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dBFast is an xBase compiler for DOS introduced in the latter half of the 80s that offered dBase III compatibility.


It did not do well in a market segment where FoxBase and Clipper were already well entrenched even though it was supposedly faster than either of its competitors. The maker of the software responded by porting the package to Microsoft Windows, making it the first relational database available for the platform. With fairly big resulting executable files arriving on the market just before Windows 3.0 became a hit and offering only a subset of the xBase language the package. Original list price for the Windows version 1 was US$495. It was later bought by Computer Associates.

CA went on to introduce a much improved Version 2 of the dBFast for Windows product, but although the Windows interface was greatly enhanced and the company spent a considerable amount of money advertising the product, the underlying database engine still had not implemented all of the dBase features programmers were expecting even though the GUI had forced a large number of extensions to it. So when FoxPro for Windows came on the market a little later with more or less a complete xBase implementation it basically stole the market. CA got so desperate for a time that they gave a free copy of dBFast for Windows with every Clipper compiler they sold before they gave up on marketing it.

The package did survive as the front end for the "Aspen project", but that was the name that Computer Associates used for a portable GUI version of Clipper that they had under development. While the Aspen Project turned out to be neither portable nor terribly xBase compatible and did not sell well, it did well enough to be still sold today in a Windows versions as "Visual Objects".

dBFast is frequently listed as an OS/2 product as well as a DOS and MS Windows one, however there never was a native OS/2 version of it and apparently none was ever planned, but rather dBFast was marketed to OS/2 users as a WinOS/2 application after the introduction of OS/2 2.1 with adverts in OS/2 magazines, so the misunderstanding lingers.


Bumblebee Software
  • dBFast/Mac
  • dBFast/Windows (1989)
  • Version 2.0 for Windows 3.1 - WinOS/2 released in 1992
  • Version 2.0D2 - Last fix pack issued