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Clarion templates explained

An Overview

In the landscape of software development, Clarion stands as a distinctive high-level language designed specifically for Windows application development. Central to its approach to simplifying the development process are ‘Clarion Templates’. Here, you will find clarion templates explained,  and we delve into the essence and utility of these templates.

Clarion Templates Explained and Defined

Clarion Templates can best be understood as predefined blueprints or patterns that guide the generation of code. These templates are integral to the Clarion 4GL language and IDE (Integrated Development Environment), providing developers with a methodical approach to create database-driven applications with relative ease and efficiency.


The Purpose and Utility of Clarion Templates

Rapid Application Development (RAD): The templates act as catalysts in speeding up the software development process. By using these predefined structures, developers can focus on the core logic and functionality of the application rather than getting bogged down in the intricacies of manual code creation.

Benefits of templates

– Consistency and Reliability: As the templates follow a standardised format, the code generated is consistent. This ensures that the applications created are stable and dependable.

– Reduced Error Margin: Manual coding can be prone to errors, but with Clarion Templates, the margin of error significantly decreases as a lot of the code is automatically generated.

– Flexibility: While they are predefined structures, the templates are not rigid. Developers have the latitude to modify and adapt the templates to the specific requirements of their projects.

How They Work

The modus operandi of Clarion Templates is quite ingenious. Once a developer specifies the database structure and defines the desired functionalities of the application, the Clarion IDE leverages these templates to auto-generate source code. The beauty lies in the fact that the generated code is not just functional but is also optimised for performance.

Types of Templates

One method of classifying Clarion templates is to organise files by template function or type, while another is to use template chains. A primary file with the extension .TPL has a chain of templates, as well as any number of files with the extension .TPW.  To be available to the App Generator, any template must be either in a TPL or in a TPW that is included (through the #INCLUDE statement) by a TPL.

Application generating templates, utility templates, template wizards, third-party vendor templates, and so on are examples.

Templates are divided into eight categories:


The generation of whole applications is controlled by application templates. An #APPLICATION declaration is used to identify it. These provide the backbone for the overall application, defining its structure and basic functionalities.


Clarion can generate source code into a single embed point using code templates. The #CODE statement is used to indicate this. As the name suggests, these templates handle specific code segments or routines.


Control templates are wrappers for Windows controls like list boxes, windows, and so on. A #CONTROL statement is used to indicate this.


Extension templates create many embed points for Clarion source code. The #EXTENSION declaration is used to indicate this.


Procedure templates, which are used in conjunction with one or more of the preceding templates to generate whole procedures. A #PROCEDURE statement is used to indicate this. These are more granular, focusing on specific procedures or functions within the application.


The generation of source modules is governed by module templates (which can contain one or more procedures). A #MODULE declaration is used to indicate this.


Templates that can be used directly from the Clarion IDE. These are most commonly used to develop new procedures (the various procedure wizards) or to report on the programme (e.g., the dictionary printout utility) . A #UTILITY declaration is used to indicate this.


In the template language, template groups are basically similar to functions. They allow you to reuse template functionality without having to rewrite the template code every time. Values can be passed to a template group and values can be returned. A #GROUP declaration is used to identify this group.


The Bottom Line

Clarion Templates stand as a testament to the evolving nature of software development. By abstracting complex coding requirements and offering a more streamlined approach, they enable developers to be more productive and make the application development process more efficient and error-free. For any developer or organisation eyeing swift, consistent, and reliable Windows application development, harnessing the power of templates for Clarion is not just advisable, but imperative.

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