Vienna will support 32-bit: Even longer life for FoxPro applications

I’ll admit it – when Craig has talked about the move to 64-bit in the past, I’ve agreed with him on it. Microsoft has said numerous times now that they are moving into exclusive 64-bit territory. With all the calls from FoxPro developers wanting VFP to go 64-bit, the amount of work required to do this was always cited as being a reason for not doing any upgrades along this path. Yes, VFP would always run in 32-bit compatibility mode on a 64-bit processor but otherwise, it’s not going to take advantage of the next generation of processors. This suggested to me that realistically, 32-bit apps have a future life-span of 10, maybe 15, years.

But this article from ZDNet, Next version of Windows: Call it 7 has a VERY interesting line: “

Like Vista, Windows 7 will ship in consumer and business versions, and in 32-bit and 64-bit versions.”

While FoxPro is supported from Microsoft until 2015 but with basic support ending in or around 2010, this means that the next version of Windows will be out around that same timeframe, which would suggest that FoxPro would also be supported under that platform. (as in “runs under Vienna” as opposed to “works with Vienna” or “Certified for Vienna”)

It’s a curious statement – and maybe someone was misreading something – so if I/they am/are, please clarify.

Most applications these-days are compiled as 32-bit, but more importantly, most of these applications all typically rely on the standard Win32 API. Yes, VS2008 and Silverlight all promise to bring around the wonderful new world of WPF to everyone but real application development on these platforms (as opposed to very cool and fun tutorials) still seems a bit far out there.

Someone recently compared the current tech/dev world to the OS world in the early 90s, when no one knew what the next “big” thing was going to be.

I know of a few large organizations that only just recently moved to XP (from 2000). So yes, there will be the organizations that will continue to move forward and pushing the development edge but they will also be taking a side as to which platform they are supporting. What side the majority of the world comes down on may be a moot point if webware applications (like Coghead – boy that is fun to build with!) continue to grow.

To me, it seems like a good part, if not the majority, of the Desktop world will still be living with 32-bit apps, even though their processors will be 64-bit, for quite a few years to go. In older shops, you may have seen workers flipping between their Windows apps and their 3270 emulation windows. Even today, you see users flipping between Mac to Windows or Linux to WINE apps, etc – all from within their own computer.

The one common denominator that I see on almost all of those platforms? The Browser. Hmmm…maybe Parakey does have something…

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