I’m as surprised as anyone to be reading that headline. Yes, there’s still a conference devoted to Visual FoxPro in 2019, over a decade after Microsoft pronounced the product dead and almost 4 years since the very last shred of support from Microsoft has dissipated.
Yet there we were, over 80 of us all gathered in Gilbert once again for our Fox Family Reunion. Kevin Ragsdale, longtime jester of our court, kicked off the event with an irreverent introspection of the family. With a wink and a nod and surprising candor about his own path he walked us through our family’s history. Find the keynote here on Youtube, and check out these photos from the conference taken by Jody Meyer.
What keeps bringing us back to Gilbert, year after year? Well there are some really fine presenters here. The organizers, Rick Schummer, Tamar Granor, and Doug Hennig, are also top notch presenters. Cathy Pountney returned to lay some reporting knowledge on us as well as share the news that Steven Black has released his INTL Toolkit into the wild! Christoph Wollenhaupt and Rick Strahl are geniuses, Tuvia Vinitsky’s style continues to compel, and there’s a reason we call Rick Borup “The Professor.” We even welcomed a new speaker this year, Tracy Pearson, who did a great job. (I missed the effervescent Jody Meyer’s pre-con on SQL but I heard great things).
And then there was me. A recurring theme of my reviews is that I’m humorous, which I hope means my jokes are landing and not “It’s humorous that you thought you could be a presenter.” I was really excited about both of my sessions. The first was on “Visual FoxPro Advanced“, an amazing project by one man to fix and enhance VFP9.
The other was about X Sharp (X#), the open source version of xBase that uses the Roslyn compiler to convert various dialects of the xBase family tree, with a recent focus on the FoxPro dialect, into .NET Common Language Infrastructure. I’m really excited about this project and plan to use it for all new development of line of business applications. Watch this space in the future as I am now planning a series of posts about converting existing FoxPro applications to X#.
Unusual in the conference world, all speakers at Southwest Fox must also write a whitepaper so attendees have a written artifact afterwards that they can refer to. This is a lot of work for the speakers (who are very, very well taken care of by the organizers), but is a huge benefit to the attendees who walk away with hundreds of pages of reference material. Eventually both of my whitepapers will be available here on this blog, but not until a suitable amount of time has elapsed to make the non-attendees very, very jealous.
So there certainly are new developments in our Visual FoxPro universe. And with a ton of existing, business-critical applications running all over the world, there is still a demand for a conference with good speakers presenting quality content (and whitepapers!) and attendees that are treated like family. See you in Gilbert on November 12 for Southwest Fox 2020!