What I want (from a development tool/toolset)

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I’ve exposed myself to Linux, and while some things have been a challenge, I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed myself learning Linux and using Linux. (http://www.mepis.com/) I’ve told all of my friends and family that I’m going to stop supporting/maintaining their Windows. I can’t stand to clean up one more machine. I’m about to switch my parents from Windows ME over to Linux.

Professionally, I continue to develop with VFP, but I am also keeping a close eye on other development tools. (Python/dabo, REALbasic, *AMP which means LAMP,WAMP,MAMP,…) I am not looking for a tool that *just* works on Linux, or *just* works on the Mac. I want a development tool that works on Windows, Linux, Mac, BSD, Solaris, etc. I am of the opinion that the OS is becoming a commodity. If the right tool comes along, and I become proficient enough with it for someone to pay me for my time, I won’t be programming for 90% of the market (Windows), but I will be able to program for 99.9% of the market. I like those odds.

Here’s what I want:

A language that is cross platform, or should I say platform
independent. I want 99.9% of the market open to me.
A language that is “readable”. I don’t like that you can write a
complete program in a single line of code like you can in C.
A language that allows me to be highly productive. I’m in the
business to solve peoples complex problems. They’ll pay me for
that. I don’t want to worry about a stack or garbage collection.
The language should be light weight with a good threading model. This leads me to web based apps. VFP doesn’t get “hosted” by the
web hosting companies because of it’s weight and it’s threading
model. Yes, there are exceptions that do VFP hosting and yes, I
can do my own hosting or dedicated hosting. Remember I’m looking
for 99.9% market potential so this means catering to companies big
and small, thick and thin, wealthy and poor.
A language that is thick and thin. I mentioned web apps but I
also want to build fat client applications with rich interfaces. Interfaces that make the client say “Oooh! Pretty colors!” Yes,
I’ll be rolling my eyes behind their backs.
It’s about the data, dummy! We’re also reaching the point where
the database is a commodity too. SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL,
Firebird, Oracle, DB2, etc. Retrieving, manipulating, and saving
back the data should be easy, easy, easy. This includes both SPT
and calling SPs. Data is everywhere. To have a language where
data is an afterthought is an affront to common sense.
A language where the focus is on the language. What would happen
to VFP if the the people that loved VFP and used VFP every day
could maintain and enhance VFP? Would VFP ever fade away? Or
lack support? I’m a bit skeptical when I am encouraged to switch
from VFP to something that is trying to be “All things to all
people.” It sounds too good to be true, and guess what … they’re on their third complete rewrite with almost no backwards
compatibility so far.
A language with an IDE, classes, forms, controls, and reports. VFP is my heroin. Yes, Microsoft has spoiled me for years with
it’s IDE, debugger, forms, reports, classes. If VFP was gone
tomorrow, I know that I would go through severe DTs. Don’t make
me step backwards too far. I’ve had it all and I want it all
again. (This is a tough one, I admit)

If I can have all of my above points, I believe I can be productive, happy and profitable through my anticipated retirement in 35 years. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

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