80-Bus News


July–August 1983 · Volume 2 · Issue 4

Page 47 of 55

Now it just so happens that Diskpen/​GEMPEN (they are one and the same except for the name) has recently had a major revamp. It now has the ability to execute overlay programs, and one such, called MAXiFILE, is a ‘free field’ data controller of the type described above. With a bit of lateral thinking, it is easy to see how a text processor can become a free field database. What are the major requirements of a database controller apart from its ability to find a given record? They are the ability to display and edit the record. What does a text processor do? It displays text and allows you to edit it!! So what does MAXiFILE do? It does the searching bit.

Lets make one thing quite clear, MAXiFILE will only work with the new PEN, that is type VG:3 and release 1.3 or better; and the new PEN will only work on computers fitted with the Gemini GM812 IVC card, that means Nascoms so fitted, Gemini Multiboard and Galaxy computers, Quantum 2000s and the Gemini based version of the Kenilworth Portable computer. Versions will soon be available for SuperBrain and Mimi computers. New PENs can be purchased from Gemini and Microvalue dealers at £50.00 + VAT, or upgrades to earlier PENs only from Henry’s Radio at £15.00 + VAT on return of the original distribution disk to Henry’s. MAXiFILE is one of several overlay programs available and is an optional extra at £20.00 + VAT.

Having got the commercial out of the way. What are the uses that MAXiFILE can be put? Well I’ve been using it for my letters, amongst other things, as it treats separate disk files (all my letters are saved as single files) as records on the disk. Having invoked MAXiFILE, it saves the existing work in hand and asks for the file names to be searched. The reply may be an unambiguous file name or may be ambiguous using the standard CP/M conventions. A list of files to be searched is displayed and MAXiFILE prompts for one of two ways to carry out the search (it also allows you to escape from MAXiFILE at this point, or to reenter new file names). With MAXiFILE there are two distinct and different way of carrying out the search, there is the straight forward ‘find’ and the rather more complicated and extremely powerful ‘find by logical expression’.

The straight forward ‘find’ is simple, supply the key and away it goes. Now in my letter files the key would usually be the surname of the person I’m looking for, as this would be most likely to be found either in the name and address block or the salutation of the letter concerned, i.e. Dear Mr. Bloggs, etc. Of course, if I can’t remember the name, then part of the address, or something in the letter will do. If I can’t remember the name or address or what the letter was about, then MAXiFILE can’t help either, as I might as well have forgotten that the letter ever existed, and certainly have no right to go looking for it. Anyway, MAXiFILE in the ‘find’ mode treats each file as a single record, and searches through for a match with the supplied ‘find’ line. As it searches each file it displays the name of the current file so you know how the search is progressing. If it finds a match, the file is loaded with the cursor pointing at the first occurence of the match within the file.

Several options are then open to me, to find the next occurence of the match within the file and if not found continue with the next file. To forget about this file and skip straight on to the next, to use this file, and to edit and resave it. To merge it with the file in use before MAXiFILE was invoked, or to forget the whole idea and continue with what I was doing before MAXiFILE was invoked. As I said, this mode of searching is very useful for

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