not sure how to proceed

Posted on 2014-02-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-05-15
I'm a business owner who is a little techie - but its more of a hobby and I know my limitations - this is it!

I have an application written in the early 2000's in Foxpro.  It works just fine.  HOWEVER, Foxpro has been unsupported and I'm afraid as MS puts old operating systems to bed (like XP) at some point, this software is simply not going to run.

Couple that with the server is ancient -  Windows 2000.    Right now we run the Foxpro based application on our desktops and the server basically hosts data.  For reporting we use R&R Report Writer and query the database sitting on the server by using mapped network drives.

My question is this:  Can I use some type of cloud solution to host my data and use Report Writer to query against this data hosted off site?  Also should I be migrating this data to a new database program?  If so, can I do this through an internet based application?

Anyone want to take a look at what I'm doing and give me an estimate for the rewrite?


Vin Carrano
Question by:ImVin
LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Vadim Rapp
ID: 39831301
> Foxpro has been unsupported and I'm afraid as MS puts old operating systems to bed (like XP) at some point, this software is simply not going to run.

No, absolutely not. If you keep the operating system as is, and software under it as is, it's going to run just fine. Have a backup in case the computer dies and you need to put it on new computer.

If you at some point want to integrate this solution with something else, that's when you are likely to run into problems. But if the solution is isolated from everything else, it will run infinitely. "Not supported by Microsoft" means that if you run into new problem with it, you won't be able to call Microsoft and have them help you. You however will be always able to find an independent consultant familiar with your platform, same as currently there are people who support VAX/VMS, for example.
LVL 43

Accepted Solution

pcelba earned 249 total points
ID: 39831365
Are you talking about FoxPro or Visual FoxPro?

Visual FoxPro situation is not as bad as Microsoft says... It is running under Windows 8 and if something does not work the community can help.

FoxPro 2.x is another story. It is 16 bit application which does not work under 64 bit operating systems.

BUT you may install any past operating system in virtual environment hosted in almost any new OS. Look for Virtual PC or VMware or something similar. It is the feature for FoxPro.

More problematic could be shared file access which is less supported by Microsoft and problems has not only FoxPro but MS Access or Excel when working with shared file on a server. You may read more if you Google for SMB2 and oplocks.

FoxPro also has several successors. You may check following links:

And I cannot forget the community open source FoxPro add-ons:

This Chinese company offers unofficial Visual FoxPro patches...
LVL 33

Expert Comment

ID: 39832056
As time passes by the maintenance costs are going to rise.
Entropy hits the hardware, the OS, the software and the data itself.
It is a good idea to plan a replacement, which is not necessarily based on foxpro.

Is there perhaps open source software that does 80% of what you need?
I suggest that you find a local developer and get a quote.
If you have exact specs for what you need then freelancer web sites maybe a good fit.
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Author Comment

ID: 39832198
VFP.   It does basically what we need it to do. My concern is as MS continues development of Windows, at some point,  VFP won't run on some new OS.  My server is so old,  it seems like the right time to take it out of my office.

Regarding cloud services -  can I leave my database in the cloud and query from a desktop application?
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

jrbbldr earned 249 total points
ID: 39832413
My server is so old

I haven't personally had a client who needed to run it on MS Server 2012, but VFP runs perfectly well on MS Server 2008.   So you can make an upgrade of your Server OS with confidence.

And, at the workstation level, Pavel has already confirmed above that VFP will run on Windows 8 (although there are some things to take into consideration).  

Eventually MS will no doubt introduce some workstation OS problems that will be un-surmountable (I even hear a rumor that they are planning for the future when they will totally abandon Windows for something else),
But when statistics indicate that somewhere around 80-90% of workstations in the office environment are still using XP, I'd guess that many (most?) office aren't in too big of a hurry to immediately embrace MS's latest and greatest workstation OS, just because it is released.

And, yes, support for your application is getting more difficult since many VFP developers have migrated into other languages (or died off), but there is still a community of VFP developers like ourselves who remain confident in VFP's abilities and continue to support clients.

So it sounds as though your application, as is, has LOTS OF LIFE LEFT IN IT for the foreseeable future if you want it to remain so.

Good Luck
LVL 30

Assisted Solution

by:Olaf Doschke
Olaf Doschke earned 252 total points
ID: 39834145
To spotlight this:

>Regarding cloud services -  can I leave my database in the cloud and query from a desktop application?

Well, yes. But hosting data in the cloud you typically use it from webapps via webservices, not just with an odbc connection and SQL passthrough queries.

If you use cloud as a synonym for internet, yes, that's possible, eg SQL Server or MySQL databases can be hosted allowing remote access, which includes access from a desktop client. You have to look for hosters allowing that, mostly hosted database access is limited to localhost, meaning you can only query directly at the server.

Towards the overall topic of a rewrite, I'd like to add a rewrite is not only driven by the fear of something not working anymore. Good reasons are, other languages and tools offer new possibilities, too, even a VFP rewrite can help to make things better. Building something new with experiences made makes the new app more effective in most cases, and that alone might pay for the expenses of the rewrite.

I'm always interested in work, of course, most of us will be. The idea to bring data into the internet is of course a way to enable customers more direct access in shopping systems. That can also be limited to part of the data.

I mainly work for a blue chip cosmetics company, and they of course won't put their most secret data of formulas into the cloud. You always can limit access to end users, but the hosting companies will always have access to their own servers and hosted databases. Encryption is only a partial solution, even if both database and connections are encrypted.

If you plan to open up your data to several sites of your business, the cloud only is one solution, you can also use terminal services, remote access, data replication.

If the OS is your only concern the current situation is not bad for VFP apps, only for 16bit apps, but as you started in 2000 I don't assume you have a dos or foxpro for windows 16bit application, but VFP6/7, perhaps.

Bye, Olaf.

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