superbase on the amiga - computerarchive.org

COPYRIGHT NOTICE
© Precision Software limited
6 Park Terrace
Worcester Park
Surrey
England KT47JZ
(01) 330 7166
First Edition August 1988
This manual, and the Superbase software ("Superbase") described in it,
contain confidential information proprietary to Precision Software limited
and are copyrighted with all rights reserved. Neither the whole nor any part
of the manual or of Superbase may be copied, reproduced, transmitted,
transferred, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any
language or computer language, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, magnetic, optical, chemical, manual, or otherwise, without the
prior written authorization of Precision Software limited.
Conditions of Authorization of Backup Copy
You may make backup copies of Superbase, but not of the manual. Every
copy must include the same proprietary and copyright notices as the original.
If your Superbase program is supplied with a Software Protection Device,
you may only use the program in conjunction with this device. Installation
of a copy of Superbase on your hard disk is permitted subject to these
conditions. You may not make an extra copy of Superbase for the purpose
of using it on another computer. You may not sell, loan, or give away a copy
of Superbase.
Resale or Disposal
You may sell, loan or give all the material you purchased, together with all
backup copies, to another person.
Trademarks
Superbase is a trademark of Precision Software Limited. GEM, GEM Desktop and DOS-Plus are trademarks of Digital Research Inc. MS-DOS is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Atari ST is a trademark of Atari Corp. (UK) Limited. ffiM-PC is a trademark ofInternational Business Machines Corporation. SUPERBASE CREDITS
Superbase Personal 2
Design and Programming:
Additional programming:
Additional Design:
Testing:
User Guide:
Simon Tranmer Brian White Bruce Hunt John Barrs and Tim Arnot Simon Beesley and Bruce Hunt LIMITED WARRANTY
If there is a physical defect in the Superbase program disk, manual or
software protection device, Precision Software Limited will replace the
defective item free of charge, provided you return the item to be replaced
with proof of purchase to Precision Software Limited within 90 days of the
date of purchase. In some countries the replacement period may be
different; check with your software supplier.
The contents of this manual are subject to change without notice and do not
represent any commitment on the part of Precision Software Limited.
No warranty is made with respect to Superbase, its quality or performance.
Any and all warranties for merchantability and/or fitness for a particular
purpose are expressly excluded. The Superbase software is sold Has is", and
you, the purchaser, are assuming the entire risk as to its quality and
performance.
In no event shall Precision Software Limited be liable or responsible to the
purchaser or any other person or entity for direct, indirect, special,
incidental, or consequential damages, including but not limited to
interruption of service and loss of business or anticipatory profits, resulting
from any defect in or misunderstanding ofthe software or its documentation,
even if Precision Software Limited has been advised of the possibility of such
damages.
ii
'-.-/
The warranty and remedies set out above are exclusive and in lieu of all
others, oral or written, express or implied.
Some laws do not allow the exclusion or limitation of implied warranties or
liabilities for incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation
or exclusion may not apply to you.
Registration and Support
Please complete and return the User Registration Card, which is included
in your Superbase package.
Only registered users with a User Number are eligible for free software support.
Ifyou do not return the card, we will not be able to assign you a User Number
when you first call in, and you will not be able to obtain free software support.
Please remember, when requesting support, to make available:
•
•
•
Your User Number
The version number of your copy of Superbase
A clear statement of your problem
While we are proud of our ability to help users solve their problems, we ask
you to remember that only a precise description of a problem can lead to a
precise solution.
iii
Before You Begin ...
Superbase versions for the Atari ST and the Amiga have a number of
features which are not found in the IBM PC version. At the back of this
manual are two appendices which describe these machine specific features.
Appendix J is for Atari owners, Appendix K is for Amiga owners. The
appendices also provide additional information about installing Superbase
on your system; so it is important that you read the appendix for your
computer before you do anything else. Then return to this page and read the
remaining sections.
Any Sliperbase features which relate specifically to the IBM PC and
compatibles are covered in the main body of the manual.
Note: At various points throughout this manual, key controls or commands
that are specific to Amiga are shown in italics.
Installing a Printer Driver
Superbase is already set up for Epson and compatible printers. If you use
another type of printer, you will find instructions in Appendix I on how to
install a new printer driver or modify the existing one.
Readme.Doc
The Superbase disk containing the demonstration files also supplies a
document called README.DOC. This document describes the changes
made to Superbase between the time your Superbase User Guide went to
press and the time the final modifications were made to the software.
README.DOC is an ASCII text file. There are two ways of loading it into
the computer so that it can be read or printed out:
• Using a word processor. Most word processors will accept ASCII (or
non-document) files. If you have a word processing program, you
should load README.DOC before starting Superbase.
• Using the Superbase Text Editor. Obviously you will need to acquire some familiarity with Superbase before you can use the Text Editor to read this document. But you should make this task one of your first priorities. The Text Editor controls are described in Chapter 10. iv
.~
Changes to Superbase Personal
If you are upgrading from an earlier version of Superbase Personal, you will
find that this version incorporates a large number of new features; among
them, a built-in text editor, new field types and improved facilities for
creating relational links between files. For a quick review of the new
features, you can consult Appendix F.
How to Use This Guide
Chapter 1 is Getting to Know Superbase, a simple introduction to the basics
of Superbase. You should read this before reading any of the other sections.
Getting to Know Superbase provides you with the essential information you
need to use Superbase effectively: opening files, viewing records, using the
Control Panel, and searching the database.
Chapters 2 to 8 explain in detail the various menu options and provide useful
guidelines on how best to use each option and the system. Two tutorials in
Chapters 3 and 6 give you the chance to consolidate your knowledge of
setting up files, entering data, and using some of the important Process Menu
options.
These chapters take you through the Superbase menus in a systematic way:
there is one chapter for each menu, and it covers each of the menu's options
in turn. Chapters 9 to 11 adopt a different approach and provide detailed
descriptions of separate topics: the External File Management System in
Chapter 9, the Text Editor in Chapter 10, the Query facility in Chapter 11.
Chapter 12 is a quick reference guide. It's designed for experienced users
who want a brief reminder of the function of each menu option, but it's also
a very useful way for a new user to get an idea of the system as a whole.
There are twelve Appendices. Appendix A is a list of error messages and
explanations.
Appendix B gives details and examples of how to use the important LIKE
logical operator.
Appendix C provides a list of the functions available in the Superbase
programming language, which may also be used in Superbase Filter
Command Lines and Formulas.
Appendix D provides you with a full list of the reserved words that constitute
the Superbase programming language, and so may not be used as field
names.
Appendix E lists ASCII codes and decimal equivalents.
Appendix F describes the differences between Superbase Personal 2 and
earlier versions of the program.
Appendix G provides you with some useful tips on how to get the best
performance from Superbase.
vi
Appendix H is only relevant to Gem versions of Superbase. It explains bow
you can gain more memory which you might need in order to display images
from the External File System.
Appendix I explains how to install a printer driver (referred to here as a
printer definition file). You will only need to consult this if you use a printer
which is not Epson compatible.
Appendix J describes certain options for configuring Superbase when it
starts up.
Appendix K explains how to set up Superbase on the Atari, and describes
those aspects of controlling Superbase that are specific to this machine.
Appendix L does the same thing for Amiga owners, providing information
on any features that are only available on the Amiga.
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CONTENTS CHAPTER 1 GETTING TO KNOW SUPERBASE
1·1 Welcome to Superbase ......................................... 1-1 Loading Superbase ............................................ 1-1 The Superbase Menus .......................................... 1-2 Opening a File ................................................ 1-3 Control Panel ................................................. 1-9 Opening Fields to View ........................................ 1-12 Paging ....................................................... 1-13 Moving Columns .............................................. 1-13 Form View Design ............................................. 1-14 Summary ..................................................... 1-16 The Key Lookup Button ........................................ 1-16 The Filter Button .............................................. 1-19 Fifteen Minute Tutorial ........................................ 1-25 Other Filter Based Options ..................................... 1-27 The External File Button ....................................... 1-28 CHAPTER 2 USING THE PROJECT MENU 2-1 New File: Overview ............................................ 2-1 Setting Up a New File .......................................... 2·3 '~~/ The File Definition Dialog ........................ ~ ".............. . 2-4 Creating a New Field ........................................... 2-5 Text Field .................................................... 2-8 Numeric Field ................................................. 2-10 Date Fields ................................................... 2·13 Time Fields ................................................... 2-15 External File Fields ............................................ 2-16 Field Attributes ............................................... 2-16 Validation .................................................... 2-17 Calculation Formula ........................................... 2-22 Constants ..................................................... 2-29 Formulas and Functions ........................................ 2-29 Using the Ternary Operator ..................................... 2-30 Using Formulas for Multi-file Applications ....................... 2-32 dBase Compatibility ........................................... 2-35 Creating Indexes for a File: New Index ........................... 2-35 The Superbase Working Environment ............................ 2-38 CONTENTS
Open File ....................................................
Open Fields ..................................................
Open Index ...................................................
Close File ....................................................
Close Fields ..................................................
Edit: Changing a File Definition .................................
Rules for Changing Fields ......................................
Save File .....................................................
Quit .........................................................
2-38 2-40 2-42 2-44 2-45 2-46 2-47 2-51 2-53 CHAPTER 3
TUTORIAL: SETTING UP A NEW FILE
3-1
CHAPTER 4
USING THE RECORD MENU
4-1
Editing Features ..............................................
Record New ..................................................
Record Save ..................................................
Batch Data Entry ..............................................
Record Edit ..................................................
Record Duplicate .............................................
Record Remove. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
External > > and External < < ................................
Twenty Minute Tutorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
4-1 4-6 4-7 4-8 4-9 4-9 4-10 4-10 4-10 CHAPTER 5
USING THE PROCESS MENU
5-1
Update ......................................................
Query: the Heart of Superbase ..................................
The Query Options .......................................... "
Process Remove ..............................................
Process Import ................................................
Process Export ................................................
Using Process Export ..........................................
Process Print .................................................
Process Mail Merge ...........................................
Process Labels ................................................
5-1 5-8 5-9 5-11 5-13 5-15 5-15 5-16 5-17 5-22 CONTENTS
CHAPTER 6 TUTORIAL: THE PROCESS MENU OPTIONS
6-1 CHAPTER 7 USING THE SET MENU
7-1 Output Device ................................................ 7·1 Views ........................................................ 7-2 Paging ....................................................... 7·4 Options ...................................................... 7-5 Number Format ............................................... 7-13 Dateffime .................................................... 7-13 CHAPTER 8 USING THE SYSTEM MENU
8-1 Version (Amiga Only) .......................................... 8-2 Directory ..................................................... 8-2 Status ........................................................ 8-3 List .......................................................... 8-4 Reorganize ................................................... 8-4 Housekeeping Options ......................................... 8-6 CHAPTER 9 EXTERNAL FILE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
9-1 External File Fields ............................................ 9-2 Viewing Text Files ............................................. 9-4 Searching External Text Files ................................... 9-5 Querying External Files ........................................ 9-6 Gem: Viewing Picture Files ..................................... 9-6 Manipulating Windows ......................................... 9-8 Amiga: Viewing Picture Files ................................... 9-10 Image Menu .................................................. 9-11 Record Menu ................................................. 9-12 Control Menu ................................................. 9-13 External Sound Files .......................................... 9-15 CHAPTER 10 THE TEXT EDITOR
10-1 Creating a New File ...........................................
Entering Text .................................................
Editing Text ..................................................
Formatting Text ................................................
Setting the Type Style ..........................................
10-4 10-4 10-5 10-9 10-12 CONTENTS
Loading Text ................................................. 10-13 Saving Text Files .............................................. 10-14 Printing Text ................................................. 10-14 CHAPTER 11 USING QUERY
Query Definition Dialog ...............•.......................
Query Fields ..................................................
Query Report. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..
Report Example ..............................................
Query Filter ..................................................
Relational Queries ............................................
Query Order ................................................. ,
Query Output Destination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . •.
11-1 11-1 11-2 11-12 11-14 11-20 11-21 11-23 11-25 CHAPTER 12 QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE
12-1 APPENDIX A
ERROR MESSAGES
A-1 APPENDIX B THE LIKE OPERATOR
B-1 Examples .................................................... B-2 APPENDIXC FUNCTIONS
C-1 APPENDIXD RESERVED WORDS
0-1 APPENDIXE
ASCII Values
E-1 APPENDIX F
CHANGES IN SUPERBASE
F-1 APPENDlXG
TUNING FOR OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE
G-1 APPENDIX H
GAINING MORE MEMORY
H-1 CONTENTS
APPENDIX I
THE PRINTER DEFINITION FILE
1-1
APPENDIXJ
SUPERBASE START OPTIONS
J-1
APPENDIXK
SUPERBASE ON THE ATARI-ST
K-1
Superbase Environment ........................................ K-2 APPENDIX L
SUPERBASE ON THE AMIGA
~---_...-/-
L-1
Setting up Superbase ........................................... L-1 Loading Superbase ................ ,. .... ,.,.,. .......... ~ ~ ........................................... ~ L-2 INDEX
1-1
CHAPTER 1
GETTING TO KNOW
SUPERBASE
Welcome to Superbase
At this stage, you should have already installed Superbase on your computer.
You should also have familiarized yourself with the features that are specific
to your computer and are not covered in the main body of the manual. For
the Amiga and Atari ST, the installation procedure and machine differences
are explained in their appendices at the back of the manual. Any features
which are specific to the IBM (and compatibles) version of Superbase are
covered in the main body of the manual. This chapter provides a quick
introduction to Superbase. At the end of this session, you will have gained
an understanding ofhow to perform some of the basic database management
operations of the Superbase system.
Loading Superbase
Once the Superbase icon is shown on your computer's desktop interface
(GEM on the IBM and Atari ST, Workbench on the Amiga), you can load
the program by pointing with the mouse and double clicking on the
program's icon.
Superbase's opening screen presents you with a Copyright Notice that draws
your attention to certain legal facts. It also includes the program Version
number, which you should be ready to quote if you ever need to request
telephone or written support.
GeHing to Know Superbase
1-2
The Superbase Menus
':--""
Project
New File
Index
Open File
Fields
Index
Glose File
Fields
Edit
File
File
Save
Rel1love File
Index
Text
Quit
Set
Screen
Printer
Table view
Forn view
Record view
Paging
Options
NlIlllber forlllat
Date format
Record
New
Edit Batch
Duplicate
Relllove
Save
External »
External «
Process
Update Edit load
Save
Query Edit
load
Save Relllove hlpot~t
Export
Print
~1ai1 Illerge
labels
Systerll
Printer options
Directory list
Directory change
Statlls file
Status systelll
Reorganize
List
Delete
Renane
Copy
On the Amiga, Printer options on the Project menu is replaced by Version,
and the System menu includes Screen Dump as an additional option.
Getting to Know Superbase
1-3
Ghosted Items
Menu items that are temporarily unavailable are shown in faint script, and
are known as 'ghosted' items. We use this feature in Superbase, most
obviously during this start up phase when no file is open.
To see this, pull down the Record Menu. You'll see that all the items on this
menu appear to be faint, as if only half the dots that make up each letter were
being used. If you try to select a ghosted item, nothing will happen. A quick
look at the Control Panel at the bottom of the screen will reveal that most
of the control buttons are also ghosted while no file is open.
Keyboard Equivalents
For some operations, Superbase provides a keyboard equivalent to the
mouse. This allows you to select a menu item without having to display the
menu on screen, and without having to use the mouse pointer. So, for
instance, you could have selected Open File simply by pressing the Alt key
(the right Amiga key) and the letter 0 together. Note that the keyboard
equivalent will not work while the menu is on screen.
If there is a keyboard alternative for selecting a menu item, it is shown on
the menu as the diamond symbol (representing the Alt key) followed by a
letter. On the Amiga, it is shown as the Amiga key character. To select the
item, you can either press both keys together, or you can hold down Alt (the
right Amiga key) and then press the letter key.
Opening a File
If you look at the top centre of the screen you will see a message that reads
"Superbase: Please open a file". You always see this message when you start
Superbase up, or when there is no file open. Since you can't do any work
without a file, let's open one and take a look at it.
Select Open File from the Project Menu. Notice that some other items are
'ghosted'. and that the only ones available are New File. Open File, Text and
Quit.
GeHing to Know Superbase
1·4
Superbase Dialogs (Requesters)
Superbase uses Dialogs to communicate information to you. For example,
the dialog you've just selected is the Open File dialog.
Open file
Dialogs like this one (some are more complicated) are used in most
Superbase operations. They communicate messages to you and require you
to do a specific action. This action involves making selections by clicking the
mouse or typing in a number or a text value of some kind.
Many dialogs show a panel that contains a list of items such as file names or
field names. The panel may be only a few lines long, so there may be more
files or fields than can be shown at one time. If there's a gap at the bottom
of the scroll bar there are more items to be viewed. You can show them by
dragging down the scroll bar at the right of the panel, or by clicking on the
downwards pointing arrow gadget below the scroll bar.
One very important fact about dialogs is that you must respond to them
before you can do anything else. Most dialogs have a Cancel button. Clicking
on this returns you to whatever you were doing previously. If there's no
Cancel button there is certain to be an OK button, and you can safely click
on this once you've read the dialog.
Many Superbase dialogs include a Clear button. This has the effect of
removing anything that's in the Selection Box, and can be used at any time.
