Automated Visual FoxPro Migration Service. Is it possible?

Automated Visual FoxPro Migration Service. Is it possible?

By Imran Salahuddin | April 2nd, 2021 |

Can You Automate VFP Migration?

 Need for VFP Migration

Way back in the year 2007, Microsoft released VFP version 9.0 and stated that this is going to be the last version of VFP. Because of some unpublished reason, still speculated, the software giant stopped further development in VFP. They said that VFP will not be capable of fulfilling and scaling to the future requirements. With this announcement, it urged the need of converting the existing applications in VFP to a more advanced platform that provides vendor support. To compete with the future requirements the existing VFP applications must be rewritten completely.

So, VFP migration turns out to be a necessity for the mission-critical applications. Now the question that arises next is: how and where to migrate and is it possible to automate the process? Microsoft’s .NET platform is the best-suited solution for VFP migration as it is also from the same vendor. Following we discuss the VFP migration and the possibility of automating the process. While being updated and upgraded with respect is a competitive advantage, still using VFP is anything but, as most businesses have gone online and on to smartphones to have a wider market coverage, VFP does not support either. So, it will be a matter of time before migration becomes the only option to move forward.

Three New Smart Automation Tools for VFP Conversion

Migrate VFP to .NET While Leveraging Automated Tools

Manually converting VFP’s every form/reports and objects to the .NET environment is time-consuming as well as tedious. The application migration timeline will adjust according to the size of the existing VFP application. To estimate the migration effort, initially calculate the number of Forms/Reports in the legacy application. If the VFP application’s forms are typically large in number, then it may take months to accomplish the migration process completely.

Finding an automated tool for migration is an alternative to achieve the desired output easily fitting within time constraints. Deploying an automated tool could save much time, and the migrated .NET product can be launched into the production quickly.  But is it possible to convert your aging VFP application to the .NET platform in just one button click?

Unfortunately, a complete automation process from VFP to .NET does not exist. Although with the help of an automation tool, it is possible to convert some of the germane aspects of VFP to .NET, a complete one button migration is not achievable. With the help of developers, the converted output needs to be manually verified, cutting off any logical errors and to ensure the application functionality is completely achieved.

Leveraging automation tools is helpful in reducing the conversion time drastically. Reviews must be done properly to ensure that the converted output aligns to the requirements and predefined goals. Automating should be used to support the project by accelerating the coding process.  After running an automation utility, the conversion will not be 100% complete, but it could be halfway done saving significant time versus a start from scratch approach.

A Clear VFP Migration Project Schedule

Each migration project differs in size, objective, and requirements. Each person on the team must have a clear view of the intended output. The requirement may be just to change the environment from VFP to .NET which may introduce changes in the appearance, but the workflow will remain the same. Sometimes a total reconstruction of VFP code needs to be done. So, the prime job of the analyst is to identify the exact requirement and develop a plan of action to accomplish the migration. Debugging and quality assurance will be a parallel activity with the development, as the releases complete functionalities, depending upon the expectations and demands.

The management team must control the project meticulously by setting the timeline and estimating the effort required. A well-planned schedule in accordance with the metrics will act as a roadmap to achieve the targets. A logical plan must be set to begin the migration process. As there are a lot of advanced functionalities available in .NET, the selection of add-on benefit is an important step and to be decided prior to the start.

Three New Smart Automation Tools for VFP Conversion

VFP applications do not scale well to security requirements of future businesses as modern applications and databases need a higher level of security. Each line of code written in the application must be secured and should comply with the standards. Other than scaling up the application, new features may need to be added, this means that the application needs to be stabilized before further development, so the development, quality assurance and debugging activities need to be complementary to each other.

Use the .NET Tools

The .NET platform comes with a plethora of tools available for building a secure application. The data storage need to be migrated into highly secured SQL servers so that the new application is compliant with modern techniques and standards. It requires incorporating changes to the User Interface to make it compatible with the latest controls. Most modern scalable-resizable UI’s can be built while converting. This UI conversion can be completed together with the database migration. While an application is being converted from VFP to.NET, a lot of possibilities exist for further enhancement and development such as is Multi-threading and more.

Conclusion

A successful migration cannot be considered as an easy job.  There is no single button click process. Success will only be achieved by following the right method and using the right tools.  Incorporating automated tools and following best coding standards and practices will ensure your migrated application support your business today and for years to come.

Get a Free Assessment of your Visual FoxPro Application 

Imran Salahuddin on Linkedin
Imran Salahuddin
Director, Migration Services at Macrosoft Inc
Imran serves as Macrosoft’s Migration Director. With two decades of industry experience, Imran continues to demonstrate his ability to ensure seamless migrations. Imran works with Project Managers, sales/strategy teams, and clients to ensure the successful migration of legacy applications. Moreover, Imran exhibits effective communication skills and an eye for quality service.

As a Microsoft Certified and PMI Project Management Professional, Imran can migrate a myriad of difficult technologies. Most recently, he migrated a VFP legacy application which communicated to networking equipment. Testing the application without detailed knowledge of the domain was the real challenge.

Imran also dedicates his time to IoT (Internet of Things), as well as Online Sales, and looks to improve upon all of Macrosoft’s existing verticals.
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