Definitions

4GL

IBM Informix-4GL

Informix-4GL is a 4GL programming language developed by Informix during the mid-1980s. It includes embedded SQL, a report writer language, a form language, and a limited set of imperative capabilities (functions, if and while statements, etc.).

The Informix-4GL project was started in 1985, with Chris Maloney as chief architect. Roy Harrington was in charge of the related Informix Turbo (later renamed Online) engine, which bypassed the "cooked" file system in favour of "raw" disk. A Rapid Application Development Tool called FourGen CASE Tools, was bundled with Informix-4GL from 1989 to 1996. Another flavor of Informix programming-tool was produced, called "New Era", which supported object-oriented programming and a level of code-compatibility with Informix-4GL.

Despite its age, Informix-4GL is still widely used to develop business applications, and a sizable market exists around it due to its popularity. Several companies produced clone versions, with or without extended functionality, such as graphical user interfaces and integrated development environments, some examples being Four J's Development Tools and Querix. A company in Latin America (Art-in-Soft) built a translator to the Java programming language. There is even a free GPL'ed version called Aubit-4GL. Another company called MoreData developed technology to call any 4GL function in the native 4GL-generated executables from a Java EE application server, using Java Connector Architecture.

Stand-alone application

# Program to be compiled with fglpc or c4gl, depending on the version used
# Choose database
DATABASE demo
MAIN
  # Define a record with a table-like structure
  DEFINE cust_record LIKE customer.*
  # Read data from the table (JDBC, ODBC, eat my dust!)
  SELECT * FROM customer INTO cust_record.* WHERE cust_id=1
  # Display the data at the middle of the screen
  DISPLAY "Customer: ", cust_record.cust_name AT 10, 10
  # Call of a function
  CALL open_window ()
END MAIN

FUNCTION open_windows ()
   DEFINE number, result INTEGER
   #
   # open a predefined form
   OPEN WINDOW w_id WITH FORM "number_form"
   #
   # Input
   INPUT BY NAME number
     AFTER FIELD number
       LET result = number * number
       DISPLAY BY NAME result
   EXIT INPUT
   #
   CLOSE WINDOWS w_id
   #
END FUNCTION

Informix-4GL is now property of IBM.

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