VP-Info

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VP-Info is a database language for the personal computer.[1] VP-Info was a competitor to the Clipper and dBase applications in the 1990s.[2] VP-Info runs on MS-DOS, DR-DOS, PC-MOS/386 operating systems, and it runs on Windows 7+ with the DOSBox emulator

Origin[edit]

In the early 80s, David Clark met Dr. George Gratzer, a mathematics professor[3] at the University of Manitoba, at ComputerLand in Winnipeg where Dr Gratzer was looking for someone who could program in dBase. Mr Clark had been using dBase II, but was frustrated by its limitations for reporting on more than 3 tables at a time. While working for Standard Knitting (a client of Dr. Gratzer's and Mr Clark's), David wrote a report generator called Max that would allow up to six related data files to be in use at one time and run faster than the slow, dBase II.[4]

For programmers, Max had several interesting capabilities, including the ability to change field names easily, to represent fields in array form, and to set individual bits within strings (which enabled the use of bitmaps to represent up to 2,056 logical variables for each string field in the database)[5]

Marketing[edit]

Paperback Software International Ltd. acquired worldwide marketing rights to Max and launched it as VP-Info in 1986. Lotus Development Corp. objected to some of the features of VP-Planner 3D, a Lotus look-alike with a number of features beyond those of 1-2-3, and sued Paperback Software for copyright infringement in 1989. Though the lawsuit ultimately failed in the courts, Paperback Software eventually folded following the litigations.

Sub Rosa Inc. reacquired worldwide distribution rights to VP-Info shortly before it entered bankruptcy. Mr. Bursten and an associate, Bernie Melman of Toronto, established Sub Rosa Publishing Inc. in Toronto and Sub Rosa Corporation in Minneapolis and attempted to get VP-Info back into distribution. Since the name belonged to the bankrupt Paperback Software, however, they had to give it yet another name, and Shark (or Sharkbase) was introduced in 1992 as an upgrade to VP-Info.[6]

Technical[edit]

VP-Info can read and write all the common dBase/Clipper file formats, as well as exchange data with OpenOffice. VP-Info can read and write any type of dbf files (e.g. dBase II,III,IV, Clipper) at the same time. Unlike the older dBase file formats, VP-Info dbf files can have an unlimited number of records. VP-Info has a built-in compiler for fast execution.

An online User's Manual for the latest distribution of VP-Info, Sharkbase, is still maintained.[7] VP-Info, and subsequent Sharkbase versions, can run on Windows 7 & 8 using the DOSBox MS-DOS emulator.,[8] and it can also run on multi-user/multi-tasking systems with NetBIOS over TCP/IP (NBT).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bursten,Melman,Gratzer 1990-1992, Shark User's Guide. rev. ed. 1992, Sub Rosa Corporation, Minneapolis USA
  2. ^ Petreley, Nicholas (March 9, 1987). "Low-Cost Dbase II Competitor Is Fast, Powerful". Info World. pp. 49–52. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  3. ^ Gratzer, George (Oct 4, 2013). "Math Into LaTeX". Springer Publishing. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ Bursten,Melman,Gratzer 1990-1992, Shark User's Guide. rev. ed. 1992, Sub Rosa Corporation, Minneapolis USA, "Introduction" page i
  5. ^ Petreley, Nicholas (March 9, 1987). "Low-Cost Dbase II Competitor Is Fast, Powerful". Info World. pp. 49–52. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  6. ^ http://www.foxprohistory.org/vp-info_sharkbase_by_subrosa.htm
  7. ^ Shark User's Guide: http://www.intelligentwebware.com/sharkhlp.html
  8. ^ http://www.dosbox.com/wiki/Software