Loyalty to Visual FoxPro: the SednaX Generation

It is my great and profound honor to welcome the FoxPro developer community to Gotdotnet's new CodeGallery in the form of the FoxPro SednaX project: the fastest growing and newest project on Gotdotnet. May you stay long, do great things, and spread the good word about CodeGallery. Note: gotdotnet will be down today for a significant upgrade.

My Personal History with the FoxPro "Community"
A true community ignores firewalls.

In the late '90's, I worked briefly for a top rate manager who moved to Redmond as part of the Fox acquisition. I was a young and eager programmer/writer, passionate about the documenting the hell out of my assigned technologies for VS7. One day, my manager's manager (the former Fox employee) appeared in my doorway and said, "Korby, we have a problem." I was really in awe of this manager, who remains the standard against which I judge all other Microsoft managers. "Okay, what can I do to help you fix it?"

"You need to stop indexing your help topics so well," she said simply.

Huh? My shoulders tightened. My brow furled just so. It's never easy to stomach the suggestion that you're doing your job too well, even when it's your manager's manager telling you so. The weight of a novel sensation that I now know very well, user empathy, pressed down on my shoulders. I turned to the manager and asked slowly, "So you want me to make my help topics less discoverable to five million needy developers?" Subtext, to quote Doc Holiday: 'I'm your little huckleberry.'


"But I'm just trying to match the discoverability of the FoxPro topics," I tried to explain, "Some over-eager FoxPro writer has littered the k- index with gobs of keywords, thereby diminishing the discoverability of my..." The manager stopped me cold.

"I'll deal with the FoxPro issue. You just deal with yours." Five or six years hence, the FoxPro docs are more well-documented and better indexed than practically any other part of the MSDN Combined Collection, in my humble opinion. The quality of its docset is, I believe, a result of several factors, not the least of which are the resiliency and loyalty of the FoxPro community.

The FoxPro developer community, albeit small, is consistently more vociferous, demanding, passionate, cohesive, and loyal than any other community of practice I have observed. The FoxPro community presents itself as a single, well-defined customer for which, compared to many other developer tools communities (e.g., VB and C#), it is relatively easy to identify and prioritize feature needs.

For years, the FoxPro community has been a pioneer in the community arena. AFAIK, the FoxPro Wiki was the first and is the best Microsoft developer tool-focused WikiWiki. It's great to welcome FoxPro users to gotdotnet CodeGallery and I relish the opportunity to incorporate your feature requests and other feedback into the next generation community and collaborative development services that my team is building.

Comments (1)

  1. Ken posted a while back about his “monsters of rock” group of folks at Live. Well, I feel the same about…

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