UTILITY -> Database
© _Public_Domain_ (1991)
Alyssa Database V1.6

Manual n° 1

ALYSSA DATABASE V1.6 ==================== (C)1990/91 Designed & Programmed by Julian Cassin Julian Cassin 21 Victoria Road Northcote Melbourne 3070 AUSTRALIA This program remains the copyright of Julian Cassin. It has NOT been placed into the public domain but this version may be freely copied amongst AMSTRAD CPC users for their own personal use as long as it is complete. IT MUST INCLUDE THE FILES: ALYSSA.BAS, ALYSSA.BIN, ALREADME.BAS, ALYSSA.DOC, ALYSSA.SCR, as well as the files CONVERT.CHN, LABELS.CHN, EPSON.PRN, CITOH.PRN. No part or parts of the database or its documentation may be modified or SOLD without prior written permission of the copyright holder. This program has been extensively tested by the author and contains no known bugs. That is not to say bugs don't exist, but the author holds no liability or responsibility to the users or any other persons or entities for any loss or damage caused or alledged to be caused directly or indirectly by this product. Public Domain libraries can feel free to contact the copyright holder, Julian Cassin, for WRITTEN permission to distribute or use this product (it may be exactly what a PD library needs to keep track of their software). If buy any chance it is distributed by a PD library, no price above $10 Australian (3 pounds) may be charged including the disc it is distributed on! Please report any copyright violations to the author at the above address. Thankyou. Contributions: Although you are not obligated to do so, if you like this program and find it at all useful, feel free to send any contributions or comments to the copyright holder, Julian Cassin, of the above address. Thanks: - To Bob Harding for permission to use and distribute his disc label printer. - To Peter Herweijer for permission to use his FASTTEXT patch. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- ALYSSA DATABASE 1.6 USER DOCUMENTATION ====================================== * Existing users: I am tired of explaining compatability problems between different versions of Alyssa due to people NOT reading the updated documentary file when they get an updated version! Please READ the section on differences first which should help to solve the problems before complaining. Should there still be a problem, I can then solve it. Minimum Hardware: Any Amstrad CPC with at least 128K RAM. At least one floppy disc drive. This program was written especially for the Amstrad computer user (Enthusiast, Hobbyist, or Gamesplayer) who needs to efficiently and easily organise their software lists. Features include: Access to background ROMS (RSX support). Chaining of external subprograms. Compare two software lists. Disc label printer. Fast Searching. File conversion utility. Full Amstrad memory support (upto 576K RAM). - 1872 records on a 128K system. - 7488 records on a 320K system. - 8384 records on a 384K system. - 14976 records on a 576K system. Print normal or condensed (two columns). Order by any field. Works with the majority of 80 track Drives. Updated versions to come. Unexpanded 464/664 disc owners can run Alyssa but they wont be able to use it. They can however look through the options. If enough unexpanded 464/664 disc owners write in (and please enclose an SAE) I may release a MULTI-LOAD version. For 464 tape users, ALYSSA MINI is now available with many of the features removed. The main ones being: * extra memory support (now only a maximum of 384 records) * disc support Here are some comments from people who have seen Alyssa V1.0. "Looks very professional" - BP (Australia) "I love your Alyssa Database" - CY (New Zealand) "It is comfortable, cleanly done and intuitively clear to use, and it uses my full 576K memory"..."in short, it's brilliant" - PH (The Netherlands) 80 TRACK & DOUBLE SIDED DRIVES The majority of 80 track AMSDOS, XDDOS and double sided ROMS should work. Maybe even RODOS. Any DOS's that sit in extra memory will eventually be overwritten by data. DIFFERENCES WITH ALYSSA V1.0 There has been one major change in this version over Alyssa V1.0. Binary database files are NOT upwards compatible to this version due to the new method of searching (Thanks Colin, Wow! What a difference!). A small index is also saved. Don't panic though, everything has been taken into account. To convert your V1.0 list, save your 1.0 list as ASCII with Alyssa V1.0 then load it as ASCII with this version of Alyssa. Simple eh!! By the way, your Alyssa V1.? lists will be downward compatible. What a strange upgrade? DIFFERENCES WITH ALYSSA V1.1 Unfortunately Alyssa V1.1 was released with a couple of annoying bugs which have now been fixed. They were: 1) The search index didn't update properly. (making some things impossible to search for)! 