Monday, June 18, 2007

Just a Cool Day

Ever get stuck on a word? Here it is, only 9:30am, and I must have used the word 'cool' 4 times already. Once in front of my boss ("Ok, that's cool. Thanks"), another in front of our data operations director ("Cool, I like it."), yet another with a colleague (discussing his recent trip to Scotland), and finally again on the phone with my doctor (I have a sore throat). What's funny is just before I drove in I was thinking about Craig Bailey's post from last year "VFP: How to make Visual FoxPro cool".

But "cool" needs to take a back seat at the moment.

Now, for VFP, it's about being a survivor.

In September, I will be presenting at Fox Forward. My discussion will be about using VFP for Data Warehousing -- especially for the prototype/iterate phase of planning and as an ETL tool. There is nothing really 'cool' about using FoxPro for ETL (although, I'll try my best on FoxETL.com, a site I'm in the process of putting together for this very topic). After all, we're talking about lots of code, objects and design patterns, schedules, staging, shuffling data, etc. Nothing groundbreaking, nothing cool: But incredibly valuable.

When you think about how much it costs to build a full Business Intelligence solution (could be in the $-millions-$), you can really begin to lose sleep. Couple that with the fact that many small and medium organizations, who realize that their data is a valuable asset, simply do not have access to resources (DBAs, SQL Programmers, Business Objects gurus, etc.) to implement such a solution. FoxPro presents an interesting and powerful alternative to the big players, all for a fraction of the cost. Everything you can do in SSIS for example, you can do in FoxPro (What Tod? Are you serious? Yup. I am). And in my humble opinion, you can do it better.

I suppose -- come to think of it -- that this makes VFP pretty darn cool. No? And using VFP for these types of tasks not only fills a large gap in the market, but also gives us die-hard FoxPro programmers lots to do in the foreseeable future.

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