xBase is the generic term for all programming languages that derive from the original dBASE (Ashton-Tate) programming language and database formats. These are sometimes informally known as dBASE "clones". While there was a non-commercial predecessor to the Ashton-Tate product (Vulcan written by Wayne Ratliff), most clones are based on Ashton-Tate's 1986 dBASE III+ release — scripts written in the dBASE III+ dialect are most likely to run on the clones.
Once Borland acquired Ashton-Tate in mid 1991 (and was apparently required to drop the lawsuits as an anti-trust related condition of the merger), such standardization efforts were given new life. An ANSI committee (ANSI/X3J19) was officially formed, and began regular meetings in 1992. Marc Schnapp was the first chairman, and the first meeting was held at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California which was essentially the birthplace of Vulcan and dBASE II. The group met on a regular basis in a variety of locations over the next few years, and representatives from most major vendors participated. But despite lip service from all the vendors on the need for a standard, no one seemed willing to change their product syntax to match that of a competitor.
In recent years there seems to be a renewed interest in xBase, mostly because of a number of open source, portable, xBase implementations (listed below), and the scripting applicability of the language. While newer desk-top database tools are optimized for mouse usage, xBase has always been "keyboard friendly", which helps make scripting and meta-programming (automating the automation) easier. Meta-programming generally does not work as well with mouse-oriented techniques because automating mouse movements can require calculating and processing of screen coordinates, something most developers find tedious and difficult to debug. xBase is one of the few table-oriented scripting languages still available.
The commercially available products:
Some free versions are also available, including:
A developer community support for xBase that is focused mainly on Clipper, FoxPro, [x]Harbour, and xBase++ can be found here: Oasis Web Site A comprehensive list of communities related to Visual FoxPro can be found here
Do you speak xBase? dBASE dialects serve your database needs. (Software Review) (overview of four evaluations of data base management systems) (Evaluation)
Jun 01, 1992; Dozens of companies over the years have adopted and improved the dBASE language. Thanks to their efforts, the dBASE language...
Computer Associates commits to xBase. (Computer Associates International Inc. to support xBase language standards following acquisition of Nantucket Corp.) (Brief Article)
Jul 06, 1992; ISLANDIA, N.Y.- Computer Associates International has pledged its support for creating an XBase language standard to...