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 System Builder 5.1 reference manual

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Stefano Gallotta's profile image
PARTNER Stefano Gallotta posted 11-16-2023 08:34

Hi all

I have a (old) client with their application in System Builder 5.1 (NOT SB+) - and I am wondering whether anyone out there has a copy of the System Builder manual in some transportable format (aka .pdf)

I need the variable documentation of some subroutines -,, and lookup.

Greatly appreciated :)


Krish Govender's profile image
PARTNER Krish Govender Best Answer

Hi S,

I do have a 'brand new' manual - been keeping it for this occasion lol

David Knight's profile image
PARTNER David Knight

I have never seen a manual and do not know if one ever existed!

This is now SERIOUSLY old tech; so I think you will be out of luck. Taking 1970's???

Your client would be better served migrating to SB+ v5.n as the last non-Universe supported version of SB+.

We [H3O] have successfully migrated SB v5 --> SB+ systems using proprietary AI systems we built to 'intelligently' convert source code originally written for SB systems; as well as using conversion tools to take most [but not all] of the hard work out of such migrations.

This would give your client:

  1. Access to a system that can be developed and taken forward
  2. On supported platform; and
  3. With multiple future paths rather than being at a dead end facing a complete re-write.
  4. Additionally, can then take advantage of more modern tools inherent in d3 such as web, python, ODBC etc etc

If you or your client are interested in such a service; please contact our offices via

One of our business consultants can hold an obligation-free discussion.


David Knight

Will Johnson's profile image
Will Johnson

Not 1970s.  Probably mid-80s

Neil Pratt's profile image
Neil Pratt

Hi Stefano,

I am still in contact with some of the programmers who developed System Builder , SB and SB+ ,  I'll see if they can assist with your request. 

Many moons ago I used the original System Builder before SB and SB+ were born.  Speaking of born, my first Pick job was with a company in Johannesburg South Africa which was about a mile or 2 from where System Builder was born. The company was called Computermatic . Neill and Derek Miller started it I believe. See Neill's LinkedIn link below.  In case you don't have access, I copied some of the relevant info. from his profile.

"My first startup Computermatic a computer services bureau, which I started with one partner and one programmer in 1972 was listed on the JSE (Johannesburg Stock Exchange) in 1985.

I also facilitated several mergers and acquisitions, including companies such as Bell and Howell, Micrographix and Business Land, resulting in 4 listed companies on the JSE.

After immigrating to Australia in 1987, I formed a start up computer software company with my cousin Derek Miller called System Builder Development (SBD) to continue to develop the 4GL System Builder and SB+."

Stefano Gallotta's profile image
PARTNER Stefano Gallotta

@Neil Pratt

Yep, knew Computermatic very well.

I met Derrick and Neil when System Builder was being developed way back in 83/84 - whilst using PERTEC equipment. Thereafter ADDS Mentor.
Derrick and Johan Peterson gave me my first courses using the System Builder transaction processing facility - back in the day.

I still developed the aux printing function with Wyse50 terminals, the concept was then facilitated onto SB+

Please scratch and see if you have a copy of the System Builder manual - I know I had one somewhere back in South Africa  (I'm working in the UK now) - I would greatly appreciate it.



Neil Pratt's profile image
Neil Pratt

@Stefano Gallotta I didn't realize you were from South Africa and you probably don't know my family come from GT Yarmouth, UK although I was born in Rhodesia and moved to SA early on where I did some growing up. I pretty much sold everything I had and moved to Los Angeles early 1998 and if I had any SB related manuals, I don't have them anymore. I have reached out to my old colleagues who might be able to assist.  

Stefano Gallotta's profile image
PARTNER Stefano Gallotta

Hi @Krish Govender

Keep it (safe) it may come in handy someday - and worth a few bucks  :)

Savvas Mallotas's profile image
Savvas Mallotas

Hi Stefano

I do have a manual lying around somewhere, just need to look for it.

I also did scan a few pages a while back in pdf format, will also get back to you on it.

A few companies I have either worked at or currently doing contract work for, still use System Builder 5.1 and I have provided extensive support in it.

Send me your details and will forward on the relevant docs or if you need any support will gladly assist to.



Stefano Gallotta's profile image
PARTNER Stefano Gallotta

Hi @Savvas Mallotas

Thanks for this - I have received some pages of the manual from another member in this group, but I am glad to know that I am not alone in supporting old System Builder applications. :)