TweetFollow Us on Twitter

4D Databases
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:7
Column Tag:More tools for your toolbox

Developing 4th Dimension Databases
Can Be Lucrative

Will your next application framework be a database?

By Ellen Ankuda, ACI US

About this article

Developers have a number of tools at their disposal for building what their clients need. Databases are to the point where you can build certain kinds of applications without the need to write your own database code. Not only that, the demand for developers who know the database tools is higher than ever, and there are not enough developers to fill that demand. In this article, Ellen Ankuda (of ACI US) talks about some of the money-making opportunities in the database field, as seen from the perspective of a provider of a popular database, 4th Dimension - Ed stb

So you’re looking for the best way to spend your time, and in today’s market you have to have an edge. An advantage. Some reason why you’re more qualified than the next programmer. And once you have that certain something that sets you apart from the rest, you wouldn’t mind a market that’s teeming with opportunities.

For a C or C++ programmer, where do you get that edge? 4th Dimension can give you one. The relational database from France supports hundreds of developers and VARs in North America, thousands in the world. Those 4D enthusiasts range from custom consultants to VARs to in-house programmers. Consultants make their living creating custom database solutions for companies, the government, educational institutions, and almost any organization you can imagine. Their jobs typically involve travel; contracting work can bring them to far reaches of the computer world (one 4D consultant even made a database for a school district in the North Pole). Custom 4D developers typically make between $50 to $200 an hour, depending on the area and project.

Since VARs sell their shrink-wrapped applications developed in 4th Dimension, the job of a VAR tends to be somewhat more local. In addition to being a database, 4th Dimension is an application generator that allows people like VARs to create tangible software programs from good business ideas. And because most of the work is already done in 4th Dimension, development time for special applications is relatively short (meaning that time to market is a lot faster!). The programs can have any look and feel, depending on the needs of the target market and the personal tastes of the VAR. Currently, ACI VARs market off-the-shelf applications such as accounting packages, personal information managers, and network administration programs.

And lastly, in-house programmers might have a little less independence than the other two (of course, that all depends on the company), but working for companies has its advantages, too. 4th Dimension can be found in thousands of companies worldwide, including many Fortune 500 companies. Often working with people throughout the company to design tailored solutions, in-house 4D programmers benefit from immediate user feedback.

Learning the 4D programming language is generally a relatively elementary task for C and C++ programmers. ACI provides training around the country, as do various independent training organizations (yet another possible opportunity for you). For extra help, various publishers circulate books and magazines to help you learn the new environment and give you programming hints or tips to accomplish tasks with a minimum of effort.

If you’re not interested in learning the 4th Dimension language, there are still developer opportunities with 4D. C, C++, and Pascal programmers can write externals for 4th Dimension that can be integrated into any 4D database. These externals can be anything from time-tracking devices to mail messaging systems. Or you can even write externals that work with 4D via AppleEvents, such as geographic querying tools. The potential external programs for 4D are limitless - you decide what specific users might need and integrate your idea into a working database. “With its ability to work with external programs, 4th Dimension is highly extensible. You can use your C/C++ expertise to significantly extend 4D’s functionality,” states Rich Gay, President of Foresight Technology, a software consulting company in Fort Worth, Texas. “But the biggest benefit of 4th Dimension for C and C++ programmers is that it’s so much faster to get applications up and running in 4D, and that translates into higher profitability.”

In a similar vein, you can develop 4D Open connections to different products that enable interaction between foreign clients and 4D Server. 4D Open is the programming interface for connectivity to 4D Server, ACI’s client/server database, and has a set of Pascal and C libraries. With the basic libraries, you can interface almost any product with 4D Server. Use your imagination: what type of product would benefit from a multi-user data engine?

Available support

For programmers whose livelihood depends on a software program, the technological aspect of the program is probably the most important. The procedural language of 4th Dimension is designed to parallel the built-in features of the database. Almost everything that can be done automatically can be further controlled procedurally. All of the built-in editors and generators, such as Search, Sort, Report, Label, and Graph, can be used in a custom application with a single-line procedure. “You can create an incredible front end with a great GUI in a fraction of the time required by traditional programming languages,” reports Jim Alonso, President of Montage Software Systems, Inc. in Wilton, Connecticut. “There are virtually no limits to what can be accomplished using 4D’s built-in tools, and by creating extensions written in C to enhance that environment.”

You can use the 4th Dimension language to automate repetitive tasks, control the user interface, manage data, and create applications. The commands in 4th Dimension are structured to allow a precise response to a demand, often with very few lines of programming. For example, the command MODIFY SELECTION can present a list of records and allow the user to double-click a record for data input.

All users programming in C, Pascal, or any other language that can be compiled to 68000 code can add routines to applications in the following forms:

• External procedures that can accept and pass parameters.

• External areas on layouts that are completely controlled by external routines.

• External functions that return a 4th Dimension value.

Added routines transparently blend with the regular 4D commands and behave in the same manner.

4th Dimension is a programmer’s database. If the 4th Dimension language can’t accomplish a task, then you can program an external that will perform the required function. To increase your database’s marketability, you can also localize applications for dozens of languages, and that serves to increase the scope of your potential customer base.

Also important for developers are the benefits they can receive from the company itself. All registered 4D developers, no matter what type of programming they’re doing, get special care from ACI. Probably the most important benefit for developers are the business leads and referrals that Developer Services personnel provide. Any time a caller asks for a local developer, or a specific product or service, ACI sends a list of the appropriate developers. Referrals are also given to interested trade show attendees.

Annually, ACI prints and widely circulates a Solutions Guide book and CD that list all registered ACI developers and the products or services they provide. Being featured in the 800-page book is an impressive and credible sales tool for many developers.

Additionally, 4D developers receive priority technical support from senior engineers. Complex questions can be answered quickly. ACI also provides co-marketing possibilities in its newsletter or other mailings, in magazines, at trade shows, and many other areas.

The best news is that people need 4D programmers. Especially recently, ACI has been hearing from all sorts of companies, large corporations down to small consulting firms, who are looking for 4D programmers to develop an application. The time is right, and the opportunities are plentiful.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Viber 11.9.1 - Send messages and make fr...
Viber lets you send free messages and make free calls to other Viber users, on any device and network, in any country! Viber syncs your contacts, messages and call history with your mobile device, so... Read more
Vallum 3.3.2 - $15.00
Vallum is a little tool that helps you monitor and block apps connections and throttle apps bandwidth. It is able to intercept connections at the application layer, and hold them while you decide... Read more
Microsoft OneNote 16.31 - Free digital n...
OneNote is your very own digital notebook. With OneNote, you can capture that flash of genius, that moment of inspiration, or that list of errands that's too important to forget. Whether you're at... Read more
Apple Pages 8.2.1 - Apple's word pr...
Apple Pages is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully. It lets you work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices, and... Read more
Numbers 6.2.1 - Apple's spreadsheet...
With Apple Numbers, sophisticated spreadsheets are just the start. The whole sheet is your canvas. Just add dramatic interactive charts, tables, and images that paint a revealing picture of your data... Read more
f.lux 39.9873 - Adjusts the color of you...
f.lux makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow? Or wake... Read more
Deeper 2.5.0 - Enable hidden features in...
Deeper is a personalization utility for macOS which allows you to enable and disable the hidden functions of the Finder, Dock, QuickTime, Safari, iTunes, login window, Spotlight, and many of Apple's... Read more
NTFS 15.5.71 - Provides full read and wr...
NTFS breaks down the barriers between Windows and macOS. Paragon NTFS effectively solves the communication problems between the Mac system and NTFS. Write, edit, copy, move, delete files on NTFS... Read more
MTR 5.3.0.0 - The Mac's oldest and...
MTR (was MacTheRipper)--the Mac's oldest and smartest DVD-backup app. MTR - the complete toolbox, not a one-trick, point-and-click extractor. MTR is intended for making fair-use, backup copies of... Read more
Keynote 9.2.1 - Apple's presentatio...
Easily create gorgeous presentations with the all-new Keynote, featuring powerful yet easy-to-use tools and dazzling effects that will make you a very hard act to follow. The Theme Chooser lets you... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Black Desert Mobile gets an official rel...
Pearl Abyss has just announced that its highly-anticipated MMO, Black Desert Mobile, will launch globally for iOS and Android on December 11th. [Read more] | Read more »
Another Eden receives new a episode, cha...
Another Eden, WFS' popular RPG, has received another update that brings new story content to the game alongside a few new heroes to discover. [Read more] | Read more »
Overdox guide - Tips and tricks for begi...
Overdox is a clever battle royale that changes things up by adding MOBA mechanics and melee combat to the mix. This new hybrid game can be quite a bit to take in at first, so we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get a leg up on the... | Read more »
Roterra Extreme - Great Escape is a pers...
Roterra Extreme – Great Escape has been described by developers Dig-It Games as a mini-sequel to their acclaimed title Roterra: Flip the Fairytale. It continues that game's tradition of messing with which way is up, tasking you with solving... | Read more »
Hearthstone: Battlegrounds open beta lau...
Remember earlier this year when auto battlers were the latest hotness? We had Auto Chess, DOTA Underlords, Chess Rush, and more all gunning for our attention. They all had their own reasons to play, but, at least from where I'm standing, most... | Read more »
The House of Da Vinci 2 gets a new gamep...
The House of Da Vinci launched all the way back in 2017. Now, developer Blue Brain Games is gearing up to deliver a second dose of The Room-inspired puzzling. Some fresh details have now emerged, alongside the game's first official trailer. [Read... | Read more »
Shoot 'em up action awaits in Battl...
BattleBrew Productions has just introduced another entry into its award winning, barrelpunk inspired, BattleSky Brigade series. Whilst its previous title BattleSky Brigade TapTap provided fans with idle town building gameplay, this time the... | Read more »
Arcade classic R-Type Dimensions EX blas...
If you're a long time fan of shmups and have been looking for something to play lately, Tozai Games may have just released an ideal game for you on iOS. R-Type Dimensions EX brings the first R-Type and its sequel to iOS devices. [Read more] | Read more »
Intense VR first-person shooter Colonicl...
Our latest VR obsession is Colonicle, an intense VR FPS, recently released on Oculus and Google Play, courtesy of From Fake Eyes and Goboogie Games. It's a pulse-pounding multiplayer shooter which should appeal to genre fanatics and newcomers alike... | Read more »
PUBG Mobile's incoming update bring...
PUGB Mobile's newest Royale Pass season they're calling Fury of the Wasteland arrives tomorrow and with it comes a fair chunk of new content to the game. We'll be seeing a new map, weapon and even a companion system. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

