This week Microsoft officially announced that there won’t be a new version of Visual FoxPro (http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/vfoxpro/bb308952.aspx). This really doesn’t come as a surprise, since over a year ago it was already divulged a road map where it was clear VFP 9.0 was going to be the last one.
Since I’ve been quite involved in the VFP community for some time, I want to post some of my thoughts here.
I started programming when I was 15. At that time I was doing Dbase IV, and some Lotus 1-2-3 programming as well. At the time, that was great! Eventually I started working with Clipper (version 5.0, or something like that, I think…). I did a few years of Clipper development, and that was great! You know, after seeing some code in Cobol, I was glad there was something so cool like Clipper around.
I then remember somebody telling me about some language called FoxPro, and how it was similar to Clipper. At the time Clipper was everything to me, and I could see myself using anything else.
Then Windows programming came around. The first language I tried for the Windows graphical interface was Visual Basic 3.0. Oh boy, that sucked so bad!! I mean, it was good for me to learn a little of the metaphors involved with building Windows applications, but I was already doing a lot with database applications, and VB 3.0 just simply sucked really bad at doing that.
Eventually I got a position at a company where they were using Visual FoxPro, and some FoxPro 2.x (DOS and Windows). Since I knew Clipper, which was similar to Fox code, and also knew some visual stuff because of VB, I decided to take the chance, and got to use FoxPro / VFP for many years. That was what got me really involved with the community, and I really couldn’t see myself using anything else. Life was great!!
During that time, I checked out some VB 5 and VB 6 stuff, but I still hated it, mostly because working with data was still a major pain in the neck (DAO, DAO, RDO, ADO… argh!).
At some point I got invited to speak at a Microsoft event, for the .NET launch. It didn’t make a lot of sense to have a pure VFP presentation at the .NET launch, so I decided to learn some C#, and do a session on ASP.NET with VFP COM components, and another one on Web Services with VFP and .NET. I started to like that .NET thingy, but wasn’t still convinced on it yet.
Back then, I noticed it was relatively painless for me to get into .NET. Since I was already doing a lot of OOP in VFP, learning .NET was just a matter of learning a new syntax, and a new class library. No biggie. That was definitely much easier than what VB 6 developers had to face, since the language didn’t have inheritance of implementation.
Over the last 4 years, I’ve probably only spent just a few months working purely with VFP. Most of my work has been focused on .NET, and I’ve spent quite some time helping VFP developers learn .NET.
With .NET being a way more mature nowadays, and with things like LINQ just around the corner, again, I can’t see myself using anything else. Maybe in 5 years from now, the situation will be different; I don’t care. Usually I just try to use the most I can out of what whatever make sense at the time, and I let life do its thing. I just go with the flow.
Anyways, I’m pretty happy for having used VFP for many years, where I’ve gotten the chance to learn a lot about database modeling, OOP, community, etc. It served me well as a great tool, but time has come when I had to move on towards new horizons.
Ok, that’s it… now I have a bus to catch to head to the airport… J