Welcome, Newbies! Back


So you wanna be a programmer?

Welcome onboard.

 

We hope this is a good place to start. There are many others (thousands, in facts) but this one is peculiar, and unique.
Everything here is about MaxScript, an almost-unknown language that aims to become the the last descendant of another obscure language known unofficialy like xBase.
Obscure because it's dated back to early 80's. But it was famous, oh yeah. Very famous [Wikipedia].

Was the best of times for beginners. And still it is, after more than 35 years. Even today. Especially today (thanks to the web).

That's because MaxScript (on which DBFree is based) was born for the web when it was in its infancy, and no one believed would become so pervasive and ubiquitous. So no one paid attention, because - after all -  xBase was for business, and in those days no one was thinking to internet as a place where to do business.
Very insightful, insn'it? But it was the mid of 90's, the realm of DOS, when real men didn't use icons and Windows was yet to come. And now here we are.

So, what a more-than-30-years-old language has to do with you? Keep on reading and you'll know.


Why should you invest your time learning MaxScript?

A common pitfall for beginners is getting stuck figuring out which programming language is best to learn first.
Since the invention of the internet, programmers have been discussing which one is best, but the fact is that there's no one best language.

If your motivation is to get a job as a programmer obviously your "best" language will be the one that companies will consider as such (that is the one they are using at the moment, and once you'll have finally learned to master that language - if it takes you too long - they probably would have moved to something else).

In facts what you have to learn first is how to learn fast. And this apply for any language, not a specific one.

To make things worst, programming languages of today don't come alone: they are always part of programming environments. And before to even start studying the basics of the language you have to learn how to use that.
It is widely believed that in this case Java is the best language to invest your time: it comes from one vendor (Oracle) and has a development environment that is consistent across multiple platforms.

 But the fact is that if you're new to programming teaching yourself Java from scratch may prove to be very disheartening, difficult and time-consuming.

On the other hand investing a little time on MaxScript and DBFree may help you to make up your mind very quickly about what's in the game and perhaps decide if programming is a done deal for you

You won't end up developing commercial applications with it, but any bit you'll learn using it will be propedeutical for facing more complex languages and platforms.

Every language will help you learn programming, because all have common elements that you'll use in other languages as well, like control structures and design patterns, concepts that will remain valid on different kinds of software development and for various platforms.
The important thing is not to get discouraged after first attempts.

So better to start with something simple and possibly close to real-life experience.
And DBFree offers all this. Get to know DBFree

A practical example (decide yourself which one is more understandable):

PHP

<?php
$con = mysql_connect("localhost","myself","abc123");
if (!$con)
{
die('Could not connect: ' . mysql_error());
}

mysql_select_db("demo", $con);

$result = mysql_query("SELECT * FROM customers
 WHERE FirstName = 'J'");

while($row = mysql_fetch_array($result))
{
echo $row['FirstName'] . " " . $row['LastName'];
echo "<br />";
}

mysql_close($con);
?>

MaxScript

<%
cDB    := setDb("demo")
cTable := cDB + "CUSTOMERS"

use (cTable)
if used()
   set filter to FIRSTNAME = "J"
   go top
   do while not eof()
      print FIRSTNAME | " " | LASTNAME html
      skip
   enddo
else
   print "Error: could not connect " + cTable
endif
%>
Did you understand what this code does?. I mean, by simply having a look at it?
Well. This is the point.

Front-end developers vs. Programmers

Working with DBFree at programming level means working with web pages, and working with web pages means working with HTML.
If you don't know HTML you'd better study it first.

You won't do much in the world of application development today without at least a good understanding of HTML.
And learning HTML today means to put your nose also inside javascript. And Javascript even if is not Java, for a newbie it is almost as much discouraging.

(Notice that DBFree does not require you such a deep understanding: you can start using it with just a vague understanding of what HTML is, nothing more that that).

