Stealthware Software
Updated: 29 December, 2020

Programming

In the late 1980’s, the Air Force standardized it’s database programming languages around dBase and Clipper (after evolving from Condor - ugh). My programming endeavors began with dBase 3+ and Clipper Summer 87 and evolved into eclectric database languages such as DBXL, Force, Arago (as I always looked for a better solution). I got the most mileage out of Clipper 5.x - especially with the vast wealth of add-on libraries (Grumpfish; FunckY; Artful; Clipper Tools) that existed for Nantucket’s amazing compiler. And then Microsoft Windows exploded… Running MsDos programs from within Windows wasn’t too pretty. Endusers wanted to use a mouse and see pretty screens - something that Clipper could be bent to perform, but it wasn’t the same. I had to evolve… and I tried everything under the sun to migrate from Clipper 5.2 into the Windows arena. Basic, Visual Basic, Visual Foxpro, Arago, Visual Objects, Delphi, Access - each had their strengths but they also had significant weaknesses. And then I befriended a longtime Clarion programmer that wowed me with how powerful it’s language was and how much it’s 4GL capabilities could relieve me from a lot of the tedium that programming involves. I bought the first release of Clarion for Windows (version 1.5) and have (mostly) stayed with it through it’s current iteration (version 11). With that said, Clarion’s user base and third party market have been in steady decline for over a decade (for a variety of reasons), which has forced Clarion programmers to explore other tools to create, and then deliver, quality applications to meet 21st century needs. Windev, another 4GL that is developed by a French software company, has also been in existence for a long time. Unlike Clarion, Windev is continously updated each year; it is also a cross platform solution, which can create applications for Linux/Unix, smartphones and cloud-based apps. A lot of highly recognizable names in the Clarion world have jumped ship to Windev - I’ve experimented with Windev since version 9 (note: version 26 is nearly ready for release in the U.S. market). Each successive release of Windev (which includes free tools to build help files and create installation programs that cost extra w/Clarion) has chipped away at Clarion’s strengths - which were primarily attributed to the third party developers that extended Clarions capabilities by leaps and bounds. With the Clarion third party now reduced by 50% (or more) as compared to the Clarion 6.x “glory days”, Windev is increasingly more attractive. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was able to rewrite several Clarion applications within a week or two - and the final product had MORE capabilities that the Clarion version that took several months of development time. I’ve also found that Windev is much faster at I/O operations - for example, our VidTrak application scans a directory tree and populates a database with each file it locates - a network share which contains 11,000 files (thusly creating 11,000 database records) took several moments with the Clarion version to complete the scan. The Windev 25 version of VidTrak takes less than 10 seconds - which is mind-boggling fast. Windev’s Adobe Acrobat capabilities _alone_ would require over $1000 of third party tools for Clarion to duplicate; Windev’s query/reporting tool (which is free for endusers to download and use with your Windev application) is the equivalent to heavy hitter tools such as Combit List & Label… the winds of change have pushed me towards Windev; Clarion still has a place in my toolbox (e.g. MergeTrak and RenameTrak are written in Clarion), and every software developer should have a full toolbox. Check ‘em out.. Click on the image below for more insight/resources for Clarion and Windev: