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

Backblaze 4.2.0.966 - Online backup serv...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac. With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Tunnelblick 3.6.7beta02 - GUI for OpenVP...
Tunnelblick is a free, open source graphic user interface for OpenVPN on OS X. It provides easy control of OpenVPN client and/or server connections. It comes as a ready-to-use application with all... Read more
calibre 2.65.1 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
jAlbum Pro 13.4 - Organize your digital...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. You can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly... Read more
jAlbum 13.4 - Create custom photo galler...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results - Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
Parallels Desktop 12.0.0 - Run Windows a...
Parallels allows you to run Windows and Mac applications side by side. Choose your view to make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and... Read more
Firefox 48.0.2 - Fast, safe Web browser.
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
Apple iOS 9.3.5 - The latest version of...
iOS is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and it’s the foundation of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It comes with a collection of apps and features that let you do the everyday things... Read more
Spotify 1.0.36.124. - Stream music, crea...
Spotify is a streaming music service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs. Whether you like driving rock, silky R&B, or grandiose classical music, Spotify's massive catalogue puts... Read more
Apple iOS 9.3.5 - The latest version of...
iOS is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and it’s the foundation of iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. It comes with a collection of apps and features that let you do the everyday things... Read more

Clean Text (Productivity)
Clean Text 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Productivity Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Gemini - A Journey of Two Stars (Games)
Gemini - A Journey of Two Stars 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: *** SPECIAL LAUNCH SALE: $2.99 (25% off) *** "A mesmerizing and unexpectedly emotional journey." -- Los... | Read more »
How to get four NFL superstars for your...
Even though you're probably well on your way to building a top notch squad for the new season in Madden NFL Mobile, let's say you could beef it up by adding Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown, Von Miller, and Todd Gurley to your roster. That's... | Read more »
Cartoon Network Superstar Soccer: Goal!!...
Cartoon Network Superstar Soccer: Goal!!! – Multiplayer Sports Game Starring Your Favorite Characters 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Become a soccer superstar with your... | Read more »
NFL Huddle: What's new in Topps NFL...
Can you smell that? It's the scent of pigskin in the air, which either means that cliches be damned, pigs are flying in your neck of the woods, or the new NFL season is right around the corner. [Read more] | Read more »
FarmVille: Tropic Escape tips, tricks, a...
Maybe farming is passé in mobile games now. Ah, but farming -- and doing a lot of a other things too -- in an island paradise might be a little different. At least you can work on your tan and sip some pina coladas while tending to your crops. [... | Read more »
Become the King of Avalon in FunPlus’ la...
King Arthur is dead. Considering the legend dates back to the 5th century, it would be surprising if he wasn’t. But in the context of real-time MMO game King of Avalon: Dragon Warfare, Arthur’s death plunges the kingdom into chaos. Evil sorceress... | Read more »
Nightgate (Games)
Nightgate 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: *** Launch Sale: 25% OFF for a limited time! *** In the year 2398, after a great war, a network of intelligent computers known as... | Read more »
3 best fantasy football apps to get you...
Last season didn't go the way you wanted it to in fantasy football. You were super happy following your drafts or auctions, convinced you had outsmarted everyone. You were all set to hustle on the waiver wire, work out some sweet trades, and make... | Read more »
Pokemon GO update: Take me to your leade...
The Team Leaders in Pokemon GO have had it pretty easy up until now. They show up when players reach level 5, make their cases for joining their respective teams, and that's pretty much it. Light work, as Floyd Mayweather might say. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Global Tablet Shipments Projected to Increase...
Digitimes’ Jim Hsiao reports that global tablet shipments will increase by 16.3 percent sequentially to reach nearly 47 million units in 2016′s third quarter, but that volume will still be down over... Read more
Apple’s 2016 Back to School promotion: Free B...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Air 2s available start...
Apple has Certified Refurbished iPad Air 2 available starting at $339. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 128GB Wi-Fi iPad Air 2: $499 - 64GB Wi-Fi iPad... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $961...
Overstock has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $961.63 including free shipping. Their price is $138 off MSRP. Read more
Clearance 12-inch Retina MacBooks, Apple refu...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 12″ Retina MacBooks available starting at $929. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The following... Read more
BookBook Releases SurfacePad, BookBook &...
BookBook has released three new covers just for iPad Pro: SurfacePad, BookBook and BookBook Rutledge Edition. BookBook for iPad Pro is a gorgeous leather case reminiscent of a vintage sketchbook.... Read more
Clean Text 1.0 for iOS Reduces Text Cleanup a...
Apimac today announced availability of Clean Text for iOS, a tool for webmasters, graphic designers, developers and magazine editors to reduce text cleanup and editing time, and also for any iPhone... Read more
27-inch iMacs on sale for up to $220 off MSRP
B&H Photo has 27″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $200 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2099 $200 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac 5K: $1899 $100... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 and 2015 13″ MacBook Airs now available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 2016 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad mini 2s available for...
Apple is offering Certified Refurbished iPad mini 2s for up to $80 off the cost of new minis. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 16GB iPad mini 2 WiFi: $... Read more

Jobs Board

SW Engineer *Apple* TV - Apple Inc. (United...
The Apple TV team is looking for excellent software engineers with experience in hardware, media management, media playback, content delivery and a passion for Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Seasonal Sales Associate - *Apple* Blossom...
Seasonal Sales Associate - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1001993 Date:August 22, Read more
*Apple* Engineer - Softthink Solutions, Inc....
Job Description:- Proven experience in administering IOS and OSX Apple devices in enterprises - Experience in administering Apple devices in Windows environments Read more
*Apple* Professional Learning Specialist - A...
# Apple Professional Learning Specialist Job Number: 51234243 Portland, Maine, Maine, United States Posted: Aug. 18, 2016 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** The Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.