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Database & Software Development

FoxPro & Visual Foxpro (VFP) - logo FoxPro & Visual Foxpro (VFP)

Foxpro is a database development language originally developed by Fox Software in the late eighties; we have been working with it since just before Microsoft purchased it in 1992 at which time it was at version 2.5.  Since then Microsoft have continued to develop it further adding, among other new features, Object Orientation and it is now called 'Visual FoxPro' (VFP) and is up to version 9.1. Despite this continued development the basic design of the systems kernel remains virtually unchanged, along with it's legendary stability.  We tend to think of VFP as the COBAL of the PC development world, while it may never be fashionable it is simply a very competent and stable development language designed for producing Data driven software.

Here are a couple of good articles summarising why we like developing in VFP: Clearform's VFP Summary, Tech Republic's VFP comments.

Also take a look at this quite large and reasonably influential application written in VFP JFast, it is responsible for all US military logistics worldwide.

C# - C Sharp

Microsoft's new Web development language for writing server side software, it is particularly targeted towards Web Services.


C can be incredibly fast, but does require that the necessary time be spent optimising the code.  However, it is very much a write once language, difficult and therefore expensive to modify when changes become necessary.  For this reason C is a great tool for writing discrete or specialised components which can be reused many times by other programs but, because of the maintenance overhead, it is not by itself the best language for writing an enterprise wide suite of Business software.


Access is Microsoft's end-user database, it is relatively easily learnt by non-programmers.  Although Access does have multiuser capabilities, it was initially designed as a single user database and the multiuser aspect was added as an afterthought by Microsoft.  It can be used to create bespoke database systems but it is not really suitable for developing line-of-business strength applications.

SQL Server

If your business really does necessitate large quantities of data or if you have other reasons for requiring a Client/Server Database then SQL Server is the product but do remember that SQL Server is not a simple fit and forget, it will require continued monitoring and maintenance from a Database Administrator. Also, it must be remembered that Microsoft have a vested interest in telling you that you need SQL Server because of the revenue they will then generate from the licence fees.