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Journal of Information Systems Education

Abstract

An introduction to information technology and information systems is normally a component in business school curricula. Students are often required to write a few simple programs, mostly using programming language BASIC. However, dBASE is a good alternative to BASIC in fulfilling this function; indeed, in many respects it is a superior option. The choice of the language is based on many factors. Reasons such as dBASE's excellent debugging facility, students' previous (and possibly frustrating) experience with programming in BASIC, and a perception that dBASE will more likely be used after graduation than BASIC may support the substitution of BASIC with dBASE. The problem with using dBASE at this elementary level is that it offers much too extensive a set of commands and functions, which could easily overwhelm beginning students. However, a small subset of dBASE programming language, provides sufficient functionality to reach the above goals. This minimal subset should support variables, data input and output, database file creation, loading, listing, updating and sequential processing, program editing, saving, execution and debugging, and structured program constructs sequence, iteration (or repetition) and decision (or selection). This paper presents a functional subset of dBASE commands and the order of coverage which have been successfully used on many occasions. The paper can also be useful to prepare handout materials for students.

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