This book is a comprehensive tour of all the essential elements of the Progress 4GL. The Progress 4GL remains by far the most powerful and comprehensive language for developing serious business applications. Combined with the Progress RDBMS(tm) database and the other components of the Progress OpenEdge(tm) product family, the Progress 4GL can support you in building and deploying your applications in ways that are matched by no other environment today. By the time you complete this book, you will be competent to build thoroughly modern applications that take advantage of most of the language's features. And you will use the language to build powerful business application logic, not just the toy demonstration windows you find in other language tutorials. Progress is not a toy. It's a tool for serious developers who have serious business problems to solve.
This book is written for two different kinds of audiences. The first group consists of existing Progress developers who might have created applications in earlier releases of the product, when many of the more recent extensions to the language were not yet available. If you are already experienced in the 4GL, you will find some of the material, especially in the first couple of chapters, familiar. Feel free to skim through those sections quickly, but you should not skip even the first chapters altogether to avoid missing anything-there are changes and enhancements to the language at every level.
The second audience for this book consists of people completely new to Progress. For those of you in this second group, you should take the time to learn enough about the language to understand some of the many ways it can help you in your development work. You probably need to have a background in some other programming language to catch on to Progress quickly, because the material might come at you fast and furious. Despite its many extraordinary and unique features, the Progress 4GL is basically a procedural programming language with most of the same constructs common to almost all such languages.