What is Visual Foxpro? cover image

What is Visual Foxpro?

Bob Fox • July 13, 2022


Visual Foxpro aka VFP, sometimes shortened to just Foxpro, is an object-oriented development environment or integrated development environment (IDE) with a built-in relational database engine. It’s referred to as an environment instead of just a language because VFP includes tools for creating and editing forms, classes, reports, labels, databases and tables, as well as prg files which are visual FoxPro plain text code files.

The “Visual” part of Visual Foxpro was added in 1995 when Microsoft released Visual Foxpro 3.0. Before that, it was known as just Foxpro. Microsoft purchased Fox Software in 1992. After acquiring Fox Software, Microsoft released Foxpro 2.5 for Dos, Windows, Macintosh, and Unix. There were minor releases of Foxpro 2.5a, 2.5b, and 2.6. Foxpro was the successor to Foxbase, which was created at Fox Software in 1984. Foxbase was a faster Dbase.

Visual Foxpro 5.0 was released in 1996. Visual Foxpro 6.0 was released in 1998. Visual Foxpro 7.0 was released in 2001. Visual Foxpro 8.0 was released in 2003. Visual Foxpro 9, the last official version, was released in 2004. The last service pack for Visual Foxpro 9 was released in 2007.

Visual Foxpro is a 32bit Windows application that continues to run on current versions of Windows. It sometimes requires special care and feeding because it is older and is a 32bit Windows application.

Visual Foxpro makes it easy to create databases and tables and enter data into them. Like Microsoft Access, it also makes it very to connect menus, forms, and reports to that data. Visual Foxpro is excellent at allowing a developer to get at the actual code to make customizations and optimizations.

Visual Foxpro has its own built-in relational database engine. It’s great because it doesn’t require a server. You simply create files in a folder in the filesystem. It’s also terrible because it doesn’t require a server. Getting the file permissions balanced enough to allow a Visual Foxpro system to function while maintaining a reasonable degree of security can be tricky.

Countless systems have been developed in Foxpro and Visual Foxpro over the years, and many are still in use today.