Clipper Description

Developed by Nantucket software and released in winter of 1984, first shipping 25 May 1985.

Clipper was a typical database development language and DOS based. Originally is was used as a replacement programming language for Ashton Tate’s dbase II database environment that could be compiled and executed as a standalone application.

Millions of applications were built typically for businesses dealing with small databases like client management, stock keeping. Many applications for banking and insurance companies were developed were the application was considered too small to be developed and run on mainframes. Clipper often served as a front end exactly for the above mentioned mainframe applications and did very well in this area.

One of the language’s features: the possibility to link ‘C’ and machine language objects made it a virtual unlimited expandable environment. When you missed a feature, an interface or whatever you could program that yourself and the extension made a reusable part of your toolbox. Libraries were also made by third parties but the programmer could also create its own library or enhance the existing ones.

One of the disadvantages, for commercial developers at least, was that a clipper executable could easily be disassembled or de-compiled to produce native source code. There were even commercial packages for that. Between the manufacturers of decompilers and Clipper a covenant was agreed that with a certain code in the source the decompilers would not decompile. But for the hard core hackers no door was kept close.

Around the early 1990’s the users felt a need for a more object oriented environment. Nantucket’s answer was: Clipper 5.0 up to 5.3. This made the Clipper language more sophisticated, but completely OO it never was. Objects and classes could be created but the language needed more, and quickly, should it keep its programmers corps it had created since 1984.

Too late the Nantucket company realized it had to port the Clipper environment to the Windows platform as well and began developing a new project: Aspen: Clipper for Windows. Too late, or at least the research was not given top priority for research and development. In August 1994 (Shipped December 1995) a first version became available and was called: Clipper VO (virtual objects) It was truly windows based but had to cope with many typical first issue bugs that were not explained to the full extend. Again programmers had to build new work arounds and did not feel very comfortable with that idea.

The old stock of programmers however had already switched to Visual Basic (Microsoft) and later Delphi (Borland) This came about because many customers with small database environments wanted to upgrade to window versions in their turn pressured by their clients. And as usual clients wanted their applications yesterday!

A second reason why Clipper never got its previous user base back was that the transition to Clipper VO proved to be too complicated for many senior programmers, and juniors already learned to program in Delphi or VB and later Java.

That was a pity because VO proved to be a very powerful and sophisticated database development tool.

Though Nantucket / CA promised a high degree of compatibility with older developments this did not materialize to the degree to make life easier to former Clipper programmers. The result was that programs were rebuilt in the new environments, the best way to do porting actually. Again slimming down the market for Clipper programmers.

In 1995 Computer Associates bought up the Clipper environment, killed the Clipper DOS version and pre-matured project Aspen, and further developed VO

Other developments for Clipper:

Clipper also could be converted to run on UNIX systems by using a porting tool called Flagship. It runs suitably well.

XBase++ is an OO environment and translates DOS Clipper to Windows but does not enhance the clipper development to an event driven application.

Clip-4-Win is a 16 bit compiler and generated character based applications that ran fairly well within Windows.

Harbour  Clipper got a new life with the Harbour project.

The Harbour-project was started as an open source project in early 1999, the project is still on.

The Harbour programming language is a superset of the well known x-Base language, often referred to as Clipper. Harbour is 100% backward compatible with the Clipper Language, yet it adds many modern features and tools comparable to today’s leading compilers.

Out of the harbour-project, xHarbour (extended Harbour) was started late 2001 as a fork off of the Harbour Project

Clipper is still alive!

Chronology:

1984 first issue: Winter 1984

1990 first issue: Clipper 5.0 (distributed at DefCon fall 1990)

1994 first issue of Clipper VO

1997 Clipper VO 2.5

1999 An open source project: Harbour takes up the challenge

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Note : This post gathered from here.


Clipper characteristics

Clipper, characteristics and versions

Clipper is procedural and imperative Programming language created in 1985 by Nantucket Corporation and sold later to Computer Associates, the one commercialized that it like CA-Clipper. At first Clipper was created as Compiler for the managing system interpreter of data bases dBase III (in fact seasonal versions of Nantucket included a label indicated that it thus), but with time the product evolved and matured, becoming a compiled language more powerful than the original one, not only by its own implementations but also by the extensions developed by third parties in C, Assembly and Pascal, of which it was inheriting characteristic. This turned into the tool leader of development of applications of relational databases under operating system MSDOS, mainly programs of management, accounting and invoicing ( SAGE – SP, leader of the Spanish market, uses for Contaplus and FacturaPlus ), commercial agendas and programs of pricing (approximately 80% of the insurance agencies of Spain used it in the programs of their agents).

