Monday, August 18, 2008

What do you like about dBASE?

I put up this blog to write and ramble about dBASE. Good or bad. The way I see it. I have also challenged many to write their thoughts here as well. My previous blog about dBASE and history as I saw it, was met with much criticism. How ever no one has yet had the courage to come to me and write something positive. Do I take it that they too have nothing to say, that they are afraid of what others might think of them?

At least I speak my mind, and hopefully speak the truth. I blogged on factual matters, as I saw them. They have yet to be disputed.

I love dBASE, have always done. Its just that the world is running away from me and dBASE, and I cannot make ends meet. I cannot make a living as a dBASE programmer. There is not enough work, and yes in a way I do blame DBI. There was an opportunity that I believe they missed.

So here we are. Do I hate dBASE? No I do not. Do I hate DBI? Again No. Do I have issues? Probably Yes. So if I do not hate dBASE, what is it that I like about it? Well I will tell you, at least I have the guts to say so.

  • One of the best things I like about dBASE is the IDE and the command prompt in particular. I love the way you can interact with data one line at a time. I love the way you can query the database with out the need to write complicated code.
  • The other thing I like about dBASE is its inheritance, OOP, and custom classes. You can sub class anything with out any rules or regulations. And it is so simple. I mean you just inherit from a form, class or subclass. Yes Other languages have this as well, but dBASE was ahead of its time.
  • Another thing is its modular approach. I mean a form can be run with out any problems by itself as well as within the whole app. You do not have to compile the whole application and run it, just to test out one form. Especially if you are making lots of changes to that form and need to test multiple times. It does become a pain when you have a huge project and you want to test one small part of it, you have to wait for the whole project to compile before you can test. To me that's a pain.
  • I prefer the Datamodule over and above datasets of VS. It has more power and is more flexible and easier to understand.
  • I really love dBASE’s arrays. They are so powerful and easy to use. What about the AssocArray, those I think are cool as well.
  • Whether it be a curse or a blessing, but I really love the dynamic language. I mean the ability for variable to self type. yes this can get you into trouble, but isn't it cool to just say x = 6, instead of declaring x as an integer and then passing it the value, or worrying if x is declared or not.

These are just a few things that spring to mind. Can you think of any others? Is there anything in particular that you like about dBASE as compared to anything else out there?

Come on lets hear what you like? Lets hear what you have to say?

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with Robert that being able to work with data from the command line is useful. Some 'shops' get data from many diverse sources and need to flexibly examine and summarize the information. The command line is great for this. One can use low-level text functions, traditional dBase, SQl, or object-oriented database manipulation language (like VBA). All the command-line operations can also be run through editable text files. Whole systems may originate in command line data manipulation, then be written into systems of programs and forms, and finally be built into applications.

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Marc VdB said...

What i like about dbase is definetly its community. I often visit other NG and i'm frequently shocked about the tone and behaviour there! Seldom to find friendly and helpfull answers.

from a technical point of view, i like the powerfull assoc-array and the ingenious implementation of function pointers (representing eventhandlers, methods and UDfs)

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Robert Bravery said...

Marc, One of the points you raised was the Friendly community. I totally concur, and this is one thing that brings me back all the time. I too find other communities, very abrupt and at even some point rude and arrogant. As an axample here is an excerpt from the MS SQL group where I asked a simple question "...Please read a book on Relational databases so you do
not make this mistake again.
I am sure that someone will give you a kludge, so you can write bad
SQL"

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Greg Hill said...

- Variable declaration (anywhere, anytime, anyplace, auto type based on type
of assigned value)

- DBF and simplicity of using it, in regards to connecting, modifying. DBF
tables are one of the main reasons a person can jump in and start
programming without a huge undertaking of education or complexity. There is
really only two limitations, performance on complex relationships and or
"sometimes" on large files, index corruption (which is rare these days).

- Simple Interface

- Knowledge of where everything is without any mystery (one program file is
one program file)

- Application Object _app, so dang easy to use and easy to understand.

- The Command Window, better known as the "dot prompt".

A monkey could learn to program in dBASE :-)

Look at something like the ComboBox datasource, IT DON'T GET EASIER FOLKS.
You can accidently figure it out. If memory servers me correctly, looking
at the combobox in c# was quite an adventure, maybe more powerful once you learn it but hey what every happened to RAD.

There are probably more items that I am not thinking of currenlty, maybe I will post more later.


Greg Hill

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