Getting to Know Superbase
1-5
Default Dialog Keys
In GEM versions of Superbase many of the dialogs accept Return as the
keyboard equivalent to clicking on the OK or Cancel buttons. Superbase
indicates which of the two buttons will accept the Return key instead of a
mouse click by highlighting the button with a thick black line.
As well as the Return key, the Amiga version of Superbase also accepts the
Escape key as a keyboard equivalent. Press the Return key to select OK,
press the Escape key for CanceL
In cases where a casual OK might be destructive, Superbase does not allow
the Return key equivalent.
Changing the Directory
The Open File dialog is one of a number of Superbase dialogs that present
you with a list of file names. In each case, the file names refer to files in the
current directory. When you load Superbase for the first time, the current
directory will be the directory in which you installed Superbase.
Generally, this directory will not be the same as the directory or drive where
you keep your data. You can check that this is so by looking at the Open File
dialog. If the dialog panel is empty, it means that the current directory does
not contain any data files.
For the rest of this session, you will be using the Address file which is
supplied with Superbase as a demonstration file. Before proceeding, you
need to change the current directory to the directory or drive which holds
the Address file. You can do this using the Directory Change option in the
System menu.
The demonstration files are supplied on a separate disk to Superbase itself.
On a floppy disk system, you should select the drive which holds the
demonstration disk. On a hard disk system, you may have already copied the
demonstration files to the hard disk. If you have stored them in a separate
data directory, you should change to that directory. !fyou have stored them
in the same directory as Superbase, you do not need to select the Directory
Change option; the files will already be in current directory and will be listed
in the Open File dialog.
Getting to Know Superbase
1·6
Path names
Superbase also allows you to select a file in another directory or on another
disk without changing the current directory. To do this, type the path name
and the file name directly into the Selection Box - that's the box underneath
the panel of file names. The Selection Box acts as a scrolling window on the
path name and file name. If you enter a character string longer than the
window, it scrolls to the right. Uyou want to correct what you have typed in,
you can scroll the window to the left using the left cursor key. Here are some
examples of the way path names are used:
A:Address
DFO:Address
This uses the drive specifier A: (DFO:) to select the Address file which is
stored on the disk in drive A (drive 0).
\Sbpers\Address
ISbpers/Address
This selects the Address file which is stored in the Sbpers directory.
You may specify a pathname in any dialog which is used to select files.
However, there are some circumstances where it is inappropriate to do so.
In particular, you should not enter a pathname when you select a file with
the Close File dialog.
Superbase accepts pathnames up to 40 characters long (not including the file
name).
Choosing the Address File
After selecting Open File, move the pointer into the dialog panel, which
contains a list of file names. Move it over the file name Address. Click once
on the name Address. Superbase copies the name of the file you've selected
into the Selection Box. (If you see the wrong file name in the box, move the
pointer carefully onto the right file name, and click again). Once you've
selected the file, move the pointer onto the OK button and click once.
Superbase now opens the Address file. As a faster alternative to this
procedure, you can double click on the name to open the file without pausing
to click on OK
1-7
Getting to Know Superbase
The Main Display
When Superbase opens a file from the start up screen, it automatically reads
the first record in the file and shows it on the Main Display screen. You'll
see the name of the file appear on the title bar at the top of the window,
followed by the name of the field on which the file is currently indexed.
SSP
The Main Display is Superbase's permanent window onto your database. It's
like a large worksheet, 273 columns across; the number of lines you can see
depends on the size of your window. Superbase uses the Main Display to
show you the records in the current file, as well as the results of some other
operations. At the bottom of the Main Display is the Control Panel, which
we'll be looking at in a minute.
On the Main Display, the field names for each record in the Address file
appear down the left-hand side of the screen. The data for each field is
displayed to the right of its field name. If the data for a field is wider than
the window, it extends off to the right. You can bring it into view using the
scroll bar at the bottom of the window.
Remember that if there were more fields in the record than you could see,
you could view them by dragging the scroll bar at the right of the window
downwards, or by clicking on the downward pointing arrow.
1-8
Getting to Know Superbase
Record View, Form View and Table View
The record format in the Main Display picture on the left is only one of the
three possible ways oflooking at your file. It's called Record View. This view
shows the records one at a time, restricting the format by keeping the field
names on the left and limiting you to one field per line.
In Form View, you also see one record at a time. Each record is like a form
or page and, as you'll see later, you can drag the fields around to create a
worksheet designed to suit your application.
The third display format is Table View. This displays the field names across
the top of the screen with the data appearing in rows and columns, each
record occupying one line.
Switching to Table View
Select Table View from the Set Menu. You will see the field names appear
across the top of the screen. The same record is shown, but each item of data
appears underneath its field name. As with Form View, there are ways of
changing this row and column display to suit your own preferences, which
we'll explain later.
. " ";',',':
,.:: .::
,--..
.~
Getting to Know Superbase
1-9
Scrolling the Screen
While you are viewing your record in Table View you will notice that the
field names do not all fit onto the screen. The fields to the right can be viewed
using the arrow at the right of the bottom scroll bar. Move the pointer onto
this arrow, and click on it once. The display shifts five columns to the left.
Click once on the left-hand arrow to shift right and restore the display. If you
want to shift the display by larger areas, drag the bottom scroll bar with the
mouse, or click in the scroll box.
Control Panel
,.-/ ,_.-/
'---/
Now that you've opened a file, and discovered how to change the way in
which records are displayed on the screen, let's look at the Control Panel.
This is your means of controlling the main display. As you can see there are
12 buttons, most of them modelled on the controls for a video cassette or
tape recorder, so you should find these conventions easy to learn and
remember.
Each button has a special purpose, and together they fall into three groups.
On the left are the Pause and Stop buttons, followed by seven buttons for
browsing through the file. On the right are three special purpose buttons
which we'll examine later. The functions of some controls are more
intuitively obvious than others, so we'll take a look at the first nine now, one
by one. Make sure you've set Table View for this exercise.
Getting to Know Superbase
1-10
Current Record
~~
1. 1
9
After some actions the screen does not show
any record data. Click on this button to
redisplay the current record. You can use this
button to restart Table View with the current
record at the top. As well as acting as the
current record button, it also allows you to
change the current page in a multi-page form.
As a page selector, the same hutton is used to
select either the next page or the previous page.
Clicking on the right-hand triangle displays the
next page, clicking on the left-hand triangle
displays the previous page.
1• I
Next Record
Allows you to view the next record in the file.
The order in which the records appear is
decided by the current index, which is shown by
the message on the title bar of the main display
window. Try this now, and you'll see the data for
the next record come onto the screen. In Table
View it appears underneath the previous
record. In Form View it replaces the previous
record.
I
Previous Record
This gets the previous record in the file, relative
to the current record.
-4
I
Fast Forward
I
•• I
Instead of moving forwards through the file one
record at a time by pressing the Next button,
you can move much quicker using the Fast
Forward button. Click on this button, and
Superbase gets the next records in the file,
displaying them row by row until the screen is
full, when it selects the Pause button.
Getting to Know Superbase
1-11
Pause
When the Pause button is selected, you can only
select options from the menus if the system is
inactive. You can, however, use the other
Control Panel buttons. So, to view the next
screen of records, release the pause by clicking
on the Pause button. Superbase continues with
the Fast Forward display of records, stopping
when the next screen is full, or when it reaches
the end of the file. Pause is useful when you're
searching for a record and you want to stop
from time to time to read the screen. This
button may also be activated by pressing the
Space Bar. To release the pause, simply press
the Bar again.
Rewind
This does the opposite of the Fast Forward
button. You will see the data appear from the
top of the screen, in reverse index order. If you
do this immediately after Fast Forward there
will be an apparent delay while Superbase
displays records over the text of the existing
display.
I I~
I
First
Pressing this button automatically displays the
first record in the file, according to current
index order.
Last
Pressing this button automatically displays the
last record in the file, according to current
index order.
I• I
Stop
If you want to stop the Fast Forward or Rewind
display, click on Stop. You must also click on
Stop if you want to interrupt Pause when it's
selected. If you want to stop a process, you must
use the key combination Control C.
1-12
Getting to Know Superbase
Opening Fields to View
As Superbase imposes no limit on the number of fields per record, you need
to have a way of restricting the fields that actually appear on the Main
Display. You can do this with the Open Fields option on the Project Menu.
Display the Project Menu, and select Open Fields. Superbase will display
another dialog.
The basic procedure for selecting fields is very simple:
1. Click on a field name in the left-hand paneL Superbase copies it into
the right-hand panel.
2. Repeat until the selection of fields you want is in the right-hand panel.
3. Click on OK.
The list of fields in the right-hand panel is called the Open Fields List. Let's
make one now. Move the pointer onto the list of field names, and click on
City. Notice how Superbase copies it across. Now click on Lastname. When
you have both names in the list, click on OK. If you make a mistake, Delete
removes the current field from the right-hand panel; Clear removes the
whole list.
Superbase immediately returns to the Main Display showing the data for the
two open fields. Try out the Control Panel buttons to see their effect.
Experiment with Record View as well as Table View.
When you've finished, restore the full set of fields by selecting Close Fields
from the Project menu.
Getting to Know Superbase
1-13
Paging
This is another feature which gives you control over the Main Display: the
Paging option.
If Record View is not set, select it now from the Set menu. Then go back to
the Set menu, and select the Paging item. You've now turned the Paging
option off. (You can check this by looking at the Set menu again; there
should be no check mark against the Paging item.)
Now, select the first record in the file by clicking on the First Record button.
Then click on Fast Forward, and watch the display. You'll see that Superbase
doesn't pause when the screen is full it just goes on displaying records. You
can still use Pause to halt the display, but the automatic pausing at the end
of each 'page' of data no longer occurs. The same applies when Rewind is
in use, except that the records appear at the top of the screen.
If you now switch back to Table View and try out some of the Control Panel
buttons, you'll see that with Paging off the difference is similar to that in
Record View. Each record appears below the last, without clearing the
screen. Rewind displays records from the top down, as in Record View.
Moving Columns
For this exercise, you need to be able to see all the fields on the screen, not
just those in the Open Fields List, so if you have an Open Fields List in use,
close it now by selecting Close Fields from the Project Menu.
You can see that if you have all the fields open in Table View, some of the
field data is very likely to be hidden from view. Normally, to see hidden fields
you have to scroll the screen to the right. However, Superbase provides a
way of closing up columns to get more data on the screen.
Assuming you're in Table View - set it if you're not - click on the First
Record button, then the Current Record button on the Control Panel in
order to get the first record of the Address file on your screen.
Moving a Column to the Left
Now move the pointer so that it is on the space to the right of"M" in the Title
field. Once you've done that press and hold down the mouse button. As you
do this you will see a box appear around the field. The two vertical lines form
a column beneath the Title field.
1-14
Getting to Know Superbase
Keeping the button depressed, drag the pointer a little to the left, then
release the mouse. You will see that the column and the field names move,
and when you release the mouse tbe data beneath the field name has shifted
to the left. All columns to the right have also moved leftwards.
Now try the same with the Forename field. This time move the column so
that it is just to the right of the "e" in Title. If you also try this with Lastname
and Street you will see that as you move the columns over to the left, the field
name City appears on the right of the screen.
If you now move tbe City column to the left, the Code field will appear on
the screen. Finally, if you move the Code field, Country will appear on the
right-hand side. So by moving the columns you've got all the fields on one
screen instead of two screens.
Notice that you can move a column so that it overlaps the column to its left,
truncating the data. This can be useful.
Moving a Column to the Right
If you move a column back to the right, the truncated field name and data
are not automatically restored to their full length. A quick way of restoring
the length of a field is to double click in its column. Then if you click on the
Current Record button the full field name and data will reappear. But as this
only displays one record you will have to use Fast Forward if you want to
redisplay a screen of record data.
Form View Design
Superbase allows you to rearrange the positions of the fields in Form View,
setting more than one field on a line, creating columns of fields to resemble
invoices or other business forrns, and generally tailoring the system to suit
your own application.
The full 273 column work-sbeet is available for Form View, and you can vary
the depth by dragging fields downwards, creating new lines.
You can use Form View for creating new records and editing them, as well
as for display. By setting the Printer option on, you can copy the visible
portion of the worksheet to the printer.
Select Form View now from the Set Menu.
Make sure you've got the Address file open, and that the current record is
the first record in the file.
Getting to Know Superbase
1-15
Default Form View
If you look at the screen you can see that the fields names already appear in
a Form View. This is the default Form, which we have predefined for this
demonstration file. You can change it, and then save it with Project Save
File. Once a Form has been saved, the fields will appear in that layout every
time you open the file.
Moving Fields
Let's move the Lastname field to another position on the screen.
Move the pointer so that it's on the field name Lastname. Then press and
hold down the mouse button. Superbase outlines the field name and its data
area. (If you see a cursor instead, you've started editing by mistake. Carefully
click again on the field name itself). Now drag the outlined box to a new
position three lines below its present position. Release the mouse button.
As you can see, the field name and data have moved to this new position.
''--' Now, if you want to, you can arrange the Form View for Address in any way
you like. This can be just an experiment, but if you want to save the present
arrangement, you can do so. Select Save File from the Project Menu.
Superbase stores the File Definition, which contains the Form View location
of each field, on disk.
Although you have freedom to drag fields to any position on the screen, there
are as usual a few limits to what you can do.
"j
.~
You cannot place a field on top of either the name or the data area
of another field. If you try this, Superbase leaves the field you tried to
drag in its original position. This will happen even if the other field is
not in the Open Fields list and is not visible on screen.
• Superbase won't let you move a field completely off the right or left­
hand end of the worksheet.
• To gain more lines, move a field down into the Control Panel. Then
use the vertical scroll bar on the Main Display window to bring it
back into view. Move it down again if you still need more lines.
• To move a field over to the right of the worksheet, position it near the right-hand edge of the screen, then shift the display with the scroll bar, and drag the field further over. • Only the open fields are shown, so close the Open Fields List if you
want to see all the fields in Form View.
•
Getting to Know Superbase
1-16
Summary
Time for a check list of what you should know before we proceed.
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
How to Open a file
How to switch between Form View, Table View, and Record View
How to switch Paging off and on
How to drag columns around in Table View
How to drag fields around in Form View
How to Open and Close a list of fields
How to select the Current record
How to move to the First record
How to go to the Last record
How to move to the Next record
How to go to the Previous record
How to use Fast Forward to move forwards through the records
How to Rewind to move backwards through the file
How to Pause
HowtoStop
Understanding all these actions is essential if you want to be able to work
easily with Superbase. If you do not understand them or are uncertain then
take a little time to go back and re-read the appropriate sections before
continuing.
The Key Lookup Button
Key Lookup. This is for the retrieval of
individual records. You enter a value for the
field on which the file is currently indexed, and
Superbase uses the index to find and display the
record. You can only use one index field at a
time the Filter button is used for multiple
value searching.
1-17
Getting to Know Superbase
,-/
When you click on the Key Lookup button you'll see a dialog asking for the
entry of a key value. The maximum length of a key value entry is 100
characters.
Record key
KAS9001
OK
I Clear I ICancel I
Typing in Your Key
Provided the cursor is displayed in the box, you can type in your index key
straight away. If there is no cursor, you must move the pointer into the box
and click the mouse once. This produces the cursor, and you can then type
in your index key. Suppose you want to find the record for Julie Kasper. The
file is indexed on the Number field, so we can use the current index to search
for individuals by by their Reference Numbers. Click in the box and then
type in "KASOOOl" (omit the quotation marks). This is the index key.
Retrieving the Record
When you press Return or click on OK, Superbase looks up the first record
for which the Number field has the value "KASOOOl". If there were more
than one with this value, you would have to browse through the file with the
Next Record or Fast Fonvard button to find the exact record you wanted.
Key Lookup with a Different Index
You're not restricted to one index. Superbase allows you to have up to 999
indexes for each file, all automatically updated when you add or modify
records. We've provided indexes on other fields besides the Number field:
Lastname, City and Country. Let's try one of these. Select Open Index from
the Project Menu.
Getting to Know Superbase
1-18
Open index
Click on the field name Lastname; this is copied into the Selection Box.
When you're ready, click on OK. You've selected the Lastname index, and
ifyou look at the title bar at the top of the window you'll see<thatthe message
now reads "Superbase: Address indexed on Lastname".
The record on the main display has not changed. Click on the Key Lookup
button, and Superbase produces the Record Key dialog. As you did above,
click in the box and type in a key value, only this time type in "Forge". Press
Return or click on OK, and Superbase looks up the first record with Forge
in the Lastname field.
Entering Partial Values
You don't even need to type the full index key in many cases. Try Key Lookup
once more, but type in "Hut" and press Return. Superbase finds the first
record for Huttermann. For your information, Superbase tells you that it
didn't find the exact match.
1-19
Getting to Know Superbase
The Filter Button
I
-I
Filter
This is a very powerful feature. You may have
thousands of records in a database file, yet you
may often want to review them (or print them
out) on a selective basis. The Filter allows you
to enter a set of values, as simple or as
comprehensive as you like, to restrict the
display to only the records that match those
values.
The Filter Dialog
Move the pointer and click on the Filter button on the Control Panel.
Filter
File: ADDRESS
This dialog looks more complex than the ones you have seen so far, but after
a little practice with the demonstration file you'll find that you can remember
how to use it easily. It's important that you learn how to use the Filter,
because Superbase uses filters in several other functions.