2) The load/merge counter didn't update. 3) The print-to-disc option didn't display on screen. 4) It crashed when saving onto a write-protected disc or trying to load a file which wasn't there. The fourth bug still exists on BASIC 1.0 (see 'CPC464 OWNERS' below). Also, condensed printing has now been implemented allowing two column lists (to save paper) and the status option contains a bit more. DIFFERENCES WITH ALYSSA V1.2 Oh No! The compare option in V1.1 was bugged preventing a good comparison. This has been fixed along with the condensed printing on EPSON printers (it was a bit lopsided). Also, the printer drivers have been changed and are not compatible with lower versions, so only use the given drivers with the version they came with! Some extra features of this version are: 1) INVERSE - Inverse TAGged and unTAGged records. 2) UNTAG - UnTAG all records. 3) ZAP BAK - Delete all .BAK files. Due to the BASIC 1.0's inability to detect disc errors, CPC464 owners will be returned to BASIC when using the ZAP BAK option if no .BAK files exist (see 'CPC464 OWNERS' below). DIFFERENCES WITH ALYSSA V1.3 New features: 1) More control over BROWSE option. 2) Pack speed increased. 3) Compare speed increased. Bench tests between this version and V1.3 prove this PACK to be between -2% (the ODD case) and 4700% (another ODD case) more efficient. DIFFERENCES WITH ALYSSA V1.4 New features: 1) <ENTER> also rotates through toggles. 2) Swap between drives A: & B: on file menu. 3) <COPY> on APPEND/EDIT option researches the list. 4) The disc directories are neater. 5) It now has the ability to chain extra modules. 6) A disc label (3 1/2" & 5 1/4") module is included. 7) Text printing has been speeded up. 8) RSX's may now contain numbers. 9) The colours can be changed. DIFFERENCES WITH ALYSSA V1.5 Bug fixes: 1) The search now finds the last record. 2) Compare no longer locks up. New features: 1) Alyssa can now be FORCED to use only 128K RAM. 2) Semi-Wildcard searches can be made. 3) A new field 'K byte' field has been added. 4) Sorting is now over 3 times faster. 5) The NEW option now prompts for deletion. 6) A file conversion utility module is included. Due to the addition of a new field 'K', BINary files saved with earlier versions are NOT upwards compatible. Files must be saved and reloaded in ASCII format. CPC464 OWNERS I stress the fact that CPC464 owners are NOT provided for with disc error handling as BASIC 1.0 has some minor idiosyncracies. If any disc errors occur, you will be returned to BASIC's 'Ready' prompt. To return to Alyssa without loosing (or damaging) any data, type 'GOTO 70'. If you aren't careful this may happen quite often. Don't panic though! GENERAL INFO When Alyssa is first executed (after the credits have disappeared), the top part of the screen contains the programs name and version. The main menu is displayed in the centre of the screen (this is where all menus will be displayed) and some information is displayed at the bottom of the screen. This information includes: RAM: Total available RAM. FILENAME: Current list in RAM. FREE: Number of remaining entries (Free RAM). USED: Number of currently used entries (Used RAM). REC: Record currently being pointed at. To preserve the contents RAM discs and the like, Alyssa can be forced to use only 128K of memory by holding down <SPACE> while it is loading. MENU SYSTEM The menu system throughtout Alyssa uses a highlighter to allow the user to select an option. Some options (in some menus) will contain something in braces (). These options are toggles which change the way Alyssa behaves in different circumstances. Keys used to control the menus: <enter> - Select highlighted option. (If on toggle, rotates