4th Dimension (software)

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4D Server
Original author(s) Laurent Ribardière
Developer(s) 4D
Stable release 15.2 / November 19, 2015 (2015-11-19)[1]
Written in C++, C
Operating system Windows, Mac OS
License Proprietary
Website www.4d.com
This article is about the relational database management system. For other uses, see Fourth dimension (disambiguation).

4th Dimension (or 4D, or Silver Surfer, as it was known during early development) is a relational database management system and IDE developed by Laurent Ribardière.[2] 4D was created in 1984.[3]

The 4D product line has since expanded to a SQL front-end, integrated compiler and several productivity plug-ins and interfaces. Some of the plug-ins created by 4D include 4D Write (a word processor), 4D Draw (to draw shapes), 4D View (somewhat like a spreadsheet, but with extra functionality) and 4D Internet Commands (which let you add all sorts of Internet related functionality to a database). There are also over 100 third-party plugins, free and commercial.

4D can also be used as a web server, to run compiled database applications.

Today, 4D is published by the French company 4D SAS and has a sales, distribution and support presence in most major markets, with the US, UK and France being the primary markets. The product is localized in more than a dozen languages, including English, French, German, Japanese, Hebrew, Arabic, Korean and Persian.


Silver Surfer, as it was known during early development, was developed by Laurent Ribardière in 1984. Following negotiations with Ribardiere it was planned that Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer Inc) would publish the software but Apple canceled the plan, reportedly due to pressure from other potential database publishers[which?] who claimed that if Apple had their own 'brand' database, 3rd party products would be disadvantaged in the marketplace. Apple tried at the time to ensure well known software publishers supported the Macintosh platform and as a result, the project reverted to Laurent Ribardière, who with the French businesswoman Marylene Delbourg-Delphis published 4th Dimension. Although independently published, Apple supported the new venture and used 4D extensively throughout the organization for projects including fitness center management and CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing). A number of Apple personnel became 4D experts, including Lance McAndrew in Apple's Cupertino headquarters and Andrew O'Donoghue in Apple's Irish based European manufacturing headquarters, where a 4th Dimension application managed the entire European Service Center administration.

Over the next few years 4th Dimension's installed base grew and the publisher ACI, established a US-based subsidiary ACIUS, initially led by Guy Kawasaki.

In 1993, 4D Server, the client/server version of 4th Dimension was introduced and since 1995, 4D has supported both the Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems.


  1. ^ "4D Product Lifecycle". 4D. Retrieved 2016-01-10. 
  2. ^ "4D People - 4D". 4d.com. 
  3. ^ "A History of Innovation". 4d.com. 

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