New 2019 16″ MacBook Pros on sale for $100 of...
Apple Authorized Reseller Adorama has new 2019 16″ MacBook Pros on sale today for $100 off Apple’s MSRP, each including free shipping. In addition, Adorama charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents... Read more
Apple Watch Series 3 GPS models on sale for l...
Amazon has Apple Watch Series 3 GPS models on sale starting at only $179. There prices are the lowest we’ve ever seen for these models from any Apple reseller. Choose Amazon as the seller rather than... Read more
iOS Bug In Facebook News Feed Lets Device Ca...
NEWS: 11.15.19- Users of the Facebook social media platform’s mobile app running on iOS devices won’t, like, this piece of news one bit in where a bug in the News Feed gave access to the camera... Read more
16″ MacBook Pros on sale! Preorder at Amazon...
Apple’s new 16″ MacBook Pros were only introduced yesterday, but Amazon is already offering a $100 discount on preorders. Prices for the base 6-Core 16″ MacBook Pros start at $2299: – 2019 16″ 2.6GHz... Read more
Use our exclusive MacBook Price Trackers to f...
Our Apple award-winning MacBook price trackers are the best place to look for the best sales & lowest prices on new and clearance MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros–including Apple’s new 16″ MacBook... Read more
New November Verizon iPhone deal: Get an iPho...
Verizon has the 64GB iPhone Xr on sale for 50% off for a limited time, plus they will include a free $200 prepaid MasterCard and a free Amazon Echo Dot. That reduces their price for the 64GB iPhone... Read more
Apple cuts prices on clearance, refurbished 2...
Apple has clearance 2018 15″ 6-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros, Certified Refurbished, now available starting at only $1829. Each model features a new outer case, shipping is free, and an Apple 1-year... Read more
Up to $450 price drop on clearance 15″ MacBoo...
B&H Photo has dropped prices Apple’s 2019 15″ 6-Core and 8-Core MacBook Pros by $400-$450 off original MSRP, starting at $1999, with free overnight shipping available to many addresses in the US... Read more
Here’s how to save $200 on Apple’s new 16″ Ma...
Apple has released details of their Education discount associated with the new 2019 16″ 6-Core and 8-Core MacBook Pros. Take $200 off the price of the new 8-Core model (now $2599) and $200 off the 16... Read more
Price drop! 2019 15″ 2.6GHz 6-Core MacBook Pr...
Focus Camera has dropped their price for clearance 2019 15″ 2.6GHz 6-Core Space Gray MacBook Pros by $400 to $1999 shipped. Apple’s original MSRP for this model was $2399. Focus charges sales tax for... Read more

Jobs Board

Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**746655BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Store NUmber or Department:** 002518-Atlantic Center-Store **Job Description:** Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**744973BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000949-Rochester Hills-Store **Job Description:** Read more
AV Systems Engineer at *Apple* - Theorem, L...
Job Summary Apple Retail Technology is looking for an Audio Visual Systems Engineer to design and implement scalable, next-generation A/V solutions for Apple ?s Read more
Nurse Practitioner - Field Based (San Bernard...
Nurse Practitioner - Field Based (San Bernardino, CA, Apple Valley, Hesperia) **Location:** **United States** **New** **Requisition #:** PS30312 **Post Date:** 3 Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**746510BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 001407-Milford-Store **Job Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.