VFP 9 SP2 News

Rick Schummer

The perception and adoption of the Visual FoxPro 9 Service Pack 2 has been in a word, underwhelming. Reports of the Report Designer having some bugs and the Help file being a mess spread across the various forums and blogosphere extremely fast. Rick has good news on both fronts!

10, 9, 8, 7, 6 (main engine start), 3, 2, 1... Liftoff! I bet you think I am talking about a launch of NASA's Space Shuttle. If you know me this is a good guess, but you are wrong this time. I have better news! Microsoft has released a hotfix to the most serious Report Designer bug in VFP 9 SP2. This is the Data Group bug Cathy Pountney first blogged about on November 14, 2007 in a post called "Gotcha: Serious report bug with Data Groups introduced in VFP 9 SP2."

You can read about the fix in the Microsoft KnowledgeBase article #968409 (http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/KB968409), titled:

This fix is considered by many to be the most serious bug introduced in VFP 9 SP2, and has often been referred to as the main stumbling block to the adoption of VFP 9 SP2. I am hopeful with this news that you will consider downloading the new hotfix and giving it a try to see if it works well for your apps. Only you can make the determination on what is best for your customers. Yes, there are more bugs to squash, but a high percentage of them have decent workarounds where this particular bug did not.

Additionally, there is some terrific news on how you can get the hotfix. Previous to this release Microsoft only made Visual FoxPro hotfixes available by calling Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS), report the bug in the hotfix, and then Microsoft would make it available to you. Hotfixes are easier for the team to release because there is less overhead, but getting it to the Fox Community is a pain in the neck because of the PSS bottleneck. So the "Fox Team" came up with releasing this important hotfix through MSDN Code Gallery so any Visual FoxPro developer can download and apply the patch without calling PSS. I think this is a real positive move for the Fox Community.

Both the other hotfixes released for VFP 9 SP2 are rolled up into this release so if you have patched SP2 for the following fixes they are included in the new build:

Just in case you have not heard, in addition to the core EXE and runtime hotfixes we have a new VFP 9 SP2 Help file available on VFPX (http://vfpx.codeplex.com/). This really is a double win for the Fox Community. Not only is the corrected VFP 9 SP2 Help file posted, but the source code has been handed over to the Fox Community under the Creative Commons license so we can further enhance it and make additional corrections. Francis Faure, an VFP MVP from France, is the project manager for the VFP 9 Help file project and is the driving force behind the initial wave of corrections. Francis has made several releases. Please post issues on VFPX.

I am very excited about this news. I want to thank the "Fox Team" for their hard work and personal efforts to make the hotfix happen. I also want to thank those in the Fox Community who have reported VFP 9 SP2 bugs, those who have documented the workarounds, those who researched when some of the alleged SP2 bugs really surfaced, and those who tested out the hotfix to ensure it is the best possible fix for the reports at this time.

Hopefully this is just the third in a string of hotfixes we will see from Microsoft as they support the product we all love. Today is a very good day. This is one small step for VFP, one giant leap for VFP developers. Please spread the word!