VFP Tutorial - Development Environment

FoxPro is unusual amongst Microsoft development tools in that it retains a command-line interface. It has a toolbar with all the familiar buttons that you would expect but you are also faced with a command window where you can enter FoxPro commands.

[FoxPro Development Environment and Command Window]

The screenshot shows part of the Visual FoxPro environment with a few lines of Fox commands in the Command Window. The window is shown docked against the left-hand side of the screen and in real life would be wider with a smaller font size in order to show more of each command.


The keywords of the language appear upper case in blue because this is the default setting of FoxPro's Intellisense feature. As soon as Fox recognises the word that you are typing it displays that word in blue. If you press Space or Tab then Fox will complete the word for you and display a list of parameters and options that can follow that command. Unlike other Microsoft languages, the Visual FoxPro IntelliSense is open and documented - it is actually a lookup into a FoxPro table - and you can add your own entries to the list.

Using the Command Window

When you first start to learn Visual FoxPro you might be tempted to close the Command Window and drive FoxPro in the same point-and-click style as you do Access. This is possible but it is a slow and restricted way of working. Just to take a simple example, you can create a new program file (code module) by selecting New from the File menu and specifying that you want a new file of type Code. It is so very much quicker though to type mc in the Command Window and hit Enter.

Advanced features of Visual FoxPro

The Visual FoxPro Command Window is very flexible. You can leave the main route through the tutorial and go to this page to learn about some of the advanced features of the development environment.

Introduction | Environment | Project | Tables | Forms | Navigation | Executable

Hints & tips

The textbox class in Visual FoxPro 9 has a new Autocomplete property which shows the user the previous values that have been entered in that textbox.
Autocomplete in VFP 9

Your Access database will look more impressive if you add custom toolbars...
Custom toolbars

FoxPro has always had functions to read and write files at a low level...
Foxpro low level file functions

More pages of hints and tips for users of Microsoft FoxPro and Access databases.

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