through toggle) <esc> - Return to previous menu. <up cursor> - Highlighter up. <down cursor> - Highlighter down. <left cursor> - Cycle left through toggles. <right cursor> - Cycle right through toggles. Options include: MENU OPTION FUNCTION ---- ------ -------- EDIT * APPEND Add a new program to the end of the list. * EDIT Change entries in the list. * BROWSE Browse through the current list. SEARCH Wildcard search. * PACK Delete selected entries from the list. INVERSE Inverse all tagged and untagged files. UNTAG Untag all records. * NEW Delete current list, and start from scratch. FILE CATALOGUE Display the current discs directory. * LOAD Load a list. * SAVE Save a list. * MERGE Join two lists * COMPARE Compare two lists. SWAP DRIVE Swap between drives A: and B:. ZAP BAK Delete all .BAK files in current drive. TYPE Toggle between BINary and ASCii files. PRINT * PRINT Print a list. LOAD PRINTER Load your printer. PRINT TO Select print on SCReeN, DISC or PRiNTer. * MODE Printer mode, condensed or normal. * STARTà Record number to start printing from. * FINISHà Record number to finish printing at. * LINE SPACING Printer line spacing. * GAP SPACING Printer Gap size. SORT * NAME Sort list by name. TYPE Bunch types together. MEDIA Bunch medias together. CODE Sort list by code. NUMBER Sort list by storage media number. KBYTE Sort list by program size. XANY RSX Enter RSX, change drive, quit etc. CHAIN Chain an external subprogram. STATUS Display memory map and status info. * ABOUT Display info about Alyssa. PEN Change pen colour. PAPER Change paper colour. * Options also available on Alyssa MINI APPEND & EDIT Append and edit are explained here together as they are operated in the same way (to keep with consistancy). Keys used: <enter> - If on last record, add another one. <copy> - Search for another record to edit. <esc> - Return to EDIT menu. <up cursor> - Back a record. <down cursor> - Forward a record. <left cursor> - Back a field. <right cursor> - Forward a field. Depending on which field is selected, an appropriate message is displayed. The TAG field is used in conjunction with the PACK option. If this field contains ANY data, the record is temporarily deleted until the data is removed. BROWSE Browse through the current list. Keys used: <copy> - Search for another record to show. <esc> - Return to EDIT menu. <up cursor> - Scroll list down the screen. <down cursor> - Scroll list up the screen. <shift+up cursor> - Page up. <shift+down cursor> - Page down. <ctrl+up cursor> - Top of list. <ctrl+down cursor> - Bottom of list. SEARCH This option allows a program to be searched for if only a part of its name is known. You will be prompted for the name and also if the title found is the one you want. An answer of 'N' will cause Alyssa to continue searching for the next occurance containing the given substring. An answer of 'Y' will take you into EDIT mode. PACK This option permanently deletes ALL records TAGged with the APPEND/EDIT options. INVERSE This option will untag all tagged records and at the same time, tag all untagged records. UNTAG This option will untag all tagged records, making the whole file untagged. NEW Start a new list from scratch. Clears all data from memory ready for a new list. LOAD & SAVE These options load or save a list to disc. A list of about 5000 records is all that can be saved on a normal 178K single sided format (like on 3") as you are never prompted to flip the disc! (I don't think many people will fill 5000 records anyway). Bigger lists are exclusively for the use of 80 track or double sided drives (see above). The status option displays how much disc space is needed to save the list. MERGE Merge an ASCII file from disc with a list already in memory. To merge two binary files, save one as ascii, load the other binary file, then merge the saved ascii one. COMPARE This will compare an ASCII list from disc with a list already in memory (which is the more rescent of the two). All records in common will be automatically tagged (in the file in memory) ready to PRINT the difference of the two lists since ALL TAGGED records are ignored by the PRINT option. To obtain maximum accuracy and speed, the list in memory MUST be in sorted NAME order because of the searching