VFP apps on Android and iPhone?

A few times lately I’ve been asked if we could have an Android or iPhone version of our custom Visual FoxPro application. Of course the quick answer is “No,” because there is not and never will be a mobile version of Visual FoxPro (though it probably runs on Windows CE, but ugh).

I’ve spent some time recently studying native Android development, which of course is all done with Java and uses the well-regarded open source IDE called Eclipse. I found it to be a much easier experience than I had working the the iPhone, as it’s Objective-C language and IDE, xCode, were just so different than what I was used to.

Once you commit to developing to a native platform however, you’re crossing the Rubicon. Apps developed for one platform cannot be recompiled for another. Furthermore Java (Android) is different than Silverlight (Windows Phone 7) which is different than Objective-C (iPhone/iPad) which is different still from HP’s WebOS, not to mention WPF for the new Windows apps, or FoxPro’s screens, etc. etc.

Some C# developers have gotten excited about the MonoDevelop/MonoDroid/MonoTouch projects, which allow you to write C# for different apps, but is that ideal?

And of course here comes HTML5 which looks like a powerhouse that could change web programming so much for the good.

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to write user interface code once that could compile into each platform’s native code?

With some caveats, that appears to be what a couple of projects do for you: PhoneGap and Titanium.

I’m not going to rehash all their features here, you can check out the demos on their sites, but for us FoxPro developers the general idea to get FoxPro data onto iPhones, Androids, etc, would be to write the Presentation Tier in HTML5 and have that make calls to via web services calls to our Controllers (West Wind Web Connection, e.g.) which natively talk to our FoxPro database.

I committed to showing a bit of this at a Virtual Brown Bag webinar in a few weeks, so I guess I’ll be spending my spring break looking at some of this. Updates to follow…



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18 responses to “VFP apps on Android and iPhone?”

  1. Lilliana Breidenthal Avatar

    Found your site on Bing…Great post! I look forward to reading more from your site.

  2. Derek Avatar

    There is a way to port your visual foxpro desktop app to Android. Check out this in the Android Market Take a look at “Cellica Database for Android” https://market.android.com/details?id=com.DB.android.WWDBViewerPlus.WDBViewerPlus

  3. Eric Avatar

    Interesting product, Derek, I’ll check it out.

    Follow up: I’ll be speaking at the Southwest Fox (www.swfox.net) in Phoenix this October, 2011, about this very topic.

  4. oJe Avatar

    I’m also interested on this matter…
    count me in.

    cheers! and good luck!

  5. Derek Avatar

    Did you check out this software? I haven’t bought it yet but it looks promising.

  6. Jimmy Ho Avatar
    Jimmy Ho

    The screen resolution and the processor speed of a smartphone is very much comparable with a Pentium PC running Windows 98. I wonder if anyone has developed anything like an xBASE engine on Android. If so, porting an xBASE form to Android should not be difficult, as the screen resolution is very much the same.

  7. Eric Avatar

    If you wanted to go that route, Android has ‘sqlite’ built in, so the database part would be easy (relatively). The trick would be building an interpreter for the language.

  8. raju Avatar

    wants to run my foxpro 2.6 app on android

  9. lexicon Avatar

    Successfully running Foxpro 2.6 in Android, by using DOS emulator, ADosBox.
    A bit slow, but all module is working perfectly.

    For keyboard layout that need support Function Keys (F1-F12) you can use Hacker’s Keyboard for Android

  10. Namrata Avatar

    Want to run my vfp 6 app on adroid which has ole excel calls also. Is it possible?

  11. Alex Avatar

    @Eric: I’ve found a DBF file reader for MAC OS, you might take a look at: https://github.com/davbeck/DBF-Reader but still looking for a iOS version

  12. George Avatar

    @Derek: Thank you for pointing out towards Cellica Database for android. This is such a nice product. I can now have my Visual foxpro database with me on my smartphone. We are testings its multi user version and my manager is quite impressed with it.

  13. DIDIK WAHYUDI Avatar

    iam needed visual foxpro portable do it in android

  14. DIDIK WAHYUDI Avatar

    Iam need visual foxpro portable for acces in android system

  15. Eric Avatar


    Check out the Cecilia product mentioned above if you want to read/write FoxPro tables from an Android app.


    Your VFP code won’t run on Android, but you could get a remote desktop tool to run your apps or write a new U/I in either a web app or native.

  16. fay cortese Avatar
    fay cortese

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  17. prakash Avatar

    Very useful information, i came to know new things from this article. Thanks for sharing.

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