Now 13th might not seem like a particularly ‘good’ thing to many folks. To those of us earning a living with Visual FoxPro (VFP) however, it’s a very big deal!!
If you look at the charts, a year ago, it was in 33rd place, five places behind Microsoft’s new baby VB.Net. Now, just one year later, not only did Vb.Net move up 11 places to number 17, but VFP caught, and passed it in the past year!!
I’ve said here many times that VFP is, hands down, the single most versatile and productive language I’ve ever written code in. Seeing it decline in popularity over the past decade has been, well, disappointing, to say the very least.
That I’m the sole VFP programmer working out of the contract house, and also the only one in an IT/IS focused company is a total reversal of my experience in contracting 15 years ago. Back then, the demand far outstripped the supply and I was getting paid to teach classes in FoxPro development by the contract house.
Today, I get brought in for a specific, targeted task in most cases, and both I and the headhunters know that when it’s over I’ll be looking for that little nugget of a contract elsewhere as they, in all likelihood, will not have anything for me.
News like I saw today however, gives me hope that the market, as well as the language are making a come back. Worse things could happen to those of use contracting (in VFP) for a living than to have demand spike!! There are few, maybe only 25-30% of the FoxPro coders left, the rest have move on to some other platform (probably Java) where the work is more plentiful, even if, the rates are a bit lower.
Why do I think it’s making a come back?
I’ve got a few ideas:
Many of the remaining VFP coders, like me, have started blogging.
- .Net, and Visual Studio in general, have not made the inroads Microsoft was betting on in the developer community.
- There are 100’s of thousands of solid, reliable FoxPro and VFP applications out there, and the cost to re-architect them is just too high, when compared to upgrading to VFP 9.0
- VFP has ‘caught up’ to the object oriented world in some ways, and in others OO has come around to VFP.
- Many OO developers and architects are still talking about ‘data driven’ applications. They just don’t actually know how to do it. It’s been done in VFP by me, and others, for years.
Work-wise things are still busy, They’ve put enough on my plate to last well into the fall and gathering the business rules and designing the rules engine is a major component of a major project I’m on… the ‘old system’ had a 155 page ‘item specification’ manual and the details were not granular enough so virtually every component is being ‘refactored’ to identify its components as well…
The whole process reminds me of a system I did to build computers, and computer networks from inventory by selecting ‘kits’ or ‘packages’ of other inventory components at the time things were ordered… We also applied it, as I recall to building plantation shutters for a company in Florida, I modified the concept last to build a call accounting/payroll application…. I think I’m going to enjoy seeing where this information gathering process takes me!!
I can’t believe it’s Thursday already… the week has just flown by, and two days for the weekend will be over in a heartbeat!!
I hope this finds you all doing well!
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