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FoxPro clobbered dBase

Joel wrote:

<quote>
In the late 80s FoxPro clobbered dBase in the market mainly on the strength of the fact that it compiled standalone executables. FoxPro had a linker. xBase developers pleaded with Ashton-Tate, makers of dBase, to develop or acquire a linker, but Ed Esber, reviled CEO of Ashton-Tate, refused to give them one. Learn from your own history. (Thanks to Rick Chapman for reminding me of history repeating itself.)

</quote>

Well, no question the distribution Kit for FoxPro was ONE big reason why I choose FoxPro over other products. Remember, also clipper also produced .exe’s also. In fact, clipper was a compiler that produced a real executable, where as FoxPro was interpreted p-code with a runtime. The minimum size of a FoxPro application was 750k + whatever your application used. So, in fact, FoxPro had runtime, and was p-code…not compiled.  To produce an .exe, FoxPro did have a linker, but that is not really the real story here. And, point in fact, I never did figure out what the FoxPro linker did as you had to have a runtime anyway…and that runtime was a all, or nothing affair in terms of runtime size.

However, the issue was not the fact of a linker..but the fact of royalty free distribution options for developers. That is a considerably different option, or issue.

Developers wanted to write software, and NOT have the end user purchase dBase (or whatever). So, developers really were NOT asking for linker…but a royalty free otpion..and that could be runtime, or some linker.

Without question, many developers really like Delphi due to a linker and an ability to produce nice small .exe files. However, this ability has not really saved the day for Borland and Delpi developers…..has it?

When ms-access came on the scene, it also had to compete in the database market for developers who wanted a royalty free distribution option also. Without that option, NO developers would adopt the product.

So, to this day…we still can distribute royalty free ms-access applications , but we sure never did get a linker. In fact, we got a fairly large runtime. So, both FoxPro and ms-access actually use runtimes.

As a side note, the ms-access developers tools for office are now part of visual studio (office extensions).

So, I have beg to differ on this issue. A linker is nice and foxpro used one…but the issue was a royally free runtime that FoxPro had and the means to package an application that won the day.

This approach does not require a linker.

Albert D. Kallal
Edmonton, Alberta Canada
kallal@msn.com
http://www.attcanada.net/~kallal.msn

Albert D. Kallal
Saturday, February 21, 2004

I still use VisualFoxpro every day and I really like it. I only wish I could afford to upgrade to the latest version (I'm stuck on 6).

I am pretty sure that FP 2.6 was the first FoxPro that *didn't* have the capacity to generate native .exe files that didn't need the runtime.

It was also the first *not* to offer DOS and Unix support. It was also the last to offer decent Mac support. (VFP 3.0 had a Mac version but it was pretty badly stuffed)

Les C
Sunday, February 22, 2004

Well all the linker really did was glue the runtime into a stub .EXE file along with the pcode created as an APP file.

Its still much the same today, though with added DLLs.

As for the different versions, Version 6 with all the patches is fair enough to use, there are a few improvements, bugfixes and such that are nice to have in 7.  I haven't decided on 8 as yet.

Simon Lucy
Monday, February 23, 2004

There was never a Windows version of FoxPro that included a linker. There was always a separate runtime needed. FoxPro DOS included a linker, but it created a HUGE executable.

Craig Berntson
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

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