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Walking on Cloud 9.0 of Visual FoxPro

The Visual FoxPro team at Microsoft is enthused to announce Visual FoxPro 9.0. Find out what their goals were and how they achieved them.


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isual FoxPro 9.0 is fully compatible with pervious versions of Visual FoxPro. With its local cursor engine, tight coupling between language and data, and powerful features, Visual FoxPro 9.0 is a great tool for building database solutions of all sizes. Its data-centric, object-oriented language offers developers a robust set of tools for building database applications for the desktop, client-server environments, or the Web. Developers will have the necessary tools to manage data?from organizing tables of information, running queries, and creating an integrated relational database management system (DBMS) to programming a fully-developed data management application for end users.

Visual FoxPro 9.0 Goals
Our goals for Visual FoxPro 9.0 were to:

  • Maintain backward compatibility
  • Enhance database language and types
  • Add end user UI features
  • Increase developer productivity
  • Improve the Report Writer significantly
  • Extend .NET and SQL Server interoperability
  • Increase extensibility, including Xbase source code
Visual FoxPro 9.0 Product Highlights
There are so many new features that it's hard to limit the discussion. We'll start with the flexibility to build all types of database solutions, move on to reporting system enhancements, and finish up with data handling and interoperability. But these only touch on some the great new features you'll want to explore on your own.

Flexibility to Build All Types of Database Solutions
Using Visual FoxPro 9.0, you can create .NET-compatible solutions with hierarchical XML and XML Web services. You can also exchange data with SQL Server through enhanced SQL language capabilities and newly supported data types. You can build and deploy standalone and remote applications for Windows-based Tablet PCs.



You can create and access COM components and XML Web services that are compatible with .NET technology. Visual FoxPro 9.0 allows you to build end-to-end solutions, from data entry forms to complex report outputs. Reporting System Features
To Visual FoxPro's already strong reporting system, we've added an extensible new output architecture that provides precision control of report data output and formatting. There's multiple-detail band support for data with multiple one-to-many relationships.

You can customize the Print Preview window with improved display quality and multiple page support. Our new output reports support XML, HTML, image formats, and customizable multi-page print preview windows. The enhanced report writer is backward compatible with existing Visual FoxPro reports. And flexible report chaining allows for more complex print jobs. The new ReportListener class provides access to report generation and rendering events at runtime. Powerful design-time hooks with customizable builders make your development experience smoother.

Data-Handling and Interoperability
Three new data types, VarChar, VarBinary, and BLOB, allow for improved interoperability with SQL Server. There are extended SQL language enhancements as well, including more capabilities with SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE statements. A new function, CAST(), allows you to convert different data types. You can use the new binary index to improve performance using the deleted tag, and the XMLAdapter provides improved nested hierarchical XML and XSD schema support.

There are many improvements to client UI features. You can dock forms, anchor form elements to control movement on a form during resizing, and control the position of images on a button using text alignment. There's new word wrap support for checkbox captions and rotating text for label captions. Using shapes and lines, you can create polygons and Bezier curves. The property sheet provides support for new font and color display options, extended characters, and long expressions.

You can bind images to non file-based pictures. You can use List and Combo collections as databinding row sources. Member data extensibility adds the ability to specify custom property editors and favorites. With the extended system capabilities, there are no limits beyond available memory for arrays, procedure size, and nesting levels.

Single line background compiling allows you to see whether or not your syntax is valid as you type command lines. There are new and improved task panes such as the Data Explorer pane.

There are new string functions and a new inline function?ICASE()?that is similar to DO CASE statements. For international solutions we've added greater support for using FontCharSets in applications.



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