Characteristics

Unlike other x-Base languages, Clipper never counted on a way Interpreter, similar to the one of dBase . Its utilities for handling of Base of data, such as the one of creation of tables (DBF), they gave with the source code written in Clipper and including, the user could adapt them to his needs if he wanted. They also contributed to many routines written in C and Assembly to which the user could go, to extend and even to create libraries of pre-connects complete.

Clipper works in way pure Compiler generating an object code binary; the package also provided a connector (RTLINK or DLINK) that with the object module and the libraries of pre-connects generated ejecuble a module direct. This last one granted to the Clipper applications a speed to him that other managers of data bases did not own, and, like disadvantage, the necessity to recompilar and to connect again whenever some error in the source code was corrected ( Purification was slow).

It owns characteristics that were very attractive for their time and its surroundings of work (TWO), such as: own handling of Virtual memory ( ram in disc); handling of extended memory, the applications could overcome the barrier of 640Kb of ram imposed by MSDOS ; routines and libraries can be only loaded when they are necessary and they unload of ram when no longer they make lack (it connects and overlays dynamic); the amount of registries by tables only was limited the capacity of the disc; great robustness in the applications, particularly in the designed ones for client-servant (network LAN), etc.

Although it did not own practically calculation functions such as the trigonometrical ones, that other languages like FoxPro if they incorporated; the user them could easily elaborate in C and use them like any other function of own bookstore of the package, advantage that happened of which the Clipper compiler and many of their libraries were almost completely developed in C .

Its form, administration, storage and interchange of screens were simple, effective and quick; what good dynamism to the applications developed with Clipper granted.

The language in if he were powerful, counting with a great amount of sentences, functions, memory management and variables that allowed to the programmer very flexible and efficient developments; in reasonably fast form. Also the package included complete “manual in line navegable”, that ram was loaded in memory, to requirement of the programmer, and it was acceded by the single pressure of a pair of keys.

At his long time sea bream, it has been, probably, the language relational database manager of ” low and medium porte” more used in the world. Today many Clipper developers even exist (some grouped communities and with forums in Internet), that make applications, style Windows, even using their own graphical libraries written in C and Assembly .

The first versions

The first versions denominate seasonal versions to make reference to a station of the year in their official names. All of them name like dBASE compilers . These were:

  • Nantucket Clipper Winter’84 – sent 25 of May of 1985
  • Nantucket Clipper Summer’85 – sent in 1985
  • Nantucket Clipper Winter’85 – sent 29 of January of 1986
  • Nantucket Clipper Fall’86 – sent 31 of October of 1986
  • Nantucket Clipper Summer’87 – sent 21 of December of 1987
  • Gatsoft Clipper Summer’88 – sent 16 of March of 1988

Clipper 5

Clipper 5.0 supposes a qualitative jump of the language, although it begins bad. Given the increasing popularity (Summer 87 has been used until the year 2000 like development tool), it is decided to concentrate more in extending the language that in being improved compiler of dBase. They are implemented therefore pseudo-objects and other improvements… but the product sends with numerous bugs that make that the objective public dissuades itself and continues using the Summer87 version, much more stable. The 5,01 correct many of the problems, but it will not be until the 5,2 that take place upsets massive of the developers.

Versions 5 of Nantucket are:

  • Nantucket Clipper 5,00 – sent in 1990
  • Nantucket Clipper 5,01 – sent 15 of April of 1991
  • Nantucket Clipper 5,01 Rev.129 – sent 31 of March of 1992

The American multinational Computer Associates acquires Nantucket and it is sent to improve the product strengthening the inherited characteristics of C, in particular the data type code-block (literally code block, a hybrid between macros of dBase, the evaluation of chains of characters and the leaders of functions). Another one of the improvements coming from version 5.0 is the system “Replaceable Drivers” Database; (RDD or basic drivers replacable of data), that allows with a single sentence to change between different basic norms from data. The appearance of version 5.2, with a frenetic race of subversions (with improvements and correction of errors) until 5.2c, that marks the beginning of the massive migration of those who still remained in Summer’87. The version of used Clipper of history happens more therefore. Contrary, her successor, 5,3, in spite of implementing improvements, falls in a bulk error, when not considering the compatibility with at least the most popular libraries of Clipper (as much commercial as freeware), and to consume excessive resources of TWO.

