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).
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 5.0 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
Note : This article Gathered from here.
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 Associates. GrafX 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 (DOS, Windows, Linux (32- and 64-bit), Unix (32- and 64-bit), and Mac OS X), supporting many language extensions, 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().
The various versions of Clipper compiler were:
- 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
Note: This post is based upon mainly a Wikipedia article :