algorithm used. The idea of this option is that if you get someones PUBLIC DOMAIN list, you should store it away. Next time the SAME person sends you an updated list, compare the new one with the old one. You can then PRINT out the programs that person has got since. The FULL lists are needed for comparing so don't pack them before hand. SWAP DRIVE This option allows you to swap between drives A: and B: without leaving the file menu or using the RSX option as before. It automatically detects which drive Alyssa was executed from. ZAP BAK This option will delete all .BAK files from the current disc. TYPE This toggle is to enable you to load and save as either BINary or ASCii. Merge and Compare always deal with ASCII files and are not affected by this setting. ASCII files generally take longer to load and save than binary one. Also the index is not saved with the file and must be created while loading. PRINT MENU This is the most complicated of all options. PRINT - Print the list to the destination in the PRINT TO toggle. All TAGged records are ignored! (Good for COMPARE). Keys used: <esc> - Return to PRINT menu. <space> - Pause printing. * <enter> - Resume printing. * Most printers have buffers and prevent the Alyssa from pausing the PRINTER immediately! LOAD PRINTER - Select this option to load your correct printer driver. The current printer is shown in the status option. The default printer driver is EPSON. The two supplied drivers are: EPSON.PRN CITOH.PRN PRINT TO - You can print the list to SCReeN, DISC or PRiNTer. Print to DISC is provided for the purpose of list distribution to people who don't have or can't use Alyssa. MODE - The default print mode is two column condensed mode. But normal print can be selected. START à & FINISH à - Toggle to select a portion of the list to print. LINE SPACING - Set the line spacing for the printer. GAP SPACING - Every time a new first letter is reached when printing, a gap is inserted. You can adjust the size of this gap. (It should be 0 whenever the list is NOT in name order!) SORT Unfortunately one weakness of this database is the slow assembler bubble sort. Don't get me wrong though, since it is RAM based it is on par with dBase II (not using indexes) and is about 50 times faster than the BASIC equivalent! Hopefully it will be improved in the future. On average, it takes about 15 minutes to sort 1000 records not completely out of order. Go feed the cats or have dinner! XANY MENU This is the 'eXit and ANYthing else which doesn't belong in the other menus' menu. RSX - You can type any RSX (bar command) in here. Beware though, if you are unsure whether a particular one will crash Alyssa (some will) try it out before you load any important data!! Use this option to select disc drives. RSX's known to be - GOOD BAD A (drive A) SDISC * ACCESS PROTEXT B (drive B) X (utopia) BASIC (to quit) * C * CALL CPM (to quit to CPM) * DEDIT DIR (directory) DISC * DISCTEST * ERA * FORMAT * MEDIT * REN * TYPE * UTOPIA CHAIN - This allows the CHAINing of external subprograms especially written for (or modified for) but not part of Alyssa. Neally all future expansion will be through this option. It is recommend to save a list before CHAINing anything to garauntee important data is NOT lost should there be a crash! Two modules are supplied: CONVERT.CHN LABELS.CHN CONVERT is a conversion utility to import and export lists from other databases or textfiles. LABELS allows 3 1/2" and 5 1/4" disc labels to be printed on EPSON and compatible printers. To use this module the list must be in NUMBER order. STATUS - Display a memory map of used RAM by Alyssa. This option also displays the current printer driver and the amount of disc space needed to save a file. ABOUT - Alyssa info and credits to the author (me). PEN & PAPER - Change the colour scheme of Alyssa. CONVERTING YOUR LIST FROM ANOTHER DATABASE To convert your existing list or a friends (for comparing) list to Alyssa, a conversion utility module is included (CONVERT.CHN). This is chained via the CHAIN option on the XANY menu. The menu structure is as follows: CONVERT V1.1 ------------ MENU OPTION FUNCTION ---- ------ -------- CONVERT IMPORT Convert a foriegn database list for Alyssa. EXPORT Convert an Alyssa list for a