  • CA Clipper 5.01a -
  • CA Clipper 5,20 – sent 15 of February of 1993
  • CA-Clipper 5.2a – sent 15 of March of 1993
  • CA Clipper 5.2b – sent 25 of June of 1993
  • CA-Clipper 5.2c – sent 6 of August of 1993
  • CA Clipper 5.2d – sent 25 of March of 1994
  • CA-Clipper 5.2e – sent 7 of February of 1995
  • CA Clipper 5,30 – sent 26 of June of 1995
  • CA Clipper 5.3a – sent 20 of May of 1996
  • CA Clipper 5.3b – sent 20 of May of 1997

Computer Associates decides to leave Clipper before the might of Microsoft Windows, and overturns part of the development of Clipper ( project Reels of Nantucket) to its new tool CA-Line of vision Objects, that appears at the same time as 5.3 almost Clipper but the abandonment of the syntax x-Base and not to provide a tool with adapted migration, together with the high price of the product (that in addition debia to compete with other products of the own house, one of them based on BASIC ), causes that the thickness of Clipper programmers chooses to remain in versions 5.3 with libraries of third parties like FiveWin, or migrate to tools x-Base like Visual FoxPro as market TWO is reduced.

22 of April of 2002 Computer Associates and GrafX Software announces that they have reached an agreement of licensing, marketing and development of two of its languages of development: CA-Clipper and CA-Line of vision Objects.

One of the main characteristics that helped the success of Clipper was the possibility of expanding the language with routines in C and ensablador. Several of them, as CodeBase or Apollo is RDDs. With the appearance of Windows several of them were developed to carry the Clipper applications to Windows. Most popular she is the FiveWin Spanish, employee in products leaders of accounting in Spain.

In addition, the use of linkers alternative allowed to improve the generated yield of the feasible one. The most acclaimed it was Blinker, that adds a extensor of with TWO protected mode (it is used with numerous languages and compilers). It added support to compile programs and libraries for Windows.

At present the Clipper language is actively being implemented and being extended by several projects and salesmen. Between the projects of free Software we can emphasize Paper clip, Harbor and XHarbour . Between the commercial compilers XBase++ and Visual FlagShip. And Other products like ” MEDIATOR” that they offer the possibility him of connecting itself to relational Database servers like MS-SQL, MySQL and Oracle.

XBase++ has been called the Clipper Compiler of 32 bits, being at the moment the leader in innovations and incorporations to the language. Or they have been sold more than 25,000 copies of the compiler and they use from solitary developers to great companies like Hewlett-Packard or the Government of Canada.

Several of those implementations are portable thanks to their development in C ( TWO, Windows, Linux (32 and 64 bits), Unix (32 and 64 bits), and Mac OS X ), supporting several extensions of the language; they count on several extensions of the language, and several Replaceable Drivers Database (RDD) that the most popular formats of tables support, like DBF, DBTNTX, DBFCDX ( FoxPro and Comix), MachSix (Apollo), SQL, and more. All these new implementations maintain the complete compatibility with the standard x-Base sintax , at the same time as and syntax oriented to the destiny like SQLExecute()offer Object-oriented programming .

At the moment there is a free version, the Harbor Project that it has like original objective to be 100% compatible one with version 5.2 (most popular of the versions of Clipper), also are addition new characteristic like support for SQL through SQLite. Harbor is available for multiple platforms, including not only MSDOS and Windows, but also to Linux, OS/2 and others. In the month of August of the 2008 the launching of version 1.0 announced officially.

In 2005, Newsgroup of Usenet regarding Clipper comp.clipper and comp.visual-objects follow assets.

Programming in Clipper

Simple Hello world :

? ” Hello World! “

A simple mask of entrance of Base of data :

USE Customer SHARED NEW

clear screen
@  1, 0 SAY "CustNum" GET Customer->CustNum PICT "999999" VALID Customer->CustNum > 0
@  3, 0 SAY "Contact" GET Customer->Contact VALID !empty(Customer->Contact)
@  4, 0 SAY "Address" GET Customer->Address
READ

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Note : This article Gathered from here.

What is Harbour ?

Harbour is a modern computer programming language. It is a Clipper-compatible compiler which is cross-platform, running on many operating systems (DOSMicrosoft WindowsLinuxUnix variants, several BSD descendants, Mac OS XMINIX 3Windows CEPocket PCSymbianiPhoneQNXVxWorksOS/2/eComStationBeOS/HaikuAIX) using the same source code and databases.

