Borland Paradox

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A relational database system for OS/2 and DOS with a version later showing up for MS Windows that was very different from the other two versions although mostly compatible with the exception of the programming language. Paradox was quite a different take on the database that most of the other database packages popular at the time, it was heavily influenced by the spreadsheet package Lotus 1-2-3 in looks and function and this was not the least apparent in the programming language that was shipped with the database, it is know as " Paradox Application Language", commonly known as simply PAL, and although a fairly common 4th generation business language in some way it could be recorded from keyboard actions like a Lotus 1-2-3 macro.

Originally released in 1985 by USA independent publisher Ansa Software in 1985, it was taken over by Borland in 1987, who went on to port it to OS/2. A version for the Mac was not shipped even though Borland was porting most of their software to the Mac range at the time, but that was simply because the Reflex flat file database that on DOS was a budget software with limited programming abilities, existed in a version for the Mac was already quite an advanced relational database and the two packages would have competed with each other.

Paradox SQL

An add on program developed for Paradox OS/2 in 1988 that emulated the SQL interface of IBM DB2 and allowed Paradox for OS/2 1.0 to replace IBM's product as a database server, this was later given more generic SQL features and ported to other operating systems.

Text & programmers editors with Paradox support

  • Boxer - PAL syntax highlighting support built in - Commercial - DOS and OS/2 versions discontinued, Win32 version still sold.
  • Lugaru Epsilon - PAL syntax highlighting and autoindent available as a seperate download. - Commercial.


  • Version 5.0: Last known release to work under WinOS/2
  • Version 4.5 for DOS: Last known DOS release.
  • Version 4 for DOS re-written mostly from scratch in Borland C++
  • Version 2 for OS/2, Last known OS/2 release.
  • Version 1 for OS/2 announced by Borland as shipping in late 1987 but actually not shipped until early summer on 1988. A superset of "Paradox version 386" but could run all programs developed on it and "Paradox version 2"
  • Version 386 released in a DOS version in 1987 by Ansa.
  • Version 2 released in a DOS version in 1986 by Ansa.
  • Version 1 for DOS released by Ansa Software in 1985


  • PC Magazine's famous 1988 rave review of Paradox OS/2 which asserted that it was the first OS/2 software that took advantage of the OS/2 feature set to such a degree that it made sense for people to move from DOS to the newer OS.


  • Commercial software - DOS and OS/2 versions discontinued, MS Windows version still available.

Authors & publishers

  • Richard Schwartz (Original author)
  • Robert Shostak (Original author)
  • Ansa Software (Original Publisher), Borland, WordPerfect Corp., Corel (Current owner)