Automated Visual FoxPro Migration Service. Is it possible?

Automated Visual FoxPro Migration Service. Is it possible?

By Imran Salahuddin | February 25th, 2016 |

Can we Automate VFP Migration?

IT industry is one of the most dynamic industries with frequent launches of new software releases. These software product releases can make a huge impact on how business strategize for future. So, it is always recommended for IT professionals to keep abreast with the latest technological advancements.

 Need for VFP Migration

Way back in the year 2007, Microsoft released VFP version 9.0 and quoted that this is going to be the last version of VFP. Because of some unpublished reasons still speculated, the software giant stopped further development in VFP.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 have to be rewritten completely. So VFP migration turns out to be a necessity in order to migrate 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. Let’s discuss the VFP migration and the possibility of automating the process.

 Migrate VFP to .NET and leveraging automated tool

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 find out the number of Forms/Reports in the existing application. If the VFP application’s forms are typically large in number then it may take months to accomplish the migration process completely. How about using an automated tool for migration? Finding an automated tool for migration would be an alternative to achieve the desired output easily fitting to time constraints. Deploying an automated tool could save much time, and the migrated .NET product can be launched into the production pretty 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 migration is not achievable. With the help of developers, the converted output needs to be manually verified for cutting off any logical errors and to ensure the application functionality is totally met.

Leveraging different automation tools is helpful in reducing the conversion time drastically. Reviews must be done properly to ensure that the converted output sticks to the requirements and predefined goals. You may be able to find a few services that claim full automated migration, but on a closer look will turn out to be emulators.

Have a Clear Project Schedule for your VFP Migration

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 induce changes in the appearance but the workflow will remain the same. Sometimes a total reconstruction of VFP codes 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.

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 with 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. The VFP applications don’t scale well to security requirements of future businesses as modern applications and databases needs a higher level of security. Each line of code written in the application must be secured and should comply with the standards.

Use the .NET Tools

The .NET platform comes with a plethora of tools available for building a secure application. The data storages need to be migrated into highly secured SQL servers or another DBMS so that the new application is compliant with modern techniques and standards. It requires incorporating changes to the User Interface so as 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. An example is Multi-threading.

Migration cannot be considered as an easy job as it’s not just a button click process. It can be only achieved by following the right method and right tool.

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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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