Aviva Directory » Computers & Internet » Programming » dBase/xBase

The focus of this category is on the group of programming languages known as xBase, which is an umbrella term for the languages that derived from the original dBase programming language and database system.

Originating with a database system known as Vulcan, which was developed by Cecil Wayne Ratliff. In 1979, Ashton-Tate entered into an agreement with Ratliff to market Vulcan, changing its name to dBASE because it sounded more professional and looked more distinctive. Later, the company changed the capitalization style to form dBase.

Despite complaints that dBase was difficult to learn, it was wildly successful during the 1980s and 1990s, and continues to be in use today.

The language and database system also spawned a number of clones. However, Ashton-Tate maintained that anything related to dBase was proprietary, and filed lawsuits against several of the clone vendors. An immediate result of these actions was that the clone vendors avoided the use of the term dBase, as this was a trademark held by Ashton-Tate. The term xBase began to be used as a generic term for programs that were based on dBase.

Unlike several other programming languages, such as C or COBOL, for which there were published standards and an active community of third-party developers, the dBase clones.

When Borland acquired Ashton-Tate in 1991, the lawsuits were dropped, and efforts toward standardization of xBase programs began. An ANSI committee was formed and began meeting regularly in 1992, but its efforts have been negligible. Vendors were generally unwilling to change their products to match that of a competitor.

The original dBase was an interpreted programming language, but many of the clones were compiler versions of the product. Compiling improves the overall run speed and source code security, but it does so at the expense of an interpreted mode for interactive development.

Besides dBase itself, other xBase products include, or have included, BaseX, Clipper, Core, dBase Classic, DBD-XBase, DBFree, DollyBase, FoxPro, Harbour, MaxScript, NTK-Pro, Visual FoxPro, Visual Objects, X#, Xbase, xBASE, XBase, XBaseJ, and probably some others.

In the 2000s, there appears to be a resurgence of interest in xBase, due in part to the open-source, portable xBase implementations, and the scripting applicability of the language.

Topics related to dBase or any of the implementations of dBase, whether identified as dBase, xBase, or something else, are appropriate for this category. Editors or any other tools designed specifically for an xBase product may be listed here as well, along with tutorials, user groups, and other resources.





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