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  1. #1
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    dBASE dialog migration guidance requested

    I have a dBASE IV application that needs to be migrated to allow it to run on XP and 7. I have looked at ooDialog and ooREXX since I am familiar with Rexx, but do not see how to control the editing of the entry data. I have not yet really started on the migration, so am open to using whatever makes sense here. Would be thankful for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Art,

    You talk about migration of a database but then mention at least one non-database language (REXX).
    I would think you should be looking at migrating it into MS Access or some other current PC database.
    I'm suprised that DBIV won't run on Win XP as I seem to remember doing that a few years back.
    Please post back with exactly what you are attempting to accomplish, e.g. run DBIV in a newer OS or migrate the system to a new Database System.

    P.S. I moved the thread to Databases as I think more people with the appropriate knowledge for this topic will see it in this location.
    Last edited by RetiredGeek; 2012-08-07 at 13:56.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  3. #3
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    You are correct about mentioning a non-DB program (Rexx) in my query for suggestions. The application does in fact have a database, but it is quite small and easily migrated to even a flat file, however; there also is a add-on to allow Rexx to access DBIV files. Most of the application is dealing with operator entry, and I would like to keep as much of the feel of the dialog interface as possible. I am not familiar with MS Access as a developer, but am not opposed to learning it and using it. I am running the current application on Win98 and XP systems today. The requirement is to be able to run it on Win7, but also continue to run it on XP. The Win98 systems are being upgraded to Win7 systems.

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Art,

    I was unaware of the DBIV addin for Rexx. I'm a old mainframe Rexx programmer (Under VM/CMS). As a matter of fact it is one of my all time favorite languages.

    So you need to migrate beacuse?
    1. Rexx won't work under Win 7.
    2. The add-in won't work under Win 7?
    3. You don't have enough work already?

    Where are the operator entry functions located (Rexx/Add-on)?
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    Another option might be to try running the existing app in the WinXP compatibility mode on Windows 7. But if you want to continue to run it for the foreseeable future, you should probably look at migrating it to a platform that is compatible with Win7 (and thus with Win8 down the road).
    Wendell

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    RetiredGeek, ooRexx and ooDialog work just fine in both 32bit and 64bit Windows 7. My problem is that the dBASE IV program will not work in Windows 7. I have tried some of the compatability settings but none alllow it to work. Even if it did work that way, eventually the program would need to be updated. Currently the print functions are problematic also as there isn't any support other than to a directly attached LPT interface with dBASE IV. I have the ooDialog working with ooRexx, but have not figured out how to control the entry fields; ie, several of the panels have multiple fields in them where the date needs to be verified, the numeric fields need to be verified, etc., and the only way I have seen so far to do this is to wait until all are entered and the operator used a "Ok" or "Next" button. With dBASE input panels, the fields are controlled during the operator input for boundaries, field type, field size, etc. I have not yet gotten to trying the dBASE addon for Rexx to see what problems I have there, but due to the size of the datafiles, directly parsing them with Rexx would also work for this application.

    Wendell, I think the compatablity box for XP will only work on Win7 Pro series and not on the Home versions. Most of the newer PC boxes are coming with the Home version unless you specifically order the Pro version. Also, I would like to plan ahead so that the application will eventually also work on Win8..

    Thanks for the suggestions so far - will wait for more while I look further at Access.
    Art

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Art,

    I did a little googling on ooDialog and it appears that you can write your own Event Handlers. So you might try the approach of writing event handlers for each of dialog fields to do the error checking on a Lost Focus or similar event. Not having much experience with OO languages at that level I can't tell for sure if this approach will work or not but it might be worth some investigation since it seems this is all you need DBIV to do.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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    3 Star Lounger jockmullin's Avatar
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    I never programmed extensively in dBase IV, and got involved in xbase programming using Clipper (S'87 on), which is close to dBase IV.

    If your dBase IV app is using @say / get for input and picture/valid clauses for validation and running over a .dbf database, you might look into the xHarbour compiler. Likely the dBase IV programs would require some modifications to compile under xHarbour, but if they should be quite minimal. xHarbour compiles into true Windows 32 bit executables, so runs on all production versions of Windows (don't know about 8) as standalone .exe's. It also has support for windows printers and GUI enhancements as well as long filenames and a lot of other enhancements.

    The compiler is free, (xharbour.org) and there is also a commercial version with enhancements and support (xharbour.com). It compiles into C code, which is then compiled and linked using one of several standard C compilers (Waterloo, Borland, MS)

    I do a quite a bit of support of legacy xbase systems and xHarbour has been very useful, even if only as a stopgap while migrating to other platforms. It offers dramatic performance improvement over interpreted xBase, and runs over a variety of databases (including SQL) as well as the old .dbf.

