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DataFlex is a relational database management system, self-described as an applications development database, originated around 1980.

It is a relatively early example of a fully fledged and commercially used fourth-generation programming language (4GL). In its early forms, DataFlex was available for Unix, VAX/VMS, TurboDOS, Novell NetWare, CP/M, MS-DOS and OS/2 operating systems. DataFlex is produced by the Data Access Corporation located in Miami. Data Access Corporation was founded in 1976.

To date, DataFlex has lasted the course as a niche application development environment. The DataFlex product supports many database environments: Oracle, MS-SQL, IBM DB2, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Pervasive SQL as well as any ODBC database. DataFlex applications are used by around 3 million users worldwide.


The DataFlex language differentiates itself from other programming languages in the following ways:

  • Easy 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 be defined or redefined inside the object definition.
  • Automatic delegation of messages in the object-oriented programming environment
  • Embedded Database access is ISAM-based. Can be used royalty free.

Development environments[edit]

The DataFlex programming language is used in the following development environments:

The latest iteration of the original character mode application is available as a Console Mode application for MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows and Unix variants (notably Linux).
Visual DataFlex
This is the flagship development environment from Data Access Corporation. The current version is 18.0 (2014) VDF is available for Microsoft Windows only. Visual Dataflex is a GUI development language in a style comparable with Visual Basic, Delphi and C++. With v18.0 Visual DataFlex has been renamed DataFlex.
WebApp Server
Available for Microsoft IIS and ASP only. 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
Visual DataFlex 17.1 introduced a new ajax based framework for easily writing web applications. Using this framework you can build your web applications entirely in DataFlex code. This does not depend on ASP, but does need IIS to function.

External links[edit]