Wednesday, April 08, 2009

VFP 9 - Reporting Bugs

Microsoft moved all bug reporting for VFP to their Connect system years ago. The FoxPro Community followed the Microsoft direction with some kicking and screaming. One of the drawbacks of this was the VFP reports went through the Visual Studio group and we never got the feeling of being a first class citizen in the process.

Microsoft has fixed this. Well, sort of fixed this. {g}

About a month ago Gianni Turri posted a message on the ProFox list server noting a bug report he posted was rejected with the following message:
Thank you for submitting this Connect Issue. Visual FoxPro is no longer supported though Connect. Please use the Visual FoxPro Support Center ( or the Visual FoxPro Discussion Forum on MSDN ( for more information or suggestions. You can also contact Microsoft Help and Support ( ) for further assistance. For additional information please visit the Community Resources page on Visual FoxPro MSDN site ( as well as the VFPX project on CodePlex ( Thank you, Visual Studio Product Team.
[Editorial note: interesting plug for VFPX - yeah!]

I confirmed this with Milind Lele. He told me Microsoft Connect is great for products in continuous development and allows better management of the reports to flow into the next release. All Visual FoxPro bug reports need to go through Product Support Services.

To get to Product Support Services you go here:

Near the bottom of the page you will find "Get Help from Microsoft". Click on Assisted Support. Scroll through the list of products to find Visual FoxPro 9.0 (or 8.0) and click on the link. Or you can go to this link:

You will see three options:
  1. Email Support (24 hour response time, two free incidents, US$99 for support)
  2. Online Request to be called (US$259 per incident, response time based on severity)
  3. Request by phone (US$259 per incident during business hours, US$515 after hours)
Other options for contracts are available.

So I asked about "paying" to report a bug. You do initially have to pay if you are past your two free support emails. But if the support people determine it is a product bug (their definition of being out of spec, not your perception of what you might consider a bug), your payment will be credited. Exact words from Milind:
Actually for a valid bug, the charges get reverted. The quickest way to get a fix is to have a hotfix issued. And the fastest and surest way to do that is to create that request from support.
The good news: you will be routed to the folks that know VFP best and in my opinion, some of the sharpest folks supporting software anywhere. Plus the reports are going directly to them, not through a system that treated our favorite product as less than first class.

My recommendation: if you think you have run across some "buggy feeling feature" in Visual FoxPro, post the issue on one of the forums. Let the Fox Community help you flush out any issues to see if it is indeed a bug. Then report it though the Product Support Service channel.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

VFP 9 SP2 Hotfix Update

I just downloaded the latest update to the VFP 9 SP2 Hotfix this evening. This latest file includes the missing VFP9T.DLL (Multi-threaded runtime) file.

Same place, same bat channel...

I have been told the other hotfixes are no longer password protected too, but I have not had time to test because of a limited bandwidth while on vacation.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

VFP 9 SP2 Hotfix Minor Glitch

Earlier today in the comments section on my post about the release of the new VFP 9 SP2 hotfix, Sergey Berezniker and Emerson Santon Reed noted the VFP9T.DLL runtime file is not included in the post. It is something I noticed the day of the release but was tainted by the fact the Report Designer is not valid in the runtime. What I forgot is about the rollup of the previous hotfixes and how they should be included. The multi-threaded runtime is in the included Merge Module so you can get it by building an installer and installing the file. But it would be much simpler to get the file in the hotfix download.

The other issue is the previous two VFP 9 SP2 hotfixes (not the latest) just posted on Code Gallery still have the download files password protected. Annoying for sure, but not super critical because the new hotfix has these two rolled up. The business case for the old hotfix might be valid for some developers.

I contacted the Fox Team at Microsoft this morning and they jumped on the issue. This evening I got word that the fixes are in the final stages of getting prepared for release and should be ready in the next few days.

So the choice is yours. You can pull the hotfix and start testing the changes and how they impact your application. If you want the multi-threaded runtime and don't want to build an install to get it, just hold still for a few more days. Things are getting fixed in all three downloads.

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Thursday, April 02, 2009

VFP 9 SP2 Hotfix Released!

10, 9, 8, 7, 6 (main engine start), 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…. Liftoff!

I bet you think I am talking about a launch of NASA's Space Shuttle. If you know me this is a good guess, but this time you are wrong. I have better news!

Microsoft has released a hotfix to the most serious Report Designer bug in VFP 9 SP2. This is the Data Group bug Cathy Pountney first blogged about here: Gotcha: Serious report bug with Data Groups introduced in VFP 9 SP2.

You can read about the fix in the Microsoft KnowledgeBase article #968409, titled “FIX: The group header of a data grouping is not printed at the top of each page as expected after you install Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0 Service Pack 2

This fix is considered by many to be the most serious bug introduced in VFP 9 SP2, and has often been referred to as the main stumbling block to the adoption of VFP 9 SP2. I am hopeful with this news that you will consider downloading the new hotfix and giving it a try to see if it works well for your apps. Only you can make the determination on what is best for your customers. Yes, there are more bugs to squash, but a high percentage of them have decent workarounds where this particular bug did not.

Additionally, there is some terrific news on how you can get the hotfix. Previous to this release Microsoft only made Visual FoxPro hotfixes available by calling Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS), report the bug in the hotfix, and then Microsoft would make it available to you. Hotfixes are easier for the team to release because there is less overhead, but getting it to the Fox Community is a pain in the neck because of the PSS bottleneck. So the “Fox Team” came up with releasing this important hotfix through MSDN Code Gallery so any Visual FoxPro developer can download and apply the patch without calling PSS. I think this is a real positive move for the Fox Community.

The hotfix can be downloaded on the download page of Code Gallery for the KB article.

Both the other hotfixes released for VFP 9 SP2 are rolled up into this release so if you have patched SP2 for the following fixes they are included in the new build:
  1. FIX: The toolbar on an SDI form is disabled in Visual FoxPro 9.0 Service Pack 2 (build 6303, 12-Apr-2008, KB 948528)
  2. FIX: Records from another user session that violate the criteria for a parent table are displayed in the browse window for a child table in a Visual FoxPro 9.0 Service Pack 2 multiuser environment (build 6602, 03-Jun-2008, KB 952548)
Update: Milind Lele tells me the previous hotfixes for VFP 9 SP2 are also available on MSDN Code Gallery (just in case you are not interested in the Group Header fix. {g})

Just in case you have not heard, in addition to the core EXE and runtime hotfixes we have a new VFP 9 SP2 Help file available on VFPX.

I am very excited about this news. I want to thank the “Fox Team” for their hard work and personal efforts to make the hotfix happen. I also want to thank those in the Fox Community who have reported VFP 9 SP2 bugs, those who have documented the workarounds, those who researched when some of the alleged SP2 bugs really surfaced, and those who tested out the hotfix to ensure it is the best possible fix for the reports at this time.

Hopefully this is just the third in a string of hotfixes we will see from Microsoft as they support the product we all love. Today is a very good day. This is one small step for VFP, one giant leap for VFP developers. Please spread the word!

Update: Read more about this release on Cathy Pountney's blog!

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