In my last post, I introduced TIOBE Programming Community (TPC) Index, which provably and visually ranks the hottest programming languages available in the market. In fact, the TPC index is not newly introduced to the market. It "exists today for 5 years."
The TPC Index for June 2006 shows an incredible increase for Visual FoxPro (VFP), which was often formerly referred to as a member of traditional "xBase" languages. VFP has doubled its rank from #24 one year ago to #12 this month, even higher than PL/SQL, and become the most fast-growing language! It looks like a dark horse not a little white fox, doesn't it? :)
Moreover, another factor must be helpful in increasing FoxPro's rank: to get Googled. It seems that some VFP fans have done a lot for getting Googled and also encouraged other fans to do so. They even published a site "explaining how to push Visual FoxPro in the TPC ranking." By the way, I believe that the means the enthusiasts practiced can be also used to promote other products, which might be also determined and blocked by Google if the big brother thinks such a way would be harmful to its ranking system.
Anyway, the index shows that FoxPro is still alive and living fine! It is of course alive because I am currently having Visual FoxPro 9.0 SP1 installed on my tablet notebook, as well as Visual Studio .NET 2003 (because my VS2K5 DVDs were mistakenly delivered to China :-(( ). I just never thought that FoxPro could be still so popular nowadays.
Personally, I started using FoxPro in 1993, with its early version FoxPro 2.5 for DOS, as one of the few authorised users in China, for developing a commodity futures trading system. Actually, I personally never saw another authorised copy of it. All the pirated copies I ever saw in China had the SAME registered name and number. :-)) Anyway, I knew its genuine copies were available at that time at a few Microsoft authorised dealers in Zhongguancun, Beijing, but there definitely were few "silly" guys like me who would have bought them. :-)) This is why I speculated that there were only few registered users of FoxPro in China. In fact, after using this genuine software, I made my company become a Microsoft Certified Partner, and I therefore started my relationship with Microsoft. :-)) Now, I sometimes run VFP9 to collect or convert data. I reckon this would be easier than using Access or Excel, though I use these two often.
It is true that Visual FoxPro has been made more powerful than before, it even can be seamlessly integrated into those state of the art systems based on Windows Vista, though "rumours suggesting that Microsoft intends to end support for FoxPro have been common since Microsoft's acquisition of the product." For 14 years, Microsoft has perfectly abided by the promise it made to FoxPro users.
However, although I have never actually seen many developers around me using Visual FoxPro, but I can see from the TPC Index that more and more people are using it. So I am very happy to welcome FoxPro's back with us.