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Living in a VFP Time Machine

Yesterday I experienced some nostalgia with Visual FoxPro. A few months ago Rick Borup asked me if I would write a short article about discovering something new in Visual FoxPro for the Advisor Discovery column he tech edits in the Advisor Guide to Microsoft Visual FoxPro.

Yesterday I wrote this short article and had to do a little fact research for the piece. I pulled off the shelf my binder for the 1995 Microsoft FoxPro International Developer Conference (DevCon). This is the DevCon where Microsoft revealed Visual FoxPro 3.0 publicly. I went through the binder and read the topics and descriptions and the speaker list. Wow.

Interesting statistics:

  1. 80 people from the Microsoft VFP team are listed as special guests (Calvin Hsia and Cameron Slade are the only two remaining on the team today, and several are high up corporate ladder in Microsoft and other companies).
  2. Only 9 CompuServe MVPs (Beane, Booth, Freeman, Granor, Pollack, Ruple, Sexton, Shultz, and Slater), two are still officially MVPs and several more are active in the Fox Community. There are 33 VFP MVPs today.
  3. 50 sessions
  4. 50 speakers
  5. Up to 13 sessions going on at one time
  6. 14 session slots plus keynotes.

A lot has changed in 11 years, but some things still remain the same. For instance, the approach I take to picking sessions I attend during the conference. I looked at my session choices for the 1995 conference and questioned some of my selections. Looking back I missed Savannah Brenthall’s Overview of the Visual FoxPro Object Model and Alan Griver’s FoxPro and Client-Server – A Path to Reengineering. In reality the choices were tough because I could only see a third of the sessions. I had to make choices that not only benefited me, but benefited the company I worked for (EDS) and the team I was a part of at the time.

In this binder I still have the 28 page “Trip Report” I did for my team. I detailed all the sessions I attended, all the benefits of moving the development of our organization to VFP and SQL Server from FoxPro 2.6 for DOS and Windows. It looks like the arguments I made then would still work today.

It was a great conference and it was fun reliving some fond memories I probably should have used the time to work on the sessions I will be giving at the conferences this year, but I think the perspective of the 1995 conference will better prepare me for the 2006 season.

Anyway, if you recall a moment in time when you discovered something about Visual FoxPro and have a spare hour or two, write it up and send it off the Rick Borup. I have enjoyed reading the few articles published in this new column and look forward to reading your discoveries.

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