Digital smoke and mirrors. (Gazette - Commodore 64/128) (column)
by Fred D'Ignazio
It seems that Ashton-Tate's been listening to dBase users. Complaints about dBase IV's massive size and lumbering operation have abounded ever since the new database management program was released. According to Ashton-Tate, dBase IV version 1.1 requires significantly less memory yet features increased performance, improvements in its Structured Query Language (SQL), a simplified installation procedure, new language commands, and more.
dBase IV 1.1's menu-driven Control Center, with its Design Tools, lets users manage data without having to write program code, while the program's application development environment and the dBase language itself allow developers to build applications faster without sacrificing flexibility. The program's Memory Management System handles overlays more efficiently, requiring only 450K of RAM. The overlay-dependent areas of dBase IV 1.1 also were supercharged, improving performance when the user is working at the Control Center and in programs that use menus and windows.
While using SQL, users can now browse tables; run reports, labels, and queries; and utilize 23 new or enhanced dBase commands. In addition to new language commands, users can also take advantage of conditional indexes, less restricted user-defined functions and ON commands, and an Organize menu accessed from the Browse and Edit screens.
These changes cover many of the things dBase IV users have been asking for--and not a moment too soon. Some tough competitors have been breathing down Ashton-Tate's neck, and these changes could be just what dBase IV needs to become competitive again. dBase IV version 1.1, standard edition, sells for a list price of $795. A developer's edition is available for $1,295, and a LAN Pack option sells for $995.
Ashton-Tate Customer Service, 20101 Hamilton Ave., Torrance, CA 90509