Tag Archives | FoxPro

Ancient Fox Manuscripts Unearthed

Ancient Scrool

Ancient Fox Documents Unearthed

The Boston Computer News Network was an email newsletter sent out by the Xbase Special Interest Group of the Boston Computer Society. Les Pinter, the organizer of that group, commissioned a group of local volunteers to come out with a FoxPro-specific version of the newsletters. The timing was great; MS had just bought Fox, VFP 3 was coming, DevCons were awesome. Here are the first few newsletters, recovered from an old dusty cave in the frozen northeast, scraped off an old 3½″ floppy.


Some classic stuff out there for old geezers: Arnold Bilansky facing down Bill Gates, the first demo of VFP3 beta in Boston, Arnold and Ted’s excellent adventures in San Diego, and more. Contributors include Brad Shulz, Whil Hentzen, Dale Gilstrap Leopold, Ken Levy, Harold Chattaway, Stephen Sawyer, and more!

Updated Planet Fox

The Venus aggregator is a Python program which will read in a list of RSS feeds and generate an HTML stream-of-news page that displays the posts, most recent first. Planet Fox (http://www.tedroche.com/planetfox/) uses the list of blogging FoxPro folks posted to the FoxPro Wiki as its source. Add yourself to the Wiki and your posts will appear in the aggregator. Thanks to one of Planet Fox’s regular readers for pointing out that Jim Nelson’s great PEMEditor blog was not on the list; it turned out the Wiki post incorrectly listed the location of the RSS feed. I’ve updated that manually, and you can see Jim’s posts.

Updated tedsriver to planetfoxpro

Many years ago, I cobbled together the Planet feed aggregator to host a page of FoxPro posts on my website, called ‘tedsriver.’ It was primarily an experiment in using Planet and was pretty much a quick hack. Well, it’s turned out a number of people are following the postings there, and the Planet software hasn’t kept up. Over the weekend, I updated from Planet to Venus (cute, eh?) that Sam Ruby and a number of others are maintaining, and cleared out a bunch of errors from blogs that had moved. I’ve also moved the URL to be a bit more descriptive: http://www.tedroche.com/planetfox

If you know of other FoxPro blogs that should be included on the list, please don’t hesitate to let me know and I’ll add them!

FoxPro Advisor, RIP

From the Advisor website:

This information is for you, if you are a current subscriber to any of these Advisor magazines, journals or guides: Microsoft Access, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visual FoxPro, Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Professional Development, Microsoft Visual Basic .NET, IBM Lotus Software, IBM WebSphere Software, IBM Workplace Software, Novell GroupWise, Business Collaboration, Corporate Compliance, E-Discovery, Law Technology… Your subscription has been upgraded to DataBased Advisor, giving you more than 10,000 articles, tips and downloads — at no charge.

And another kicker:

Even though a new subscription to DataBased Advisor carries a much higher price tag, you are getting it at no extra charge for the duration of your current subscription.

Looks like new subscriptions are $277 a year. Good luck to John and Jeannie on this new venture!

Hentzenwerke Moving from Windows to Linux

MySQL-VFP book cover Followers of the Hentzenwerke Publishing empire know that Whil Hentzen has the largest catalog of Visual FoxPro books and an impressive collection of books bridging the gap from the Windows world into the Linux/Free/Open Source world. Whil’s been working for quite some time to put together a book on working with VFP and back-end data servers other than SQL Server. I was one of the many community members who contributed comments, criticisms and ideas to the book, and was honored when Whil chose to designate me as technical editor. Whil Hentzen announces, MySQL Client-Server Applications with Visual FoxPro now on sale:

After far too long a wait, the eagerly awaited companion to our Client/Server Apps with VFP and SQL Server book from years ago is here. The brand new 414 page MySQL Client-Server Applications with Visual FoxPro covers Client-Server apps from the perspective of the hugely popular open-source SQL database, MySQL. Learn how to install, configure MySQL and then connect specifically with VFP. Then get your hands dirty bringing data – both flat files and DBFs – into MySQL databases. Build a variety of user interfaces. Learn about development and deployment scenarios with this multi-platform backend. Each step of the way, real world problems (‘What if the connection fails?’) and potential solutions will be discussed.

The book is on sale only for a short period. Get your copy now!

VietNamNet – Over 50,000 PCs infected with data-destroying viruses

Many fans of FoxPro complain FoxPro doesn’t get enough press. Some even argue that any PR is good PR. Not in this case, I think:

VietNamNet – Over 50,000 PCs infected with data-destroying viruses “In mid July, we received many reports from financial and monetary institutions saying that their data files FoxPro and SQL were destroyed. The reason is virus W32.Ukuran.Worm,” said an official of BKIS.


Ed Fosters Gripelog || No Shame Over Bogus Eli/New Hill Subscriptions

Over at Ed Fosters Gripelog, No Shame Over Bogus Eli/New Hill Subscriptions takes on one of the worst operations I’ve ever had the misfortune to get tangled up with:

I’m occasionally accused of focusing too much on the minor sins of the technology giants instead of exposing more of the outright scams perpetrated by lesser-known companies. And there might be something to that criticism. But one reason I lean that way is that at least the Microsofts and HPs have enough of a sense of shame that they will try to fix some of the problems we air. That doesn’t tend to be true of the shadier outfits, such as the Eli Journals/New Hill Services publishing operation.

