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DataFlex (formerly known as Visual DataFlex) is a visual tool for developing Windows, web and mobile software applications on one framework-based platform.
DataFlex is produced by Data Access Worldwide located in Miami. The company was founded in 1976 and called Data Access Corporation. The product was available by at least 1982. It started as a relatively early example of a fully fledged and commercially used fourth-generation programming language (4GL). In its early forms, DataFlex was available for CP/M, MS-DOS, TurboDOS, Novell NetWare, OS/2, Unix, VAX/VMS and IBM AIX operating systems.
DataFlex has lasted many years as a niche application development environment. The DataFlex product supports many database environments: Oracle database, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Pervasive PSQL as well as any ODBC database. DataFlex applications are used by around 3 million users.
As of July 2017 the version is 19.0
The DataFlex language differentiates itself from other programming languages in the following ways:
- Supports many database environments: Oracle database, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM DB2, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Pervasive PSQL as well as any ODBC database.
- Easily switch between database backends, no code change needed. No compilation needed.
- Variables are loosely typed. The virtual machine takes care of conversions.
- Flexibility; you can define your own commands.
- Code compiles to an intermediate byte-code which makes the programs easily portable between operating systems.
- No threads or multitasking
- Methods can - for ease of coding - be defined or redefined inside the object definition. Technically the compiler simply sub-classes the superclass and adds the methods to the class.
- Automatic delegation of messages in the object-oriented programming environment
- Embedded Database access is ISAM-based. Can be used royalty free.
- Functions defined in Dynamic Link Libraries can be used.
- Classes, methods and properties defined in a COM module can be used. COM automation, controls and embedding is supported.
The DataFlex programming language is used in the following development environments:
- Character mode DataFlex
- The latest iteration of the original character mode application (3.2) is available as a Console Mode application for MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows and Unix variants (notably Linux).
- This is the flagship development environment from Data Access Worldwide. The current version is 19.0 (2017) . DataFlex is available for Microsoft Windows only. Dataflex is a GUI development language in a style comparable with Visual Basic, Delphi and C++. From version 4 (1996) up until version 17.1 (2015) the product was labelled Visual DataFlex.
- DataFlex WebApp Server
- Available for Microsoft IIS only, the DataFlex WebApp Server can be used to develop thin client applications such as browser based applications (both full class browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Opera, as well as WAP browsers). Developers can also create Web Service client and server applications.
- Web Framework
- DataFlex includes ajax-based frameworks for writing web and mobile applications.
- "InfoNews/Software, CP/M, DataFlex". InfoWorld. Vol. 4 no. 9. IDG. March 8, 1982. p. 46. ISSN 0199-6649.
- Aarons, Richard N. (September 4, 1984). "DataFlex: Programming Gymnastics". PC Magazine. Vol. 3 no. 17. Ziff Davis. pp. 253–255. ISSN 0888-8507. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Duncan, Judy; Petreley, Nicholas; Chiu, Peter; Mathews, Carla (November 18, 1991). "Product comparison, Database building blocks". InfoWorld. Vol. 13 no. 46. IDG. p. 92. ISSN 0199-6649.