Will VFP9 last as long as VB6?

Decision time is coming on the future of our custom-built VFP9 ERP software for our food processing operation. 20 users, 180 screens, 230 reports. Handles accounting, inventory, costing, scheduling,  shipping, invoicing, ASN labelling and EDI.
For the last year I’ve been training a fellow (recommended by one of the owners) who is fluent in SQL and C#, in the ins and outs of Foxpro, so if I am hit by a bus, we at least have someone familiar with our system.
Our options are:
1. Do nothing. One comment on this site was that VFP9 will live as long as VB6 lives as they use the same libraries, and VB6 will be supported indefinitely.
2. Buy packaged software and accept the gains and losses of capability. And cost.
3. Rewrite. We are exploring converting to SQL Server, using C# for the logic level.
We would use Windows Forms for the screens and  RDLC for the reports. These last two have been a real culture shock for me after the ease of doing forms and reports in Foxpro. I suppose I’ll get used to them—unless there are better options for reports and screens?

I’m tracking down choices for canned software, so my questions concern #1 and 3.

1. Is VFP9 safe, though not supported, as long as VB6 lives, though not supported?
It seems like Microsoft would have a hard time pulling the libraries VB6 uses.

3. Are Windows Forms for screens and RDLC for reports good options? I assume they’ll be supported for some time—don’t want to jump on the latest and greatest platform just to see it vanish next year.

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Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)President / OwnerCommented:
Tough call....many are in the same boat with Microsoft Access and older versions, as they rely on features not available in the current versions, so they keep running the same old stuff.  

 On #1, "safe" is a hard call.  Microsoft could introduce something in Windows that breaks VFP/VB6, or some of the features that it offers, and not bother to fix either. For example, what if the install breaks and you need new stations?  I just tried to get Access 97 on a Win 10 station.   It runs, but the install was no easy task.

 But I can understand the reluctance in not wanting to change anything.   Re-writing an app along these lines is not a trivial task by any means.  

 If your running under Win 10 now without issue, then you should be safe for a number of years and there is always the ability to run an older OS in a VM if you really get stuck.   But I guess the real question is; what is the long term plan?  The answer to that depends on a lot of factors, the main one which is "what's available for canned software?".

 I had one client remain on custom software for over 15 years, and then something became available in their industry (construction) that they could live with (actually, they gained functionality in this case, so it was an easy choice).    So on #2, see what's out there first.   You might be surprised.

 But if there is nothing or cost would be prohibitive, then I would lean for coasting for a bit longer.

 In regards to #3, a re-write to what really depends on the type of app and the way you need to support it.   Sounds like a typical desktop app, but do you need to support remote workers, or possibly customers?  etc.   Think about the functionality you may be lacking now but would like to have.  Depending on that, a web based solution might not be out of the question for example.


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terrypba1Author Commented:
Thanks Jim. We don't currently need to support remote workers or customers, but having some reports web-based for executives is certainly a temptation.
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
My main customer is using VFP9 on Windows 7 with no plans on changing.  He is used to the programming that it allows him to do.  Any other method would be a culture shock and take years to even get close to the ease of use he has now.
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Matt CartlidgeSenior Infrastructure EngineerCommented:
I'd certainly look at WPF rather than Windows Forms. I've started to learn WPF recently and while it was a steep learning curve, if you're planning on possibly re-writing with C# then WPF could be worth your time.
terrypba1Author Commented:
Thanks Matt. It looks like WPF also includes report design, so we wouldn't be using WinForms for screens and RDLC for reports?
Matt CartlidgeSenior Infrastructure EngineerCommented:
To be honest, reporting is WPF is news to me and I've never been involved in reporting as such so I can't really comment on that. However, I know that WPF is very powerful. Two of the main reasons I use it is because it scales nicely (use a magnifier over a WPF application and see that it does not pixelate) and also it is very fast compared to windows forms with the ability to use true transparency and some really nice effects with very little effort.
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