Hacker’s Guide to Visual FoxPro
An irreverent look at how Visual FoxPro really works. Tells you the inside scoop on every command, function, property, event and method of Visual FoxPro.

Hacker’s Guide to Visual FoxPro

An Irreverent Guide to How FoxPro Really Works

by Tamar E. Granor, Ted Roche, Doug Hennig, and Della Martin, with Steven Black. Foreword by Susan Graham, former Visual FoxPro Program Manager.

Originally published by Hentzenwerke Publishing
Ted Roche, Technical Editor, Jeana Frazier, Copy Editor

The body
Benjamin Franklin
(Like the cover of an old book
Its contents torn out
And stripped of its lettering and gilding)
Lies here, food for worms.
But the work shall not be lost
For it will (as he believed) appear once more
In a new and more elegant edition
Revised and corrected
The Author.
—Benjamin Franklin, Epitaph on Himself, 1728

Dedicated to fostering the international communication of ideas, in the hopes of making the world a better place—now and for future generations.

Note: Hacker’s Guide was written in the early 2000’s, with the latest edition being updated for Visual FoxPro 7. The content of the documents on this site may be updated from the original book.




Author Biographies

Easter Egg

Who Needs This Book?

How to Use This Book

How to Use The Help File

Section 1: Wow, What a Concept!

Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
—Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-1785

Section 1 introduces the major themes of Visual FoxPro, starting with its history and covering the fundamentals of each of its major sub-languages. Think of it as the “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium” Tour of Visual FoxPro.

“It’s Always Been That Way”


Xbase Xplained

SQL—The Original

OOP is Not an Accident

Controls and KAOS

A Gala Event

“Your Server Will Be With You in a Moment”

“It Was Automation, You Know”

“Ah, What a Tangled Web We Weave”

Section 2: Ship of Tools

Man is a tool-using animal…Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.
—Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, 1833-1834

Section 2 discusses in brief the Power Tools—the key to using Visual FoxPro effectively. You’ll find our favorite tips and tricks for using the Power Tools here, too, and an introduction to integrating source control with VFP development.

When Should You Use the Power Tools?

These Are Not Your Father’s Power Tools

Productive Debugging

Frequently Asked Power Tool Questions

A Source is a Source, Of Course, Of Course

Section 3: Franz and Other Lists

To criticize is to appreciate, to appropriate, to take intellectual possession, to establish in fine a relation with the criticized thing and to make it one’s own.
—Henry James

Section 3 contains a bunch of stuff that didn’t fit in anywhere else in the book. Most of it can be viewed as lists of one sort or another. You’ll find our hardware recommendations, our opinionated list of useless commands to avoid, optimization tips, and a collection of weird items that make you think you’ve found a bug.

Hardware and Software Recommendations

“It’s a Feature, Not a Bug”

Commands Never to Use

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Section 4: Visual FoxPro Reference

“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knockdown argument’,” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”
—Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, 1872

Section 4 is the meat of the book. You’ll find a listing for every command, function, property, event, method and system variable. We’ve grouped them logically so that you can find several related topics in one place. For an explanation of the syntax we use for commands, see “How to Use This Book”.

Index to the Reference Section

Section 5: But Wait, There’s More!

We will now discuss in a little more detail the Struggle for Existence.
—Charles Robert Darwin, The Origin of Species, 1859

We’ve sliced, we’ve diced, we’ve chopped Visual FoxPro into little pieces. But there’s still more to say. A few features are so cool, they warrant their own chapters. This section goes into detail on the ActiveX technologies, the Object Browser and Component Gallery, Wizards and Builders, and IntelliSense, all of which provide opportunities for extending your use of VFP.

Active Something

Hacking the Class Browser and Component Gallery

Builders and Wizards (and Bears, Oh My!)

IntelliSense and Sensibility

Section 6: Back o’ da Book

Great is the art of beginning, but greater the art is of ending;
Many a poem is marred by a superfluous verse.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Here we are at the end of the book. But there are still a couple of things left to do. “Resource File” is a list of resources: books, periodicals, people and products. “What’s in the Downloads” tells you what’s available for download from this book.

Resource File

What’s in the Downloads?

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