Many applications that you create with Visual FoxPro are self-contained solutions to a specific business requirement. For example, you might create a Visual FoxPro application to track your customers, which can include not only database information about the customers, but tools for taking orders, invoicing, and so on. You can create all the features your application needs using the facilities already available in Visual FoxPro, including its database engine, visual design tools, and reporting capabilities.
You can also use Visual FoxPro as part of a larger-scale application that involves two or more development tools. Using Visual FoxPro this way вЂ” referred to as "enterprise development" вЂ” allows you to take advantage of the unique capabilities of each product. Enterprise development can be as simple as maintaining a customer database in Visual FoxPro and creating a mail merge letter in Microsoft Word, or it can involve creating a complex application using client/server databases, Automation servers, electronic mail, and more.
Visual FoxPro is an ideal tool for creating enterprise-wide business solutions because it features:
Powerful, easy-to-use application development tools, including a Form Designer and wizards.
A fast database engine.
Excellent connectivity with other products, including both other Windows programs such as Microsoft Excel and Word, and client/server systems such as Microsoft SQL Server.
Integrated source control and other team development tools.
These features allow you to develop with Visual FoxPro in several roles in an enterprise-wide application. You can use Visual FoxPro:
As a front end for other applications. In this scenario, you work primarily with Visual FoxPro; for example, you create the user interface for the application in Visual FoxPro. You then access other applications that contain data needed for the application or that can provide services that enhance those already available in Visual FoxPro. You can also upsize your Visual FoxPro data or move it to another platform.
As a data source for other applications. To do so, you would create the user interface for the application using another program, and then access Visual FoxPro data as needed.
The strategy you choose depends on what your application goals are and what programs you want to use.