The dialog has four main parts: the Field Name Panel, the Operators, the
Value Box, and the Main Box. A Filter is created by a combination ofclicking
on field names and operators, and typing in values. These actions produce
the Filter Command Line in the Main Box. Let's look at each component of
the Filter dialog in tum.
1-20
Getting to Know Superbase
Field Name Panel
This appears on the leftahand side of the dialog. You can scroll the list of
field names up and down in the usual way, using the scroll bar and arrows at
the right of the Field Name Panel. You specify that a field is to be used in
the Filter by clicking on its name in this panel.
The list of field names is complete. It's not affected by whether you have an
Open Fields list, so the fields that specify the Filter need not be the same
as the ones that are shown in the Main Display.
Operators
These appear to the right of the Field Name Panel, and can be divided into
Relational Operators, Logical Operators and Mathematical Operators.
We'll see how these are used below.
Value Box
This is the box with the word 'Value' next to it. You use it for typing in values
such as names, numbers, and dates, which will form part of the Filter. When
you are matching numeric data that has to be held in a text field because it
may include nonanumeric characters (such as telephone numbers), you must
put the value in quotes.
Always remember to press Return after typing in the Value Box. You must
do this to ensure that the contents are copied to the Main Box.
Main Box
This is the long box that appears below the Field Name Panel and extends
across the whole dialog. When you make selections with the mouse or type
values into the Value Box, Superbase copies them into the Main Box,
building up the Filter Command line. In this way you get immediate
feedback about the results of your selections. The maximum length of the
Filter Command line is much greater than the apparent length of the box ­
up to 255 characters are allowed. You can type directly into the Main Box,
but in these exercises we'll stick to making selections with the mouse.
Using the Operators
The Operators are the most complex aspect of the dialog. They are used to
relate field names to other fields or values. For example, if we wanted to set
up a Filter to show only the addresses in West Germany, we would need the
expression: Country UKE "West Germany". Here, Country is a field name
Getting to Know Superbase
1-21
obtained by clicking in the Field Name Panel; LIKE is selected by clicking
on the LIKE Operator button; and "West Germany" is typed into the Value
Box (note that it is not necessary to enter quotation marks if you use the
Value Box).
Text String and Pattern Matching: LIKE
When you're searching for names or text strings, you should avoid using the
equals sign operator, and use LIKE instead. This is because only LIKE
accepts matches on either upper or lower case characters; it's said to be 'case
insensitive'. The equals sign operator, on the other hand, requires exact
matches for what you type in: it is 'case sensitive',
LIKE also permits searches for text strings using pattern matching
characters, These allow you to enter incomplete words for the Filter. For
example, to find all the records where the Lastname begins with "C", you
need the Filter Command Line:
Lastname LIKE "C*"
To specify a range, add square brackets to the value:
Lastname LIKE "[A-O)*"
'-.. /
This finds all records where the Lastname begins with "A", "B", "C", or "0",
Note that the asterisk is placed outside the brackets.
There are several other things you can do with the LIKE operator. You'll
find a complete list and a number of examples in Appendix B.
The Relational Operators
=
This specifies that the field is to be EXACTLY EQUAL TO
the following value or field: Balance = 2000
< >
The field is to be NOT EQUALTO the following value or field:
Country < > "France"
>
The field is to be GREATER THAN the following value or
field: Balance > 1000
<
The field is to be LESS THAN the following value or field:
Balance < 1000
> =
The field is to be GREATER THAN OR EQUAL TO the
following value or field: Balance > = 1000
<=
The field is to be LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO the following
value or field: Balance < = 1000
Getting to Know Superbase
1-22
The Logical Operators AND, OR and NOT
These provide links between different expressions like the ones given above.
You use them to specify alternatives and ranges for the Filter, either for a
single field or for a number of interrelated fields:
AND
Both of the conditions linked by AND must be satisfied for the
record to be accepted by the Filter: Country LIKE "West
Germany" AND Balance > = 5000
OR
Either of the conditions linked by OR is sufficient to make the
record acceptable to the Filter: Country LIKE "West Germany"
OR City LIKE "Geneva"
NOT
NOT is slightly different. It negates the effect of an expression:
NOT (Country LIKE "West Germany" AND Balance> 5000);
this will find all the records other than the ones where the
country is West Germany and the balance is greater than 5000.
Note the use made of parentheses with NOT.
Parentheses
The '(' and C)' operators are used in the normal way, to give priority to one
part of the expression over another.
(
The following expression has a higher priority for evaluation
than the preceding expression.
)
Required to end a higher priority expression.
The numbers of opening and closing parentheses must be equal.
The Mathematical Operators
+
This is used to express addition:
Balance > Amount + 1000
The minus sign expresses subtraction:
Balance > Amount - 1000
*
The asterisk is used for multiplication:
Balance> Amount * 1.15
/
The slash represents division:
Balance < Limit /10
Getting to Know Superbase
1-23
Typing in the Main Box
The great power and flexibility of the Filter system is only achieved by giving
the user control of every aspect of the operation. Because you can type into
the Main Box you can include all kinds of expressions which are not available
from the buttons on the dialog itself, and all kinds of text and numeric values.
The price you pay for this flexibility is an increased risk of making mistakes.
This is not too serious, as you cannot harm your data by using a Filter
(although you can discard records using the Remove Records Filter).
However, you may see a Superbase "Can't do this" message concerning an
error in the Filter Command Line in two possible situations:
• When you click on OK after creating or editing a Filter Command
Line.
• When you use a Filter after changing the definition of a field with
Project Edit.
If you see a "Can't do this" message you must either change the Filter
Command Line or change the file definition. Here's a summary of the
editing facilities available when typing inside the Main Box:
Filter Command Line Editing
You can remove everything from the Main Box by clicking on the Clear
button or, if you've already clicked in the box, by pressing the Escape key
(Gem only) or CI'RL X (Amiga-X).
•
'~
•
•
•
Provided you have not left the box the cursor is still visible - Alt-U
will undo the effect of any changes you may have made (Amiga-Q).
If Superbase won't let you make an Operator selection when you re­
turn to modify an existing Filter Command Line, click in the Main
Box and press Return. Now you can go ahead.
The Home and End keys move the cursor to the beginning and end
of the Filter Command Line respectively (Shift right cursor and Shift
left cursor).
On Gem versions of Superbase, Tab and Shift Tab tab the cursor
right and left respectively. The Del or Delete key removes the character to the right of the cur­
sor. By holding this key down you can cause text to the right of the cursor to be deleted. The Del key (with the backward facing arrow) or the Backspace key removes the character to the left of the cursor. Backspace repeats its
action if held down.
•
•
'~
1-24
Getting to Know Superbase
Using a Filter
The Filter Command Line is made active by clicking on OK. Whenever a
Filter is in use, Superbase highlights the Filter button on the Control Panel.
You can perform all but one ofthe Control Panel record selection operations
we've discussed, and Superbase will restrict the records displayed to the ones
that match the Filter values. For example, if you have specified Country
LIKE "West Germany" and you click on the First Record button, Superbase
will go and find the first record in the file, according to the current index,
which has the value "West Germany" in the Country field.
The Key Lookup button is an exception to the Filter effect. You can still
recall individual records by entering an index key value, whether or not they
match the Filter.
Suspending a Filter
There will be times when you want to remove the Filter effect so that you
can review all the records in the file again. To do this, just click on the
highlighted Filter button. It reverts to normal, and you'll find that when you
use the Control Panel Superbase acts as if there were no Filter.
Modifying or Re-activating a Filter
If you've set up a Filter and then suspended it, you can bring it back into
operation by clicking once more on the Filter button. Superbase displays the
Filter dialog, with the Filter Command Line in the Main Box just as you left
it.
If you want to, you can add to the Filter Command Line by clicking on more
field names and operators (you may need to click in the Main Box and press
Return first), or edit it after clicking in the Main Box, as described above.
Whether you've made any changes or not, just click on OK to use the Filter
again.
Getting to Know Superbase
1-25
Fifteen Minute Tutorial
Make sure you've got the Address file open, indexed on Lastname. Set Table
View with Paging off. Go into Project Open Fields and open these fields:
Forename Lastname Street City Country In Table View, drag the Lastname column a few columns to the left, and
then do the same for City, overlapping the Street column if necessary, until
the Country column comes into view.
Click on the Filter button.
We are going to search for those name and address records where the person
lives in the USA or West Germany. So we'll use the Country field, the UKE
operator, and the Value Box. You'll see the results of your selections appear
as a Filter Command Line in the Main Box.
Move the pointer into the Field Names Panel, and click once on the down
arrow to bring Country into view. Then click on Country. The name appears
in the Main Box. Next, move the pointer to the right and click on the UKE
button. This also appears in the Main Box. Now you must type in "USA".
This goes in the Value Box. Move the pointer into the Value Box and click
on the mouse to produce the cursor. Type in "USA" (no quotation marks).
Press Return - this is essential, or the contents of the Value Box will not be
copied into the Main Box. Your Filter Command Line should read:
Country LIKE "USA"
Next, you need the OR operator. Click on it and Superbase copies it into the
Main Box. Now you must click on the Country field name again. This is
important. A Filter Command Line like this is not allowed:
Country LIKE "USA" OR 'West Germany"
So, click on Country, as before, followed by UKE. Then, as before, click in
the Value Box, and type in "West Germany". Press Return. Your Filter
Command Line should look like the one shown in the diagram opposite.
Getting to Know Superbase
1-26
Filter
File: ADDRESS
G
[3J
~
IT]
Value
KE "USA" OR COUNTRY LIKE ''WEST GERMANY"
OK
•
I I Clear I ICancel I
If there are any mistakes click on Clear and repeat the steps above until you
get it right.
You have built your Filter Command tine, so now you can put it into action.
Click on the OK button. Superbase activates your Filter and displays the first
record in the file that matches the Filter. Click on Fast Forward. Superbase
shows all the records that match the Filter.
Now de-activate the Filter. Click on the Filter button so tihat it's not
highlighted. Now click on Rewind. You'll see all the records in th~ file appear
as normal.
I
Let's go back and add another condition. Click on the Filter but on to recall
the dialog. Click on the OR operator, then on Country, then on UKE, then
in the Value Box. Type in "France", and press Return. Your line hould read:
Country LIKE "USA" OR Country LIKE "West Germ ny" OR
Country LIKE "France"
Now click on OK, and when Superbase shows the first record, lick on Fast
Forward. You'll see that Superbase has added the addresses in Prance to the
display. You may pause the display by either clicking on the pause button,
or by using the space bar. Either action will highlight the pau~e button on
the control panel. When you are ready to continue, either click ~n the pause
button or press the space bar. This action will de-highlight the p~use button.
That concludes our short tutorial.
1-27
Getting to Know Superbase
Other Filter Based Options
You should have acquired a feel for the way the Filter dialog works, and you
can experiment freely with the Address file to deepen your knowledge.
When you're ready, you can start using the Process options, all of which are
selected from the Process menu.
Remove
Allows you to delete groups of records from the
file. You can use the Control Panel Filter to
view them first - the Filter Command tine is
preserved for you to use in the other Filter
functions.
Import
When you need to read in records from other
systems, the Import Filter provides a means of
rejecting records that don't match the
conditions you set up.
Export
The opposite ofImport, Export lets you create
a disk file containing selected fields and
records.
Mail Merge
Allows you to create a large number of
personalized letters by merging the names and
addresses from a database file with a single
'form' letter.
Print
A quick and easy way of obtaining a printout of
selected records.
Labels
Up to four columns of labels from the records
that match the Filter.
The Update and Query options use slightly modified Filter dialogs, but the
principle is the same. More details of all these options can be found in the
U sing the Process Menu, Chapter 5.
Getting to Know Superbase
1-28
The External File Button
External File
The right-hand button on the Control Panel is
a representation of a camera. It activates
another of Superbase's unique features the
ability to access and display external files ­
graphic images produced by painting and
drawing programs, and text files produced by
the Superbase Text Editor or a word processor.
Amiga owners also have the ability to play back
external sound files.
You can combine the External File System with the Query and Filter
functions of the database to produce a unique 'picture library' application,
indexing and cross-referencing large numbers of independent Pictures files
by putting keyword data into ordinary fields and using them as the basis for
searching.
We suggest you experiment with the Filter function and read through
Chapter 9, External File Management System, before setting up your own
External File Database.
CHAPTER 2
USING THE PROJECT MENU
The Project Menu contains the options for setting up, opening, editing, and
removing database files and indexes. In this section we cover in detail all the
aspects of the options. Chapter 3 provides a tutorial, which takes you through
the process ofsetting up a file, but we advise you to read through the detailed
discussions before attempting it.
New File: Overview
A Superbase database file has three components: a data file, an index file,
and a definition file, usually referred to as the file definition. (There can be
up to 999 index files for each data file, but the minimum is one.) The data
file holds the actual record data that you key in through the Record menu
options. It has a name, and an 'sbf extension, like this:
address.sbf
The index file holds single entries that match the contents of one of the fields
in the data file. The index allows fast look-up of individual records (like a
book index), and also provides an alphabetical order for the presentation of
the records. Index files have a numeric extension to the main file name, like
this: 'addressJ'. This would indicate that the index was constructed on the
first field in the file definition (more explanation later).
The file definition contains all the information Superbase needs to display
and update the records for the file correctly. Its extension is 'sbd', and its full
name could be like this: 'address.sbd'.
The fields that comprise the file definition may be of four main types: text,
numeric, date and time. There is also an external file field type, which
contains the names of text or graphics files, and is used by Superbase's
External File System in two ways: to provide indexed 'picture library'
facilities and to provide memo fields for storing large amounts of text
information.
Using the Pro/ect Menu
2-2
Once a field has been defined as belonging to one of these main types, there
are number of attributes that can be attached to it:
Formula A field may be assigned a formula (or two
formulas in combination) which calculates or
checks the field's data. There are three types of
formula: validation, calculation, and constant.
Multiple Response Multiple response fields are text fields which
store more than one item. In programming
terms, this means text fields can be defined as
arrays.
Required A required field is one for which data is
compulsory.
Read only The data in a read only field cannot be edited.
Index An index can be constructed on any type of
field.
Here's a preview of the steps required to set up a new file:
1. Select Project New File then type in a new file name, adding passwords
if desired.
2. Define the characteristics of each field and add it to the File Definition.
3. Specify which fields are to be indexed.
4. Save the File Definition.
S. Start entering record data.
2-3
Using the Project Menu
Setting Up a New File
From the Project menu select New File.
Entering the New File Name
Superbase presents you with a dialog for the name of the file you are about
to define.
Hew
file
~ll Click in the box, then type the name of the new file. Don't type ".sbf' or any
other extension. It must not contain any spaces. Any characters may be used
except the following:
• I
\ -- I ..
Once you click on OK Superbase will display the Password dialog. If you do
not wish to set any passwords against this file, click on Cancel. Superbase
will then display the File DefInition Dialog which is explained in the next
section.
Passwords
You can enter up to three passwords, separated by semicolons, and with no
spaces in between. Each one permits a different level of access privileges for
the file. Suppose you enter three passwords in the following sequence:
John;Paul;George
When you open your fIle and type in the password John, you will have full
privileges for the file. If you enter Paul, you get read and write privileges,
but you may not delete the file. If you enter George you have read privilege
only: no data entry or editing, and you may not delete the fIle.
If you enter two passwords to begin with, the read only level of privilege will
not be available; one password, and both read only and read/write levels will
be unavailable, so the single password will allow all actions.
Using the Project Menu
2-4
When a password exists, Superbase will ask for it when you open the file.
Therefore you will have to enter it each time you wish to open the file. As a
precaution against the password being seen by someone else, Superbase does
not display the password on screen when you type it in.
Caution: You cannot change or remove a password once it has been set, so
don't lose it.
The File Definition Dialog
This is the screen on which you specify the details of each field in the file.
The dialog has several parts.
File definition
Field naMe
Attributes
REQ IX!}
NUMber
TXT
Title
TXT
TXT
ForenaMe
Lastnane
TXT
IXD
Street
TXT
TXT
IXD
Cit~
TXT
Code
® Text
o External
o NUMeric
o Required
o Date / TiMe o Read onl~
Field
[]EJ IDelete I
Forillat
10
10
15
15
39
15
12
m
I
i\"Jl.Ii
o Validated
ID
o Calculation
o Constant
At the top there's the File Definition Panel. This has three parts or zones,
indicated by the headings Field name, Attributes and Format. When you're
looking at an existing file definition, the list of fields for the new file appears
in the left~hand zone, the abbreviated forms of the field types and attributes
(TXT - text; NUM - numeric; CLC - calculated; and so on) in the centre
zone, and the field formats (length, date style, or number style) in the right­
hand zone. For a new file the File Definition Panel will be empty.
Below the panel are the field type selection buttons. You use these to change
or set the attributes of the selected field. The selected field is the one whose
name appears in the Field box below the Numeric Field Type button - when
you've just called up this dialog this box is empty.
Using the Project Menu
2-5
Bottom left are the Add and Delete buttons. When you've defined the details
of a new field, you click on Add, and Superbase adds the field name together
with its attributes and format to the upper panel. Delete is generally used
when editing an existing file definition.
Bottom right are the usual OK, Clear and Cancel buttons. Cancel exits from
the dialog to the main display. Clear empties the Field box and resets the
field type selection buttons. OK takes you on to the next step, which for a
new file is specifying the index fields.
So, to summarize the procedure for defining new fields:
1.
Type in a field name.
2.
Select the appropriate field type button.
3.
Enter details about the field - its length or numeric format, for example.
