Sunday, March 1, 2009

Why you should recompile your CA-Clipper DOS applications to Win32

CA-Clipper for DOS was, once hugely popular amongst Xbase programmers from Summer'87 right up to Version 5.2e. Apparently, 5.3 onwards were not vey popular. Even now, it is amazing to discover that there are still many CA-Clipper programmers out there. However, CA-Clipper for DOS programs don't do well under Windows, and may not run at all in Win'98, ME, XP , Vista or on fast processors, or they may have problems printing. In addition , the interface is text-based , hogs processor time which slows everything else down, and can't communicate with Windows programs.

So what's the solution & I am not talking of GUI ?

Simple, recompile your existing CA-Clipper source codes using a 32-bit CA-Clipper compatible compilers such as the Harbour Project, xHarbour or Xbase++. If you prefer open-source the Harbour Project & xHarbour will definitely be your choice. However, if you require more support, I guess that & Xbase++ will be the way to go.

Clarification from Ron Pinkas

xHarbour is first and foremost a free open source project, exactly as

In *addition* to being completely free, it's *also* distributed by, as a commercial distribution that includes numerous Add-on
Tools & Libraries, as well as tech support services.

Needless to say, the existence of the commercial distribution
does not take away from the freedom of xHarbour, the opposite it provides
even more resources to the free project.

So what are the benefits of having your familiar CA-Clipper application as a true Windows 32-bit Executable ?

A quick list of the benefits of being a true Windows application is that it can:
  • Utilize all the available memory, no more DOS boundaries
  • Use bigger sized variables, no more limits such as 4096 array elements, 64K data segment, etc.
  • Use any kind of printer installed on Windows, including network printer, Fax printer, PDF printer, etc.
  • Use Windows resources easily, eg. clipboard, common dialogs, etc
  • Collaborate with other Windows application, eg. Excel, Internet Explorer, etc.
You may want to read about my own experience in porting a sizeable real-life Accounting application (still in use in some customers) from CA-Clipper 5.2e to xHarbour

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Welcome to Clipper... Clipper... Clipper

In 1997, then using Delphi 3, I had already created 32-bits Windows applications for HRIS, ERP and CRM. In 2007, using Ruby on Rails, an AJAX powered CRM site running on Apache & MySQL was created and I am now using Visual Studio .Net 2008 to create web-based projects and Delphi 7 for Win32 applications using SQL2005 & DBFCDX.

So, why then am I reviving the Original Clipper... Clipper... Clipper via a Blog as CA-Clipper is a programming language for the DOS world ? Believe it or not, there are still some clients using my mission-critical CA-Clipper applications for DOS installed in the late 80's and up to the mid 90's. This is testimony to CA-Clipper's robustness as a language :-)

With the widespread introduction of Windows 7 64-bits as the standard O/S for new Windows based PCs & Notebooks, CA-Clipper EXE simply will not work and it has become imperative for Clipper programmers to migrate immediately to Harbour to build 32/64 bits EXEs

Since 28th January 2009, this blog has been read by 134,389 (10/3/11 - 39,277) unique visitors (of which 45,151 (10/3/11 - 13,929) are returning visitors) from 103 countries and 1,574 cities & towns in Europe (37; 764 cities), North America (3; 373 cities) , Central America & Caribeans (6; 13 cities), South America(10; 226 cities), Africa & Middle-East (12; 44 cities) , Asia-Pacific (21; 175 cities). So, obviously Clipper is Alive & Well : -)

TIA & Enjoy ! (10th October 2012, 11:05; 13th November 2015)

Original Welcome Page for Clipper... Clipper... Clipper

This is the original Welcome Page for Clipper... Clipper... Clipper, which I am republishing for historical and sentimental reasons. The only changes that I have made was to fix all the broken links. BTW, the counter from is still working :-)

Welcome to Chee Chong Hwa's Malaysian WWW web site which is dedicated to Clipperheads throughout the world.

This site started out as a teeny-weeny section of Who the heck is Chee Chong Hwa ? and has graduated into a full blown web site of more than 140 pages (actually hundreds of A4 size pages) ! This is due to its growing popularity and tremendous encouragements from visiting Clipperheads from 100 countries worldwide, from North America, Central America, Caribbean, South America, Europe, Middle-East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Thanx Clipperheads, you all made this happen !

What is Clipper ?

You may ask, what is this Clipper stuff ? Could Clipper be something to do with sailing as it is the name of a very fast sailing American ship in the 19th century ?

Well, Clipper or to be precise, CA-Clipper is the premier PC-Software development tool for DOS. It was first developed by Nantucket Corporation initially as a compiler for dBase3+ programs. Since then, CA-Clipper has evolved away from its x-base roots with the introduction of lexical scoping & pre-defined objects like TBrowse. As at today, the most stable version ofClipper is 5.2e while the latest version, 5.3a was introduced on 21 May 1996.

As at 11th November, 1996, an unofficial 5.3a fixes file was made available by Jo French. See the About CA-Clipper 5.3a section for more details. BTW, Jo French uploaded the revised 5.3a fixes file on 20th November, 1996.

Latest News

The latest news is that CA has finally released the long-awaited 5.3b patch on 21 May, 1997.

For 5.3b users, you must a take a look at Jo French's comments on unfixed bugs in 5.3b.

BTW, have you used Click ? If you're a serious Clipperprogrammer and need an excellent code formatter, Click is a natural choice. How to get it ? Simple, access Phil Barnett's site via my Cool Clipper Sites.

32-bits Clipper for Windows ?

Have you tried Xbase ++ ? Well, I have and compared to Delphi (my current Windows programming tool of choice), I'm still sticking to Delphi.

Anyway, you should visit the Alaska Home Page. Give it a chance and then draw your own conclusions !.

The Harbour Project

Is this the future of Xbase ? Take a look at at the Harbour Project

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