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Good luck from an xBase alumni

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1 year 10 months ago #1 by Gareth
Good luck from an xBase alumni was created by Gareth
Hi all

I came across this initiative purely by accident but I'd like to wish you every success with it.

It was 1998 that I wrote my last line of xBase/Clipper code, having moved on to Delphi after 9 years as a dBase/Clipper developer. I then moved onto C# and .NET back in 2008. Whilst I can't see myself moving from C# professionally, I think the initiative is a real step in the right direction. High-priced proprietary languages are a thing of the past and anything which moves xBase on from that is a great thing to unleash it's potential and try to rekindle adoption

I still have a soft spot for xBase/Clipper and would love to give X# a go on a side project.

Again all the best with it. I'll keep an interested eye on your progress.

Regards,
Gareth

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1 year 10 months ago #2 by Wolfgang Riedmann
Replied by Wolfgang Riedmann on topic Good luck from an xBase alumni
Hi Gareth,

if you give X# a try, you will discover things that C# does not has like a macrocompiler and a (currently in development) preprocessor that will give you the possibility to modify the code that is generated, for example adding notifications on property changes (as requested for databinding in WPF).

Wolfgang
(who passed to Clipper after working in Cobol and C)

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1 year 10 months ago #3 by Chris Pyrgas
Replied by Chris Pyrgas on topic Good luck from an xBase alumni
Hi Gareth,

Thank you very much for your nice words, it is very rewarding and motivating hearing such feedback... We will be doing our best to fulfill everybody's expectations about this project!

Chris

XSharp Development Team
chris(at)xsharp.eu

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1 year 10 months ago #4 by Gareth
Replied by Gareth on topic Good luck from an xBase alumni
Hi Chris and Wolfgang

Thanks for your replies. This is definitely the right approach to the future of xBase. I was dragged away from xBase as the initial release of VO was awful and we couldn't wait for them to get it right to move to Windows at the time. One of my big regrets of the time was not moving to Visual FoxPro in the early-90s instead of waiting for VO and moving our apps to Windows that way. But Nantucket and then CA were making such huge promises about VO that we waited. When Delphi was released it was so far ahead of where VO was and as my first language as a pro-developer was Turbo Pascal it was the natural way to go but it took us 3 years (96-99) to get a Windows version of our app with Delphi to market which saw us lose a lot of traction in our niche market. Why we didn't even consider VPF at the time still baffles me! Anyway enough of the nostalgia!

I have to admit that in recent years when I've taken a look at the xBase ecosystem from time-to-time the approach always seemed very antiquated - I, probably unfairly, thought it seemed designed for people who simply refused to move on (in fact the same thing is going on now with Delphi). But X# is a very positive approach, building on the latest technologies and going with the open-source approach to remove the prohibitive costs for new adopters is exactly how this should be done and I'd like to congratulate those involved for their hard work and correct strategy. I fear Vulcan.NET (just as it happening now with Delphi) has a business model to continue to extract larger sums out of an ever-shrinking customer-base who have large codebases and products to maintain and not out of any sense of innovation or attracting new developers or old developers back. While I understood they need to make a buck their approach is effectively killing the language. X# is the right way to prevent that from happening.

I would say that piggy-backing on Roslyn should help you to follow in the footsteps of C# in terms of becoming cross-platform through both Xamarin and .NET Core and ASP.NET Core and all of MS' innovations in that area. If you can achieve that (and maybe you could let me know of your plans around this) then X# could be something very special.

Good luck guys, and I'll keep a very close eye on this and I'll let some of my colleagues (old and new) know what you're doing.

All the best.
Gareth

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1 year 10 months ago #5 by Wolfgang Riedmann
Replied by Wolfgang Riedmann on topic Good luck from an xBase alumni
Hi Gareth,

in the last years I was looking around to find a substitute for VO, but unfortunately I could not find one. I have also looked at Delphi, more than one time, and it had not what I needed: the possibility to easily build own control and window classes, a macrocompiler and powerful array functions.
And I missed a possibility to move my code to a new and incompatible platform.

I like the VO language and liked to work with it, but now I like X# much more because it introduces new language elements.

Maybe I'm particular as I don't like visual editors like them in Visual Studio an Delphi, but I like to work in source code as it is easier for me to maintain large project for at least 10 or 15 years.

X# is giving me a way to the future for my old applications, and at the same time I can use tecnology like WPF and paradigms like MVVM to build new applications - this is a dream solution for.

Combine that with a very good support, fast response times from the development team and features that are added on request and you will see a first-of-class tool for developing business applications. Of course the .NET tools that are available and all the tons of source in C# you will find around are another big help.

Wolfgang

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1 year 10 months ago #6 by Gareth
Replied by Gareth on topic Good luck from an xBase alumni
Hi Wolfgang

Yes, X# appears to be a huge improvement on any previous xBase implementation since the 90s. I would not advise anyone to go with Delphi - there really is no valid case to use it for new projects, it's only for people maintaining older projects these days. It's great that X# is giving your old apps a positive future, it's unusual to be able to do that - for me it's always involved at least an 80% rewrite when I've moved technologies.

I believe VO did improve hugely in the years after it's initial release. However with V1 it was a mess and was massively disappointing for people like me who had bet on Nantucket/CA delivering a real Window successor to Clipper. I'd waited on their promises through 93 and 94 when we could have been developing our Windows solutions on VB or VFP to get a head start. What happened with VO in those days still stings to this day and I learnt a valuable lesson. In the end Delphi came along to sweep us Clipper guys up. Delphi was great for a few years but then people like Anders & Philippe left Borland and subsequent management changes ruined the product and it's never recovered. Ultimately C# killed Delphi (although it lingers on to this day) and after these bitter lessons, C# has been a good and reliable place to hang my hat. Now with Xamarin, UWP and ASP.NET core and with MS being more open it's in better shape than ever. If X# can hang onto C#'s coattails through Roslyn then xBase has a great future still and I'll be giving it a try on an upcoming PoC or side-project.

Again appreciate the work being put into X# and to your replies. Seems like a positive and friendly community to join.

All the best
Gareth

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1 year 10 months ago #7 by Wolfgang Riedmann
Replied by Wolfgang Riedmann on topic Good luck from an xBase alumni
Hi Gareth,

yes, VO 1.0 was a nightmare. VO 2.0 with the class libraries written in VO itself and as 32 bit system was a lot better, but VO became very usable with 2.7 and more with 2.8 and a lot of bugfixing by Robert when he worked for GrafX.
Another step was the porting to Vulcan.NET that showed some more errors in the class libraries that the VO compiler don't discovered.

The VO IDE (2.8 SP4a) is very, very stable now, and so are the VO executables.
And since 2.7 the source of the class libraries was included in the product, giving us another possibility to enhance our code and fix errors. And 2.7 added the possibilities to work with more different projects and keep more than one VO instance open, permitting also copy/paste between editors.

I for myself would never be able to rewrite my most important projects as they are big, a few 100.000 lines of code. Therefore the success of X# is of vital interest to me.

And I hope that X# will not only follow C#, but will be more powerful, adding the preprocessor we know from Clipper and VO, and maybe other functionalities - giving also people from other development tools a motive to change or maybe add a few X# modules to a C# or VB.NET application.

Wolfgang

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