8-bit Software Disc Magazine (c) Duncan Webster 1991
Issue 14 (July 1991)
SYSTEMS Server VERSION 6a - CHANGES/TECHNICAL DETAILS
This entry is only for the information of existing users of SYSTEMS
version 4a-4d and SYSTEMS version 5a (pilot). This information is of
no use to new users to the SYSTEMS program.
Total redesign of screen layout. Now much more standardised - the top
half of the screen "pulls" down showing information on programs stored
where necessary. The lower half of the screen contains the user area
(ie. menu selection routines).
SYSTEMS server now comes in 3 program modules instead of just the one.
In order to run the program on a standard model B the systems program
is not grouped into one filename as in previous versions. Users may
therefore notice a delay after selecting some new options whilst the
computer loads the relevent module into memory. Apart from this
momentary delay, the switching of various modules will be transparent
to the user.
Serial numbers have been incorporated into the program. These will
match your user ID (if you are an 8BS member). They play no real
importance at present, but provide aid to 8BS when arranging support
for failed discs etc. All copies made by you will still bear your
user ID, so please be careful and guard your copy.
Printing routines are now supported from various menus. The option to
specify fields is NOT provided, but it is hoped to implement this in a
future upgrade of the software.
Searching facilities has been improved. Search data in the PROGRAM
field and the SOURCE field is now NON CASE SENSATIVE thus increasing
the accuracy of the search. Searching Facilities in general is also
vastly improved and incorporates many new patterns. See manual for
Record classifications has been standardised, with a few of the old
classifications removed (ie. Education). This is a pilot (test)
measure and older classifications will be reinstated if demanded.
Users of version 5a (pilot) will notice that the main menu has now
returned to one page along with added details of your current selected
database's status. Menu headings have been altered to reflect the
changes in the main SYSTEMS program.
The introduction of "multiple databases" means that you are no longer
tied down to keeping all of your programs on one database, or using
multiple discs to store more than one. From version 6a onwards, you
will have to "sign-on" your database name which will subsequently be
loaded into the computer. From thereon you only deal with your
"signed-on" database. An option is provided from the main SYSTEMS
menu for the user to sign OFF existing databases and install
alternative ones. Full details in the manual.
In an effort to curb the "can't extend" error - all new databases must
be specified in length (ie. No of records). If using the ADFS filing
system, then the option is provided to EXTEND databases once available
space has been exhausted. If using DFS then this option is not
possible and you are therefore restricted in the number of records you
reserve at the start.
The RECORD number is now displayed wherever possible thus giving the
user an idea as to whereabouts in the database a particular record is.
The "program notes" field has been increased to 3 lines, as has the
ADFS directory path specification. If using ADFS then up to 80
characters are now allowed in order to specify a directory path. If
DFS is used then the SYSTEMS program automatically adjustes fields to
compensate for this.
Deleting Facilities and Compacting is much more user friendly.
However the option to "unmark" batches of records for deletion is
still not provided so be careful when marking many programs for
deletion as they can only be "undeleted" one at a time.
Programs marked for deletion are now clearly indicated when browsing
through the database with a flashing "Deletion Pending" message. All
programs marked for deletion will NOT be considered by the system when
performing search facilities.
Compacting has been improved to the effect that is no longer requires
any extra disc space to allow compacting of records. However the time
taken can still take a while so take care.
Overall speed of SYSTEMS server has been increased by 100% if you
speed up your disc drive read/write head via command *FX255,15.
Each database now causes three datafiles to be created (all
userdefinable) as opposed to the one file called PROGFLE in older
The old PROGFILE datafiles from Version 4a+ and 5a (pilot) are not
compatible with the new version of SYSTEMS server. However a transfer
routine has been built into the main program which will convert all
old systems data to the new format. Clear instructions are provided
within the manual. Owing to the restructure of the program
classifications, you might find that some classifications of programs
(ie. education) will automatically be reclassified by the transfer
Amending and marking records for deletion using SYSTEMS server is now
performed instantaneously irrespective of database size (after a
number of complaints were received as to the time taken before).
Many more smaller features have been added to the SYSTEMS server in an
effort to increase userfriendlyness including ... The ability to step
through records one at a time either forward ot backwards, the ability
to amend your records "as seen" rather than going through a special
route. Amending has also been improved to dispense with the nead to
re-write whole records...etc...etc..
Should any member experience difficulties with the new version of
SYSTEMS server then please write in and enclose a COPY of your disc.
Be sure to make regular backups. If you are transferring from older
versions of SYSTEMS then retain your old copies for safety's sake.
Please use the comment sheets provided at the back of the manual to
give your views on the program. If you prefer you may comment via the
normal method by saving your comments to disc.