Visual FoxPro and Lotus Approach

Lotus Approach may not be as popular as it once was but there are still many systems in use. We have just had to create a tool that would link Approach tables on a PC with a new shared database on a web server.

The data on the web was held in Access 2000 format so our first thought was to use Visual Basic for the links. Reading Approach through ODBC proved awkward so we decided to use Visual FoxPro instead. This may sound an odd choice but Approach stores its data in dBase III tables and Fox can read and write these as a native format.

The only difficult aspect was that Approach presents the users with long field names but is restricted to the old ten-character limit in the dbf files themselves. The long field names are held in the .ADX file but we found it easier to write an external lookup table to do the conversion. This also allowed us to add descriptive comments for the user.

[Slant Design] This was another project on which Alvechurch Data collaborated with Slant Design of Malvern. Slant used ADO.Net to build the user input forms on the web page, Alvechurch Data designed and built the database in Access XP and wrote the components for the upload and download of Approach data.