The Ages of Fox (by John Koziol)

Some time back, I mentioned the word "paleovulpic" as pertaining to pre-Visual FoxPro. Well, I was thinking about it today and I realized that the Fox programming eras needed to be more succinctly defined. So here goes:

Protovulpic Era

Desktop database program is ruled by a melange of software.  Fox developers are using dBase, Quicksilver, and Clipper because there is no Fox...yet. This era is dominated by strange creatures such as Jeb Long and media such as the Databased Advisor.

Archaeovolpic Era

The FoxBase era. From 1.0 to multi-user FoxBase Plus, 1985 through 1989. Fox attracts a true following and grows in the Xbase world. Something called a "George Goley" arrives on the scene. Popularity grows, pressuring other 4GLs such as dbXL and Quicksilver.  Clipper and dBase IV hold firm as strong rivals; however, the awesome spped and power of Fox starts to siphon off other database developers.

First Interlingium Era

FoxPro 1.0 is introduced in 1989 and no one knows what the hell to do with it.  Since FoxPro 1.0 was never widely adopted, but, adaptation of Fox-based solutions grew, this period is named such: Translation = First Between Languages Era.  This lasts until 1991.

Paleovulpic Era

This era starts with the introduction of FoxPro 2.0 in 1991 and lasts through FoxPro 2.6 for DOS in 1993. Mass immigration to the new Fox standard. Finally, Fox establishes it's own identity showcasing that blazing data speed it's famous for. Lisa Slater, Jim Booth, and others are seen widely.

Second Interlingium Era

FoxPro 2.5 and 2.6 introduced Windows versions. A short year or so later, Visual FoxPro 3.0 was released. A great schism appeared - those that refused to abandon the 2.x platform and those that wanted to adopt 3.0 but couldn't undertand it. There were a few who figured it all out and embraced Visual FoxPro, but their numbers were so few that I believe that the "interlingium" label applies.

Eschatonic Era

Visual FoxPro 5.0  to present. This era is named such as with every version, people are waiting for the announcement that there will be no future versions.






Comments (8)

  1. Ken Buch says:

    A reference to Tom Rettig in the early periods would be not only nice but defining as well. One of the true XBASE gurus and certainly one of the most generous and kind personalities ever.

  2. Steven Black says:

    I propose that the eras be sub-classified into Eons. The IDXic Eon covers the early eras when developers had to explicitly SET INDEX TO particular IDX files, which covers all the eras up to (and including?) the Paleovulpic Era. The CDXic Eon is the time span when index files were opened implicitly by the USE command, ranging (I believe) from the Second Interlingium Era to the present day. (Can I wiki all this once it gets hashed out?)

    followed by the CDXcene period, where the compound CDX was opened automatically as part of the USE statement.

  3. Bob Archer says:

    Is VFP 9.0 the last version? Well, every version up until now at the Devcon where the version was released, there was an early demo of the "next" version.

    But, I recall no early demos of VFP 10 when 9 was released… only talk of addins or tools to make interop with .Net easier.

    I like your "era" division, but have no idea what the words mean? Are they made up?


  4. Jeff Pace says:

    Yes, Jeb was (and still is) a strange creature. In the early days aat Ashton Tate, his core dev team refered to him as "Cromagnum Man".

  5. vsdata says:

    Bob, Steven, et al….

    First off, Bob, this post was not intended to address the future of the product itself. I named the last Era, the "Eschatonic" as an inside joke to the Fox faithful – Eschatology refers to phenomena related to the End of Times. Depending on your philosophy, that could be really soon or 10 to the 100th years in the future. Either way, it’s philosophical or theological and purely based on faith. So I thought it was the perfect phrase (lol).

    Steven – the Eras needed to be broad. Not sure if indexing applies to Era definition.

    To everyone: Yes, I made up all the words, (except for Eschatonic); however, they were composed using traditional formats and roots. For example, in Latin, "fox" is "vulpes". So, Archaeovulpic means "really old fox". "Protovulpic" means "before fox". Paleovulpic means "old fox". "Interlinguim" literally means "between languages".

  6. Craig Boyd says:

    >>that could be really soon or 10 to the 100th years in the future…

    So, you’re announcing that the last version of VFP will definately be released before 2105? How depressing.

    I liked your Era analogies and made up words (some thought went into that obviously). I also like the idea of a breakdown of Eons, but I would hook it to the beginning – advent of OOP/Visual – the drop of multi-platform support – the integration with and removal from VS – and finally the re-emergence of multi-platform (when MS buys Red hat and freaks everyone out). <bg>

  7. Craig Roberts says:

    It’s interesting that no mention is made of Dave Fulton. I think he played a minor part…

    Or of Fred. As Dave Fulton told the story, early on, maybe FoxPro 1.0 era, FoxPro gave free phone support. And there was a guy who utilized fully one half of the time of a support person, for whom he would ask for by name. So when Dave F picked up the support phone one day, gave an answer, and then was asked for his name. Dave, being quick, thought of janitor Fred who had recently resigned, responded "Fred." Dave F then posted a sign in the support area, "If somebody asks for ‘Fred,’ tell them he’s not here right now and you’ll take the call."

    In that way "Fred" became the "Foo" of FoxPro.

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