8-Bit Software Online Conversion

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. NEW FEATURES 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 full information. 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 versions. 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 routine. 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. Duncan Webster.