by Dinesh Thakur

dBase is a specific software product used for creating and manipulating relational databases. The term can also refer to the dBase database programming language that first appeared in the dBase product, but which is now available in many other database forms.

As a software product, dBase was the first commercially successful database system for personal computers, and it remains one of the most widely used. Past versions include dBase II, III, III Plus, and several versions of dBase IV. In the early versions of dBase, to create a database or search for data or do anything else, you had to type out commands on a command line, much as you do in DOS. Nowadays, you can do much of the work using a system of menus, but you still need to be pretty savvy about databases to get very far. It's easier just to run programs that someone else has written using the dBase programming language. People who know dBase can write complete programs to accomplish customized tasks-like managing your company's inventory, invoicing system, and customer list. Once the program is working properly, anyone can run it without having to know anything about dBase commands.

Although the dBase programming language originated with the dBase software product, the language has taken on a life of its own. A variety of other software manufacturers have created their own versions. Since the name dBase is associated with a particular product, the abstract version of the dBase programming language is often referred to as xBase instead.