foreign database. ALYSSA Return to Alyssa Database. IMPORT CATALOGUE Catalogue current disc. BOB0190 Convert list from BOB0190 database to Alyssa. MASTERFILE Convert a Masterfile database to Alyssa. WP FILE Convert a wordprocessor file to Alyssa. ZAP BAK Delete all .BAK files. RSX Enter RSX. EXPORT CATALOGUE As import. BOB0190 Convert an Alyssa list for BOB0190 database. ZAP BAK As import. RSX As import. BOB0190 This option allows a file to be imported or exported into a format readable by Bob Hardings 'BOB0190 disc file and printer' database. Alyssa assumes a file extension of '.BOB' for all BOB0190 files. MASTERFILE This option is provided to allow lists originally stored in Masterfile to be converted for use in Alyssa without containing too much rubbish as the WP FILE option would (due to the Masterfile exports). NO file extension is assumed. Firstly the original list must be exported with the EXPORT option on the Masterfile main menu. Answer (N)o to ALL the questions then select the fields to export when prompted (Clearer instructions should be in the Masterfile Manual). Note that this conversion utility expects the NAME to be the first field. All other fields (CODE, NUMBER, KBYTES, SPECIAL) can be non-existant or in any order. Once the file has been exported from masterfile, run this conversion utility and select the MASTERFILE option. Alyssa will then prompt for the number of fields to convert. Enter the number of fields that was exported and wait while the initial conversion pass takes place. After a while you will be prompted which fields exist and to underline them in the same way as the WP FILE option (read below). WP FILE This option allows an existing list entered via a word processor or text editor or even another database (eg: dBase 2 in ASCII) to be converted into an Alyssa Database format. To prevent garbage from being converted, the ASCII file must in in a columnar form with NO headings (they can be removed beforehand). It assumes NO file extension! Although this converter will NOT convert every field, it will save retyping NAME, NUMBER, SIDE and KBYTE which is most of the work anyway. A SPECIAL field is also provided for specialist use only so this utility can be used for a PART conversion or if another field is to converted also. If the SPECIAL field is selected, it will be added onto the end of the converted list and WILL NOT load into Alyssa directly. For a simple 4-field conversion, select NO SPECIAL field! Firstly, you will be prompted for the filename. The first record will be displayed as a guide and you will be asked whether each field exists in the ASCII file. If it does, you will have to underline the field with the following controls: <enter> - Finish underlining field. <up cursor> - Make underline longer. <down cursor> - Make underline shorter. <left cursor> - Move underline left. <right cursor> - Move underline right. If any of the fields are known to be longer in other records, underline the length of the longest known record. If a list is needed to export into a WP FILE, print it to disc from the Alyssa PRINT menu. CONVERTING MANUALLY If you dislike the given conversion utility or need to convert ALL fields or have used the SPECIAL field for part conversion some knowledge of AMSTRAD BASIC is necessary. Below is some necessary information to create an Alyssa compatible ASCII file. Alyssa saves its ASCII files using BASICs 'WRITE #9' statement. Each record is a 35 character STRING made up of the following: Name x(24) - 24 Alphanumeric characters. Type x - A character from the TYPE list. Media x - A character from the MEDIA list. Code x - Any character. CHR$(32) for empty. Number.Side 9999 - A 3 digit Media No. & side 1 or 2. Tag x - CHR$(32) for untagged. Kbytes 999 - A 3 digit Number. TYPE list MEDIA list --------- ---------- A) Adventure A) 3 inch B) Business B) 3 1/2" C) Communications C) 5 1/4" D) Demo D) 80 track E) Educational E) Tape F) Music F) CD G) Game G) ROM H) Graphics H) Cartridge I) Programming I) (nothing) J) Utility K) Public Domain L) (nothing) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- That about sums up the functions of Alyssa. Enjoy yourself!! Julian Cassin (20 April 1991)

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