Friday, November 16, 2012, 1:32:00 AM
Finally had some time to take a breather to package up the materials from the Southwest Fox Conference last month. The conference was a lot of fun - good to see so many old developer friends again even if it's such a small group that's left - sigh. In any case, I did two sessions on .NET Interop with FoxPro and .NET which is probably not the most popular topic there is, but I thought it was worthwhile to do these in light of changes since I touched on these topics originally many years in the past.
In particular, .NET 4.0 simplifies many aspects of COM Interop. For ASP.NET especially the dynamic features of C# make it much easier to access COM Components without all the type library import problems that plagued older versions, where FoxPro's screwed up type library exporter that lacks support for object hierarchies and proper naming without major headaches.
The other change is use of wwDotnetBridge - which is now free and open sourced - that makes it much easier to access just about any .NET component directly from FoxPro without having to create an intermediate .NET assembly first. This opens up a lot of new reach for FoxPro in interacting with new technologies that are not easily available otherwise. Just yesterday I spent a few hours re-working the JSON serialization features in Web Connection and the Internet and Client Tools to use a reliable .NET library instead of the slow and inefficient logic that can be used in FoxPro with much faster and much more reliable plug-in replacement. There's so much that can be done to enhance FoxPro's features and reach that I hope more people will take a look at this to extend the life of their Web apps or to start dabbling with .NET without giving up FoxPro altogether. I only wish I had made this library open sourced a bit earlier…
Anyway… here are the two session white papers and slides and samples which are linked from them:
.NET is here to stay, and you can take advantage of the rich functionality in the .NET framework from Visual FoxPro. You can access code in the .NET framework as well as Microsoft, third party and your own .NET libraries. This article expands on my previous COM Interop articles and introduces the open source wwDotnetBridge library that lets you instantiate and interact with most .NET types directly from Visual FoxPro code. It's a great way to extend Visual FoxPro's reach as well as allowing FoxPro developers to create their own .NET components that can be interacted with from FoxPro.
If you need to call FoxPro COM components from ASP.NET recent changes in .NET 4.0 have made this process a bit easier. This article expands on how to create FoxPro COM components in .NET and ASP.NET in particular by using more modern technologies like ASP.NET MVC and Web Services to call FoxPro COM Components taking advantage of the Dynamic language improvements in .NET that make it much easier to consume FoxPro COM components.