4.
Use the Add button to add the field to the file definition.
Creating a New Field
Click in the Field box below the Daterrime Field Type button. Type in the
field name. You may use up to 15 characters, including spaces. Use only
alphanumeric characters, the space, and the underline character. The field
name may not begin with a number or contain more than one consecutive
space. You can use any words except those reserved for the Superbase
programming language. A list of these is given in Appendix D.
Selecting the Field Type
Click on the button next to the type of field you want. Choose from Text,
Numeric, Daterrime, or ExternaL You can add attributes such as Validation
or Read Only later. Your choice will display another dialog for entry of
details about the field. (Each of the field types has its own dialog. These are
described in the sections following this one). When you have specified the
details, you click on OK in the field type dialog to return to the File
Definition dialog.
Using the Project Menu
2-6
Adding a new field: The Add Button
After setting the details for a field type, you still have to go through the step
of adding it to the list of fields in the upper File Definition Panel.
You need to click on the Add button in the bottom left-hand corner of the
dialog.
When you do this, Superbase does the following:
1. Copies the name from the Field box into the File Definition Panel,
adding it to the existing list of names if there is one.
2. Shows abbreviations to indicate the field type selections and the field
attributes (both are shown under the heading Attributes). These appear
across four columns, like this:
TXT
VAL
REQ
IXD
The abbreviations for the field types and field attributes are as follows:
First column TXT
NUM
DAT
TIM
EXT
DEL
Text Numeric Date Time External Deleted
Second column
CLC
CLV
CON
COV
VAL
Calculated
Calculated and Validated
Constant
Constant and Validated
Validated
Third column
RDO
REQ
RDQ
Read Only
Required
Required and Read Only
Fourth column
IXD
IXU
Duplicates Index
Unique Index
~'
Using the Project Menu
.~~ 2-7
3. Shows the format of the field. For a text field this is the length of the
field in characters. It may also include the two optional text parameters:
case parameters (Upper Case, Lower Case, Capitalize) represented as
U, Land C; the number of multiple responses selected (if more than
one) represented as M followed by the number.
For a numeric field the format is specified by the digit pattern plus
certain characters to show which style features have been included.
For a date field it is a representation of the day, month and year style
you selected, and for a time field it is a representation of the selected
time style.
Validation and Calculation formulas are not shown. You may view or
print them with the System Status File option.
4. Finally, Superbase clears the Field Box and the type selection buttons.
You can either define another field or exit from the definition dialog.
Deleting a Field: The Delete Button
This is really an editing feature, and we cover it f\illy in a later section.
Clicking on Delete marks the selected field, causing the DEL abbreviation
to appear in the Attributes column against the field name. The field will not
be removed from the disk until you Reorganize the file.
Concluding File Definition: OK, Clear and Cancel
Clear Removes all settings for the selected field.
Cancel Exits back to the main display without creating a new file
definition.
OK Holds the details of all the fields you have placed in the File
Definition Panel, and displays the New Index dialog (see page
2-36).
Using the Project Menu
2-8
Text Field
Use this type for any field that is not designed to hold a date, a time, a number
or the name of an external file.
Text forMat
~COCJ~
a Upper case
a Lm'ler case
a Capitalize
[] Responses
OK
C-a-nc-el.....
I
I'...
The panel at the top of the dialog allows you to set the length of the text field,
up to a maximum of 255 characters. There are two ways of doing this. You
can enter the number of characters you want the field to have from the
keyboard; or you can set the length using the up and down arrows at either
end of the length counter. The up arrow increases the value in the length
counter, the down arrow decreases it. The value in the counter changes each
time you click on one of the arrows;
In some versions of Superbase, you can also press and hold down the mouse
button. This will then scroll through the numbers within the counter you've
selected.
Below the field counter are three buttons which determine how text is stored
in the field: with capital letters, lower case letters, or with the first letter
capitalized. Click on the Upper case button if you want all the letters in a
text entry to be capital letters; Lower case puts letters in lower case;
Capitalize makes the first letter a capital letter. When you enter text in a
field, these options convert it to their respective formats.
If you ignore these options, the text will be stored and displayed in the same
case that it is entered in. But there is a good reason for selecting one of them:
it means that you do not have to worry about whether you enter text in lower
or upper case; text is automatically converted to the selected format.
Using the Project Menu
2-9
The box labelled Responses is used to define a text field as a multiple
response field. This attribute, which is unique to text fields, is explained in
the next two sections. Normally the box contains the number "I" which
indicates that the text field has has only one response. If you do not want the
text field to be multiple response, you can leave this box as it is.
When you have set the text format as you want it, click on OK to accept the
entry.
Multiple Response Field
Defining a text field as a multiple response field enables you to store a
number of related data items under one field name. When you display a
record with a multiple response field, only one of the field's items is shown
on screen; but you can display each item in turn using the key combination
CfRLN. To move back to a previous item, use CTRLP. For example, if the
second is currently displayed, CfRL N displays the third item; CfRL P will
then return you to the second item.
In some circumstances, you may want to refer to particular items by name;
when setting up a filter, for example, or in a calculation formula linking one
field to another. You can do this by enclosing the item number in
parentheses and placing it after the field name. Thus to refer to the second
item in a multiple field, you would enter:
Fieldname(2)
One way of talking about fields is to say that each field holds the answer to
a specific question about the data in a record - such as, what is this client's
telephone number? Or, how much does this product cost? As the name
suggests, multiple response fields are used when there may be more than
one answer to the question. Suppose you wanted to index the books in a
library. For each book you would create a separate record. Along with the
title and other details, the record would contain a field showing the author
of the book. Some books, though, have more than one author, so you could
make this field a multiple response field.
More generally, multiple response fields are suitable for storing any data
that comes in a number of parts. For example, you could store addresses in
this way. Most databases only allow single response fields, and the usual
method of storing an address is to define a separate field for each line of the
address. Depending on the application, you may find it more convenient to
assign the whole address to one multiple response field.
Using the ProJect Menu
2-10
Defining a Multiple Response Field
Multiple response fields may have up to nine elements; that is, you can use
a multiple response field to store up to nine separate lines of text.
To define a text field as a multiple response field, first decide how many
elements you need. Then enter the number in the box labelled Responses in
the text field dialog. Initially, the number will be set to one. Delete this using
the backspace key and type in the new number.
Numeric Field
This field type is suitable for ordinary decimal numbers, currency amounts,
integers, and exponential formats. There is a maximum of 13 digits, which
you may arrange in any format around the decimal point. There are many
numeric styles and features to choose from.
The numeric field dialog has an upper panel that reflects the current number
format. As you make selections from the buttons below, or click on the up
or down arrows to left and right of the upper panel, the number format
changes. You do not edit the number format directly.
§$3-99999.90
~
When it first appears, the number format is set to -99999.00. This allows up
to five digits to the left of the decimal point, and two decimal places. There
is also a space for a minus sign for negative numbers.
Changing the Numeric Format Length
Click on the arrows at either side of the number format panel. The left-hand
arrows increase and decrease the digits to the left of the decimal point, the
right-hand arrows increase and decrease the decimal places. Remember you
may have a maximum of 13 digits in the format as a whole.
Using the ProJect Menu
2-11
Selecting Numeric Format Type
You can choose from four possible types of basic numeric format; the
selection is always reflected in the number format panel:
9.0 This format is preselected when the dialog appears. The format
shows actual numbers left of the decimal point, and trailing
zeros to fill up the decimal places. For a format of 999.000:
26.200
334.456
9.9 This format shows numbers only, with leading or trailing
spaces:
26.2
334.456
*.0 Inserts leading asterisks as cheque protection characters; adds
trailing zeros to the right. For a format of * ** u .00:
***26.20 **334.46 0.0 Inserts both leading and trailing zeros. For a format of
0000.000:
0026.200 0334.456 Selecting Numeric Format Features
You may choose from four number sign styles:
This button is preselected. It causes Superbase to print a minus
sign if the number is negative, a space if the number is positive.
Shown as - in the number format panel.
+/.
Prints a minus sign if the number is negative, a plus sign if the
number is positive. Shown as + in the number format panel.
(.) Prints parentheses instead of the minus sign. Can be selected
in conjunction with one of the above. Shown as '(' in the
number format panel.
None No selection means that Superbase does not leave a space for
the sign as part of the format, but inserts a minus sign when the
Using the Project Menu
2-12
number is actually negative. May result in non-aligned
columns.
There are two possible currency sign styles:
$9 Places the currency sign immediately to the left of the first digit
in the format:
$26.20
$334.46
Shown as $9 in the number format panel.
$9
The currency sign is outriding - it appears to the left of the
format, always in the same place. For a format of $ 9999.00:
$ 26.20
$ 334.46
Plus and minus signs also outride when this style is selected.
You may choose your preferred currency sign from the Decimal Format
option in the Set Options menu. This also allows you to set a trailing currency
symbol for the currency sign style, as in:
26.20$
This is a global setting and may not be varied from field to field.
There are three other features affecting numeric formats:
(0) Blank when zero. This makes Superbase print blank spaces
instead of zeros when the number to be printed equals zero.
Shown as z in the number format panel.
(,) Thousands separator. Numbers greater than 999 are printed
\vith a separator, e.g. 1,100. Normally the separator is a comma
and the decimal point is a period or full stop, but alternatives
may be selected from the Set Options dialog. Shown as a
comma in the number format panel.
E
Exponential format. All numbers whose format includes an e
will be expressed with an exponential signifier at the end. This
allows you to enter numbers much larger than the normal 13
digit precision permits. Shown as 'e' at the right of the number
format.
2-13
using the Project Menu
Overflow
If the number entered into a numeric field is too big for the format,
Superbase displays number signs to indicate an overflow condition:
########.##
You can easily edit the numeric format to make it longer, or, if you prefer,
include an exponential signifier in the format.
Date Fields
Date fields can accept any date (years 0001 to 9999). There are many possible
styles of date expression.
Date I TiMe ForMat
IIbN [lli!]
~ Dav Month Year
a Month Day Ym
a Year Month Dav
~ ~
lID
[I]O.[JO
I OK II Cancel I
IT!TI •
It1MMM I [!!J
When the date field dialog appears, the date is in the default date style. This
is initially European (day, month, year), but you can reset it by altering the
style with the Set Date menu option.
Changing the System Date
The box in the middle of the dialog shows the current Superbase system date.
To change the date, click on the left arrow to increase it, or the right arrow
to decrease it. Superbase remembers the new date whether you set it from
here or the Set Date option.
'
CAUTION. Other programs will also use this date as their system date during
the current session.
You can also edit the date directly by clicking in the hox.
.~
The system date always reflects the current date style as determined by your
selections.
Using the Project Menu
2-14
Day Month Year Order
Click on one of the buttons in the upper part of the dialog to set the order
in which the day, month and year are presented.
Month Style
You can choose one of three possible month styles:
MM
Number from 1 to 12.
MMM
Three letter abbreviation: Jan.
MMMM
Full name of month: January.
Year Style
You can choose one of two possible year styles:
yy
Last two digits of the year: 88. This always implies the current
century.
yyyy
The full year: 1988.
Separators
There are five kinds of separator to choose from.
/
1/10/88
1-10-88
space
11088
1.10.88
First separator is space, second is a comma followed bya space:
1 October, 1988 or Oct 1, 1988.
Dates As Numbers
Although dates are expressed as text, they are stored internally as numbers.
This means you can include them in arithmetical expressions, allowing the
construction of date formulas and validation checks. You can also construct
an index on a date field knowing that it will be kept in true date order.
2-15
Using the Project Menu
Time Fields Date I
TiM~
forMat
! Dm IIl';D
a Seconds
a MillisecDnds
® AMlPI4 clock
~ 9:28 aM
[}!il
IIIIIII !tn,l.itt!
mo.
I OK
~
lID
GJ
II Cancel I
~
Time fields offer a variety offormats for storing the time ofday, or for storing
any elapsed time period up to 24 hours. You can choose between a 12 or 24
hour format and there are three ways of specifying the time units:
hours and minutes
hours, minutes and seconds
hours, minutes, seconds and thousandths of a second
You set the time format by clicking on the TIME panel at the top of the
TimelDate dialog. The selection buttons will then present the various time
format options: seconds, milliseconds, and am/pm. The default format shows
the time in hours and minutes on a 24 hour clock. Click on the selection
buttons to set this to another format.
Uke dates, time fields are expressed as text, but are stored internally as
numbers.
Changing the System Time
The box in the middle of the dialog shows the system time in the currently
selected time format. As with the system date, you can change the system
time by clicking on the arrows at the side of the box, or by editing the box
directly.
2-16
Using the Project Menu
External File Fields
The dialog for the external file field type is exactly the same as the text field
dialog, and operates in the same way.
The difference between the field types is that an external file field is intended
to contain a file name, while a text field can contain anything.
The file names in external file fields are used in Superbase's External File
System, which allows you to find and display graphic images or text files. It
provides both a kind of built-in 'picture library' facility, and a 'memo fields'
facility.
For more details see Chapter 9, External File Management System.
Field Attributes
Every field in a Superbase file must be one of the five types we have looked
at so far: text, numeric, date, time or external. When you look at the File
Definition dialog, you will see that there are five more field selection options:
Required, Read only, Validation, Calculation, and Constant.
Required
You may designate any field as a Required field. This means that during data
entry you must enter a value - you cannot leave a required field blank.
Read Only
The Read Only attribute is used to protect the data in the field from being
deleted or overwritten. Data cannot be entered in a Read Only field.
Although any field may be designated as Read Only, normally you would
only use this attribute for fields which have Constant or Calculation formulas
attached to them. If you designate any other kind of field as Read Only. it
will not be possible to enter data in the field, and, as a result, it will remain
blank. However you may want to protect data after it has been entered in a
field. In this case, you would change the field's attribute to Read Only by
editing the file definition.
Using the Project Menu
2-17
Validation
~/
The validation option allows you to attach a formula to a field, which sets
the limits to what you can enter into the field. For example, a formula such
as:
lastname LIKE "Tom" OR lastname LIKE "Jerry"
would restrict the lastname field to the values 'Tom" or "Jerry".
Alternatively, you might want to set a numeric range:
amount> = 100 AND amount < = 200
This requires the entry to be between 100 and 200 inclusive. Dates may also
be validated:
date > "1/6/86"
The date entered must be after 1st June, 1986. Note that the interpretation
of the Day/MonthlYear order of the date will depend on the system date
format, not the format for the field.
Constructing a Validation Formula
Before you can attach a validation formula to a field, you must first Add the
field (using the Add button). The reason for this is that a validation formula
contains the name of the field it validates. If the field has not yet been
defined, Superbase will not recognise the field name when you include it in
a formula. The correct procedure, therefore, is to Add the field first and then
create the formula. In effect, this means you have to define the field first,
and then edit its definition.
For example, if you wanted to create a date field with a formula attached to
it, you would need to carry out these steps first:
1. Define the field as a date field and set the date format.
2. Click on Add - the field name will then be added to the File Definition
Panel above the Field box.
3. Click on the field in the File Definition panel to select it for editing.
Once you have completed this preliminary task, you can proceed to the next
stage where you construct the formula and enter it in the Formula dialog.
First, click on the Validation button. This action will present you with the
Formula dialog (see next page).
Using the Project Menu
2-18
Validation forlllula for Interest Rate
File: DEPOSITS
firstnallle
~ IAriD
lastna\'lle
m EJ
m0
II m
Bank
Account
llIount
Date
Interest Rate
Interest Rate
[][J
}=
B AND Interest Rate
OK
0
INOT I El
OJ lUKE I [Z]
[B [8
m Value
I G
<= 15
I I Clear I ICancel I
As you can see, the dialog is basically the same as the Filter dialog described
in detail in Chapter 1. It has three main parts:
1. A Field Name Panel.
2. A calculator style set of Operators, including a Value Box for typing in
actual values such as 'Joe" or 100.
3. A Main Box, which shows the formula changing as you make your
selections.
The Formula dialog works in the same way as the Filter dialog. You click on
an operator or a field name to place it in the Main Box; and you can add other
elements in the formula numbers, text, dates, etc. by typing them into the
Value box and pressing Return.
Alternatively, you can type the formula directly into the Main Box.
When you've finished the formula, click on OK If you want to clear the
formula from the dialog and start again, click on Clear.
.----.-"
Using the ProJect Menu
2-19
Validation Help Messages
A validation formula sets limits to the data that can be entered in a field. If
you attempt to enter invalid data, Superbase will reject your data entry. At
the same time, it displays a validation error message:
Can't do this •••
Lastnal1le
Field does not l1latch validation
01( II Cancel I
For this message, we'll assume that the Lastname field in the Deposits file,
has been assigned the following validation formula:
LOOKUP(Lastname.Deposits,Lastname.Clients)
This is an example of a cross-file validation formula. When you enter a name
in Lastname, it checks whether the name exists in the Clients file.
The Validation Help feature allows you to make the message even more
explicit. Instead of displaying the field name in the second line of the
message, you can include a specific error message which tells the user exactly
why the data is invalid.
Validation Help messages are defined as part of/the formula. The procedure
is as follows:
1.
Construct the validation formula, as explained earlier.
2.
Click in the Main Box and type ELSE at the end of the formula. i
3.
Then type the help message, enclosing it in quotation marks.
4.
Click on OK.
