Clarion Software Developer Job for Contracting Company in Cleveland

Contracting company in Cleveland uses applications created with Clarion (Try saying that sentence five times fast)). Need someone to convert our apps to another coding language as a way of future-proofing and providing better accessibility to any developer that would need to step in for any number of reasons. We currently don’t have access to the original files so we believe referencing our current applications to duplicate them in another language would be the best step.

Our company handles all residential home renovations from electrical, plumbing, carpentry, etc.
We also have a rental property sector of the company that does short term rentals in Cleveland.

We use our apps to track all of our jobs and estimates from the customer information to the money we’re making on each job. The apps also provide Excel reports for a lot of different things like how our jobs are performing, different foreman’s schedules, expenses for our rental properties, employee data and a lot more.

We also use our apps for payroll for all of our employees and to track expenses from our vendors/subcontractors and payments made to those vendors/subcontractors.

In summary, the apps are essential to our business by organizing all important data related to our jobs, estimates, customers, accounts payable, accounts receivable, employees, payroll and providing reports for everything mentioned based on specified parameters.

Would love to hear from anyone interested in the job or any advice on the situation. Thanks.

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Greetings -

It would be useful for anyone seeking to do this task to know a bit about the industry your company serves, your company, what business areas your Clarion application handles, and a bit of more general details about what business problems the current program solves for you.

Since you are not actually seeking to replicate the functionality in Clarion, that gives you a world of options as to where this new development lands. And the nicer thing, is that on the better side of things, you have a working specification as to what needs to happen.

But as with all new development, on the worst side of things, you are taking a risk, and it is a long term commitment for a developer, with a developer. As a business, you will definitely need to do your homework as to the quality, determination, and ability to complete the task for whomever you choose.

Long term commitment is relative to how large your application is and what it does.

Good luck with your task.

Roberto Artigas


Thank you. Your response was a lot of help. I have already edited my post to be more specific to details about our company and what our apps do for our company.

If you have any websites/resources for finding someone, people you’d refer to take on the project or places/ways we can do more of our homework to make sure we can most effectively work with a new developer on this, that would be greatly appreciated.

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It sounds like what you have is a bunch of executables and DLLs and your data files. I would say your first step is to get someone to draw you up an Entity-Relationship diagram based on the data files, and then do their best to relate the things that happen in your programs to what happens to the data. That should give you a sort of specification for someone to develop you a new program from scratch. That should be done in conjunction with your people who use the program, who might know things like: when “we send out this sort of invoice it also sends a message to Fred”, which is not obvious just from looking at how the program appears on the screen…

I don’t think someone with knowledge of Clarion would be in a stronger position than anyone else to draw up that specification for you. The executable is machine language code and far removed from what might have been originally specified in Clarion that ended up producing that code. A Clarion programmer might be more easily able to write up a window definition that looks very much like what you see on the screen, but that is of no real help to you. Data files are data files, and except that a Clarion programmer may be able to tell you how the data files are structured more easily than someone else (if they are Clarion Topspeed files), that’s about it.

Does that help?


Another useful piece of information could be whether the software in question is bound by any type of license agreement with the vendor/author that would prohibit this kind of venture.


That helps a lot, thank you. We’re out our depths with this kind of stuff so that helps outline steps we can take and makes it a little less overwhelming thinking of it that way.

No, there is no license agreement. But, that is important so thank you for bringing that up.

That helps a lot, thank you. We’re out our depths with this kind of stuff so that helps outline steps we can take and makes it a little less overwhelming thinking of it that way.

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OK, so you mention that your objective is “future-proofing” the application?

Can you please answer these questions:

  1. Was the application written specifically for your company, or is it used by other companies as well?
  2. Is the developer still available and are you on good terms with the developer?
  3. Can you find out what database is being used to store your data?

Now, to give you some answers…

a. Clarion applications are pretty much future proof already. Clarion applications have been written and used, and still being used ins some cases, for 30+ years.
b. Clarion applications that are now being written can be desktop based, or web based, and your application could probably/possibly be updated to be more modern and web based, if that is what you want.
c. The problem with Clarion applications is that they are often written by small companies, “one-man bands” and some users of these applications rightly worry about the long term viability of ongoing support. There are solutions to this problem. You might want to be sure that you don’t replicate this problem with new application development, or at least take steps to prevent this problem occurring.
d. I think your options are

  • Rewrite your application with an alternative tool - most flexible outcome, most expensive path, no real gains

  • Work with your existing Clarion developer to find ways past your current concerns.

  • Gain access to your source code from your existing developer and work with another Clarion developer, aiming to overcome your current concerns. If your application uses a SQL database, then any developer can use your application’s data. If your application uses .TPS files then you will probably need a Clarion developer to help with data conversion and database relationship analysis.

  • Break down the functionality of your current applications and find ways to replicate it using publicly available (web based) applications that, as near as possible, replicate that functionality. Use tools to integrate these other applications, as best as possible. e.g. web based accounting, web based payroll, web based purchasing, inventory, ordering etc etc systems. This is the direction many businesses are now taking. It sounds a bit hotch-potch, but it is surprising how well these systems can be integrated. This path is probably your least expensive option, but will have ongoing costs and you will be adapting your business to the way these systems work. Not all systems work that well!

