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DBFree is a software suite (a.k.a Distro) especially conceived for web applications and bundles into a single package a webserver, a database engine and an Xbase interpreter.
No special skills are required: the whole system is delivered pre-configured ready-to-run on standard systems.

System Requirements

DBFree V4.1 runs on Microsoft Windows 10 (and can be used also on 8 and 7 with some adjustment) and on almost any hardware that can support them. In order to properly configure a public website you will need Admin rights and full access to your LAN configuration (i.e. the router that connects you to internet). For a SOHO installation or a Home Office this is the most common situation.
For personal use or developement just install the distro on your PC: no other settings are required.

What's DBFree for?

DBFree is aimed to power users and not to professionals. By Using DBFre and its tools you can run web applications and turn your Home PC into a real server, learn the basics of programming or develope full applications to be distributed using DBFree as runtime or residing in the cloud.
DBFree is extremely lightweight (from 6 up to 20 MB depending by version).For special purposes (presentations, demos, development) you can even set DBFree to run from a pen drive and have it run on host computers.
You can also use DBFree to run web applications or full web sites developed by others.
DBFree V4 offers a new model of portable application called dbAPPS that can be directly downloaded and run without need of programming skills, using DBFree as runtime environment.

No one to depend on

DBFree was thought since the beginning to implement SOHO web servers using cheap hardware or obsolete computers and to be run from home on standard ADSL lines, in complete autonomy, but also for all those offices where individual workers need to provide internet services without having to ask for the intervention of technicians, system administrators, security experts and database managers.
DBFree V3, for example, performs extremely well even on Atom 1.0Ghz computers with as low as 512MB of RAM, and can transform a standard Windows XP Home into a real server capable of handling hundreds of database transactions per minute.
Latest versions are tailored to virtual machines and cloud services where they can substain the traffic of commercial web sites, up to tens of thousands of transactions per minute or more.

Made for ordinary people

With latest releases of DBFree you don't strictly need to be a programmer (at least not right away) to put DBFree on rails and manage your personal website.
All you have to do is to set DBFree on a dedicated PC and set your router properly.
DBFree is intended mainly for amateur web developers that want to build web applications using server-side scripts but almost anyone with a minimal knowledge of HTML can use it to manage data on the web, create and share databases with coworkers or customers, collect data by using web forms on internet, LAN orwireless tablets, without need of programming anything. DBFree V4 supports dbApps, pre-built applications to be installed directly from web and that can make a DBFree server an effective no-skill-required solution.

Educational purposes

The Xbase language, after three decades, has still lot to offer to programmers. Our mission is to keep alive the art of programming and saving the beatiful Xbase language from oblivion.: learn yourself server-side, table-oriented programming with a modern NO-SQL approach

Commercial purposes:

You can build and sell your own applications relying on DBFree without paying or noticing anyone. No royalties, no hidden costs, no fees. Show/Hide example

DBfree and portable devices

DBFree offers a suitable solution to port your existing data on handheld devices: just build a standard web application with a responsive layout and provide you user our DBFree gateway for Android to connect with it.

DBFree is Open Source
(except MaxScript and some utilities)

Why MaxScript is not open-source

Maxsis granted to DBFree.org an exclusive, permanent license for including the MaxScript interpreter in their products.
Anyway we don't have access to interpreter source code, even if we've been granted unlimited usage and all the future updates, so - like for many other products around including some major Linux distros- DBFree is an Open Source product with some proprietary components. And the MaxScript interpreter is one of them.

DBFree was originally developed as demo version for DBMax, which was and still is a commercial product.
In the past years DBFree took advantage of the work of its users and got developed at a faster pace than the product from whom origined, both in features and user base, and thus established in facts itself as a separate product.
Neverthless the original license remains in place, and while the code developed by the users is Open Source the interpreter remains proprietary even if it is free to use for everyone (and it is granted to remain so).

DBFree users are granted the right to redistribute the interpreter, for free or for a fee, but only by including it as a component for their own applications, under the term of DBFree User's License
Notice that the mere interpreter cannot be redistributed as standalone product

Actually the same MaxScript interpreter used by DBFree is the core of other commercial (and expensive) products, while only DBFree.org can deliver it for free to their users.

DBMax is and remains a commercial product. It is largely compatible and can run without any change everything developed for DBFree, but offers a wider choice of database formats, notably dBase, FoxPro and ODBC support, plus native xBase++ (clipper) index support.
More than this, DBMax is tailored to work with IIS7, IIS7.5, IIS8 and IIS8.5 and run multiple websites at once.
DBFree registered developers can take advantage of upgrading to DBMax at a special price.

So, where is the code?

