Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What has dBASE Taught You?

As I was contemplating what to write, I was thinking about the various programming languages I was using to write programs with.

So at one stage I had on my PC:

  • Delphi
  • VB6
  • Visual Studio 2003
  • Visual Studio 2005
  • dBASE III+
  • dBASE IV
  • dBASE 5.0 for DOS
  • Visual dBASE 5.7
  • DB2k
  • dBASE Plus
  • PHP
  • Perl
In the database arena I had:
  • MS SQL 2000
  • MS SQL 2005
  • Pervasive
  • mySQL
  • Access.
Before you say anything, Yes I was either using them or at least testing some of them out.

Wow was I crazy or what? How could one learn all those languages? How do you choose. Well fortunately for me, I had already learned dBASE. What does that mean?

dBASE in my opinion was ahead of its time. With its implementation of OOP, Inheritance and class design, it beat everything out there at the time. Learning it was a big struggle and an up hill battle at times. But I eventually got my head around objects, event driven programming, properties, etc. When I was talking of OOP, most other programmers that I spoke about weren’t even in the same league.

The rest of the world has now caught up, and some say passed dBASE by. I have started to learn other languages. I thought that it would be difficult. But surprisingly I understood most of the concepts that were employed in theses new languages. It was uncanny that even some of the syntax was very similar. Java, for instance, and dBASE have a strikingly similar resemblance as far as the syntax. There is even similarities in C#.

But what meant the most was the processes that I learnt while using and learning dBASE. Things like OOP, inheritance, classes, properties, methods, modular programming, events, all cam natural to me. The only thing that I had to relearn was the syntax.

Yes, I have a great respect for what dBASE taught me about programming. Things that came natural to me, others spent years trying to figure out, or thousands of Dollars to learn.

How has dBASE helped you in the field of programming? What about the dBASE news groups and the people there? Have you learnt a lot? Also, how have you passed on those lessons to others? Not only to the dBASE community, but to others also.

Leave a comment if you like? I would appreciate it.

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Ted said...

Excerpts from a couple of my posts on the dBase newgroup.

Geoff, Bruce and Roland,

Just wanted to say thanks a couple million for all your help.
Did a lot of studying and testing based on all of your replies and came up
with a solution that works perfectly.
Can't say enough about how much your contributions further the knowledge of all of us trying to learn the ins and outs of dBase.

I'm only a part time programmer but my software has progressed greatly ONLY because you and others are willing to share a collage size education with those of us that don't have the time or money to invest in formal training.
The developers of dBase and those of us trying to understand this excellent product owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

I'm really amazed that dBase is flexible enough to work even when I realize I haven't been coding it for optimized performance. This gives those of us that don't know any better a chance to have workable programs, and that allows us to learn better (proper) ways to do things.

OK, that's enough praise for now :-)

I think I'm just beginning to understand dBase.
There's a whole lot I haven't even touched so I'm sure I'll be pestering you for more information.

I've recently been having a lot of "Oh, that's why" moments while reviewing some of my problem areas.
For the last couple years, even though my programs were working ok, I've had this uncomfortable feeling that I didn't really have control and some "bug monster" was going to jump out of nowhere and crash my system.
I'm finally starting to feel like I know why I'm writing code a specific way instead of writing it just because it works.

Just a few musing thoughts while standing here at a mile marker :)

Thanks again for all your help,

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