Lianja in a nutshell

Read this in Español

I often get asked the question "What is Lianja exactly", and "How can Lianja help me as I have a lot of Visual FoxPro applications that are critical to my business and Microsoft do not have any support for it now" so I thought it worthy of a detailed response.

Let me start by saying that Lianja has been designed and developed for business/mission critical application development and deployment in both SMEs and large enterprises. This is our background and this is what we do well and have done for over 25 years. Lianja has been built on 25+ years of experience with my background in database internals, compilers, UIs, and load-balanced high-availability, fault-tolerant clustered solutions. Lianja has not been designed and developed to write consumer apps that solely run on a mobile phone. It is for building high performance multi-user, multi-client-device apps that need to share and mash-up data from any data source.

I cannot comment on the rationale or reasoning behind Microsoft's decision to drop Visual FoxPro. To the best of my knowledge they have zero Visual FoxPro support staff now -- anywhere, and it has been like that for a while. Myself and my team at Lianja are flying the Visual FoxPro flag -- cross-platform -- cross-device. There is no need to learn a new language -- Lianja has its own implementation of Visual FoxPro embedded inside it as well as PHP, Python and JavaScript. Yes, that's right, all these scripting languages are embedded inside Lianja and they are all fully integrated so that code can be written in any of these scripting languages.

You can be rest assured that this product will still be around for a long time to come. What is key to the overall success of Lianja and its longevity is for App developers to understand and appreciate that software of this calibre and functionality takes a mammoth amount of effort and cost to develop. When you look at the functionality of Lianja it truly is what "Visual FoxPro 10 should have been". By design, it is a radical departure from traditional desktop development tools just as Visual FoxPro was to FoxBase and Visual Basic was to Basic. It takes a radically different view of app development providing a high level of abstraction for visually designing, developing and deploying multi-client-device business apps on whatever operating system you choose.

When I set out to develop Lianja I made a conscious decision to architect and build a product that embraced dynamic scripting languages, hence the support for Visual FoxPro scripting, PHP, Python and JavaScript. This product not only had to offer support for a wide range of scripting languages, but it also had to be cross-platform; Windows, Mac, Linux (and others), and it had to be able to build data-centric apps that could connect to any data source; MSSQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL (and others), but also very importantly it had to enable both professional developers and domain-experts (people who know everything about their business but are not programmers) to be able to build compelling Desktop, Web and Mobile Apps. That was my objective and I am well on the path of achieving all of these criteria.

There are many applications that are not suitable for tablet and/or phone. High speed data entry, core banking, finance, logistics, ERP, healthcare and manufacturing to name just a few. These applications are typically going to be on a server(s) in a centralized data center.

The way I see it is that an application should be broken down into functional categories. Certain categories will be required to run in the main data center / office. Web can provide a subset of the application functionality but not all. Tablet/mobile again can provide a subset of the web functionality but not all. 

So I see both web/cloud and mobile as being complimentary to the core application. Now there may be some people that would argue that all apps can be written as web apps; and i would disagree. In IT there are various layers of functionality. Starting at the base level with the operating system. The application/database server that runs on that and the presentation level clients that end-users interact with. Certain operations cannot be performed with a satisfactory and guaranteed response time (ignoring the security requirements in this argument) on the web.

So the question is, what is the best way to move an existing Visual FoxPro app into Lianja? and the answer is a step at a time.

Firstly, identify the core functionality of the application that is of most importance and get that migrated.

Secondly, provide a subset of the core functionality running in a web browser for geographically remote users.

Thirdly, provide a reduced functionality mobile experience that provides some base level functionality for mobile users on tablets or smartphones.

If your current application requires users to have multiple windows open on the desktop then that is all achievable, and don't forget that Lianja also supports PHP, Python and JavaScript so hiring additional developers or consultants to grow your business offerings does not require that they "have to know Visual FoxPro". This should not be overlooked.

To summarize; Lianja is not a product, it is a complete end-to-end solution for developing business-critical apps for desktop, web and mobile that can be scaled to 10's of thousands of users -- but more importantly, Lianja is a company that can provide enterprise-class support for the whole APaaS (Apps Platform As A Service) stack.

You don't just purchase a copy of Lianja, you enter into a relationship with us, a relationship that provides you with access to not only Lianja expertise but also the security of having direct access to the team that develops and uses Lianja.

If you want to know more about Lianja without having to spend a lot of time browsing around the website read the FAQ or take a look at The Lianja Overview.

See Also

Understanding the Lianja App Architecture
Lianja Developers Guide
Lianja Users Guide
Lianja Documentation Wiki

Barry Mavin
CEO and Principal developer of Lianja, Recital and other products

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