  • Remember that a custom application can give you a competitive advantage because they are designed to help you do things the way you want and hopefully that is better than what your competitors do! If you’re not very good at what you do, then public applications might offer you better ways of doing things!

I hope this helps.


Not sure I can concur with that.


Depends on the definition of “future-proof” :thinking:


I would. I’ve brought a Clarion Windows V1.5 app from 1996 into C10 and C11 with little effort. Can’t say that about too many languages. YMMV of course

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  1. The app was written specifically for our company.
  2. Important context I hesitated on mentioning here, but unfortunately the developer of our applications passed away. He was indeed a “one-man band”
  3. Our apps do use a SQL database.

You’re right. Our apps work just find as of right now, but we’re concerned about not having support and if we want to make changes or additions, we don’t have anyone who can do that.

Our last resort would be integrating web based applications. Our company is constantly changing and evolving and has leaned on a proprietary system to be updated to our needs.

Your reply was very helpful and helped confirm some things we were thinking.
Thank you.

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So was your developer in-house, or external? If in-house I presume you still have the computer and the source “code” (apps, dicts, clws, templates and so on)? In which case you are in much better shape for passing over the application to another clarion developer or shop. Even if external, maybe you have some way to get the source code?

In terms of being future-proof if you stick with Clarion. Clarion has been around a long time, but there are concerns about its future viability, A lot of current clarion developers started developing with clarion back in the 80s or 90s and we suspect there is not a lot of new blood in the developer pool. Some things that were considered necessary to ensure a future (web-based apps, anyscreen) have happened, but others (64bit programs, unicode support, trial or open-source version) have not yet.

At this point Clarion is a niche product, not a dead product. As far as other options go…where I work (government), there were a few years where the systems guys were all over “COTS” (customized off-the-shelf) solutions, but in the past couple of years they have decided they are better off developing things in-house. On the other hand they have a history riddled with bad decisions, so maybe they are not the best group to get advice from.

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Our developer was external. The only way we could possibly obtain any source code or files from them would be to reach out to his wife. We’ve been looking for any other option than having to bother her with a task she might not even be able to help with even if she was willing to do so considering the circumstances.

I guess we were also thinking it’d be better to go with something less niche to have the most options of hiring someone to step in if needed.

If you’re trying to get away from Clarion, then you need to decide first what programming language you are going to use. Then, you need to ask questions on a forum that is dedicated to that language. I believe most people here are Clarion programmers. That being said, in my opinion, I think Clarion is actually one of the best languages to use to create a program from data, which it sounds like that’s what you’ll be doing. (A Python programmer might disagree with me.) Once that data is in a clarion data dictionary, the wizards can create a lot of the program for you. Of course then it will have to be modified to get it to where you are now. From what you’ve described, it’s a lot!

The other alternative is to just find another piece of software that’s written and supported by a company. There is a ton of software out there that’s already written and proven. If you can find the right program, then it’s just a matter of doing a data conversion, which most software companies are able to do. Search websites like Capterra or Sourceforge perhaps. It looks like you’re looking for a work order/Invoicing program that has payroll and scheduling. Building all of that from scratch would probably cost tens of thousands by the time you got it to match what you have.
Good luck to you.

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I don’t know, man.
Sometimes, you gotta reach out.

If the source code is well written, it might go a long way toward helping someone else either take over the Clarion or know what to do or not to do.

All of the couple of times I’ve dealt with widowed spouses regarding this kind of thing have been positive.

Whether or not you end up with the source code, you can let someone know how important their loved one was to you and your business. And maybe you’ll get a more solid direction to go.


I agree with Jeff. As long as a bit of time has gone by, I think it is fine to contact his wife.

I’m a independent consultant that develops software for a number of clients/customers.
I would not want any of my clients left in a bad place if something happens to me.
In my case, all of my clients who have ownership or access to the source have access to the git repositories that contain their code.

Even if you don’t go forward with a Clarion solution, I think it would be useful for the new developer to have access to the current code. That will help them with understanding business logic and program flow.


Yes, I understand that sentiment completely.

Your developer was probably known to “the Clarion community” and might have had contact with other developers? I’m not sure of the best way to handle it but perhaps there is a Clarion developer with a personal history with your developer who could act on your behalf. But I wouldn’t know how to identify that developer without you naming your developer and doing that in a public forum wouldn’t be a good idea. Maybe others on here can suggest a path?

Concurring with what Jeff said, your business was probably well known to the wife of your developer and I have no doubt she would not be offended by a gentle contact regarding your circumstances.

If you had a contract with your developer there might be terms under which you can gain access to the source code and maybe the development environment. (Unfortunately too much software is developed without these circumstances in mind, not just Clarion software.) Be aware that the source code and development environment will be an asset of the estate and you should be prepared to pay for access to it, unless otherwise stipulated in your contract.

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Some time ago I saw somewhere (maybe here on ClarionHub or ClarionMag) a list of know Clarion developers that passed away…

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