A tutorial for novices and a reference for experienced users, featuring step-by-step guidelines for using Web Connection in a day-to-day manner as a developer, this book offers several development alternatives based on the user's style. Demonstrated are the building of two different applications, one easy and one more complex, and nearly two dozen trouble-shooting steps in case of problems. Also explained is the infrastructure of the Internet and, specifically, web applications. Once developers are comfortable building and deploying an application they are then shown how to take advantage of more complex framework features such as file-based versus COM configuration, extending the framework, data entry using object-oriented techniques, and asynchronous applications.
In Visual FoxPro, we have been spoiled. VFP has a mature fully OOP Forms Designer. We can create a library of base classes from which objects on our forms are built. We can simply drag and drop them onto a form and have them bound to a datasource. We can drag and drop a whole table, either local or remote, onto a form and have it become a grid. We have an integrated report writer, not state-of-the-art but very powerful none the less. In short, the entire VFP IDE is wrapped around data. There are no boundaries among the various components, from the language to the forms designer, class designer, and report designer. The entire environment has been designed around building database applications. In building desktop apps, the developer did not have to know about MS Internet Information Server, FTP, SSL, how to secure a Web server from hackers, the complexities of HTML, XML, session management, stateless programming, Web site testing and promotion, browser compatibility, and Cascading Style Sheets. Doing Web development will be like going back to using FoxBASE in some regards. The tools are still very immature compared to desktop tools, but they are getting better rapidly.
VFP has evolved from a simple DOS application, starting with the original FoxBASE program in the early ’80s. I’ll always remember using Fox for the first time. Without making any changes to my Dbase application, I simply compiled it under FoxBASE and got a tremendous performance boost. Fox has always been about speed in handling data. It proves how even an interpreted language can compete with “native code” environments. With the advent of VFP, the string processing abilities of the language have also been dramatically improved. A great deal of the work in displaying Web pages is in the form of string manipulation. We will see how Web pages can be built using templates that VFP can parse and populate with data, or how an entire table can be converted into HTML in sub-second fashion. The amount of code that is run when evaluating a template is truly amazing. With the data and string manipulation engines in VFP, the response times are so fast that millions of hits a day can be processed by a VFP Web site without too much difficulty.