    Alternatively, Visual Foxbase is worth considering; I don't use it myself but a lot of folks do and it provides good GUI support, though will require somewhat more code conversion, I believe. I would be a bit concerned since it is a MS product, so ongoing support may not be a priority for them.

    Jock

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    Jack, that looks promising. I certainly will look into it. Thanks very much for the pointer.
    Art

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    Quote Originally Posted by jockmullin View Post
    ...
    Alternatively, Visual Foxbase is worth considering; I don't use it myself but a lot of folks do and it provides good GUI support, though will require somewhat more code conversion, I believe. I would be a bit concerned since it is a MS product, so ongoing support may not be a priority for them.

    Jock
    I personally would not recommend converting to Visual FoxPro - the latest version is 9 which was released in 2007. Microsoft has stated it will end support in 2015, and that there will not be a new version. They have made the code open source, but that is likely to create instability.

    I would test the suggestions made by RG and Jock to see if that gives you the band-aids needed to keep the application running in its current form, or look at converting the entire app to one of the current platforms such as Access or .NET.
    Wendell

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    I had looked at Visual FoxPro for a different project some time ago and had determined not to port to it, but do not remember the details. Right now I am checking further on xHarbor and also on using an Event Handler for each entry field in ooDialog. Thanks for all the input and suggestions.

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    I have looked briefly at Harbour and the only documentation that I have found is the manual that can be purchased containing what appears to be the API - not any tutorial or howto type of info, and nothing on the IDE. Did I miss something? I may be dense, but my first attempts to compile one of the existing dBASE modules with the IDE was not successful - seems I do not have the folder tree setup right or have not provided all the paths as it is expecting to have them.

    I was not aware that Access could be used as an application, but rather it's strength is to query and/or update a database. Is there the capability to allow programming to be done with it? I know VB could be used for that, but can it also be done within Access? I really do not want the users of the program to have to understand the database layout or content.

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    Yes, Access has a full programming model. You can program pretty much whatever you want, using VBA and that coupled with the querying facilities, and easy form and report generation features makes it a pretty good alternative. I think you could import your data into Access and develop your app using Access very easily.

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    I have to agree with Rui - we've been doing application development with Access as a front-end to SQL Server databases, using VBA to do coding and to also automate other office apps such as Excel, Word and Outlook, and we've been at it for nearly 20 years. IMHO, there is no quicker way to develop an app when databases are involved.
    Wendell

  17. #15
    3 Star Lounger jockmullin's Avatar
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    Hi Arth

    It sounds like you have been looking at the commercial ($) version of Harbour.
    AFAIK everything over there costs money, though purportedly it is an integrated development environment with enhancements etc. I have no experience with that distro because I don't have the $ to invest, and since I am using Harbour to support/migrate/enhance existing clipper apps which are all terminal mode (not GUI), I really have no need for it.

    In terms of free tutorials for the publicly supported Harbour-project.org compiler and user provided enhancements, there are some resources available.

    Tutorials: http://www.elektrosoft.it/tutorials.asp (the first 5 are in English).
    Forum: comp.lang.clipper in Google groups, where you will find lots of other reference material.

    A lot of the material on Harbour is Linux oriented, and deals with compiling the harbour compiler itself and various build methods for compiling and linking your apps in that OS.

    If what you want to do is just migrate existing dBase or Clipper apps to 32 bit Windows, I can give you what you would need:
    - link to obtain installer for Borland C++ compiler Ver 5.5
    - installed folder structure for Harbour compiler ver 1.0 (Simplex)
    - batch files libraries and environment setup to do a command-line compile of source code into .EXE files. These are configured to be as compatible as possible with 80's era dBase & clipper source.
    This would give you enough to evaluate how difficult it would be to migrate your app to Clipper.

    Alternatively, if you have a small program you would like me to try I would be happy to evaluate how difficult it would be to migrate to Harbour by attempting to convert and compile it.

    If, on the other hand you are looking to develop new applications or enhance your existing ones with GUI user interface etc, you would likely be better to go with the commercial Harbour distro. However I think if you are comfortable with VBA and access, that might be a more viable development path as suggested by Rui and Wendell.

    xBase is a dying environment, only kept going because of the large installed base of apps still doing the job (for now), but the challenge of new environments will likely doom it in Windows, because as I say most people still using it are in the open source world and running Linux and more enthusiasts than professionals.

    I would recommend it for your purposes only as a possible means of running your apps under 64 bit windows until you are ready to implement in a more modern Windows GUI environment.

    Jock

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