If you wanted to modify the formula for the Lastname field in the example
above, you would enter:
LOOKUP(Lastname.Deposlts,Lastname.Clients) ELSE
"Last name not found in Clients file"
Using the Project Menu
2-20
Now, the validation error message will look like this:
Can't do this ..•
Lastna(l'le not found in Clients file
Field does not ~atch validation
OK II Cancel I
Checklist
Here are some useful facts about the Validation Formula dialog:
• The maximum length of a validation formula is 255 characters.
• You can place field names on either side of an operator:
field 1 > field 2
• Superbase stops you making simple mistakes. It does this by produc­
ing an audible 'beep'. (On the Amiga, it flashes the screen).
• You can use parentheses to set priority levels for your formula:
amount = 10 OR (amount> 20 AND amount < 30)
• To allow the user to create a blank Numeric or Date field, you must include a "zero option" in the formula: amount> 10 OR amount
0
The same applies to Text fields, except you type tIll into the Value Box
instead of O.
• The UKE operator is intended for text string matching, as it is case insensitive, unlike the EQUALS operator. country LIKE "England"
• UKE may also be followed by a value that uses one or more of the pattern matching rules and characters. Here is a typical example: Lastname LIKE "[A-F]*"
This formula accepts an entry of any length, provided it begins with a
letter from "A" to "F' (either case). More details of pattern matching
with LIKE are in Appendix B.
=
Using the Project Menu
2-21
• If you click in the Main Box, you can edit the formula directly. This is
essential for making changes to an existing formula. but Superbase
cannot check this kind of editing, so you could end up with an invalid
formula. or one that did not do what you intended. Errors in the for­
mula could allow invalid data into the field, or produce error mess­
ages during data entry.
The other use for direct editing of the formula is to add functions which
are not available from the selections in the dialog. See Using Formulas
for Multi-file Applications further on in this chapter.
Using the Project Menu
2-22
Calculation Formula
A calculation formula works out and stores a result that depends on other
fields and values. Unlike a validation formula, which checks data entered by
the user, a calculation formula generates the data itself. This means that you
cannot edit a calculated field directly. To be more precise, if the field is not
Read Only, you can attempt to edit its contents, but the formula will then
overwrite your entry with the calculated result._~
Calculation formulas can be attached to any type of field. They can also be
linked to validation formula, so that the result is first calculated and then
checked to see if it falls within certain limits.
Here are some examples of typical calculation formulas.
quantity * price
sUbtotal_1 + sUbtotal_2 + subtotal_3
amount * (1 + increase /100)
Formulas are usually arithmetical and attached to numeric fields, and as such
rarely make use of relational operators like 'greater than' or 'less than'.
There are restrictions on the combinations of types of field in a formula
expression. Superbase will let you know if you break a rule, by trying to
multiply two text fields, for example. Remember, though, that you can treat
date and time fields as numbers.
You can create formulas for text fields by typing directly in the Formula box:
left$ ( name,S)
+ " /" + str$ ( serial number)
Here the formula makes use of the Superbase functions, IcCt$ and strS (see
Formulas and Functions). It could produce a result like 'Johns/00042",
which could in turn be the b~sis of an index.
Date and time formulas are also valid. Typically, they would be used with
the reserved words TODAY and NOW, to show the date and time when a
record was created or last edited.
All the examples given here relate to single file applications.Vsing Formulas
for Multi-file Applications on page 2-32 explains how formulas can also be
used to extract data from other files for insertion in the current file.
2-23
Using the Project Menu
Constructing a Calculation Formula
You do this in the same way as you create a validation formula, with one
important difference: you do not need to include the name of the field you
are working with in the formula itself. If you wanted to create a formula
which added two fields together and placed the result in a field called total,
you would enter:
amount1
+
amount2
Unless you are using the ternary operator (explained in a later section in this
chapter), a calculation formula should not contain the equal sign; so it would
be a mistake to enter:
total = amount1
+
amount2
When you create a formula, the field you are attaching it to is shown at the
top of the calculation dialogs, and the result of the formula is automatically
assigned to that field. This is why it is not necessary to include the field name
in the formula itself.
It is possible, however, to construct a formula which includes the name of
the field it is attached to. We refer to this as a self-referencing formula. For
reasons which are explained further on in this chapter, you should exercise
caution before creating formulas of this type.
Using Dates and Times in Formulas
..-/
Superbase stores dates by representing them as julian date numbers; a date's
julian date number is the number of days between the date and the year AD
O. For example, the date 26 July 1986 has the julian date number 725202;
and the same date a year later has the value 725202 + 365.
This method of storing dates makes it easy to incorporate date fields in
formulas with numeric values. For example, to generate the number of days
between two dates, or to set a date in the future:
date1 • date2
date + 90
Time fields can also be treated as numeric fields. Superbase stores times as
thousandths of a second within a 24 hour period.
Using the Project Menu
2-24
Using the System Variables
'System variables' is the term we use to describe the reserved words,
TODAY and NOW. Your computer system keeps track ofthe date and time;
these words provide a means of displaying the date and time, and inserting
them in a field.
If your system has a battery-backed real-time clock, TODAY and NOW will
show the current date and time; that is, the correct date and the correct time.
Otherwise you can set the date and time using the Date format option on
the Set menu, at the start of any session with Superbase. For the rest of the
session, the system will then update these variables constantly, so that they
show the current date and time.
By using TODAY and NOW in calculation formulas, you can ensure that
the current date and time are inserted in a record whenever it is edited or
updated. Most people do not need to know the exact time when a record was
updated, so NOW is less likely to be used in a formula. But it is often useful
to 'date stamp' a record using the TODAY variable. To do this, first define
a date field, then create a formula consisting simply of the word TODAY.
Calculation formulas are not suitable if you want to show when a record was
first created. For this, you need a constant formula (see the section
Constants).
Note that NOW and TODAY can also figure in validation formulas. For
example, you could use TODAY to invalidate cheques that are out of date:
Cheqdate > (TODAY· 365)
When is a Calculation Performed?
A record may contain just one or a numher of calculated fields. When you
save a record, Superbase carries out all the calculations in the record and
stores the results in the fields which the calculation formulas refer to. This
applies both to new records and to edited records.
Most, if not all, calculated fields will be Read Only. With these fields,
calculations may also be performed while you are entering data in the record
or editing it. This happens if you click on the field or if you pass through the
field on the way to another field further down the field list. The upshot will
be that the calculation is performed at least twice: every time you click on it
and then again when you save the record.
You can see this process in action by defining a time field with the calculation
formula NOW attached to it. Provided you have set the time format so that
Using the Project Menu
2-25
seconds and milliseconds are shown, the time field will be updated every
time you click on it.
Usually, repeating a calculation gives the same result, and it doesn't matter
how many times the calculation is carried out. Likewise, it doesn't usually
matter in what order you enter data in fields, or edit fields. The only time
these considerations may be important is when a record contains linked
calculations, as explained in the next section.
Linked Calculations
It is sometimes important to consider the order in which calculations are
carried out. If they are carried out in the wrong order, you may get the wrong
result. The problem only arises with linked calculations, where the result of
one calculation depends on the result of another.
A simple example would be a file which contains sub-total fields and a grand
total field. The sub-totals are calculated by adding the values in other fields;
the grand total is calculated from the sum of the sub-totals. The wrong result
will be produced if the grand total is calculated before the sub-totals.
NormaUy, you do not need to take the order into account. When you save a
record, Superbase calculates fields in the order in which they occur in the
field list; that is, it works out the result for a calculated field at the top of the
record (in Record View) first and then passes to the next calculated field
below.
Normally, calculating fields in this order produces the correct results.
Incorrect results are only produced when the order in which the records
should be calculated does not match the field list order. The following
example shows how this might occur.
Using the Project Menu
2-26
Example
This example presents two sets of calculations. In the first set the order in
which the calculations should be performed matches the field list order and
gives the correct results:
Field
Unit Cost
Quantity
Total Cost
Discount Rate
Discount
Total Amount
Calculation
Value
£2.40
10
Unit Cost
* Quantity
(Total Cost * Discount Rate)/100
Total Cost - Discount
£24.00
20%
£4.80
£19.20
Here, the calculation formulas for Discount, and Total Amount are linked
to the formula which is attached to Total Cost. These formula generate the
data values for their associated fields. The values in the other fields are fixed
values entered by the user.
What would happen if you now decided to modify the file definition in order
to introduce two more fields, Tax Rate and Tax Amount? This step would
be necessary if you wanted to include the local tax rate in your calculations.
You would be able to modify the existing formulas in the file definition, but
the two new fields would have to be added at the end of the field list. And
the formula attached to Tax Amount would be calculated in the wrong order.
After all the fields have been calculated once, the results would be as follows:
Field
Unit Cost
Quantity
Total Cost
Discount Rate
Discount
Total Amount
Tax Rate
Tax Amount
Calculation
Value
£2.40
10
Unit Cost * Quantity
£24.00
20%
£4.80
(Total Cost * Discount Rate )/100
Total Cost - Discount + Tax Amount
£19.20
15%
(Total Cost - Discount) * Tax Rate/lOG £2.88
You will notice that the result for Total Amount is incorrect, despite the fact
that Tax Amount contains the correct value. The reason for this is that
Superbase calculates the value for Total Amount before it calculates the
value for Tax Amount. When the value for Total Amount is calculated, the
value of Tax Amount is 0.00.
',-.-/
Using the Project Menu
2-27
The Superbase Solution
Superbase supplies a straightforward solution to this problem. It is based on
the fact that if you perform the calculations a second time, you will arrive at
the correct result. You can do this by setting the Calculation Count option
in the Set Options dialog.
This feature allows you to specify the number of times a calculation (or a
chain of calculations) is performed. With a more complicated set of linked
calculations you may need to perform them three or four (or more) times
before arriving at the correct result. In each case, you would set the
Calculation Count to the number required. Other calculation problems may
be solved by the Auto Calculation and Selective Calculation options in the
same dialog. For further details, see Options, Chapter 7.
Another solution would be to create a new file in which the fields were in
the correct order. To do this, you would define the correct order with the
Query Order option, and then use the Query Output to File option to create
a new file from the existing file. See Chapter 11 for more details.
Self-referencing Formulas
A calculation formula should not normally contain the name of the field it
is attached to. But if you edit a calculation formula after it has been Added
to the file definition, it is possible to insert the field name in the formula, or
to create a new formula which includes the name. In this way, you could
create a self-referencing formula for the field total, such as:
total + amount
When the formula is calculated the value in the field amount will be added
to the value in total and then stored in total.
Although this may appear to be a useful feature, this type of self-referencing
formula is not recommended. The following example should make this clear.
Suppose the initial values for the two fields total and amount were:
amount: 25
total: 50
After the formula has been calculated once, the new values will be:
amount: 25
total: 75
Using the Project Menu
2-28
This, of course, is the correct result. But if the formula is calculated again,
the values will be:
amount: 25
total: 100
As you see, if the formula is calculated more than once, it gives the wrong
result. Because it is difficult to ensure that a formula is only calculated once,
self-referencing formulas of this type will invariably give the wrong result
and should therefore be avoided.
However, there are some self-referencing formulas that will always produce
the desired result, no matter how many times they are calculated. Formulas
which include the ternary operator (see the next section) provide one
example. Another example would be a formula like this:
LTRIM$(Firstname)
LTRIM$ strips leading spaces from the text specified in the brackets. You
might want to attach this formula to the Firstname field, in order to
eliminate any leading spaces that the user might type in accidentally.
Notice that this also provides an example of a calculated field which is not
Read Only. When you define a calculation formula, Superbase automatically
makes the field Read Only. If the field is intended to be used for data entry,
you will need to tum the Read Only attribute off after defining the formula.
Checklist
When you attach a calculation formula to a field, it is not necessary to include
the field name in the formula.
• Superbase can stop you making simple mistakes, but you can still pro­
duce meaningless formulas if you try hard enough, or if you edit the
formula directly in the Main Box.
• If you need to construct a very complex formula, it may be easier to
set up some intermediate calculation formulas than to try to achieve
the desired result in a single very large formula.
• The maximum length of a calculation formula is 255 characters.
• You may use a formula for cross-file calculation, where it extracts data from another file. • The number of decimal places in a calculation result may be set with
the directly entered FIX function, e.g. FIX (amount/3,2).
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2-29
Constants
A constant formula works in the same way as a calculation formula. It
generates a result from other fields, functions, and values, and places it in
the field the formula is attached to. The difference is that the result is only
generated once when the record is first created. After that the formula
becomes defunct and no longer operates.
If you make a constant field Read Only, the field will retain its initial data
no matter what changes you make elsewhere in the record. If the constant
field is not Read Only, the initial data it contains can be edited or
overwritten.
Typical applications for constant formulas are:
• To show the date when a record is created.
• To set the record's serial number using the SER function.
• To set some other kind of reference field such as an account number
or a customer number. Usually the constant formula would do this by
extracting the reference code from another file.
Formulas and Functions
A function is a kind of ready-made formula. It calculates a result, just as
formula does. The difference is that a function is already defined. All you
need to do is enter a single keyword. Thus to work out someone's age from
their birth date, you would use the function YEAR in combination with the
system variable TODAY:
YEAR (TODAy) - YEAR(birthdate)
It would not be possible to do this using a formula on its own. By
incorporating functions in your formulas, you can extend the range of
calculations and validation checks that they are capable of performing.
You will find a list of the Superbase functions in Appendix C, together with
a brief description of each. Apart from SER and LOOKUP, the functions
are not described in detail in this manual. However, many of them will be
familiar to you if you know how to program in Basic. If you haven't used
Basic before, you may find it useful to consult a Basic programming manual
(in most cases, this will be supplied with your computer).
Using the Project Menu
2-30
Using the SER Function
You can use the SER function to assign a serial number to each record in a
file. To do this, you need to define a field which will hold the serial number.
It should be defined as a constant field and should have SER("filename") as
its constant formula. For example, to assign a serial number to the records
in a file called Orders, first define a constant field for the number, then attach
the formula:
SER("Orders")
When you create the first record, it will be given the value 1. This value will
then be incremented by one for each record you add to the file.
Using the Ternary Operator
The ternary operator is one of Superbase's more unusual features. You may
find it difficult to grasp the idea behind it, but it is certainly worth the effort.
Put simply, the ternary operator allows you to create calculation formulas
which can choose between two (or more) alternative results. Formulas like
this have a decision-making ability built into them.
Like many other complex features, this is best explained through an example.
Suppose you wanted to create a file which stored the results of a school
examination. One way of doing this would be to use one record for each
pupiL The record would include a Marks field, showing the marks gained in
the examination as a percentage figure. It could also include a text field
called Grade which showed at a glance whether a pupil has passed or failed.
By using the ternary operator we can define a formula which sets Grade to
either "Pass" or "Fail" according to the pupil's percentage mark:
(Mark > = 75) ? "Pass": "Fail"
The effect of this formula could be translated as:
If the number in the field Mark is greater than or equal to 75, store
"Pass" in Grade, otherwise store "Fail" in Grade.
The general form (or syntax) of the ternary operator is this:
condition ? valuel : value2
The words in italics represent the specific values or conditions that are
entered in a formula. In the example above, "Pass" is valuel, and "Fail" is
value2.
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Using the Project Menu
The condition argument must be an expression that is either true or false,
such as:
Date > "18 July 1986"
or
Initial
= "8"
The parentheses around the condition are optional, but it is a good idea to
include them. By separating the condition from the other parts ofthe ternary
operator, the parentheses make it easier to understand how the formula
works.
If you are familiar with programming languages you will recognise the
ternary operator as a more concise way of expressing the IF THEN ELSE
statement. We could translate the example above to read:
IF Mark> = 75 THEN Grade
"Pass" ELSE Grade
"Fail" =
=
Multiple Ternary Operations
Instead of entering a value as the second alternative in a ternary operation,
you can enter another ternary operator. In this way, you can create a formula
which chooses between three (or more) alternatives:
(Mark > = 75) ? "A" : (Mark > = 60) ? "8" : "C"
Here, our example formula sets Grade to "A", "B" or "C". Marks greater than
or equal to 75% are graded A, marks between 60% and 74% are graded B,
any other mark is graded C.
This formula can be modified again to provide further alternatives:
(Mark > = 75) ? "A" : (Mark > = 65) ? "8" : (Mark >
"C" : (Mark > = 45) ? "0": liE"
=
55) ?
The number of alternatives you can build into a formula is limited by the
maximum number of characters. A formula must not exceed 255 characters,
including spaces.
Self-referencing Ternary Operations
The ternary operator proves one of the exceptions to the rule we stated
earlier, which advised against creating self-referencing formulas. Normally,
the drawback with this type of formula is that it may give a different result
every time it is calculated. Using the ternary operator, you can avoid the
Using the project Menu
2-32
problem by placing the field name (the name of the field to which the
formula is attached) at the end of the formula. In other words, the last value
in the formula should be the field itself. There is no other way of making a
self-referencing formula totally foolproof.
Take, for example, the formula:
Code
= "a" ? "London": Code = "b"? "New York" :"Other"
The first time you enter the letter "a" in the field Code, the formula will give
the result "London". But if the formula is calculated again, it will give the
result "Other". The reason for this is that Code will contain the word
"London", not the letter "a". This value does not satisfy either of the two
conditions so it is replaced with "Other". The correct way of insuring against
a false result like this would be:
Code = "a"? "London": Code
= "b" ? "New York": Code
Now when the formula is calculated a second time, it leaves the result as it
is. None of the conditions are satisfied, so the field is assigned the value in
the last alternative. Since the last alternative is the field itself, the initial value
remains unchanged.