Although it is a powerful general-purpose programming language, it was primarily used to create database/business programs. Harbour have been actively maintained looking for diversity keeping backward-compatible with Clipper style. It has undergone many changes and revisions and regain widely popularity amongst programmers in 1980s and 1990s

The open source Harbour license is similar to the GNU General Public License, with an exception supporting proprietary applications, so proprietary applications can be produced with Harbour and distributed..

Paradigm(s) multi-paradigmimperativefunctional,object-orientedreflective
Appeared in 1999
Designed by Antonio Linares
Developer Viktor Szakáts and community
Stable release 3.0.0 (17 July 2011; 2 months ago)
Preview release 3.1.x available from SVN
Typing discipline optionally duckdynamicsafe, partially strong
Dialects Clipper, Xbase ++, Flagship, FoxPro, xHarbour
Influenced by dBase, Clipper
Influenced xHarbour
OS Cross-platform
License Open source GPL Compatible
Usual filename extensions .prg, .ch, .hbs, .dbf
Website http://www.harbour-project.org/

History

The idea of a free software Clipper compiler has been floating around for a long time and the subject has often cropped up in discussion on comp.lang.clipper. Antonio Linares founded the Harbour project and the implementation was started.

Sailing the Clipper ship to a Harbour port. Clipper is a type of ship. Harbour is a synonym to port (where ship docks) Harbour is out port to the Clipper language.

On 2009 Harbour had a huge make over on its design promoted mainly by Viktor Szakáts and Przemyslaw Czerpak

 Database support

Harbour extends the Clipper Replaceable Database Drivers (RDD) approach. It offers multiple RDDs such as DBF, DBFNTX, DBFCDX, DBFDBT and DBFFPT. In Harbour multiple RDDs can be used in a single application, and new logical RDDs can be defined from combination of other RDDs. The RDD architecture allows for inheritance, so that a given RDD may extend the functionality of other existing RDD(s). Third-party RDDs, like RDDSQL, RDDSIX, RMDBFCDX, Advantage Database Server, and Mediator exemplify some of the RDD architecture features. DBFNTX implementation has almost same functionality of DBFCDX and RDDSIX. NETIO and LetoDB provide remote access over TCP protocol Harbour also offers ODBC support by means of an OOP syntax, and ADO support by means of OLEMySQLPostgreSQLSQLiteFirebirdOracle are examples of databases which Harbour can connect.

xBase technologies often is confused with a RDBMS software. Although this is true, xBase is more than a simple database system as the same time xBase languages using purely DBF can not provide full concept of a real RDBMS

Programming philosophy

Unlike Java which is intended to be write once, run anywhere, Harbour aims to be write once, compile anywhere. As the same compiler is available for all of the above operating systems, there is no need for recoding to produce identical products for different platforms, except when operating system dependent features are used. Cross-compiling is supported with MinGW32. Under Microsoft Windows, Harbour is more stable but less well-documented than Clipper, but has multi-platform capability and is more transparent, customizable and can run from a USB flash drive.

Under Linux and Windows Mobile, Clipper source code can be compiled with Harbour with very little adaptation. Most software originally written to run on Xbase ++, Flagship, FoxPro, xHarbour and others dialects can be compiled with Harbor with some adaptation. As 2010 many efforts have been made to turn the transition from other xBase dialects easier.

Harbour can use the following C compilers, amongothers: GCCMinGWClangICCMicrosoft Visual C++ (6.0+), Borland C++Watcom CPelles C and Sun Studio.

Harbour can make use of multiple Graphic Terminal emulations, including console drivers, and Hybrid Console/GUIs, such as GTWvt, and GTWvg.

Harbour supports external GUIs, free (e.g. HWGui, MiniGUI and Qt) and commercial (e.g. FiveWin, Xailer). HBQt is a library provinding bindings to Qt. HBIDE application included in official distribution and SVN repository is a sample of HBQt potencial.

Harbour is 100% Clipper-compatible and supports many language syntax extensions including greatly extended run-time libraries such as OLE, BlatOpenSSLFreeImage,GD, TIP, Tpathy, PCRE, HbZip (zlib and bzip2), cURLCairo, its own implementation of CA-Tools and NanFor libraries and many others. Harbour has an active development community and extensive third party support.

Any xBase language provides a very productive way to build business and data intensive applications. Harbour is not an exception.

