Visual FoxPro and Citrix

Andrew MacNeill posts a great piece here on
the use of Citrix and VFP. I have several clients doing this, to great
success. “Microsoft’s ” (not sure who this is) claim that this isn’t a
good or popular solution is just plain wrong. Here’s Andrew’s post:

MS Response to Why Not Promote VFP and Citrix.

David
Dee (see post from 9/22) asked MS about promoting VFP by discussing
items with Citrix…As noted in his comments, the response from MS was:
We
do not test VFP with Citrix and it is not something we are focused on
as a solution, mainly due to lack of demand. For web (or thin client)
applications with VFP, we are promoting VFP with ASP.NET using VFP 8.0
with Visual Studio .NET 2003 and that is working well, and most
companies we talk to who need web front ends to VFP applications are
using or considering ASP.NET with VFP combined. Thanks for your
feedback.

Huh?!?! – Until such
time as Desktop apps are killed off completely (don’t see that
happening anytime soon), I actually prefer to recommend Citrix or
Terminal Server based solutions than purely Web-based.

Maybe
David’s problem was actually using the term “Citrix” instead of the
more “MS-friendly” Terminal Server. VFP continually gets updated in
service releases to better support Terminal Server applications(recall
the NOBITMAP setting in SP3 for VFP 6). In fact, in one newsgroup, one
of the fastest suggested ways to build a “mobile” app for the PocketPC
was NOT to use SQL Server for PocketPC, etc but rather to build a
Terminal Server (read: CITRIX-like) application and connect to it using
the PocketPC’s Terminal Server client. The only caution was “keep your
screens really small”.

It’s
the “MS response” that really hurts the community. Promoting VFP with
ASP.Net is great for all those bleeding edge developers (and yes, I
know it hurts to say it but for most people ASP.Net is still a little
too bleeding edge for many companies – note that not even MS bCentral
allows SOAP access on their .Net services – wonder why not?).

The
fact is that EVERY developer needs to be told of workable solutions.
Citrix and Terminal Servers represent GREAT Solutions for companies who
have remote needs and WORKING desktop applications. VFP is not only
ideally suited in these environments – it kicks serious butt when it
comes to performance! Why? Because the application actually runs
LOCALLY instead of being on a network.

Other reasons to consider Citrix/Terminal Server solutions:
1. It’s easier to support – you can shadow other users, and easily disconnect users when connected.
2. Single point of access – easier to track errors, provide updates and more.
3. Single type of workstation – easier to manage. Hell, even better than trying to deal with multiple browsers
4.
You can FIND many companies willing to HOST TS servers for you – yes,
they may charge for it but will provide 24/7/365 uptime with various
guarantees (check out http://www.meganetserve.com)

If
you have never considered using Terminal Server as a remote solution
for your apps, I strongly recommend it. AND it’s getting easier and
better. Don’t be fooled by Microsoft’s response – VFP does work well
under Citrix and is always being improved to work better because of it.
(just don’t mention Citrix in the same breath )

Andrew MacNeill [Andrew MacNeill – AKSEL Solutions]

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