Top Ten Fox News Highlights/Lolights of the 2003

1. A new version of VFP on the way. Europa was announced and previewed to many, ending the annual “is this the last version of VFP” and yet starting a new one. (Will Europa be the last version of VFP? – sheesh, doesn’t anyone have anything better to do with their time?)
2. Blogs come in big-time. Just as Ted Roche showed me what a blog was at DevCon 2003, there seemed to be a huge rush to the technology with just about everyone and their dog getting a blog. Except one – where is the blog from the Fox developers?
3. DevCon announced for 2004. Surely I jest – but many people seemed to read in that since Advisor had not announced where DevCon would be in 2004, that it may not happen at all and that meant that MS was surely planning on killing off FoxPro, right? Wrong! DevCon 2004 in Las Vegas (but in a resort??? – go figure that one out) means that there is still some money to be made on the conference circuit. Even if the numbers don’t show it. All conferences were down this past year 
4. .Net non-event. Still waiting for the huge killer app for DotNet. Oh sure, it’s the latest and greatest but you know – most of the apps I’ve seen built with .Net are slower and have no snap to them – they may look good but what about the real benefits? And don’t tell me it’s because COM is too slow or XML is the only solution. I can build COM and XML solutions without .Net.
5. MVP reduxe. Congrats to all those people who became/continued to be MS MVPs but shame on MS for not recognizing the continuing work in the Fox community done by Ted Roche and Whil Hentzen. So they speak up against MS from time to time, get a grip! Discussion is GOOD.
6. Where’s Whil and where’s the community? A: Back and forth Over in Linux. While the legal debate of where and what OSes can be used for VFP applications, Whil has quietly expanded his publishing business to be a major proponent of Linux and open source. Of course, amidst all this, there were rants and raves about supporting DotNet, whether VFP should be a viable database, who’s (not) going to WhilFest, and yada yada yada.
Hey guys! What’s important is that it works, not how it works! This type of backfighting that was prevalent on the Wiki, Forums and UT was just plain stupid. It’s almost like there’s a disease (I’ll call it Agent Smith <bg>) – that seeks to have the Fox community self-destruct. Stranger things have happened but it reminded me of the silly threads with Jeff ?? back in 1992.
7. MS discontinues support for Java-based products and older OS. Microsoft’s continuing saga of reducing support for older products always seems to draw the wrath of pundits but let’s face it now, Win 98 has been out since 1998. Doesn’t it make sense to be gearing up to drop support for it? Self-serve support will always be available – it’s simply the paid support. (consultants take note – here is an opportunity!) but look at IBM – they dropped support for their NetCommerce Server almost immediately after WebSphere came out but they don’t get the backlash like MS’s decision.
Now the more recent decisions by MS to drop support for Office 2000 seem a bit crazy – why not simply drop support for the Java-based implementations within them? Or issue a patch for the whole thing.
8. MindManager – cool product of the year. Not directly Fox related but this one tool has affected the way I work more so than any other tool I saw this year. I just can’t wait to get a PocketPC to use that version of it while on the road. Some people talked up “OneNote” the new note taker by MS but frankly, I can’t see it. The only thing MindManager needs now is the ability to do drawing in it (it already supports links to drawings) and then it takes over virtually everything in my desktop.
9. VFP 8 – what a great tool. If you haven’t updated yet, shame on you! VFP 8 just makes development so much easier. Yes, it’s being overshadowed by Europa right now but it is a great way to develop applications.
10. Spam saturated the world even faster than the Internet did. This was the year where Spam became known not just as a Monty Python song or a “food”, but rather as one of the most loathed Internet creations. My own personal inbox went from getting maybe 100 spam messages a week to over 100 in a day. Maybe the Spam filter guys may be coming out with their own Spammers just like virus protection tools come out with their own viruses.
Other Items of some significance

Crystal Bought By Business Objects. Can only mean more confusion in the market place. I find that most Crystal users don’t even know who Business Objects is. Wonder what this will really mean for Crystal Enterprise, a product that has so far struggled to really find a niche? More importantly – the confusion spells very good things for those VFP-based report writers!
Matrix Completed. And no one still could figure it out. Oh well, once a geek movie always a geek movie…and it had so much potential….(sigh)
New Languages and Tools: XUL, XASML, Python all received a fair bit of press.