Macro Operator (runtime compiler)

One of the most powerful features of xBase languages is the Macro Operator ‘&’. Harbour’s implementation of the Macro Operator allows for runtime compilation of any valid Harbour expression. Such a compiled expression may be used as a VALUE, i.e. the right side of an assignment (rvalue), but more interestingly, such a compiled expression may be used to resolve the left side (lvalue) of an assignment, i.e. PRIVATE, or PUBLIC variables, or a database FIELD.

Additionally, the Macro Operator may compile and execute function calls, complete assignments, or even list of arguments, and the result of the macro may be used to resolve any of the above contexts in the compiled application. In other words, any Harbour application may be extended and modified at runtime to compile and execute additional code on-demand.

Latest Macro compiler can compile any valid Harbour code including code to pre-process before compile.

Syntax:

 &( ... )

The text value of the expression ‘…’ will be compiled, and the value resulting from the execution of the compiled code is the result.

 &SomeId

is the short form for &( SomeId ).

 &SomeId.postfix

is the short form of &( SomeId + “postfix” ).

Object Oriented Programming

Programming in an OOP style is a broader issue than a specific library or a specific interface, but OOP programming is something many Clipper programmers have come to expect. CA-Clipper 5.2 and especially 5.3 added a number of base classes, and a matching OOP syntax. Libraries such as Class(y), Fivewin, Clip4Win, and TopClass provide additional OOP functionality.

Harbour has OOP extensions with full support for classes including inheritance, based on Class(y) syntax. OOP syntax in Harbour is very similar to that of earlier Clipper class libraries so it should be possible to maintain legacy Clipper code with minimal changes.

Syntax and semantics

Harbour as every xBase language is case insensitive and can optionally accept keywords written just by first four characters

Built-in data types

Harbour has 6 scalar types : NilStringDateLogical, Number,Pointer, and 4 complex types: ArrayObjectCodeBlock, and Hash. A scalar holds a single value, such as a string, number, or reference to any other type. Arrays are ordered lists of scalars or complex types, indexed by number, starting at 1. Hashes, or associative arrays, are unordered collections of any type values indexed by their associated key, which may be of any scalar or complex type.

Literal (static) representation of scalar types:

  • Nil: NIL
  • String: “hello”, ‘hello’, [hello]
  • Date: 0d20100405
  • Logical: .T., .F.
  • Number: 1, 1.1, −1, 0xFF

Complex Types may also be represent as literal values:

  • Array: { “String””, 1, { “Nested Array” }, .T., FunctionCall(), @FunctionPointer() }
  • CodeBlock: { |Arg1, ArgN| Arg1 := ArgN + OuterVar + FunctionCall() }
  • Hash: { “Name” => “John”, 1 => “Numeric key”, { “Nested” => “Hash” } }

Hashes may use any type including other Hashes as the Key for any element. Hashes and Arrays may contain any type as the Value of any member, including nesting arrays, and Hashes.

Codeblocks may have references to Variables of the Procedure/Function>method in which it was defined. Such Codeblocks may be returned as a value, or by means of an argument passed BY REFERENCE, in such case the Codeblock will “outlive” the routine in which it was defined, and any variables it references, will be a DETACHED variable.

Detached variables will maintain their value for as long as a Codeblock referencing them still exists. Such values will be shared with any other Codeblock which may have access to those same variables. If the Codeblock did not outlive its containing routine, and will be evaluated within the lifetime of the routine in which it is defined, changes to its Detached Variables(s) by means of its evaluation, will be reflected back at its parent routine.

Codeblocks can be evaluated any number of times, by means of the Eval( BlockExp ) function.

Variables

All types can be assigned to named variables. Named variable identifiers are 1 to 63 characters long, start with [A-Z|_] and further consist of the characters [A-Z|0–9|_] up to a maximum of 63 characters. Named variables are not case sensitive.

Variables have one of the following scopes:

  • LOCAL: Visible only within the routine which declared it. Value is lost upon exit of the routine.
  • STATIC: Visible only within the routine which declared it. Value is preserved for subsequent invocations of the routine. If a STATIC variable is declared before any Procedure/Function/Method is defined, it has a MODULE scope, and is visible within any routine defined within that same source file, it will maintain its life for the duration of the application lifetime.
  • PRIVATE: Visible within the routine which declared it, and all routines called by that routine.
  • PUBLIC: Visible by all routines in the same application.

LOCAL and STATIC are resolved at compile time, and thus are much faster than PRIVATE and PUBLIC variables which are dynamic entities accessed by means of a runtime Symbol table. For this same reason, LOCAL and STATIC variables are not exposed to the Macro compiler, and any macro code which attempts to reference them will generate a runtime error.

