Early days of Clipper

Notes on early days of Clipper

Some quotations :

Clipper was originally built in 1985 as a compiler for dBASE III.

Clipper was built by Nantucket Corporation led by Barry ReBell (management) and Brian Russell (technical), and  later sold to …

Source

         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brett Oliver, Jim Warner, Brian Russell, Richard McConnell …

Main architects and primary developers of Clipper and founders of Nantucket Corporation. It was 1984 when
Clipper was born.

Source

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Clipper Summer’87 Manual, “Credits” page :

ClpSum87Credits

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Clipper 5.0 Manual, “Credits” page :

Clp5.0Credits

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

… and 30 years after birth of this phenomenal myth, one (or first) of main builders suddenly appeared : Brett Oliver !

By a comment to one page of this blog :

Not only main starter / builder of Clipper, he is also author of wonderful books :

Clipper Programming: An In-Depth Introduction to Programming

This book also is a myth.

And he told me on request, something on beginning and building story of this great myth;

Brian was working at Ashton-Tate, as was I.

I was in tech support, alongside Brian, and customers that were phoning in kept asking for a compiler.

So I approached Barry for the money to back it. He had a temp agency. I met him in the Ashton-Tate cafeteria.

I recruited Brian at lunch at a Japanese restaurant in Culver city.

Clipper was the first program Brian had written in ‘C’.

He learned C as he programmed Clipper.

I asked him when I was recruiting him if he had ever written a compiler.

He said he had written a Pascal compiler in university. (He later admitted that it had never worked!).

The first development office was a beach house in Malibu.

Tom Rettig was the editor for dNEWS at Ashton-Tate. I took over as editor of dNEWS.

I was the first VP of sales, and one of my employees was Mary Beth. I introduced her to Brian and later they married.

At the first Comdex in Vegas, Brian was upstairs in his room – coding.

He got one command to work – paint a dot on the screen. We demonstrated that one command, and showed that we could draw a box 20 times faster than dBASE.

I wrote a couple of books on Clipper, and was also on the dBASE for Windows development team at Borland. 

I worked with Tom at his condo in Santa Monica for a time. Too bad he died.

Barry died in 2009.

Brian and I went dirt biking together. He loaned me his street bike for a couple of months when my car was getting fixed. He is a good guy. I think he is working in LA.

We live in San Diego, – my wife is from Liechtenstein. We have three boys.

I am Scottish. Currently programming in eCommerce.

Anyway, nice chatting.

Stay in touch.

I wish he will write more …

Design of Clipper

build the truly reusable routine

A tale about Clipper

ShipSilhouette5

A tale about the origin of Clipper

There is a tale about the origin of CA-Clipper. Whether it is true or not, few people know, but “insiders” have said that it is not far from the truth. Here it is.

One day in a seafood restaurant in Malibu, California, an Ashton-Tate employee and a consultant friend were having lunch. They were expressing their annoyance at the fact that Ashton-Tate had not created a compiler for the dBase language.

The two thought that maybe they should have a go at starting up a new company to create the compiler. As the excitement grew and the ideas flew, the issue of a product name came up.

One of the two noticed a picture of a sailing ship on the napkin (after all this was a seafood restaurant). It was a clipper ship — a sleek, speedy, and elegant thing. That seemed to describe what they were trying to create.

What about the company name? The menu answered that question — the restaurant name was Nantucket Lighthouse.

And so Nantucket’s Clipper was born.

The consultant was Barry ReBell and the Ashton-Tate employee was Brian Russell.

Since that time there were four “seasonally” named versions of the compiler: Winter 85, Spring 86, Autumn 86, Summer 87. Very “California”…

These early versions clearly billed themselves as dBase compilers, with the Summer 87 version displaying “dBase III® compiler” on the floppy disks and documentation.

Many programmers using Clipper at the time were really “just” dBase programmers with a tool to create faster programs. So it was quite a shock to them when Clipper 5 was released. “What have they done to our language?”, they asked. Local variables? Code blocks? Tbrowse?

But there were also those of us who had strained against the limitations of the dBase language — the lack of modularity, the clumsiness, the vulnerability of public and private variables.

So we recognized that Clipper 5 was a turning point in the history of the Xbase language. No longer billed as a dBase compiler, Clipper became an “Application Development System”. A real language.

Well, maybe not as real as C, but getting there. In fact, many Clipper 5 concepts were borrowed from C and other languages. The increment operator (++) and expression lists, for example, seem to have come from C, while code blocks may have been inspired by SmallTalk

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This article borrowed by courtesy of author,  from here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please look at here for continuation of this post.