Download DBFree and look inside its folder. All the sources are freely exposed to you.
MaxScript compiles the pages in real-time so if you have the files you have the code: just open them with any text viewer.
Notice anyway that the pages sent to users and in generale all pages opened with a browser won't show any code: only HTML or an error message.
You must be at the console (or remote desktop) to see the server-side code contained into the pages.

DBFree.org business model

DBFree.org have an exclusive, permanent license for including the MaxScript interpreter in their products, but even if their users can produce application and sold them freely to anyone, DBFree.org is not allowed (or intentioned) to ask money for DBFree. DBFree (as suggested by its name) is completely free for everyone.

DBFree.org is hosted for free by Maxsis, but does not receive any other financial support or facility.
To support the project and all the work of keeping the product alive DBFree.org may rely only by the revenues that come from selling documentation, utilities, services and custom libraries.
At the moment we decided not to host advertising or sign for other marketing opportuinities (like bundling crapware with our products)

Basic documentation is free and included with all products: some other publications instead may be available for a fee.
This is only a way for supporting the project, not making money: we hope you will understand the intentions behind this decision.
With same aim we plan to build and offer special-purpose libraries on sale in the near future.

Licenses overview

DBFree is a bundle of several different software components:

Developing Web Database Applications with DBFree

DBFree can be seen as an all-in-one data centric HTTP Server that incorporates a Database and a programming language (MaxScript).
Using DBFree you can generate dynamic content web pages using a combination of xBase-like statements (command and functions) and HTML tags.
DBFree can eventually coexist with an existing Web Server on your system, so there is no disruption to your existing website infrastructure.

Scripting basics
DBFree comes with an integrated HTTP server (Civet) which handles the generation of dynamic content HTML and sends this back to the browser that requested the page. These pages have a “.MSP” extension (MaxScript Server Page, or in short MaxPages).
Civet can also serve static html pages, images, files aside to MaxPages, taking advantage of the same mechanisms used by PHP dynamic pages.
To make your pages dynamic you simply embed xBase scripting inside the HTML documents.

The script tags
To distinguish the xBase code from the regular HTML inside the MaxPage file, the code must be placed between <% and %> tags.

The tag combination notifies the Civet Server that the code within the <% and %> should be executed by the MaxScript engine directly on server and then removed from the results before to send the page to the browser.

Any output generated by the xBase code (the results of calculations, database access or whatever it does) will be written to the HTML page in the same exact point of the file where the script code was found. Only after this operation has completed in the background the entire page is sent back to the web browser that requested it.

DBFree model for applications

Presumably you are reading this document because you have a certain familiarity with HTML and want to start to do some Web development. Or maybe you're an experienced developer of desktop applications, and you're curious about the web.

Either cases starting to put togheter a web application by using DBFree is fairly easy, thanks to the application model adopted and that we are going to introduce you briefly here. Anyway don't be fooled: developement is not that easy - doing web pages is simple, securing them against hackers, intrusions and all the bad things that can happen in the wild will make the simple things suddenly  involved and complicated (we won't face these topics here: they are better covered by other specialized documents).

DBFree offers a standardized model for developing applications: dbApps.

dbApps are nothing more than standard web applications written in maxScript but that conform to detailed specifications so to be completely portable and interchangeable.
dbApps are a convenient solutions for experimenting with DBFree: they simply use DBFree as runtime environment and borrow from the host all the basic components (styles, libraries,utilities) so you don't have to worry about to setting them.
You start you project by simply creating a subfolder inside the DBFree  /APPS folder and placing a new file in there: DBFree home page will automatically recognize it as a new application and create in the home page a link for it.
A good idea to is to start by using one of the page templates that come with DBFree. There are templates for pages. applications or entire web sites.
Templates are basic layouts that you can use as starters for your projects and may really save you lot of time.
Visit DBFree.org to get updated templates.

Using Templates

There are many (maybe too many) templates for DBFree. Templates can save you lot of time during development.
A selection of templates is available on DBfree.org.
Be sure to choose the one that copes with your current version.

Getting the right tools

When talking about developers the tools to use are a pure matter of taste.Anyway for developing for DBFree you will have little choices, except for the web authoring (where there are plenty of solutions).
Go to DBFree.org and see what are the suggested tools.

Changing the default Website

Once your application has grown chances are that you will want to deploy it in your environment (being a LAN or the Web).
In this case all you have to do is to change the default website that comes with DBFree with your own.
If you want something more professional or business oriented you may try a Web Template.
Web templates are empty webs with basic layouts you can customize in aspect and features, and use directly with your applications: they usually link automatically to the DBFRee /APPS folder and build menus of what is inside without any need to modify the code.
Web Templates are available at DBFree.org

More questions?

Read the FAQ or contact us.
All trademarks as dBase,FoxPro,Clipper and the others cited here are property of their respective owners.

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