4D v19 performance on Apple M1

by guest author Roland Mulder, CEO Micro Consulting SA, Switzerland

My company develops Office Maker and BiblioMaker, a business and library management software mainly used in Switzerland by thousands of users. The first lines of code were written in 1986 on a Macintosh Plus with 4D version 1 (“4e Dimension” back then).
I remember my astonishment in 1989 when I first launched our software on a Macintosh SE30. Everything was suddenly so fast! I simply could not believe my eyes.
These fond memories came back when I first launched our applications on a new iMac M1 after compiling natively with 4D v19. As you can imagine, after 35 years of constant development, they have become much larger and sophisticated beasts. My eyes opened wide as soon as I double-clicked on the first one. Such a fast launch! And my jaw fell to the floor when I opened elaborate multipage entry layouts with plenty of filled list boxes. Absolutely instantaneous!

We then proceeded with lots of benchmarks, comparing many different operations. We compared the latest Intel i7 MacBook Pro with 16 Gb of RAM to the iMac M1 with 8 Gb of RAM, using the same data file with millions of records. Without boring you with all the details, suffice to say that most operations were at least twice as fast, some even fifteen times faster. Compared to the Intel version running under Rosetta 2, everything was at least 50 % faster.
But more than benchmarks, the sheer comfort of using software that reacts with complete fluidity and instant response makes it seem magical.
I would like to congratulate the 4D team for their excellent work and for giving us all an M1 native version of 4D on time. I can’t wait to deliver our next major update to our clients this fall, probably at the same time that Apple will unveil its first Pro hardware based on the evolution of the M1.
If you haven’t yet migrated your source code to 4D v19 and project mode, I can only encourage you to do so as soon as possible. This changes everything.
Roland Mulder
After teaching programming and computer science in different schools and at the CERN in Geneva, Roland founded Micro Consulting SA in 1986 in Lausanne, Switzerland. The idea was to prove that the Macintosh, which appeared in Switzerland the year before, was a capable computer for small business management software in a world dominated by ugly DOS applications. 4D version 1 ("4e Dimension" back then) was naturally chosen as it was the only database providing a truly graphical interface. Today, Roland's passion remains to build elegant software with good UI design. The Office Maker and BiblioMaker suite of business and library management applications have greatly evolved over several decades, following each and every version of 4D. They are now also offered for Windows and in the cloud, in 4 languages, and used by thousands of users in Switzerland. Roland is interested in everything related to arts and science and is a big believer in the future of VR computing, hoping that 4D will one day become 3D.