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DBASE

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dBase
The dBASE database, published by Ashton-Tate, was one of the first widely used database management systems for microcomputers. The dBase system includes the core database engine, a query system, a forms engine, and a programming language that ties all of these components together. dBase's underlying file format, the .dbf file, is widely used in applications needing a simple format to store structured data. dBase was originally published by Ashton-Tate for CP/M in 1980, and later on ported to the Apple II and IBM PC under DOS. On the PC platform, in particular, it became one of the best-selling software titles for a number of years. A major upgrade was released as dBASE III, and ported to a wider variety of platforms, adding UNIX, and VMS. By the mid-1980s, Ashton-Tate was one of the "big three" software publishers in the early business software market, the other two being Lotus Development and Wordperfect. Starting in the mid-1980s, many other companies produced their own dialects or variations on the product and language. These included FoxPro and Clipper, together informally referred to as xBase. Many of these were technically stronger than dBase, but could not make a major dent in the market. This changed with the disastrous introduction of dBase IV, whose stability was so poor many users were forced to try other solutions. This was coincident with an industry-wide switch to SQL in the client-server market, and the rapid introduction of Microsoft Windows in the business market.

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