Using Formulas for Multi-file Applications
Superbase allows you to define validation and calculation formulas which
make use of the data in other files. For this purpose, it provides the
LOOKUP function. LOOKUP can only be entered in a validation formula,
but it can be used in two ways:
• For cross-file validation, where it checks whether the contents of a field in one file match the contents of a field in another file. • In a calculation formula for the purpose of extracting data from an­
other file. The syntax for LOOKUP is:
LOOKUP(field1,field2)
fieldl represents the name of the field to which the validation formula is
attached, I.e., the current field. field2 represents the name of the field in
another file. For example, you could use LOOKUP to validate the Lastname
field in the Addresses file by checking it against the Lastname field in the
Customers file. The formula to use would be:
LOOKU P(Lastname.Address,Lastname.Customer)
Using the Project Menu
2-33
When you enter data in the Lastname field, LOOKUP will check the records
in the Customer file. In other words, LOOKUP checks whether the name
exists in the Customer file. If it finds a record where Lastname matches the
name you have entered - if the name does exist - it accepts the entry. If the
name does not exist, it rejects your entry and displays a validation error
message.
There are a number of rules governing the way LOOKUP is entered in a
validation formula:
• The second field name must be the name of an indexed field in an­
other open file. LOOKUP cannot be used for single file validation. • You should always enter the LOOKUP function's arguments by typ­
ing them into the box at the bottom of the validation dialog. In other words, even if your LOOKUP formula contains a field which is shown in the field list above, you should type the field name into the box instead of clicking on it. • It is important to include the file name as an extension to any field name used with LOOKUP. This applies to all fields irrespective of whether their names are unique to one file or not. For example: LOOKUP(Forename.Address,Firstname.Customer)
is correct, while:
LOOKUP(Forename,Firstname)
may cause problems.
• LOOKUP will not work with date/time and numeric fields that have null values; i.e., fields that have been left blank. If you wish to use LOOKUP on fields of this type you must use a string function to force them to give an empty string instead of a null value. For example LTRIM$(DATE$(date field)) will give an empty string when the 'date field' has a null value. • LOOKUP is case sensitive, so there must be an exact match between
the data in both fields; i.e., if the data in the first field begins with a
capital letter, the second field must also be capitalized.
Cross-file Calculation
If LOOKUP is successful- if it finds a matching field - the record containing
the expression becomes the current record, even though the file may not be
the current file and is not displayed on screen.
To understand what is involved in this process, you need to be clear about
the idea of a current record. Each open file has a current record. The current
record for the current file is simply the one that is displayed on the screen.
Although the other files are behind the scenes, you can access their fields in
2-34
Using the Project Menu
the same way as with the current file. When you refer to a field in a file other
than the current file, Superbase looks for data in the current record for that
file.
These features provide a way of inserting the data from another file in a new
record, using LOOKUP in a ternary calculation formula (see Using the
Ternary Operator, page 2-30). We can illustrate this with an example
involving two files, Orders and Stock.
Each record in the Stock file contains details of a particular product, such as
its stock code, its price and a description of the product. Orders contains
details of a customer's order; these include a stock code for each product
item ordered and the quantity of items ordered. Note that the stock code
field is common to both files and provides the relational link between them.
When a new record is created in the Orders file (or when an existing record
is edited), the stock code and quantity will have to be typed in. But by using
LOOKUP in combination with the ternary operator, we can ensure that the
price (the unit cost) of a product and its description are automatically read
into the new record from the Stock file.
The calculation formula to attach to the Unit_Cost.Orders field would be:
LOOKUP(Stockcode.Orders, Stockcode.Stock) ?
Unit_Cost.Stockcode: 0
The effect of this formula is to force a LOOKUP on the Stock file whenever
new data is entered (or existing data is edited) in the Unit_Cost.Orders field.
First it checks to see whether the stock code in the current record in the
Orders file exists in the Stock file. If it does exist, it makes the matching
record in the Stock file current. The condition expressed by the ternary
operator has been satisfied, so the first value after the question mark - i.e.
the contents of Unit_Cost.Stock - is assigned to Unit_Cost.Orders.
If the condition is not satisfied, the second value - in this case, a value of
zero - is assigned. With a string field, the second value must be a text string,
so the calculation formula for the Description.Orders field would be:
LOOKUP(Stockcode.Orders, Stockcode.Stock) ?
Description.Stock: ""
Here, the empty string is assigned to Description.Orders if the stock code
doesn't exist in the Stock file; in other words, the field remains blank.
Using the Project Menu
2-35
It is up to you to decide what action is to be taken if the LOOKUP is
unsuccessful. With string fields, you may want to assign a text string
indicating that an error has occurred, as in:
LOOKUP(Stockcode.Orders, Stockcode.Stock) ?
Description.Stock: "Error"
Now if there is no match between the stock codes in the Orders and Stock
files, "Error" will be assigned to the Description.Orders field.
Normally, however, you would also use LOOKUP in a validation formula
attached to the Stockcode.Orders field, so the situation would never arise:
the stock code in the Orders file will always be matched with a stock code in
the Stock file and, as a result, the condition in the calculation formula will
always be satisfied.
dBase Compatibility
New File is the option to use if you want to convert files from dBase II and
dBase III to Superbase format. The exact procedure is as follows:
•
•
c~c
•
•
•
Select Project New File.
Give the name of the dBase file you wish to convert, omitting the
'.dbf extension. You can include a drive specifier if you are reading
the dBase file from another device.
Enter password(s) if required.
Select required index fields.
Superbase performs the conversion and creates new '.sbd', '.sbf and
index files in the current Superbase directory.
Creating Indexes for a File: New Index
Overview
A Superbase index is a separate file that is related to the main data file. It
corresponds to one of the fields in the File Definition. The index keeps a
copy of all the data you enter into that field, stored in alphabetical order
(actually spaces, punctuation marks and numbers come before the
alphabet).
An index file on disk has a name of the form "file name.nnn", where "file
name" is the same as for the data file to which the index is related, and "nnn"
is a number corresponding to the position of the indexed field in the File
Definition's list of fields. Example: "Address. 1".
Using the ProJect Menu
2-36
An index is used in two ways: to provide a quick method of looking up
individual records, and to provide a sequence for the presentation ofrecords.
IXD and IXU. These are the attribute abbreviations you see in the File
Definition Panel. An IXD field has an index which allows duplicate entries,
such as many occurrences of the name "Smith". IXD indexes are compulsory
when the field already exists. An lXU field has an index which does not allow
duplicate entries: each entry must be unique.
You use the Key Lookup button on the Control Panel to enter an index value
when you want to retrieve a single record by key. You use the Open Index
option when you want to switch the order of presentation from one field to
another.
You can select the New Index option at any time to build an index on any
field in the File Definition. When you're creating a new file, however, you
are forced to pass through this dialog, as every Superbase file must have at
least one index.
You may have up to 999 indexes for each file, using any of the first 999 fields
in the File Definition. All indexes are automatically updated when you add
records to the file. If you create a large number of indexes, updating them
will obviously take longer than if there are only a few indexes to process.
Selecting Fields for Indexing
The New Index dialog shows a list of all the fields that do not have an index
built on them, and asks you to select one.
Hew index
Title
Forenall\!!
Street
Code
i
---- m
® HDrMal index
a Unique index
mClliillB
Click on the name of the field on which you want the file to be indexed.
Superbase copies it into the Selection box. If you have entered this dialog
from the File Definition dialog, you now have to decide whether the index
2-37
Using the Project Menu
is to contain unique entries only or to permit duplicate entries. Click on the
appropriate button.
Now click on OK. What happens next depends on whether you are creating
an index for a file that already has records in it or for a new file that has no
records.
Note that you should create an index for any field which will be used for
relational purposes.
Existing Files
If you are adding an index to an existing File Definition, Superbase shows a
warning message:
Building an index May take SOMe tiMe.
Do you want to proceed?
OK
ICancel I
Click on OK to proceed. If you have been specifying indexes for a new file,
Superbase creates all the disk files that comprise the database file: the ".sbf'
extension file for the record data, the ".sbd" file for the definition, and the
".nnn" files for the indexes.
Otherwise, if the file already exists, Superbase spends some time reading
through the records and creating an index from their contents.
You may select the unique index option for an existing file. Superbase will
then attempt to create a unique index, checking for any duplicate entries. If
it finds a duplicate entry, it will display a dialog which lists the entry and asks
if you want to create a non-unique index for the field. At this point, you can
click on OK if you want to create a non-unique index, or you can cancel the
operation.
Using the Project Menu
2-38
The Superbase Working Environment
In the Superhase system, you can have any number of database files. Each
file can have as many as 999 indexes, and there is no limit to the number of
fields per record. This effectively gives you the freedom to construct your
database as you wish, without having to worry about whether you're going
to bump into inconvenient system limits.
However, when it comes to actually working with the system, such a sense
of limitlessness can be confusing. Most people prefer to have a well defined
structure that they can manage easily. Superbase certainly gives you this, but
without sacrificing the flexibility that the basic 'no limits' philosophy implies.
In this section we'll be looking at how to define your area of work to suit
your immediate purpose. Basically, Superbase allows you to select four
components to make up a working database:
•
•
•
•
A File
An Index
A set of Fields
A current Query
Open File
This option lets you choose the files you want to work with.
Open file
Using the Project Menu
2-39
Superbase presents you with a list of all the files in the current directory. To
open a file:
1. Click on a file name and when it appears in the Selection Box, click on
OK.
'~<
OR
2. Double click on the file name.
If you want to alter the name in the Selection Box, you can:
• Click on another name to replace it.
• Click on Clear to empty the box.
• Click in the Selection Box and edit the contents. You might need to
do this if your file is in another directory and you need to insert the
pathname, or the file requires a password.
Passwords
Ifyou have set a password against a file, Superbase will display another dialog
into which you must type the password that you specified when you originally
created the file. If the password is valid for this file, Superbase will open the
file, giving you the access privileges for that password.
Opening the Current File
When you select a file name and click on OK, Superbase finds the File
Definition for that file and returns you to the Main Display.
If the file is being opened for the first time in the session, Superbase
automatically selects the first index for the file, determined by the position
of the index field in the File Definition. The record selected for display is
then the first record according to this index.
If you have already opened the file during the session, Superbase returns to
whichever index and record were current when the file was last used.
The file you see on the Main Display is known as the current file. You can
always tell which is the current file by looking at the title bar of the main
display window, which names both the file and its current index:
Superbase: Address indexed on Number
There is only one current file at a time, although you may have many files
open.
2-40
Using the Project Menu
Current File and Open Files
You can return to the Open File dialog and open as many files as you want,
each time choosing from the list offiles in the directory. Each time you select
a file, it becomes the current file. However, all the files you select in one
session remain open and available to other Superbase functions, unless you
specifically close them with the Close File option.
Superbase functions that use the list of open files are:
Project Close File
Project Edit
Project Remove File
Process Update
Process Query
System Status System
Open Fields
This is one of the most important options in the whole Superbase system.
You use it to select a group of fields from the list of fields in the File
Definition. These fields then become the default fields for many Superbase
functions, including the Main Display. Thus if you have a file with many
hundreds of fields per record, you can choose, if you wish, just three or four
to work with.
Using the Project Menu
2-41
Once you've selected Open Fields from the Project Menu, the basic
procedure is simple:
1. Click on a field name in the left-hand panel. Superbase copies it into
the right-hand paneL
2. Repeat until the selection of fields you want is in the right-hand panel.
3. Click on OK.
The list of fields in the right-hand panel is called the Open Fields List. Here
are some tips to keep in mind when using this function:
• You can select fields in any order.
• You can repeat fields.
• You can remove a field from the Open Fields List: click on its name, then click on the Delete button. • Repeated clicking on Delete removes field names from the bottom of the list. • To move a field to a new position in the list: click on its name in the right-hand panel; click on Delete; click on the field before the desired new position in the right-hand panel; click on the field name in the left-hand paneL • To remove the Open Fields List completely, click on Clear.
Ifyou want to temporarily suspend the Open Fields List so you can view the
full set of fields, use the Close Fields option.
The Open Fields list
Superbase uses the set of open fields in most of the menu options:
• The Main Display, Record, Form and Table View.
• Record New, Record Edit, and Record Duplicate.
• Process Query, Process Import, Process Export, Process Print, and Process Labels. The open fields list for the current file can be saved with Save File option.
It will then become the default fields list when the file is next loaded.
Using the Project Menu
2-42
Open Index
The index that you select determines the order in which the records in the
current file are presented. If, for example, you have a file of addresses for
which Superbase maintains indexes on the Lastname field and the City field,
you can choose to view or print the records in the alphabetical order of either
Lastname or City.
Superbase allows only one current index at a time, as indicated on the title
bar of the Main Display. It's important to note two things about the
restriction to one index at once:
•
•
It does not restrict your ability to specify multiple values when search­
ing for a group of records in the file using a filter.
It does not limit your ability to produce reports with many levels of
sorting and subtotalling.
When you select the Open Index option, Superbase displays a dialog with a
list of all the indexes for the current file.
Open index
Choosing an index from the dialog is easy:
1. Click on the name of the index you want. When the name appears in
the Selection Box, click on OK.
OR
2. Double click on the Index name.
If you make the wrong selection, change it by clicking on another index,
clicking on Clear, or typing directly into the Selection Box.
Using the Project Menu
2-43
When you click on OK, Superbase opens the required index and returns to
the Main Display. The name of the open index appears on the title bar:
Superbase: Address indexed on Lastname
All browsing operations done from the Control Panel now follow the order
of the index. The Key Lookup button allows you to type in a single index
entry in order to retrieve an individual record directly.
Changing the Index
To switch from one index to another, use this menu option and select the
required index as described above. Superbase will not change the current
record when you do this, but all Control Panel browsing operations will
follow the order of the new index.
If you need a new index on a field that doesn't have one, you must use the
New Index option to build the index.
Each index points to one record in its file. This means you can swap to
another index, browse through the file in the order of that index, and then
return to the first index and view the record it was originally pointing at.
Using the Project Menu
2-44
Close File
You will need to close a file in two situations:
• To restrict the open files to the ones required for the Process Query
and Process Update functions.
• To release memory for other uses.
The dialog provides a list of the currently open files, including the current
file.
Close file
The procedure is standard:
1. Click on the name of the file you want to close.
2. When the name appears in the Selection Box, click on OK
If you make the wrong selection, change it by clicking on another file name,
clicking on Clear, or typing directly into the Selection Box.
If you close the current file, Superbase makes the first open file in the list
into the current file, and returns to the Main Display. If you close all the files
in the dialog, you'll see the "Superbase: Please open a file" message which
the system shows when you start up.
Note: If you are having difficulty displaying the pictures from the External
File System, it is advised that you close all the files that you have open. Once
you have done this, then open the Pictures file. Freeing memory in this way
will ensure that you achieve the maximum size of available memory.
Using the Project Menu
2-45
Closing Dependent Files
As explained on page 2-32, the LOOKUP function allows you to define
relational links between files. When you open a file which sets links in this
way, Superbase will automatically open any other files that are specified with
the LOOKUP function. If we designate the first file as the master file and
the others as dependent files, it should be apparent that you cannot close a
dependent file without closing the master file first. The master file makes
use of the data in its dependents for cross-file validation and calculation:
closing one without the other would risk corrupting the data in memory. If
you attempt to close a dependent file while the master file is still open,
Superbase will display the following message:
Can't do this ... FILE NAME In use by another file A similar restriction occurs when you click on Cancel after editing the file
definition for a dependent file. In order to cancel any changes made to the
file definition, Superbase needs to load the original file definition from disk.
But to do this with a dependent file, it would have to close the file first. So,
instead, Superbase displays the message:
Can't do this ... Cannot re-open FILE NAME In use by another file Close Fields
Superbase suspends the Open Fields List, notifies you of its action, and
returns to the Main Display. The full set of fields for the file is then used by
the current View format. To re-activate the Open Fields List, select the
Open Fields option and click on OK.
Using the Project Menu
2-46
Edit: Changing a File Definition
However careful you are when you design and create a new file, there
inevitably comes a time when you want to change some details. Maybe you
made a text field too short, or you find overflow characters appearing when
you try to enter data into a numeric field. Or perhaps you decide that a
certain field needs a range check adding to ensure the integrity of the data
in it. Superbase lets you make almost any change to the original File
Definition, and carry on using the file without any delay. You even have a
choice which allows you to use the File Definition settings experimentally
until you're sure they are what you want, before saving them permanently.
First, you make the file you want to change into the current file, by opening
it. Then you select Edit from the Project menu. The dialog is the same as the
one used in New File.
File de'inition
Field naMe
Attributes
NuMber
TXT
REQ IXD
Title
TXT
ForenaMe
TXT
LastnaMe
TXT
IIID
Street
TXT
City
TXT
IIU)
Code
TXT
Ii) Text
0 External
o Nu~eric
0 Required
o Date I Tillie 0 Read only
Fidd • • • •
[]'[] IDelete I
Forlilat
10
10
15
15
30
15
12
o Validated
I
m
ID
UII
o Calculation
o Constant
You will notice that the File Definition Panel contains the first seven fields
in the definition. If there are more than seven you can bring the others into
view with the scroll bar at the side of the Panel.
Here is a summary of possible changes to a File Definition. You can:
•
•
•
•
•
Use Add to add new fields to the end of the list of fields.
Use Delete to mark a field as deleted.