Due to the dynamic nature of PRIVATE and PUBLIC variables, they can be created and destroyed at runtime, can be accessed and modified by means of runtime macros, and can be accessed and modified by Codeblocks created on the fly.

Control structures

The basic control structures include all of the standard dBase, and Clipper control structures as well as additional ones inspired by the C or Java programming languages:

Loops

[DO] WHILE ConditionExp
   ...
   [LOOP]
   [EXIT]
END[DO]

FOR Var := InitExp TO EndExp [STEP StepExp]
   ...
   [LOOP]
   [EXIT]
NEXT
FOR EACH Var IN CollectionExp
   ...
   [HB_EnumIndex()]
   [LOOP]
   [EXIT]
NEXT
  • The  is a sequence of one of more Harbour statements, and square bracketes [] denote optional syntax.
  • The HB_EnumIndex() may be optionally used to retrieve the current iteration index (1 based).
  • The LOOP statement restarts the current iteration of the enclosing loop structure, and if the enclosing loop is a FOR or FOR EACH loop, it increases the iterator, moving to the next iteration of the loop.
  • The EXIT statement immediately terminates execution of the enclosing loop structure.
  • The NEXT statement closes the control structure and moves to the next iteration of loop structure.

In the FOR statement, the assignment expression is evaluated prior to the first loop iteration. The TO expression is evaluated and compared against the value of the control variable, prior to each iteration, and the loop is terminated if it evaluates to a numeric value greater than the numeric value of the control variable. The optional STEP expression is evaluated after each iteration, prior to deciding whether to perform the next iteration.

In FOR EACH, the Var variable will have the value (scalar, or complex) of the respective element in the collection value. The collection expression, may be an Array (of any type or combinations of types), an Hash Table, or an Object type.

IF statements

IF CondExp
   ...
[ELSEIF] CondExp
   ...
[ELSE]
   ...
END[IF]

 represents 0 or more statement(s).

The condition expression(s) has to evaluate to a LOGICAL value.

SWITCH statements

Harbour supports a SWITCH construct inspired by the C implementation of switch().

SWITCH SwitchExp
   CASE LiteralExp
      ...
      [EXIT]
   [CASE LiteralExp]
      ...
      [EXIT]

   [DEFAULT]
      ...
END
  • The LiteralExp must be a compiled time resolvable numeric expression, and may involve operators, as long as such operators involve compile time static value.
  • The EXIT optional statement is the equivalent of the C statement break, and if present, execution of the SWITCH structure will end when the EXIT statement is reached, otherwise it will continue with the first statement below the next CASE statement (fall through).

BEGIN SEQUENCE statements

BEGIN SEQUENCE
   ...
   [BREAK]
   [Break([Exp])]
RECOVER [USING Var]
   ...
END[SEQUENCE]

or:

BEGIN SEQUENCE
   ...
   [BREAK]
   [Break()]
END[SEQUENCE]

The BEGIN SEQUENCE structure allows for a well behaved abortion of any sequence, even when crossing nested procedures/functions. This means that a called procedure/function, may issue a BREAK statement, or a Break() expression, to force unfolding of any nested procedure/functions, all the way back to the first outer BEGIN SEQUENCE structure, either after its respective END statement, or a RECOVER clause if present. The Break statement may optionally pass any type of expression, which may be accepted by the RECOVER statement to allow further recovery handing.

Additionally the Harbour Error Object supports canDefaultcanRetry and canSubstitute properties, which allows error handlers to perform some preparations, and then request a Retry Operation, a Resume, or return a Value to replace the expression triggering the error condition.

Alternatively TRY [CATCH] [FINALLY] statements are available on xHB library working like the SEQUENCE construct.

Procedures/Functions

[STATIC] PROCEDURE SomeProcedureName
[STATIC] PROCEDURE SomeProcedureName()
[STATIC] PROCEDURE SomeProcedureName( Param1' [, ParamsN] )
INIT PROCEDURE SomeProcedureName
EXIT PROCEDURE SomeProcedureName
[STATIC] FUNCTION SomeProcedureName
[STATIC] FUNCTION SomeProcedureName()
[STATIC] FUNCTION SomeProcedureName( Param1' [, ParamsN] )

Procedures/Functions in Harbour can be specified with the keywords PROCEDURE, or FUNCTION. Naming rules are same as those for Variables (up to 63 characters non case sensitive). Both Procedures and Functions may be qualified by the scope qualifier STATIC to restrict their usage to the scope of the module where defined.

