Arnoldo B. Canales
I came to FoxBASE in the mid to late 80s as a Basic programmer but mainly as a machine language programmer writing code for Motorola 6800 and Zilog Z80 microprocessors. That was my background as a programmer, but then I got hired by this company which was pretty much a software shop writing small business applications. At that time everything and anything computer-related was a novelty and MS-DOS was the king. I was hired as a Service Tech to keep PC XT computers working, Intel 8088-based PC’s. Networks at that time consisted of passing around 5”¼ floppy disks with whatever files you wanted to share. The other sort of important or relevant thing I remember is that I was troubleshooting at chip level, not at board level like now days, meaning I was using an oscilloscope, and tracing signals from chip to chip until the faulty one was found. Anyway, that is where I was introduced to FoxBASE. FoxBASE was kind of a new kid in town where Ashton-Tate dBase was the dominant platform on xBase languages and databases.
Then in the early 90’s FoxBASE had a religious experience when it was acquired by none other than Microsoft. Of course the name had to change so it became FoxPro. I am not sure if the name change was before or after the acquisition but the name changed with version 2.5. The fact of the matter is that I have floppy disks labeled FoxPro 2.0 as you can see in the pictures below. After that, with version 3.0, what followed was a major change to FoxPro because it became an Object-Oriented-Programming Language (OOP). For many programmers, including me, it was a decision time, because learning to write programs in the new OOP paradigm had a steep learning curve. Speaking for myself, I can say that I really struggled but, finally, I was able to breakthrough and learn the new technique. OOP allows to write more elegant and safe code resulting in better end-user applications.
Then, in the mid-to-late 90’s, FoxPro 5.0 came and go with not so much noise and the reason was that Microsoft was saving the fanfare for the release of Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0, with FoxPro included in the pack, and as we all know, Visual Studio became Microsoft’s Developers Flag ship up until this day. So that was Visual FoxPro 6.0 who became a pretty popular version among the community of FoxPro programmers because it really was revamped in many different ways including enhancement to the language, File-handling capabilities, as well as aesthetics.
So what follows after the inclusion in Visual Studio, was a time of peace, progress, and stability, everything was fine and dandy, different versions came and go, including version 6, version 7, and…. that was it. All of a sudden, Microsoft announced it was dropping FoxPro in favor of SQL. Two more versions were released, 8.0 and 9.0, but it wasn’t the same anymore.
Somewhere in this timeline, Windows as we know it was born (I don’t know what Win3.1 was), also Office came along together with a long list of software applications, but Visual FoxPro remained the same and it has stood the test of time running like no other language. Thousands, maybe millions, of applications worldwide are still running under FoxPro. In my particular case, I have migrated some of my applications to VB and C# using SQL and Access as backend, but I still have many applications running under the mighty FoxPro.
As a programmer, I had to move on and learn new programming languages and new ways of doing things. This field of technology is marked by a myriad of continuous changing and evolving trends so if you don’t like to be on a constant state of learning new stuff, then this field is not for you. Not if you want to make a living out it though.
There is a YouTube video that neatly encapsulates what I have tried to convey with my writings above, not about FoxPro, but about technology in general. I saw the video when it was just released back in 2008, and Kevin’s words, the guy in the video, have become more prophetic than ever because what he mentioned back then is now a reality so check out his video here
One last word, I have had the privileged of starting my professional life along with a nascent branch of technology and knowledge and the only thing I can say is that what it was so simple 35 ~ 38 years ago, has become hyper-complex. It seems simple because almost everybody has access or uses technology, but behind scenes, sometimes there are two, three, four, and more different technologies working together to bring up a seamless service to a user. Check out below a picture gallery of FoxPro products I have acquired through the years.
Figure 2: FoxPro pictures through the years.
|Click the thumbnails below to enlarge the pictures.|
Up above to the right, check out a few of the many FoxPro projects I have developed throughout the years and please, feel free to leave a comment below.
Thanks for visiting,
Click here to go to the official Microsoft Visual FoxPro website.