Change the field type.
Change the field's attributes.
Change the Format details of a field, such as length, date style, time format; change validation, calculation or constant formulas. ..~ ..
Using the Project Menu
2-47
Adding a New Field
Do exactly what you would do if creating a field in the New File option:
1. Ensure the Field box is empty - click on Clear if necessary.
2. Type in the new field name.
3. Click on the appropriate attribute button and add the required details
in the Field Type dialog.
4. Click on Add and the field name will appear at the end of the existing
list.
Changing a Field
The basic procedure for changing a field is similar to that for creating new
fields:
'~ ,--/
1. Click on the name of the field you want to change. Superbase copies its
name into the Field box, and selects the buttons that correspond to the
field's attributes.
2. Change the field name if you want to. Use the backspace key to delete
the existing name, type in the new name, and press the Return key.
3. Click on an attribute button to bring up a Field Type dialog so you can
alter the details of the field. You can choose a different type from the
existing type.
4. When10u click on OK in the Field Type dialog, Superbase updates the
File Definition Panel with any changes you made.
5. If a field is an indexed field, you will have to remove the index before
you can change its field type.
6. When you've finished making changes to fields, click on OK in the File
Definition dialog itself. Superbase asks you whether you want to save
the modified definition. You also have the option to try it out in
memory, either saving it or abandoning it later.
Rules for Changing Fields
Text
Length may be varied freely.
• Validation, Calculation or Constant formulas may be added, changed
or removed.
• Required status may be added or removed.
• Read Only may turned on or off.
• Multiple response fields may be added or removed
• Type may be changed to numeric, date, time or external:
Using the ProJect Menu
2-48
If numeric, all text will be lost when the field is next saved. If date, all non-date text will be lost when the field is next saved.
If time, all text in the field will be lost when it is next saved. If external, Superbase will not be able to find non-existent external files, and will reject any text that would be an illegal file pathname. Numeric
Number pattern and features may be varied freely.
• Validation, Calculation or Constant formulas may be added, changed or removed. • Read Only may be turned on or off.
• Required status may be added or removed.
• Type may be changed to text, date, time or external:
If text, the number will become a character string.
If date, the number will be treated as a julian date and interpreted
according to the style you choose.
If time, the number will be treated as thousandths of a second and
interpreted according to the time format you choose.
If external, Superbase will not be able to find non-existent external files,
and will reject any text that would be an illegal file pathname.
Date
Date styles may be varied freely.
• Validation, Calculation, or Constant formulas may be added, changed or removed. • Required status may be added or removed.
• Type may be changed to text, numeric, time, external: If text, the date will become a character string of the julian date, i.e. a string of numbers. If numeric, the date will be displayed as a number according to the numeric format you select. If time, the date's julian date number will be treated as thousandths of a second. If external, Superbase will not be able to find non-existent external files, and will reject any text that would be an illegal file pathname. ~/ Using the Project Menu
2-49
Time
Time formats may be varied freely.
• Validation, Calculation, or Constant formulas may be added, changed or removed. • Required status may be added or removed.
• Type may be changed to text, numeric, date, external:
If text, the time will be shown in thousandths of a second as a character
string.
If numeric, the time will be displayed as the number of thousandths of
a second.
If date, the time in thousandths of a second will be treated as a julian
date number.
If external, Superbase will not be able to find non-existent external files,
and will reject any text that would be an illegal file pathname.
Validation, Calculation and Constant
The details of the formula may be varied freely.
• The formula may be removed by clicking on Clear, then OK..
• Required status may be added or removed.
Note: Direct editing ofthe formula may make it invalid.
Read Only
May be added or removed.
Required
May be added or removed.
Note: Increasing the length ofafield may cause it to overlap with anotherfield
in Form View, creating a confusing display until the Form View is changed.
Using the Project Menu
2-50
Deleting a Field
First select the field by clicking on its name so that the name is copied into
the Field box. Then click on the Delete button. Superbase places the DEL
abbreviation in the Attributes column of the File Definition Panel.
When you do this, Superbase leaves the field data in place in the'.sbf file,
and leaves the field name in place in the File Definition, until EITHER
•
You tidy up the file with the System Reorganize menu option;
OR
• You use the Process Update menu option. In this case Superbase
removes the data from the file for the records it actually processes
during the update. The File Definition is not affected by Update.
Because of the delay between marking a field as deleted and actually
removing the data, you can recover deleted fields by clicking on them and
selecting the appropriate Attribute type button, as for a new field.
Concluding File Editing
When you have finished making changes to your File Definition, you must
click on OK to put the modified definition into effect. Superbase displays
the Save File Definition dialog, which is explained below.
Using the Project Menu
2.-51
Save File
This option stores the File Definition of the current file.
Save file definition
OK
I ICancel I
All the current settings as shown in the File Definition dialog are saved,
together with any Validation or Calculation Formulas. Superbase also stores
the coordinates of all the fields as most recently arranged in Form View, and
the open fields list for the current file.
If you click on OK, Superbase will save the File Definition as a '.sbd' file,
and the present settings will be the ones used the next time you open the file,
unless you edit it again.
If you click on Cancel, however, you can continue to work with the settings
as they are, without making any permanent change to the '.sbd' file. This
allows you to experiment freely with the details of the File Definition, testing
out various settings and formulas until you're sure you've got them right.
When you're satisfied, you simply select the Save option on the Project
menu, select File from the Save dialog and click on OK when the dialog
appears.
Note that you are not required to to select the Save File option after creating
a new file. Superbase automatically presents the Save File dialog when you
complete the process of defining the file. As explained in the previous
paragraph, at this stage clicking on Cancellet<; you postpone the Save File
option until you have tested the file definition. You only need to select Save
File if you have chosen Cancel beforehand.
Save File is also used for these purposes:
•
•
To save the layout after setting the position of fields in Form View.
To save the fields list for a file after using the Open Fields option.
Using the Project Menu
2-52
Remove File
Remove File erases all traces of the chosen Superbase database file from
the directory: the '.sbf file, the '.sbd' file, and any indexes associated with
the file. This function does not remove records from inside a file while
leaving the File Definition intact - you use the Process Remove option for
that.
Superbase presents a standard dialog with a list of all the open files. You
select a file in the normal Superbase way:
1.
2.
Click on its file name.
When the name you want is in the Selection Box, click on OK.
To be able to remove a file, you must have opened it with delete privileges.
You automatically have these unless more than one password has been set.
Before finally removing the file, Superbase asks for confirmation that this is
indeed what you wish to do.
Remove Index
From time to time you may wish to drop an index if you find it is rarely used.
This will improve performance slightly and use less memory, as Superbase
will no longer have to update the index when you add or replace a record.
As for Remove File, Superbase presents a standard dialog, this time with a
list of all the indexes for the current file. You select an index in the normal
Superbase way:
1.
2.
Click on its file name.
When the index name you want is in the Selection hox, click on OK.
As this too is irreversible, Superbase asks for confirmation that this is indeed
what you wish to do.
Should you wish to rebuild an index after removing it, use the New Index
function.
Removing Other Files
Other files such as Export files, should be removed using the Delete option
provided by the System menu. See Chapter 8.
Using the Project Menu
2-53
Quit
When you want to leave Superbase, you can do so by selecting this option.
If you prefer, you can click on the Close box in the top left-hand corner of
the Superbase window.
,-/ If you have modified records or file definitions, and you have not saved them,
Superbase will ask for confirmation and then ask if you wish to save them
before closing down the system and returning you to the Desktop
(Workbench on the Amiga) screen.
Similarly, if you have modified a text file or a program, Superbase will alert
you to the fact and ask if you wish to proceed.
CHAPTER 3
TUTORIAL:
SETTING UP A NEW FILE
Now that you've read about setting up a file and defining fields, let's go
through an example to see how you do it in practice. In this example you are
going to set up a Bank file, which will include names, addresses and bank
deposit details. The tutorial will take about thirty minutes to complete, so
allow yourself enough time.
Briefly, there are four stages to this tutorial:
1. Select New File from the Project menu. Once the New File dialog is
displayed, type in the file name.
2. Type in a password.
3. Enter the field names and details.
4. Specify index fields.
Start by selecting New File from the Project Menu.
New File Name Dialog
Superbase displays the following dialog:
-
Hew file
I
OK
"Cancel'.
You now have to type in a file name. For this tutorial we are going to create
a file called Bank.
Now type in "Bank", and press Return.
Tutorial: Setting up a New File
3-2
Superbase now displays the Password dialog. Type in a single password, so
that you will have all levels of privilege. Keep it simple and easy to remember
as you'll need to enter the password each time you open the file.
Once you've typed in your password click on OK. Superbase then displays
the File Definition dialog:
File definition
Field naMe
Attributes
a External
® Text
a Required
a NUlIleric
a Date I TiMe a Read only
ForMat
a Validated a Calculation a Constant Field
We can now define the fields for the Bank file, which are:
• Number Forename
Lastname
Bank
Account Type
Date
Amount
Interest Rate
Annual Interest
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Tutorial: Setting up a New File
3-3
Number
This is going to be the reference number for each record and will be a
required field. We'll set up this field as a text field because it will contain
both alpha and numeric characters.
The procedure for defining a field is quite simple. First the field name must
be typed into the field box. So click in the Field Box and type in the field
name "Number".
Next, you have to define this field as a text field, so click on the Text button.
Superbase then displays the Text format dialog.
Text forMat
~
~
a Upper case
a Lower case
a Capitalize
ID Responses
I OK C-an-cel!!"""ll
II'""'!I
This dialog enables you to set the length of each Text field and various other
attributes such as the number of responses the field will accept. At the top,
you will see the Field Length box. The default value is 20 characters, which
is the value you can see on your screen. The Number field only needs a length
of 10 characters, so erase the existing figure using the Backspace key, and
then type in 10.
For this example, we'll ignore the other Text format options. Once you've
set the field length click on the OK button to clear the screen and return you
to the File Definition dialog.
Now we have to make the number field a Required field, so that it can't be
left blank by mistake. So click on the Required button. Superbase places a
dot in the middle of this circle to show that this attribute has been selected,
making the Number field a required field.
This field is added to the file by clicking on the ADD button.
Do this now and watch the screen.
3-4
Tutorial: SeHing up a New File
Superbase displays the field name in the File Definition Panel along with its
attributes and field length. Check that these details are correct before
moving on to the next field.
Forename
The next field to enter is Forename, which will also be a text field, but not a
required field.
Move the pointer and click in the field box, then type in Forename. Click on
the Text button to call up the Text Length dialog. You'll see that Superbase
carries over the value from the last time you used the dialog, so you need to
adjust it for this field, which is to be 20 characters long.
When you've done this, click on OK to exit back to the File Definition dialog.
Now you can add this new field by clicking on the ADD button. Once you've
done this if you look at the File Definition Panel you will see that the field
you have entered is shown on the second line.
Lastname, Bank, Account Type
You can create these three fields even more easily than the last two. Enter
the field name, but don't click on the Text button. Click instead on the ADD
button, and you'll see that Superbase adds the field with the value taken from
the last time you used the Text Length dialog: 20 characters. This is only
possible with text fields. Add these three fields now before going on to the
next field.
Date
This is slightly different from the fields you've created so far because we are
going to define it as a Date field. However, you start off the same way. Move
the pointer and click in the field box and type in the field name, which is
Date.
Now you must define the format in which dates are to be displayed. Click on
the Date I Time button. Superbase displays the following dialog:
Tutorial: Setting up a New File
3-5
Date I Tine tornat
'tdi- I Tine I
~ Da, Month Year
a Month Day Year
a Year Month Da,
~
[illD
lID
IMInIM I [!!]
~
am
0DII[][]
I OK II Cancel I
If you look at the dialog you will see the current system date is displayed in
the default format of Day, Month, Year (DD MMM YYYY). In this format
DD is the day, MMM is a three letter month abbreviation and YYYY is the
full year. We will use this format, so click on the OK button.
Finally, add the field to the file by clicking on the ADD button.
Tutorial: Setting
3-6
up a New File
Amount
This field will contain the balance for each record within the Bank file and
therefore we must define it as Numeric. Once again the field name is entered
in the same way as before, by typing the word Amount into the Field Box and
pressing Return. However, this time you must click on Numeric instead of
Date. Superbase will display another dialog which looks like this:
NUMber ForMat
§;3-99999.00
~
As with the Date Format dialog, Superbase will show the default Format.
We will change this to include a currency symbol and a separator for
thousands. Move the pointer and click on the $9 button, then click on the (,)
button.
Once you've done that click on the OK button, and when you're back at the
File Definition dialog click on the ADD button to add this field to the file
definition.
Interest Rate
This field will be set up as a Numeric field, and we will introduce a validation
check to limit the range ofvalues that can be entered. We'll define this range
as being greater than zero and less than 15.
Type in the field name in the usual way, then click on the Numeric button.
Notice that Superbase has carried over the format and the features from the
previous numeric field. This can be very useful when you have to create many
fields with the same format one after another.
For Interest Rate, we will need to change the Number format. First, the
number is not going to need provision for a sign, as it's never going to be less
than zero. So, click on the - sign button to deselect it. Then deselect the $9
and the (,) buttons in the same way - these features are not needed for this
field.
.-~
Tutorial: Setting up a New File
3-7
Next you need to shorten the number format. Click on the down arrow on
the left-hand side of the number format panel. As you do this you will notice
that the number format changes from 99999.00 to 9999.00. Click the arrow
until the number is reduced to 99.00.
Once you've done that click on OK. Now click on the ADD button.
Superbase adds the Interest Rate field to the File Definition Panel.
Next you're going to add a range check to this field. Click on the Interest
Rate field name to res elect it and copy its name into the Field Box. Now
click on the Validation button. Superbase displays the Formula dialog.
Validation forMula for Interest
File: bank
~
orenal1le
0 ~
astnal1le
IT]
ank
ccount type
~ [8
ate
IT]
Mount
Value
nterest Rate
Interest Rate }: 0 AND Interest
rn
rn
m
I
Rate
I AND I 0
[Q[] c::J
INOT I 0
ILIKEI [2]
Rate (: 15
This dialog enables to you to create the validation formula that will be used
by Superbase each time a value is typed into the Interest Rate field. The
formula will ensure that every interest rate is within the permitted range.
The formula you want is:
Interest Rate> = 0 AND Interest Rate < = 15
Do this in stages. Move the pointer into the Field Name Panel and click on
the down arrow to bring the field name Interest Rate into view, and then
click on Interest Rate. Next, click on the > = button. Now you have to enter
oin the Value Box. You do this by moving the pointer into the Value Box
and clicking on the mouse button. This produces the cursor. You can now
type in "0" (omit quotation marks), and press Return. Superbase has copied
your selections into the Main Box, and your Validation Formula should read
like this:
Interest Rate >
=0
Tutorial: Setting
3-8
up a New File
To make a link to the next part of the Formula, you click on the AND button.
Now repeat what you did before: click on Interest Rate, then (slightly
different) on the < = button, and then in the Value Box, where you type
"15", and press Return. Your Formula should look like this:
Interest Rate >
= 0 AND Interest Rate < = 15
If you've made any errors, you have a choice of how to correct them. Either
click in the Main Box and edit the Formula directly, or click on Clear and
repeat the steps above.
Once the formula is correct, click on the OK button, and Superbase will
return to the File Definition dialog. Notice that Validation is now shown as
selected.
Superbase updates the File Definition Panel to show VAL under the
Attributes column, but it does not show the Validation formula; you can use
System Status File to look at it later.
Annual Interest
This is the last field we need to enter for this file, and it's going to be a
Calculation Formula field. This means that Superbase will calculate a result
for the field based on the values of the fields referred to in the formula, in
this case Amount and Interest Rate.
So, click on Clear to remove Interest Rate from the Field Box, and then click
in the box and type in the field name Annual Interest. Click on the Numeric
button. The format needs to be reset from the format used for Interest Rate.
Click on the $9 and (,) buttons to set the currency sign and thousands
separator, and the - button to provide for a minus sign. Then click on the
left-hand up arrow four times to expand the format, which should look like
this: -$999999.00.
When it's right, click on OK to exit back to the File Definition dialog. Don't
click on ADD yet.
Next, click on Calculation. Superbase displays the Calculation Formula
dialog, which works exactly like the Validation Formula dialog you have just
used. Notice that the previous formula is carried over.
What we want Superbase to do is to calculate how much Interest is due for
each balance based on the current Interest Rate, and then display this value
in the Annual Interest field.
Tutorial: Setting up a New File
3-9
So, the formula to calculate the amount of interest is:
Amount * Interest Rate /100
...~
You should be able to do this without detailed guidance. Click on Clear to
empty the Main Box. Now click on the field name Amount, the * button, the
field name Interest Rate, and the / button. Then click in the Value Box and
type in the value "100". Press Return. The Formula should read as above.
Once it's correct you can click on the OK button.
This field is then added to the file in the usual way by clicking on the ADD
button.
That completes the entry of the fields, so now you can click on OK in the
File Definition dialog.
New Indexes
Superbase now clears the dialog from the screen and displays the New Index
dialog.
I
He", index
NUMber
iii
ForenaMe
Lastnaflle
Bank
Account type
Date
~
AMount
III
NUMber
® Norlllal index
a Unique index
OO[]!!E]S This is the last part of the process of setting up a file, which is to specify the
field names you want to use as indexes. If you look at the screen you will see
a list of the field names you have just entered. What we have to do now is to
decide which fields to use as indexes. For the Bank file we want indexes on
Number, Lastname, Bank and Amount.