The INIT or EXIT optional qualifiers, will flag the procedure to be automatically invoked just before calling the application startup procedure, or just after quitting the application, respectively. Parameters passed to a procedure/function appear in the subroutine as local variables, and may accept any type, including references.

Changes to argument variables are not reflected in respective variables passed by the calling procedure/function/method unless explicitly passed BY REFERENCE using the@ prefix.

PROCEDURE have no return value, and if used in an Expression context will produce a NIL value.

FUNCTION may return any type by means of the RETURN statement, anywhere in the body of its definition.

An example procedure definition and a function call follows:

 x := Cube( 2 )

 FUNCTION Cube( n )
 RETURN n ** 3

 Sample code

The typical “hello world” program would be:

 
  ? "Hello, world!"

Or:

  QOut( "Hello, world!" )

Or:

  Alert( "Hello, world!" )

Or, enclosed in an explicit procedure:

 PROCEDURE Main()

    ? "Hello, world!"

 RETURN

 

OOP examples

 #include "hbclass.ch"

 PROCEDURE Main()

    LOCAL oPerson := Person( "Dave" )

    oPerson:Eyes := "Invalid"

    oPerson:Eyes := "Blue"

    Alert( oPerson:Describe() )
 RETURN

 CLASS Person
    DATA Name INIT ""

    METHOD New() CONSTRUCTOR

    ACCESS Eyes INLINE ::pvtEyes
    ASSIGN Eyes( x ) INLINE IIF( ValType( x ) == 'C' .AND. ;
                 x IN "Blue,Brown,Green", ::pvtEyes := x,; 
                 Alert( "Invalid value" ) )

    // Sample of IN-LINE Method definition
    INLINE METHOD Describe()
       LOCAL cDescription

       IF Empty( ::Name )
          cDescription := "I have no name yet."
       ELSE
          cDescription := "My name is: " + ::Name + ";"
       ENDIF

       IF ! Empty( ::Eyes )
          cDescription += "my eyes' color is: " + ::Eyes
       ENDIF
    ENDMETHOD

    PRIVATE:
       DATA pvtEyes
 ENDCLASS

 // Sample of normal Method definition.
 METHOD New( cName ) CLASS Person

   ::Name := cName

 RETURN Self

 

Tools

  • HBMK2 – Powerful build tool like make
  • HBDoc2 and  HBExtern – Creates documentation for Harbour
  • HPPP – Pre-processor, a powerful tool which avoids typical problems found on C language pre-processor
  • HBFormat – Formats source code written on Harbour or another dialect according defined rules
  • HBi18n – Tools to localizing text on applications
  • HBRun – Shell interpreter for Harbour. Macro compiling allows to run any valid Harbour code as it’s being compiled
  • HBIDE – Integrated Development Environment to help Harbour development and various xBase dialects

All tools are multiplatform.

Development

Today Habour development is leading by Viktor Szakáts with huge collaborations and leading many components of core and contribs by Przemysław Czerpak. HBIDE and some components, specially HBQt, are developed by Pritpal Bedi. Others members send minor changes to the Sourceforge SVN repository.  As 2010 Harbour development is keeping vibrant activity

Popularity

Although there is no way to measure popularity of Harbour or xBase, the TIOBE Programming Community Index As of June 2006 ranked Microsoft Visual FoxPro, a high profile dialect of xBase, on 12th position on programming languages popularity ranking. FoxPro/xBase ranked on 25th position As of August 2010. As of September 2010, the Clipper Usenet newsgroupscomp.lang.clipper is still active. As of August 2010 Harbour figured on 16th position on weekly downloads in compiler category and 132th position on global rank.

xHarbour comparison

xHarbour is a fork of the earlier Harbour project. xHarbour takes a more aggressive approach to implementing new features in the language, while Harbour is more conservative in its approach, aiming first of all for an exact replication of Clipper behaviour and then implementing new features and extensions as a secondary consideration. It should also be noted that Harbour is supported on a wide variety of operating systems while xHarbour only really supports MS Windows and Linux 32-bit.

The Harbour developers have attempted to document all hidden behaviour in the Clipper language and test Harbour-compiled code alongside the same code compiled with Clipper to maintain compatibility.

The Harbour developers explicitly reject extensions to the language where those extensions would break Clipper compatibility. These rejections were soften recently since the new Harbour architecture allow extensions out of the core compiler.

