Using Visual FoxPro to convert a Clipper application

Visual FoxPro, a Microsoft product, can often be used to convert Clipper applications to Windows since the two products have quite a lot in common.

Clipper and Visual FoxPro emerged out of dBase in the late 1980’s. They share a common language base and have similar data file structures. This means that existing data files can often be used with little or no changes needed. Plus, at least some of the Clipper code can generally be used directly or with little modification in the FoxPro application. This greatly reduces the cost of conversion and speeds development time.

The database file structure (DBF files) in Clipper and Foxpro are virtually identical. Thus, Clipper data files can be used as is. No conversion is needed. Clipper often used FoxPro index files. If so, then the indexes can be used directly. If not, the the Clipper index files can easily be converted to the faster, more stable FoxPro index format.

FoxPro also supports non-native data formats like SQL Server and Oracle. However, this require changing how data is accessed inside the program.

While it is true that Microsoft will not be releasing future versions of Visual Foxpro, it is a robust and stable platform with a community of developers supporting it. Clipper hasn’t been updated in twenty years, yet there are still a multitude of Clipper applications still running.  Developers will be supporting Visual Foxpro years from now.

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