The Risks of Using Visual FoxPro

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Microsoft Visual FoxPro is a discontinued 32-bit architecture-based relational database management system (RDBMS), and an object-oriented programming environment designed for creating desktop database applications. Derived from FoxPro (originally known as FoxBASE) which was developed by Fox Software, beginning in 1984. It was first released in 1989. In 1992 when Microsoft acquired FoxPro, there was a robust, active worldwide community of FoxPro users and programmers. The last version of FoxPro, Visual FoxPro 9.0 Service Pack 2 (SP2), was released in 2007. That is the same year that Microsoft ended any more development or marketing of Visual FoxPro. There are no plans to release a new version of Visual FoxPro. The year 2010 marked the end of Microsoft’s mainstream technical support. Microsoft’s extended support continued till January 2015 when it too was ended. Visual FoxPro is no longer supported by Microsoft, and therefore end of life FoxPro migration has become a neccessity for many businesses.

Yet, despite being discontinued, Visual FoxPro is still used by many businesses and organizations. And one can still download it and use it, with some caveats, to build database applications for desktop, web and client/server deployments.

But we would not recommend it for a number of reasons, not the least because there are now fewer skilled FoxPro developers and their availability continues to decline steadily as more and more companies migrate to other flexible and more robust systems. Additionally, the security features required for today’s strategic system are just not available in FoxPro.

History of Microsoft Visual FoxPro
If your business is still using Visual FoxPro……

  • Are you finding it more difficult to meet the continuing needs of your business with your existing Visual FoxPro application and technical resources?
  • In the event of a crash or issues that occur in the system, are you finding it harder and harder to find software developers who are still familiar with its technology?
  • Are you confident that your business is protected by Microsoft’s latest security updates? Have you discovered that the files and programs you are running are no longer compatible with the operating systems used by your customers and suppliers?
  • Have you recognized that VFP as a proprietary software, is not as widely supported as other database management systems?
  • Have you learned that the Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0 database is limited to a capacity of 2 GB per table due to its 32-bit architecture, it only runs on some older versions of the Windows operating system, and offers no direct upgrade path from Visual FoxPro to any other Microsoft database product?
  • Have you noticed a financial impact to your overall business productivity?
  • Are you scrambling to adapt your Visual FoxPro code in order to run VFP apps in the cloud?

These are some of the risks companies are finding using Visual FoxPro as it continues in its declining years and becomes a less and less popular management system for more businesses. Some have even classed VFP as “end-of-life” which is one reason businesses and programmers are moving away from the platform.

More reasons why companies are choosing to replace Visual FoxPro include:

  • Concern that there’s no guarantee the new versions of Windows even will run a FoxPro application or it is possible that a security update for Windows could cause your VFP application to break.
  • The need for scalability since VFP has a finite limit that cannot be exceeded.
  • The amount of data that it can support is nowhere near adequate for today’s Big Data and Business Intelligence opportunities.
  • Security concerns since VFP’s lack of support for newer versions of Windows makes a business environment more vulnerable to security attacks.
  • While the business world of computing is moving towards 64-bit architecture, VFP is restricted to a 32-bit operating system.
  • There is a rapidly shrinking number of programmers with the necessary skills and knowledge to properly support your Visual FoxPro environment and applications.
  • Increased security requirements to how thoroughly data can be safeguarded from unauthorized access that are not available with VFP
  • Finding that VFP cannot run on more advanced 64-bit architecture of newer PCs.
  • Business goals going forward require a better, faster, more efficient / secure software system.
  • Have business regulations or need to maintain industry certification compliance that requires computer systems to be kept up to date.
  • Data integrity and recovery with VFP is not as robust as needed.
  • VFP is no longer the feasible enterprise-level data storage solution that it once was.
  • VFP has no platform to develop mobile applications that demand mobile device integration, such as Pocket PCs and Smartphones demands.
  • The need to Implement new enhancements to improve user functionality.
  • Concerns that VFP will no longer work with browser updates, application changes, or new third-party apps / tools.

Today, businesses demand applications that are portable and interoperable. It’s time to hire an experienced migration team, having sound knowledge in VFP, as well as the latest technologies, to make this inevitable transition / migration as smoothly and successfully as possible. The professionals at InterSoft Associates have the knowledge and experience to help with your migration.

Call us now at (516) 374-8898 to set up a free consultation.


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