Why xSharp might be the tool FoxPro developers have been waiting for

In the latest FoxShow episode, I interview Robert van der Hulst, one of the main leads on the xSharp project. Unlike many product team leads, Robert has a secret advantage – he actually USES the product. The interview answers a number of questions VFP developers may have about this initiative.

While he’s been a direct team member of a variety of products in the xBase market (he hails from the Clipper and Visual Objects world), he has always looked at the product based on the idea of “how can I use this as a business?”, an idea many business line developers think about.

XSharp uses the open source Microsoft Rosyln compiler but translates the language constructs found in the xBase and VFP world so that developers can more easily port their application into the DotNet world. While DotNet was introduced almost 20 years ago, there are still a number of applications that use it for critical parts of their business. But what if you could take key pieces of your application (such as the COM component you built or years old business processing pieces) and use them in a full Visual Studio solution, generating a DotNet (and DotNet Core) compatible application?

As a manager, wouldn’t it be great to use the knowledge and existing code in your legacy application in your brand new shiny .Net application so you don’t have to push back your release while doing the knowledge transfer to the new developers who would rather code in Python or F#?

I won’t spoil the entire interview but here are some key areas and jump points you may want to hear:

2:00 — Who is Robert?
10:00 – the xSharp compiler and the concept of dialects
20:00 – Target market 
25:00 – Form design & event handling
30:00 – Status of xSharp as a released product
39:00 – Multi-threading, syntax issues and feature support
51:00 – Roadmap to the future
56:00 – Southwest Fox 2019

What about you? Are you still working in VFP but looking to move into the .Net world? XSharp may be your opportunity to leverage your skills. Listen and let me know if you think XSharp has a future in your life.

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