Saturday, August 16, 2008

We were once dBASE

dBase was one of the first widely used database management system (DBMS) for computers, published by Ashton-Tate for CP/M, and later on the Apple II, Apple Macintosh, UNIX[1], VMS[2], and IBM PC under DOS. The popularity of DOS and the PC gave dbase what it needed ehrn it became one of the best-selling software titles for a number of years. I remember starting out with my first program. Reading a dbase manual. A blue soft coloured book, with white font. It had an accounting sample that was used throughout the book as a tutorial. dBase never really moved successfully to Microsoft Windows and as a result gradually lost market share to competitors such as Paradox, Clipper, FoxPro, and Microsoft Access. Ashton-Tate was bought by Borland in 1991, which sold the rights to the product line in 1999 to the newly-formed dBase Inc. In 2004, dBase Inc. changed its name to dataBased Intelligence, Inc.

In the mid 1980s many other companies produced their own dialects or variations on the product and language. These included FoxPro (now Visual FoxPro), Arago, Force, dbFast, dbXL, Quicksilver, Clipper, Xbase++, FlagShip, Recital, CodeBase, MultiBase and Harbour/xHarbour. Together these are generally referred to as xBase. I Remember using the clipper compiler to produce dbase exe's Also there was the Quicksilver compiler which I used successfully.

dBase's underlying file format, the .dbf file, is widely used in many other applications needing a simple format to store structured data.

dBase has evolved into a modern object oriented (OOP) language that runs on 32 bit Windows. It was probably ahead of its time, and even more OOP than the likes of Access and Visual Basic at the time. It can be used to build a wide variety of applications including web apps hosted on a Windows server, using the CGI or COmmon Gateway Interface. It mostly used to build Windows rich client applications, and middleware applications. dBase can access most modern database engines via ODBC drivers including the likes of MS SQL, Oracle, Postgres, mySQL.

dBase features an IDE with a Command Window and Navigator, a just in time compiler, a preprocessor, a virtual machine interpreter, a linker for creating dBase application .exe's, a freely available runtime engine, and numerous two-way GUI design tools including a Form Designer, Report Designer, Menu Designer, Label Designer, Datamodule Designer, SQL Query Designer, and Table Designer. Two-way Tools refers to the ability to switch back and forth between using a GUI design tool and the Source Code Editor. Other tools include a Source Code Editor, a Project Manager that simplifies building and deploying a dBase application, and an integrated Debugger. dBase features structured exception handling and has many built-in classes that can be subclassed via single inheritance. There are visual classes, data classes, and many other supporting classes. Visual classes include Form, SubForm, Notebook, Container, Entryfield, RadioButton, SpinBox, ComboBox, ListBox, PushButton, Image, Grid, ScrollBar, ActiveX, Report, ReportViewer, Text, TextLabel and many others. Database classes include Session, Database, Query, Rowset, Field, StoredProc and Datamodule classes. Other classes include File, String, Math, Array, Date, Exception, Object and others. dBase objects can be dynamically subclassed by adding new properties to them at runtime.

Over the years dBASE has struggled to get a foothold in the market and become the dominant force it once was. Although there still is a, perhaps, fanatical following. Those who still believe it to be the best tool for the job. There are also those who have on many occasions criticised the company, now DBI, for their numerous blunders and bad PR. As a result many of the faithfull have left and perused other alternatives.

This blog has been set up for any who would comment on dBASE, write articles for and against. A place where you can vent your anger, or express your praise.


Thanks to the contributers of wikipedia

5 comments:

Robert Bravery said...

Ok Finally got this working, I think

Website design, web development, web hosting and Search Engine Optimization
Robert Bravery said...

Testing a comment to see if the visual verification image is working (captcha)

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Anonymous said...

One thing I know for sure is that DBase rocks. Much better than MS access (most of them think Access is a powerful database ha ha ha). Once again long Live DBase. Is there anyway we can promote DBase.

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Anonymous said...

Dbase Rocks

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Robert Bravery said...

Sure, If you want to promote dbase. Why not become an author on my blog here, write some cool articles that the comunity can benifit from, or just blog about your dbase thoughts.

Website design, web development, web hosting and Search Engine Optimization
Website design, web development, web hosting and Search Engine Optimization