Subject Re: Client with Dbase IV what to do
From Russ <>
Date Wed, 13 Oct 2021 07:36:09 -0400
Newsgroups dbase.getting-started

We have a massive order entry/inventory control system built in dBase IV that has been evolving over the past 25 years.  To convert to modern dBase would be a monumental effort, so we continue to run it, but all our PCs are Win 10 - older ones 32 bit, all new ones are 64 bit..  You have a number of options.

dBase IV is a 16 bit application.  It will run on a 32 bit Win 10 installation if you install NTVDM (Windows will offer to install it the first time you try to run dBase).  This is certainly workable, but you lose the benefits of 64 bit - the biggest is the inability to utilize more than 4GB of ram.

You could purchase a license for dbDos from dbase.  This is a good option if you have just one or a few PCs (we have over 50 and so would be quite expensive for us).

There is vDOS by Jos Schaars in the Netherlands.  A good, open source system that is free unless you utilize a file server in which case the network license is $250 for unlimited users.

vDOS Plus (the option we use) is a little old and hasn't been updated in a while (but then so is dBase IV).  It is an enhanced version of Schaars' code that allows mouse control, long file names and other features.  It is still licensed through Schaars (since it uses his core code) if you are on a network, but the price was more affordable for us than dbDos and we have the technical expertise to get it all working.

You don't have to abandon your old code.  If it's a really simple application, a conversion might be worthwhile.  Ours is tens of thousands of lines of code - we went with vDos Plus and haven't looked back.

A little backstory - I've been programming in xBase languages since dBase II in 1982 and have written some quite complex systems.  While I own dBase 2019, I have tried and tried and TRIED to get the hang of it.  I have gone through Ken's tutorials twice from end to end (and they are fantastic!).  I have soooooo many notes that are peppered throughout his tutorial such as "there's a bug in such and such, so you must remember to do this" or "in order to connect to this, you must set this one little property that is buried unintuitively 14 levels deep in the properties".  To remember all these little details just to write a simple CRUD application is bad enough, but to convert a very complex system with dozens of relational tables would be a nightmare.  Then there are the bugs that have carried through from version to version to version.  I paid 3/4 of the retail price to upgrade thinking naively that no one would release a totally new version without cleaning up the old bugs.  Wrong.  There are still (the same) bugs that require workarounds that have existed for multiple generations of the product.  And don't even get me started on their report writer that must have been written by a TOTALLY different company.  

I'll get off my soapbox now and get back to my Harbour code.  :)


Michael S Wrote:

> I have a client with a custom Dbase IV billing and tracking program. Not really complicated.
> They are running a windows 7 machine. They need to move to windows 10.
> I need to figure out their options. We need to get them on windows 10 for other programs but not sure how to handle the DBase IV.