The Urgency of Upgrading.

“Do I have to convert from Visual FoxPro now?”

If all things remained constant—hardware never changed, software never changed, new operating systems were not developed, and so on—it’s possible that your present application in FoxPro could continue to function for many years to come.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. As hardware and operating system software continue to advance, the 32-bit architecture of FoxPro is not guaranteed to work with emerging systems.

What this means...

Over time, companies using FoxPro applications will find changes to their system to be more difficult and potentially more costly as the skilled resources to do so becomes drastically diminished.
In addition to the technical aspects of the software and hardware, there is the human element. Since Microsoft has now retired Visual FoxPro, there are fewer remaining skilled professionals who really understand and are proficient with this development tool. As time moves on it is safe to expect that this trend will continue.

While the conversion of your FoxPro application may not be an immediately pressing problem, it is still prudent to plan ahead. Making plans sooner means having adequate time for redevelopment, testing and deployment for your new solution.

“Okay, so, what do I convert to?”

This question is not as easy to answer as you might think. One might think that with the retirement of Visual FoxPro, Microsoft would have a comparable product in its line-up to replace the aging product.

It doesn’t. In fact, Microsoft Visual FoxPro—with its object-oriented, data-centric design—really has no equal. There are certainly other programming languages and tools available from Microsoft and others, but none that are exactly like FoxPro.

The Difficulty of Duplicating FoxPro Code

Particular to FoxPro is its Rapid Application Development (RAD) environment that made it such an excellent tool for creating a desktop database application. Additionally, the implementation of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) principles made so much of the code written in FoxPro both fast to write and easy to maintain.

While all of this might sound very technical (i.e. boring), the important thing to understand here is that a major system which was formerly written in FoxPro is going to require significant effort to be redeveloped with a new programming tool.

Alternatives to Visual FoxPro

While there is no simple conversion utility to convert your existing FoxPro application to another platform, the good news is that there are many ways to successfully move your FoxPro data to other database formats, such as Microsoft SQL Server. The programs and user interface, on the other hand, will have to be redesigned in the new development tool.

What We Recommend

FoxProConvert recommends converting to Microsoft Visual Studio .NET.  One of the benefits of .NET is that it is a family of related development technologies and not just an individual language. Another plus is that the .NET technologies are the most popular Microsoft development products, which translates to a great resource pool of talented programmers capable of working within that environment.

With .NET it is possible to create both traditional desktop applications, as well as browser-based applications, capable of running on an internet server. Browser-based applications can potentially extend the reach of your application by providing access to a wider geographic area as opposed to your traditional internal office network.

For the back-end data storage, we recommend Microsoft SQL Server. This is available as both a free version (Express) and pay version (SQL Server Enterprise). SQL Server has quickly become an industry standard being used by companies around the globe. Its inter-operability makes it capable of working with other products and technologies, and at the same time it is highly secure and scalable.