We have received numerous inquiries from our Sage Pro clients regarding questions concerning Visual FoxPro. Since the announcement by Microsoft that they will not be releasing a new version of Visual FoxPro, many clients and prospects have asked how this will affect Sage Pro. In this connection, Sage Software has put together a statement regarding this issue along with answers to the questions that have been raised.
Sage Pro & Visual FoxPro (VFP)
Sage Pro has been in the market of helping clients manage their businesses for over 15 years. Its development in Microsoft Visual FoxPro (VFP) has given it a solid, well-established programming language upon which to build. Many of the customization tools in Sage Pro give it the ability to meet the unique and constantly changing needs of individual businesses. In addition, the richness of the VFP programming language offers a complete set of features that enable Sage Business Partners to program customizations far more efficiently than could be done in other languages. This unique combination provides Sage Pro customers with a lower-cost solution than may be available in other programming languages.
While the VFP language has been a versatile tool for the business management software industry, Microsoft has announced it will no longer release new versions of this product. We do not perceive this as a major concern at this time because:
- Microsoft has committed in its Message to the Community to extend support of the platform until 2015.
- Through extension development programs such as Sedna, Visual FoxPro-based solutions will continue to integrate with other Microsoft products and technologies.
- Sedna will also help improve the ability for Visual FoxPro to be deployed successfully on Windows Vista.
- The independent community of VFP developers, VFPX from CodePlex, continues to create open-source add-on releases that improve and extend VFP in conjunction with the Sedna project from Microsoft.
- While Microsoft support for VFP is ending in 2015, functionality of applications developed in this language will still continue on. The software industry has seen the longevity of products continue long after support for a programming language has ended. Examples of this include languages like Cobol and Microsoft’s discontinued version of C and Visual Basic.
Changing events within the technology industry may have raised a few questions for you as a customer. So Sage would like to address some of the questions that have come to our attention.
Q How will these changes to VFP affect future versions of Sage Pro?
A. Development of Sage Pro is planned to continue for many years. We will continue to remain connected to our customers in order to build into our product the features and enhancements that our customers require. Our planning process for Sage Pro is based on our product roadmap, consisting of several new versions of Sage Pro over the next several years. This roadmap will continue to evolve as we identify features, enhancements and technologies that address the needs of our market.
Q What is the path for Sage Pro after 2015, after extended support of VFP from Microsoft has been discontinued?
A. While Microsoft will be discontinuing its support of VFP, that does not mean that Sage Pro will stop working come 2015. This product code will indeed still continue to provide functionality. This issue was addressed in a statement by Alan Griver of Microsoft on April 3, 2007:
"It’s never an easy decision to announce that we’re not going to release another version of a product, and it’s one that we consider very carefully. We’re not announcing the end of FoxPro. Obviously, FoxPro applications will continue to work. By some of our internal estimates, there are more applications running in FoxPro 2.6 than there are in VFP, and FoxPro 2.6 hasn’t been supported in many years. Visual FoxPro 9 will be supported by Microsoft through 2015."
Q. What is Sage’s policy for supporting older versions of Sage Pro?
A. Sage Software is committed to providing our customers with the support they require to use our products. Sage’s current support policy includes supporting the current version in production and one version back.
Q. Will Microsoft’s discontinuation of support for VFP mean that I will need to move off of Sage Pro to some other product?
A. The functional life of Sage Pro will continue well beyond the availability of support of VFP from Microsoft. By choosing a Sage Software product and working with your Sage Business Partner, you are choosing a team that will support you for the life of your business. If there comes a time when it makes sense for you to migrate to another Sage Product, we will have migration tools available for you and your partner to make the transition an easy one. No matter which Sage product you are using, you can rest assured that we will continue to provide you with great business products, and Sage Business Partner will continue to service your needs for the life of your business.
Q. What will happen between now and the time that VFP is no longer a supported development language?
A. Sage Software is committed to you as our customer for the life of your business. Our goal is to provide the products you need to make it easier to manage your business. With that commitment in mind, we will be building a bridge between our products today and our products in the future.
Sage Software is committed to you, our customer, both now and in the future. That commitment should make your business application decision today that much easier. You can make your decisions based on the needs for your business today, knowing that you are partnering with a software company that has your needs in mind for the future, as well.