The FoxTalk journal was one of the best. I published my first FoxPro article with them, back in 1992, and subscribed for over a decade. It’s sad to see them go out in such an ugly manner.

Garrett Fitzgerald: Mas FoxPro

Garrett Fitzgerald blogs Mas FoxPro: “In view of Microsoft’s decision to abandon future development of Visual FoxPro, there is a movement afoot to ask MS to open-source the product, so the community can take it forward. If you’d like to see this happen, one thing you can do is sign the petition that PortalFox is running.”

It’s an admirable notion, but just because Microsoft doesn’t want to continue development, doesn’t mean they are willing to turn their tools over to a potential competitor. That would be altruistic.

There’s no doubt the software contains all sorts of embarrassing comments, perhaps undocumented calls to APIs Microsoft doesn’t want others to know about or use and probably some ugly work-arounds. It would be very educational to read the source and understand some of the obscure behaviors of FoxPro: where the phantom record really hides, how “Workarea Zero” works and why Error 14 reports Error while reporting Error 14, but I’m afraid the final journey of Visual FoxPro code will resemble the final scene in Indiana Jones, with the crate of source code wheeled back into the misty distances…

UPDATE… ComputerWorld covers the petition with an article that covers the history of FoxPro better than any other I’ve ever read in the trade press. This is the best press FoxPro has gotten since PC Magazine gave it the Editor’s Choice award, and that was some time ago.

Life After VFP

Robert Jennings posts Yet “Another Life After VFP Thread.” For those not following VFP closely, MS recently announced a confirmation of earlier news that there were no plans for a VFP version 10, and that the VFP scripts in the project known as Sedna would be released under some sort of public license. Poor communications lead to media and Slashdot reports that VFP was to be Open Sourced, sadly not the case.

Robert does a good job of outlining the huge cost in moving a vertical-niche application into another development environment, language and runtime. Most sophisticated specialty applications have person-years of investment built into them, knowledge not easily extracted, transferred or translated to any new environment. Regardless of whether that new environment is Dot Net, Dabo, LAMP, Python or Visual Fred, there will be a huge cost and risk with any enterprise making this switch.

Unlike the Open Source world, when a vendor choses to discontinue a product, developers have little choice but to move along. While many folks point out the upside that the product will likely run for years to come, and a lack of Microsoft official support doesn’t instantly obsolete a product (DOS apps can still be found, after all), there is an immediate slowdown in the custom software market, and a longer-term turning away from the product by customers. Large-scale vertical products have to be operating with 5- and 10-year plans for reinvestment and changes in direction, to ensure they can fund “The Next Big Thing” while continuing to deliver good value to their customers today and tomorrow.

This is not a death knell for the product. The writing has been on the wall for years. But developers with large applications have to be looking around for a new platform.

FoxPro developers always viewed themselves with a bit of “Battlestar Galactica” mythology: a rag-tag crew of self-taught developers from the PC Revolution, they survived the dBASE wars and the implosion of Ashton-Tate. Working under a cruel master who never promoted their product, they persevered. MS’ internal team developing VFP did amazing things on a shoestring budget, introducing a fairly smooth transition from procedural to object-oriented, from developer-guided to event-driven interfaces, from characters to pixels, from local ISAM to RDBMS. The VFP IDE was a remarkable environment in which to develop rich-client, component-based, web-driven or even server-based applications. I will miss it, and look forward to becoming as skilled at my next platform.

Eric Sink: Baptists and Boundaries

Eric Sink, a fine essayist and software developer, does a little vanity Googling in “Baptists and Boundaries” and makes several excellent points about people and their world views, the punchiest of which is “Objects in browser are smaller than they appear.” Do read the essay and enjoy.

I’ve been involved in several insular communities (Commodore, GEOS, Amiga, FoxPro) that believed that they had The One True Truth and all others were mistaken, ignoring the growing evidence outside the walls that other alternatives might have something going for them, too. My biggest shock in my journeys outside the Microsoft Reality Distortion Field has been discovering that there are rich and powerful tools, long traditions of software excellence and some subtle (and blatent) differences in culture. The rich bazaar of choices: BSD vs. UNIX vs. Linux vs. Solaris, Perl vs. Python vs. PHP vs. Ruby, PostgreSQL vs. MySQL vs. SQLite vs. BerkeleyDB, tabs vs. spaces, vi vs. emacs, n-tier vs. mvc, African vs. English swallow, only add to the richness and freedom of the environment.

The biggest complaint of people stuck with a one-size-fits-all solution is that there is no choice. The biggest complaint when faced with the dazzling alternatives of FOSS is that there are too many choices. With great choices comes great responsibility. Conversely, “choosing” to stay with a one-size-fits-all monolithic solution is no choice at all, but rather an abdication of responsibility and a surrendering of freedom. Choose wisely.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.