Home » Visual FoxPro, Windows 7, Windows 8 » Microsoft: How does Visual FoxPro get “It Just Works” support?

My copy of MSDN Magazine arrived in today’s mail. As I do when it arrives, I browse through the pages looking for interesting articles to read. Normally what I read is interesting information about things in .NET that people on my team throw around during team gatherings, and I see presented at user groups and conferences.

But today I read two thought provoking articles discussing Visual Basic 6, which was released in 1998 and off Microsoft’s extended support in 2008. Not exactly what I would call cutting edge material.

  • Don’t Get Me Started, by David S Platt
  • Old Soldiers Never Die, editorial by Michael Desmond

The articles discuss how in January Microsoft extended “It Just Works” compatibility and support of VB6 applications through the full lifetime of Windows 8. This means the VB6 core runtimes are getting 5 more years of mainstream support followed with 5 more years of extended support into 2022 (a total of 10 years of Windows 8). Note: the VB6 IDE is not supported, just the runtimes. Still, this has an super important impact on VB6 developers who can talk to their customers and assure them that Microsoft is backing the investment in applications their customers have come to depend on. Platt even speculates: “I’ll bet you a beer that Microsoft has to extend Visual Basic 6 support through Windows 9 and 10.”

Here is a link for all the details on “It Just Works” for Visual Basic 6.

So let’s look at a simple timeline comparison here:

  • The last release of VB6 was in 1998, and extended support ended in 2008.
  • The last release of VFP 9 SP2 was October 2007, and extended support goes through January 2015.

The theme of the two articles is that VB6 apps continue to thrive in the business world, and in governments, and they are likely to thrive for a long time to come. Sounds familiar. Visual FoxPro applications are doing the same in both sectors, and in non-profits. Not every business can just afford to stop and rewrite their mission critical apps. Some applications do not support a business model for a rewrite. Just because Microsoft decides they no longer support development platforms and runtimes does not mean business does not continue as is.

One thing that made me chuckle is in Desmond’s article as he cites Platt, “Platt says he sees “pockets” of support on the Internet for Borland Delphi, Microsoft FoxPro, and Sybase PowerBuilder.” Pockets. Funny.

I want to be clear on one point. I don’t think this is important from the technical side of things as the testing I have done is not revealing any issues on Windows 8. Visual FoxPro applications I have tested are working fine on the Windows 8 Consumer Preview release from earlier this year. I have not tested on the Windows 8 Release Preview released this week. This is purely a marketing issue so Visual FoxPro developers can reassure their customers that Microsoft cares about their software, AND allows them to upgrade to Windows 8 if they choose to do so. Assurance equals new revenue for Microsoft. It also might help stem the tide of choosing alternative non-Microsoft platforms when it comes to the v.Next rewrite of the existing business software.

So Microsoft, I ask – How do the Visual FoxPro runtimes get “It Just Works” support extended through the life of Windows 8? I am certain this would be helpful to the customers who have come to depend on their software just as much as the software created in VB6, and Visual FoxPro has been supported longer.

Or am I wrong?

8 Responses to “Microsoft: How does Visual FoxPro get “It Just Works” support?”

  1. Mick
    June 5th, 2012 at 12:56 | #1

    Yeah, sitting in a “pocket” grinding out VFP code very day (and some C# and PowerShell too.) Wouldn’t be against seeing the “It Just Works” label under the Fox Head pennant, but if not What the Funk, still works :)

  2. Anonymous
    September 24th, 2012 at 07:01 | #2

    visual foxpro is very very good language tool for us
    please upgrade it upto computer life or upto life of sun & earth

  3. May 3rd, 2013 at 12:43 | #3

    I’m finding it running massively faster than on Windows 7 – there are no more of the memory issues
    I use it every day for maintaining massive amounts of data and the Rushmore Optimisation is important to allow me to number crunch at high speed
    I don’t know what happened to the OS architecture between Windows 7 and Windows 8 – I don’t care – I just works

  4. May 26th, 2013 at 12:09 | #4

    I thought all was working well until I tried an ADO routine that works well on Windows 7 to import the xlsx format file and the ADO.connect does not connect.

    Has anyone else seen this?

  5. May 26th, 2013 at 12:14 | #5

    I forgot to say it was Excel 360

  6. Kevin
    July 18th, 2013 at 11:54 | #6

    Extended runtime support would be extremely beneficial, if only for giving peace of mind to people who are relying on FoxPro right now. At my company, we have a Visual FoxPro 9 database system with about 200K lines of code, with hundreds of tables and hundreds of report forms. The system is absolutely critical to the operation of the business. The concern is that a new version or new upgrade to an existing version of Windows will be incompatible with VFP 9, and then what do we do? We have been slowly moving data out of FoxPro into Postgres, which generally gives an immediate performance boost and we think should be easier to work with in the event we have to change the front end to .NET or something else. My hope is that one of the projects floating around, such as PolarFox, will give us a supported upgrade path while allowing us to use our current code, but I don’t know how realistic that is.

    What is the thinking among developers now? Is there a belief that the installed base of VFP is still too big for Microsoft to release (within the next 10 or so years) a version of Windows that is incompatible with VFP?

  7. August 8th, 2014 at 03:15 | #7

    To get “It just works” support from Microsoft, I suggest …

    1) Create a call on the Microsoft UserVoice site like this one (about the VB6 programming language):-
    and get as many votes as possible

    2) Contact as many people within Microsoft as you can – by phone, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – and keep contacting them.

    3) Get as much publicity as you can in magazines and on websites. Such as

  8. Joel
    September 28th, 2015 at 13:12 | #8

    Microsoft recently added VB6 “It Just Works” support for Windows 10.


    It would still be nice to get this level of support for VFP 9.0 runtimes. Heck, given the changes in the last couple of years, maybe they’d be agreeable to making it open source. I won’t hold my breath on either account.

Add reply