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Visual FoxPro 9.0 more SQL Server friendly

The recent update to the Microsoft development platform -- with new features such as an enhanced report writer -- finds fans in the database application development community.

Database developers working with SQL Server 2000 or the soon-to-be-released Yukon might find a useful tool in Microsoft's recently released Visual FoxPro 9.0 database and desktop

FoxPro now supports a lot of the SQL data types that it didn't support before.

David Bernard, Atlanta FoxPro Users Group

application development platform.

Andy Kramek, a Microsoft Visual FoxPro MVP and president and co-founder of Tightline Computers Inc., in Akron, Ohio, said his company uses FoxPro to develop applications with SQL Server, and thinks that the update is an improvement.

"What it would give a SQL developer is the ability to write smart," Kramek said. "The big thing is that FoxPro can handle row-based processing."

Kramek said FoxPro is the best front end to SQL Server to use for development. In the update, correlated subqueries see higher performance and the software enables enhanced use

Andy Kramek, Visual FoxPro MVP

of derived tables. The most important change, he said, is found in the much-improved report writer that can now produce reports with multiple bands of detail.

"Because it's got its own data engine, it lets you do things that are extremely difficult in SQL Server, but you can do them in FoxPro very easily," Kramek said. "One of the big changes [in the update] is the extension of the SQL language support to include much more of the ANSI SQL-92 standards."

Ken Levy, a Microsoft product manager, said a little more than half of FoxPro applications are using SQL Server 2000 on the back end. And FoxPro, he said, brings that SQL Server data down in the memory cursor. "That makes it great for SQL Server on the back end because your data-centric experience as a developer is really powerful regardless of what your data source is," Levy said.

A new role for FoxPro

David Bernard, vice president of the Atlanta FoxPro Users Group and co-founder and vice president at The Intellection Group Inc., in Duluth, Ga., said Microsoft is also pushing FoxPro as a middle-tier development application. Like Kramek, Bernard uses Visual FoxPro in conjunction with SQL Server in database development.

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"The SQL syntax [of FoxPro 9.0] is very close to the capabilities of SQL Server, which to us is great," Bernard said. "We have to build applications that will work in either world. One of the things we had to do in the old days was write two different sets of SQL calls to work in the two different environments. FoxPro now supports a lot of the SQL data types that it didn't support before."

Bernard relies on the ability to use both platforms in his work. "We bet our company on using FoxPro, and we mainly use it in the middle-tier manner because we're delivering a lot of Web applications."

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