For example write this code and you'll get the result shown on right::
<!DOCTYPE html><html><%
set library to "c:\maxsis\dbfreev41\LIB\free.lib"  
web()   
pageStart()   
writeTitle("Hello Folks!")   
writeLine("This is my welcome to web programming")   
box("In effects this is the first time I try to do something with HTML. and in facts I know nothing about it")   
%>
To say the truth for the moment I didn't noticed the existence of HTML at all: where am I supposed to put all that tags? 
I didn't use any, so far. Maybe after all that knowing HTML is not so important as I've been told before. Ok. Now it's enough. See you! 
<%
pageEnd()
%>
Notice that there is only one line of HTML in this page (the first one).

Hello Folks!

This is my welcome to web programming


In effects this is the first time I try to do something with HTML. and in facts I know nothing about it
To say the truth for the moment I didn't noticed the existence of HTML at all: where am I supposed to put all that tags? I didn't use any, so far. Maybe after all that knowing HTML is not so important as I've been told before. Ok. Now it's enough. See you!

Anyway with HTML alone (and maybe also with javascript) in the modern internet world the most you can aspire is to become a FrontEnd Developer.
That's not bad, anyway.

Programming for real

Ok. But what's the difference between developing front-ends and true programming? Well, developing front ends means working on presentation of data. Programming means working on handling those data.

And with DBFree you will do both things at same time.

The dominating vision of today is simple: instead of being bound to specific programming languages and the look and feel of a particular operating system, producing executable for each of them, one can put an application in the browser and run it on a web server for one and everyone. And to do that you must build a web site.A web site with some special features, but first of all a web site in every and all respects.
That is developing Web Applications, in short.

Thus the first thing you need to know is how to build a web site, and the key for any web site is HTML (the page markup that makes up web pages) and CSS (the style information that makes that markup look pretty).
In case you wondering, this page is written using MaxScript, not HTML. Just wanted to let you know...

HTML and CSS are not programming languages: they're just page structure and style information. However, you should be able to author simple HTML and CSS by hand before you begin building web applications, because a web page is the frontend to every webapp.

That's why before you can even start thinking to become a programmer you must become a Front End Developer.

Then -only then - you should start thinking which language is the best, and you'll find that the number narrowes a lot, because the languages you will want to learn must be suitable for web use. For Server-side use, to be more precise.

Stepping forward

Once you're good at making things happen inside a web page, you're going to need to put some dynamic server action behind it and for that, you'll need to move into a server-side scripting language, like PHP, Python, Perl, or Ruby. Or MaxScript.

When talking about public consensum it is an universal opinion that, in this field, PHP is the undisputed king.

You'll find tons of publication and thousands of web sites full of tutorials for various web programming languages, but the vast majority will be on PHP.
So why choosing MaxScript?

One good argument could be that even using the smarter solution around - the WAMP Server - start learning PHP requires something more than simply studying the language:

From www.wampserver.com
WampServer is a Windows web development environment. It allows you to create web applications with Apache2, PHP and a MySQL database. Alongside, PhpMyAdmin allows you to manage easily your databases.
WAMP is a wonderful, powerful and elegant solution: anyway it is clear by the above presentation that you'll have to deal with three different software systems (each one so vast, complex and powerful that there are hundreds of technical books teaching how to master them).
Are you sure that is this the easier way to verify if programming is something good for you?

DBFree is ready to go in two minutes flat

This could be a good point. Also a good point could be considering the fact that can run almost on everty version of Windows, from to Windows 2000 Professiona up to the datacenter versions for the cloud.

But the best for you, as beginner, is that to start experimenting you don't have to do anything else than launch it and start typing.


Simply simpler

Same PC for development and production

Don't understimate the advantage of running on your own standard Windows PC your application exactly like they would run on a production server.
This eliminates all the hassle of preparing an infrastructure that fits different requirements: staging, testing, deploying. Furthermore gives you the chance to test immediately your application, since the start of the development, like it was in the wild.

By using DBFree, once that your application runs well on your PC it will runs well on your server as well. Even if it is in the cloud.
This dramatically reduces the cost of development.

And don't forget you can use your own PC directly as a server: the software is the same, the hardware is the same. And DBFree runs well even on 1MB XP Home box!

Another important plus is the total absence of maintenance: the database is already embedded in the interpreter, the web server is integrated in the distro and backups are simply a matter of copying folders.

Well, if you're not convinced yet, at this point there is no other option for you than give DBFree a try.


Go to download section Go to DBFree Guide Have a look at the language
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