'm the one who said "An animal that feeds on itself cannot survive", and I don't appreciate that very apt and concise statement having been factored out of existence. But I truly do thank you for creating Will Microsoft Market VFP as a separate topic. Let's hope that some of you brave souls will dare to discuss this. - ?mda
Sorry. You're free to put it back. -- Mike Feltman
I did put it back. Let me also restore the emphasis, because it's such an exquisitely appropriate metaphor. I suspect that there must be some truth to anything that lends itself to so many great metaphors. - ?mda

Leaving VFP in the VS box basically forces it to remain an animal that feeds on itself. It won't get any marketing, so no new users will be created and existing users won't even be as likely to hear compelling reasons to upgrade. Letting it stand on its own two feet provides it the opportunity to eat others.

I agree that it's an important topic and worthy of discussion, but I don't think the issues are the same. While it's interesting to entertain ideas about how and if MS will market VFP, we know from the track record that it won't be marketed if it's part of VS. My point is that VFP is not marketed now and implying that it gets marketed because it's in VS is a falacy. VFP gets sold because it's in VS, but it doesn't get any marketing. I also thought the idea of saying the topic of whether or not VFP is in VS isn't meaningful in itself was counterproductive.

My main point behind all of this is that VFP needs a change of direction in positioning, packaging, marketing, etc. If VFP is left to be swallowed up by VS, then no change will ever take place. -- Mike Feltman

I think you're putting the cart before the horse, Mike. The question of Microsoft's sincere effort at marketing VFP isn't just another important topic, it's paramount. We agree that VFP is getting, and always has gotten no serious marketing from MS. What I'm saying is that there's no point to debating such trifling details as the box or the name if the marketing picture stays the same. And I don't buy the argument that VFP's wonderful independent status outside of the box significantly ameliorates the problem. I don't think it's counter-productive to point out that this debate over the box is a waste of time, because I think we're all after the same thing, and we really can't afford to be side-tracked by secondary issues. I don't doubt that the VFP product team will do a great job with the resources that they are given, but if Microsoft keeps starving the fox, it's going to shrivel up and die. I know your heart is in the right place, but I think we need to see those job search statistics as a wake-up call: nothing has really changed, but the situation suddenly looks critical. If you're resigned to the cynical view that MS will never get its act together on marketing VFP, then you really have to come to grips with the fact that VFP7, 8, ... are just the prolonged death throes of a noble beast that is dying out of neglect. I'm at least as cynical as the next guy, but I still cling to a shred of hope that we can wake the VFP community out of its complacency and shout a collective message to Microsoft that they will really hear, understand, and act upon. Please, do us both a favor: stop banging on Should VFP Be In VSDotNet and shift your energies to Will Microsoft Market VFP, which deserves all the attention we can muster. - ?mda

No, actually, I think you're missing the big picture. Look at Robert's quote, then ask yourself, Will Microsoft Market VFP if the packaging remains the same? The answer is clearly NO, now if VFP is its own animal, with its own marketing budget, ask yourself the same question? The answer is at least maybe.

It's really quite simple. Visual Studio.NET is a product, not a suite of bundled development tools. The marketing message for VS.NET is that it's for building distributed enterprise applications and that those applications are going to use WebForms/WinForms? for the UI; C#, C++ and VB for the code and SQL Server for the data store. There's no Fox in there anywhere

It's great that you've voiced your opinion, however, the name of this topic is still Should VFP Be In VSDotNet. Obviously marketing is part of the picture here, but that is not the subject matter of this topic. I think what you're trying to do here goes directly against the spirit and the intent of the Wiki. I've never seen a comment on any other topic that says you shouldn't talk about this because I believe you should be talking about something else. Many others have interjected comments here, some marketing related and some not, and this topic has even garnered the attention of Microsoft on the Universal Thread. If you don't feel its important or worthy of thought or writing then fine, don't participate. But don't for a second think that you are in a position to tell me what I should think about, talk about or write about. I'm really quite shocked to find out you have the audacity to think that you are in this position. The question regarding whether or not Microsoft will ever get its act together regarding marketing VFP, especially as a part of Visual Studio has already been asked and answered with a resounding No. Now, with VFP being even less of a part of VS.NET, there's no chance for change or improvement. Robert Green himself stated that if VFP is in VS.NET then the marketing has to be about how it fits in, not about what Fox can do. Talking about how VFP fits in with VS.NET does nothing except promote the notion that you shouldn't use it. -- Mike Feltman

Based on comments by Robert on the UT, it pretty much seems to be a given that VFP will be pulled from the VS Box and that the main concern or 'option' is whether is stays in the VS Box AND is marketed outside the box. Correct me if I'm wrong here...*G* Patrick Stovall

I don't think anything has been decided at this point, but I believe that if it's in the box at all, the only marketing it gets, other than some direct marketing to the existing Fox community is the VS marketing. -- Mike Feltman

Agreed. We all know how VS marketing overshadows VFP. I'm definitely for removing from 'The Box'. As was stated earlier, VS is it's own now, not just a compilation of development tools. VFP has a place but it is more removed from the VS scene than ever before. Patrick Stovall
See also:

Will Microsoft Market VFP
_ Will Microsoft Market VFP _ Comments
Should VFP Be In VSDotNet
Category Open Letter To Microsoft Category VFP Marketing
( Topic last updated: 2001.03.03 06:49:12 PM )