Friday, May 19, 2006

Profox: Will Sedna be free???

Over the last few days there has been some discussion over on Ed Leafe's ProFox list about the cost of Sedna. I jumped in and added my two cents, and introduced a couple of developers to the VFP Roadmap. This spawned off some discussion about the fact there is no VFP 10, which is surprising since Microsoft released the VFP Roadmap almost a year ago. Naturally, this degraded into a negative spiral and the Fox is dead conspiracy theories. I made the comment:

"The community has been throwing out conspiracy theories for years about the future of FoxPro and always questioning Microsoft's intentions. Now they layout the future in writing and developers still complain. How can they win?"

Michael Babcock responded to my question with this

"By marketing it to those other than the faithful choir so that new blood comes in and it gets seriously adopted in IT again.  (haha, yeah right)"

I understand Michael's frustration, but I am of the philosophy of not worrying about things I cannot control. The whole thing about Microsoft not marketing VFP is something a lot of people have complained about for years. I have thought a lot about this and finally decided to put my thoughts into words on a public forum. I posted the following on ProFox yesterday (after fixing one typo):

"I am long past this marketing problem. For the most part, VFP is not a product for large enterprises and will not be accepted by a large percentage of large enterprises. It will not matter if Microsoft starts marketing it. Large enterprises are using SAP, Navision, and Web tools. VFP is not on their radar scope (yes some exceptions do exist). I know this because I developed VFP applications for Fortune 1 (General Motors was number one while I wrote apps for them). I watched as pointy-haired bosses read the latest industry rags and made decisions on a moment by moment basis strictly on the latest article they reviewed.

There is no accountability in large companies, so the this "fluid" environment of switching from tool X to Y to Z is going to happen and is really out of control. This is where the statistics are altered in a big way with the percentage of failed IT projects getting so high.
Similar to the fact that Fortune 500 employs a surprisingly low percentage of the overall workforce, large corporations only have a fraction of the overall software development work and budget. For the most part small to medium size businesses don't care about the technology under the hood and this is the market where VFP flourishes (again, there are exceptions). They just want something that works, is reasonably priced, and is fast to market. They need to be dynamic to remain competitive. VFP, in conjunction with good VFP developers, is the perfect fit for this market. So if VFP developers want to flourish, serve the niche market it serves so well and forget about being the popular child in Microsoft.
This is my competitive advantage and this is the reason my company is so successful. Now back to work."

I wanted to share this with you because ProFox is not read by everyone. This blog is not read by everyone either, but by posting it here maybe a few more people might read it and link to it. I have received a lot of positive feedback on this. I did not expect it because there was a lot of negativity in the thread up to this point. It might be a different perspective on the subject.
In addition, after listening to Craig Boyd talk about the future of FoxPro and how we as individuals and as a community can make a difference, I felt compelled to post this to see if I can make a difference today. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.


At 5/19/2006 09:55:00 AM, Anonymous Michael Babcock said...

Well, since you posted my original comment, I'll paste my reply to yours here as well so as to clear any misunderstanding.

Absolutely whole-heartedly agree with you! That's how I've been in
business since 2003...and business today is still good with a promising
future! I'm not worried nor caring about M$'s efforts (or lack thereof)
with VFP, and anything contrary to that is a simple misunderstanding.

Fox rocks!

At 5/19/2006 10:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Succinct, to the point and agreed. In the wishy, washy corporate world I think we would be wise to pay less attention to their decision making abilities. It has been my experience that once a VFP of FoxPro app is installed, Client's love it and use it. Thanks for your comments!

At 5/24/2006 07:30:00 AM, Anonymous Ailsom F. Heringer said...


I will call Bill Gates right now and ask him about VFP 10.


(it´s a joke ...)

At 5/24/2006 08:13:00 AM, Blogger Rick Schummer said...


I know you are joking based on our discussion on ProFox. But since some of my readers are not on the listserver I want to provide the same advice I provided on ProFox when you posted the same comment there:

Feel free to contact Bill Gates, but if you want a real response you could just email the Visual FoxPro Program Manager Milind Lele:

Thanks for stopping by.


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