A detailed comparison between extensions implemented in Harbour and xHarbour can be found in SVN repository of the project on SourceForge.

As of 2009–2010, Harbour has seen a huge increase in its adoption while xHarbour decline as can be seen on his mailing list

See also

References

  1. ^ Harbour license
  2. ^ LetoDB
  3. ^ Official Harbour page
  4. ^ http://sourceforge.net/projects/harbour-project/
  5. ^ TIOBE Programming Community Index
  6. ^ SourceForge
  7. ^ About xHarbour
  8. ^ xhb-diff.txt
  9. ^ Harbour developers’ mailing list statistics
  10. ^ xHarbour developers’ mailing list statistics
  11. ^ ohloh.net Activity comparison

External links

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Note : This post borrowed by curtesy of Vikipedia from here :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbour_(software)

 

 

 

What is Clipper ?

As a computer software term, the word “Clipper” has two meaning :

1- A programming language

2- A compiler

As a computer programming language that is used to build software programs that originally operated primarily under DOS. Although it is a powerful general-purpose programming language, it was primarily used to construct  database/business programs.

Clipper was originally released in 1985 as a compiler for dBASE III, a very popular database language at the time. Compiling dBASE code changes it from interpreted code, which must be interpreted every time each line of code is executed, to p-code, which uses a Virtual Machine to process the compiled p-code. p-code is considerably faster, but still not as fast as the machine code generated by native compilers. As a technical marketing ploy, the p-code was wrapped into object code (linkable .obj files) which gave the impression that it was compiled to native code. Clipper was created by Nantucket Corporation led by Barry ReBell (political) and Brian Russell (technical), and later sold to Computer AssociatesGrafX Software licensed CA-Clipper in 2002 from CA for ongoing marketing and distribution.

As the product matured, it remained a DOS tool for many years, but added elements of the C programming language and Pascal programming language, as well as OOP, and the code-block data-type (hybridizing the concepts of dBase macros, or string-evaluation, and function pointers), to become far more powerful than the original. Nantucket’s Aspen project later matured into the Windows native-code Visual Objects compiler.

After “swallow” Nantucket at 1992, CA published a few releases of Clipper Compiler, lastly 5.3a at  May 20, 1997. But most of Clipper programmer uses preferably 5.2e – released February 7, 1995.

Although remained a DOS as the compiler, Clipper continues to live as the programming language.

The Clipper language is being actively implemented and extended by multiple organizations/vendors, like xBase ++ from Alaska Software and FlagShip, as well as free(GPL-licensed) projects like Harbour and xHarbour.

Many of the current implementations are portable (DOSWindowsLinux (32- and 64-bit), Unix (32- and 64-bit), and Mac OS X), supporting many language extensions[1], and have greatly extended runtime libraries, as well as various Replaceable Database Drivers (RDD) supporting many popular database formats, like DBF, DBTNTX, DBFCDX (FoxPro, Apollo and Comix), MachSix (SIx Driver and Apollo), SQL, and more. These newer implementations all strive for full compatibility with the standard dBase/xBase syntax, while also offering OOP approaches and target-based syntax such as SQLExecute().

Version history

The various versions of Clipper compiler were:

From Nantucket Corporation; the “seasonal versions”, billed as “dBase compilers

  • Nantucket Clipper Winter’84 – released May 25, 1985
  • Nantucket Clipper Summer’85 – released 1985
  • Nantucket Clipper Winter’85 – released January 29, 1986
  • Nantucket Clipper Autumn’86 – released October 31, 1986
  • Nantucket Clipper Summer’87 – released December 21, 1987

From Nantucket Corporation; Clipper 5

  • Nantucket Clipper 5.00 – released 1990
  • Nantucket Clipper 5.01 – released April 15, 1991
  • Nantucket Clipper 5.01 Rev.129 – released March 31, 1992

and from Computer Associates; CA-Clipper 5

  • CA Clipper 5.01a -
  • CA Clipper 5.20 – released February 15, 1993
  • CA-Clipper 5.2a – released March 15, 1993
  • CA Clipper 5.2b – released June 25, 1993
  • CA-Clipper 5.2c – released August 6, 1993
  • CA Clipper 5.2d – released March 25, 1994
  • CA-Clipper 5.2e – released February 7, 1995
  • CA Clipper 5.30 – released June 26, 1995
  • CA Clipper 5.3a – released May 20, 1996
  • CA Clipper 5.3b – released May 20, 1997

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Note: This post is based upon mainly a Wikipedia article :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clipper_(programming_language)