You can only specify one index at a time. So, move the pointer and click on
Number. As you do this Superbase displays this field name in the box at the
bottom of the list. Also notice that Superbase has highlighted the Normal
3-10
Tutorial: Setting up a New File
Index button, indicating that duplicate index entries may be allowed. Since
the Bank file may have several deposits for each customer, Normal is the
right type for this index. So, click on the OK button.
You can now repeat this exercise for Lastname, Bank and Amount, creating
a Normal index for each one. Notice that each time Superbase re-displays
the New Index dialog, the field name you used to specify the previous index
has been removed.
When you have completed that, don't select anything else from the list, but
click on the OK button. This informs Superbase you have finished making
your selections and it can proceed to save the File Definition and create the
Index Files.
Once the indexes have been built Superbase displays the file in the format
of the current view. The file will be indexed on the first index you specified,
in this case Number, as shown by the message on the title bar at the top of
the window.
Superbase also displays a blank record showing the field names you set up
in the File Definition. You can now begin to enter records into the file. For
further information please see the next section, Using the Record Menu.
That's the end of the tutorial. By now you should be able to create a file of
your own, and we recommend that you do this for practice before moving on
to the next section. Remember to write down the fields that you want, and
to decide what type of fields they are going to be, before you start creating
your file. Good luck!
CHAPTER 4
USING THE RECORD MENU
This section explains how to use the Record Menu. The Record Menu
includes a number of options for maintaining the data in the current
Superbase file, as well as two options for manipulating records in the
External File System. We shall cover all the menu options:
,--.
•
•
•
•
•
Adding a new record to the file.
Editing an existing record.
Making a 'snapshot' copy of a record (Duplicate).
Saving and removing single records.
Manipulating records in the External File System.
This chapter ends with a Twenty Minute Tutorial, which will give you
practical experience of using the Record Menu.
Editing Features
Most of the options on the Record Menu involve typing on the keyboard,
and as the rules for editing Superbase fields are the same in all options we
shall look at them in one place.
The Basic Editing Screen
You can edit and create records from either Form or Record View. If you
select Record New, Edit or Duplicate when Table View is set, Superbase
automatically switches into Form View.
In both Form and Record Views, you can use the scroll bars to bring any part
of the record into view.
In either Form or Record View, you can edit the current record at any time
by moving the mouse into a field and clicking to obtain a cursor.
4-2
Using the Record Menu
All Fields or Open Fields?
The field names that appear may be all the fields or just a few of them. This
depends on whether there is an Open Fields List active. If you only want to
enter data into a few of the fields in the record you should open only those
fields.
If you do use an Open Fields List, Superhase still processes the fields that
do not have data entered into them. If a field fails a validation check because
you've left it empty, Superbase will tell you.
If indexed fields are left blank:, Superbase makes an entry of spaces in the
index. Such records come first in the sequence when that index is used.
Field Selection by Menu Option
If you select Record New in Form View, Superbase automatically positions
the cursor in the first field of the Form, usually at the top left-hand corner.
If you select Record Edit or Duplicate, Superbase automatically positions
the cursor in the first field on the screen.
Ifyou select Record New in Record View, Superbase automatically positions
the cursor in the first field of the Form, at the top of the screen. If you select
Record Edit or Duplicate, Superbase automatically positions the cursor at
the beginning of the first field on the screen.
Field Selection with the Mouse
Use the mouse to move the pointer to the field you want and click once. If
you click inside the field, Superbase produces a cursor at the location of the
click. In Record View, if you click heyond the end of the field, Superbase
moves the cursor just into the editing area; if you click before the start of the
field, Superbase moves the cursor to the start of the field. However, if you
click below any of the fields Superbase assumes you have finished editing
and makes the cursor disappear.
Field Markers
Each field starts one space after the end of the field name zone. In Record
View the end of the field that the cursor is in is marked by a single vertical
bar. In Form View all fields have end of field markers.
Using the Record Menu
4-3
Moving from Field to Field
Several methods are available:
,/
,-----".
• Cursor up or down. In Form View, cursor up or down moves the cur­
sor to the next field above or below the current field (the exact move
depends on the exact position of the cursor in the field and whether
the field names begin in the same column). In Record View, cursor
up or down moves up or down a field respectively.
• Return moves the cursor to the next field. Control-Return moves the
cursor to the previous field (Shift cursor up).
• Move the mouse and click.
Editing Inside a Field
All typing uses automatic insertion, so ifyou want to remove characters you
must first delete them with the Backspace or Del keys which function in the
normal way.
CIRL X clears the field; if you clear a field by mistake, use CIRL U to
restore the field data.
CIRL U also undoes any changes you have made within a field, provided
you have not pressed Return.
The cursor left and cursor right keys move the cursor around in the field.
The Home key (Shift left cursor) moves the cursor to the start of the data in
the field and the End key (Shift right cursor) moves the cursor to the end of
the data in the field.
The Tab key skips the cursor along eight spaces at a time. Shift Tab effects
a reverse Tab movement.
Entering Dates
For a date field, Superbase uses the format specified for the field in the File
Definition as the basis for display. This allows useful short cuts like entering
"6986" and having it displayed as "6 September, 1986". The only requirement
is that you get the Day Month Year order right.
A date in a Validation Formula must conform to the Day Month Year order
in the format for the system date as specified in the Set Date option.
Using the Record Menu
4-4
Entering Times
Times must be entered in the format specified in the File Definition.
Entering Numbers
As with dates, Superbase uses the format specified for a numeric field in the
File Definition as the basis for display. Superbase is very tolerant of spaces
in your editing. You can enter, for example, "2300.5" and have it neatly
redisplayed as " 2,300.50".
Required Fields
If a field has Required status, you must enter some data into it. You can skip
it with Return, but Superbase will catch an empty Required field when you
go to save the record.
Read only Fields
You cannot enter data into a Read Only field. If you attempt to do so,
Superbase will move the cursor on to another field.
Entering Data into Validated Fields
If you have specified a validation check for a field, any data you enter must
pass the check. If it does not, you will see the following message:
Can't do this ...
Lastname
Field does not match validation
01< II Cancel I
If you can't remember what the rules for the field are, click on the Cancel
button on the "Can't do this" dialog. Now select Status File from the System
menu. This will show you the Validation Formula for the field you are
editing. Once you have read the appropriate Validation Formula, select Edit
from the Record menu. Now you can fmish your editing activity.
If you know what the Validation Formula is, then click on the OK button of
the "Can't do this" dialog. This will put you back in the editing mode, and you
can finish off your editing.
Using the Record Menu
4-5
You may want to be able to skip over a field that has a validation check
attached. If so, you must include a zero or null option in the Validation
Formula when you specify it. There are examples of these in the section on
setting up a Validation Formula.
Calculation Fields
Fields that have calculation formulas attached to them will generally be
Read Only Fields. This means they cannot be edited directly. You can only
edit the component fields of a calculation field.
If they are not Read Only, you will be able to enter data in the field but it
will be overwritten when the calculation is performed - unless it is a
self-referencing calculation (see Chapter 2).
When you are entering data to a new record or editing an existing one,
Superbase does not display the results of a calculation formula until you:
•
•
•
Click on the calculated field, or
Cursor through the field, or
Go to save the record
Constant Fields
Fields with constant formulas attached to them cannot be edited directly if
they are Read Only fields. Otherwise, you can edit these fields in the usual
way. Remember that Superbase only works out the result of a constant
formula when the record is first created. Thereafter the formula becomes
inoperative. Any data you enter will therefore overwrite the result of the
formula.
Stop Editing
If you move the pointer outside any of the fields and click the mouse,
Superbase assumes you have finished editing and makes the cursor
disappear.
If you double click the mouse, Superbase assumes you want to save the
record. We discuss this in detail later on.
If you have made any changes to the current record, or added any data to a
new record, Superbase does not let you perform any other action that
involves selecting a record without asking whether you want to go ahead and
save the record first.
Using the Record Menu
4-6
Record New
Each record in a file has the same format, as set out in the File Definition,
consisting of a number offields of different types. If it helps, you can imagine
each record as a card in a card index, or a form in a folder.
Whenyou want to create a new record ('add a card to the box', or 'add a form
to the folder'), you have to follow a simple procedure:
1.
Select New from the Record Menu or press ALT N (Amiga N).
2.
Type data into the fields.
3.
Save the record.
Before you can begin you must have a file open. If necessary, select Open
File from the Project Menu. Then select the New option from the Record
Menu or use the keyboard alternative, ALT N (Amiga N).
Typing in Data
Superbase displays the field names for the current file. The example given
below shows the screen you would get if you were entering a record into the
Address file, which is on your demonstration disk.
Project Record
HI
PrOCU5
Set
SUDerbase:
SYSt4!M
ADDRESS indexed on Nu/llber
SBP
••
:Imm;m
,
::(:::::::X:::::::::'::::::::::::':::::::(::::(::::::': :::::(:::::::::::::::::::::::::;:;:;::(.::::;:::::;:;:;::::::':;:(:::::::::::::::::;:;:::::::(':::::'::::::::::::::;::::::':::':::::::':::'1 • II"
Using the Record Menu
4-7
Once you've decided where to start, you simply enter the data for each field
in turn. If you've set up Validation Formulas, these can ensure that the data
you enter is correct for each field.
If you make mistakes while typing in data, you can correct them using the
Backspace and Delete keys together with the other editing controls
explained above.
Record Save
Once your record is complete, you save it on disk using one of three methods.
The first is by double clicking the mouse, the second is to use the Save option
from the Record Menu, and the third is the key combination, Alt-S (Amiga
S). Double clicking the mouse will produce the Save Record dialog.
Save this record?
D.DB This dialog gives you two options. You can either click on the OK button,
and save the record on the disk. Or you can click on the Cancel button. This
leaves the data on screen, so you can do more editing if you need to.
You may find that the second and third methods of saving a record are
quicker than double clicking the mouse button. Neither method produces
the Save dialog: the record is saved automatically. This means that you can
speed up data entry by keeping your hands on the keyboard.
If one of the file indexes accepts unique entries only, and you try to save a
record which would cause a duplicate entry, Superbase prevents you from
going ahead. If you leave an index field empty, Superbase still gives it a value,
so you can't store more than one empty index field in a unique index.
After a new record has been saved, Superbase displays a blank: record. This
means that straight away you can enter data for another new record without
having to select Record New first.
Using the Record Menu
Batch Data Entry
'Batch data entry' refers to the process of creating a number of new records,
one after the other, as a single 'batch'. The Batch option provides a way of
reducing the time Superbase takes to save a batch of records. You toggle
Batch on and off by selecting it from the Record menu in the normal way.
Before we can describe the Batch option in more detail, we need to explain
how Superbase saves records. The internal procedure for saving a record is
rather more complicated than you might think. It is not just a matter of
copying data to disk from the computer's memory. For every record saved,
Superbase performs a number of operations such as opening and closing the
file, and flushing the disk buffer.
These operations are necessary to guarantee the safety of your data. If you
suffer a power failure or if you turn off the machine accidentally, the most
you will lose will be the record you are working on at the time.
When Batch is on, Superbase dispenses with these safety measures. It only
carries out the full procedure twice; once when you start batch data entry
(when you save the first record) and once when you finish. As a result, the
time taken to save a large number of records is greatly reduced. On the
Amiga, disk operations may be speeded up quite significantly when Batch
has been turned on.
The drawback is that the data you enter will be not properly secured on disk
until you turn Batch off. This last step is particularly important. Whenever
you enter a number of records as a batch, you must complete the operation
by turning Batch off. Superbase will then take all the steps necessary to store
the data safely on disk. If you do not do this you run the risk of losing the
data you have just entered.
In fact, Superbase also makes the record data secure on disk when you Close
the file and when you Quit; but you should still remember to turn Batch off
after saving records.
Note that Batch can also be used to improve the speed of disk operation
when you are editing records or deleting them (with the Remove option).
Caution: Do not remove a disk from the drive when Batch has been turned on.
Using the Record Menu
4-9
Record Edit
This section describes selecting the Record Menu Edit option. Remember
that in Form or Record View you can start editing a record at any time just by
clicking in any field.
You can only edit the current record. So you must first select the record you
wish to edit.
You can do this in one of two ways:
• Direct retrieval with the Key Lookup button.
• Browsing in either Form or Table View, using the Current Record
button to confirm that you have the right record.
Once you have selected a record for editing, select Edit from the Record
Menu.
IfTable View is set, Superbase switches to Form View with Paging on. If you
are already in Record View or Form View, editing takes place in that View.
Superbase positions the cursor in the first field on the screen. You can now
edit the record using the techniques explained earlier.
When you've finished, save the record either with the double click which will
bring up the Save Record dialog, or by selecting the menu option (the
keyboard equivalent for this is Alt S or, on the Amiga, Amiga S) which will
save the record without asking for confirmation.
Record Duplicate
This option allows you to cut down on the time taken to enter records where
some of the data is the same. You make a 'snapshot' of the current record
in memory, edit in any changes you want, and then save it in the normal way.
First select the record you wish to duplicate. Then select Duplicate from the
Record Menu. Superbase informs you that a copy of the record has been
created in memory.
Now edit the record as you wish. When you've finished, save the record with
either the double click or the Record Save menu option.
.~
Note that the Duplicate option re-intializes any constant formulas. This
means you can duplicate a record which contains the constant formula SER
without duplicating its serial number. Similarly, if a file uses the constant
formula TODAY, creating a new record by duplicating an existing record
does not reproduce the original date.
Using the Record Menu
4-10
Record Remove
From time to time you may find that a record is no longer needed. This menu
option discards the current record.
Select the record you want to remove; Then select Remove from the Record
Menu.
Superbase displays the Remove Record dialog.
Remove this record?
I
OK
I ICancel I
As you can see it is very similar to the Save Record dialog. You have two
choices: you can click on the OK button to remove the record, or you can
click on the Cancel button to change your mind.
External > > and External < <
Both> > these menu options are used in conjunction with the Superbase
External File System, and enable you to select pictures or text files
individually, within a single record. For more details, see Chapter 9.
Twenty Minute Tutorial
In this example you will use the Bank file you created earlier to create, edit,
duplicate and remove records.
Select Record View from the Set Menu for this exercise.
Opening a File
Next, open the Bank file that you created in the last tutorial. By now you
should becoming quite used to using the menus, so we won't go into detail.
Select Open File from the Project Menu, then click on Bank.
Once you have opened tbe file, you will be able to see tbe field names down
the left-hand side, witb no data on tbe right-band side. This is because the
file is empty.
Using the Record Menu
4-11
Entering Data
Move the pointer to the menu bar and highlight the Record Menu. This is
the menu you use when you are creating, editing, duplicating or removing
records. The option to use when you are entering a record for the first time
is New, which is the first option on the menu. Select New now.
If you look at the screen, you will see that Superbase is displaying the cursor
in the first field of the record. The end of the field is shown by a vertical bar.
You are now going to enter your first record into a Superbase file. Here is
an example record:
Number:
Forename:
Lastname:
Bank:
Account Type:
Date:
Amount:
Interest Rate:
ROX001 Jane Roxann Harvard-Otterway Deposit 12 Jun 86 1000.00 9.5 Start by entering the Number. When you've typed the example data, press
Return. The cursor moves to the next field. You can then continue and type
in the rest of the data. Remember to make sure you are entering the data
against the correct field. Don't worry about making mistakes, as these can
be corrected as you go along by using the Del or Backspace keys.
::::::'
'.
',::::.'.::: ;':;,'::
Using the Record Menu
4-12
Now you can save the record. Use the simplest and most convenient method
- double click the mouse. This produces the Save dialog. Respond to it by
clicking on the OK button. Superbase saves the record. Alternatively, you
can use the key combination Alt-S (Arniga S). This may be a quicker method
of saving a record if you are entering multiple records, as it means you don't
have to take your hands away from the keyboard.
Done that? Right, let's type in another two records:
Number:
Forename:
Lastname:
Bank:
Account Type:
Date:
Amount:
Interest Rate:
SMIOO! William Smith Allied Irish Gold Plus 30 Jun 84 100.00 9.50 Number:
Forename:
Lastname:
Bank:
Account Type:
Date:
Amount:
Interest Rate:
JONOOI Peter Jones First National Silver 28 Nov 85 4000.00 9.75 You can enter these records in exactly the same way as you did before, but
remember to look at each field as you type in the data, to make sure it's the
right one. Remember also to save the first record before moving on to the
second.
Editing a Record
Supposing you want to change some of the details in William Smith's record.
How do you do it?
First of all you have to select William Smith's record. Use the Control Panel
Next and Previous Record buttons until this record is on the screen.
Move the pointer and select Edit from the Record Menu. Superbase
positions the cursor in the first field of the record.
Look at the record, and find the Date field. You are going to change this
from ''3~ Jun 84" to "01 Jan 83". Use the mouse to move the pointer into the
Date field. Then click the mouse once. This action produces a cursor in the
Using the Record Menu
4-13
field. Now use the Backspace or Del key to remove the date that is already
in this field. Type in "01 Jan 83" and press Return. That's it, you've now edited
the record. Save it by using the key combination Alt-S (Amiga S), or selecting
Save from the Record Menu.
The example you've just worked through is an easy standard procedure for
editing a record. You can also edit records in Form View, and ofcourse there
are many more editing features available to you, which are described at the
beginning of this section on the Record Menu.
Duplicating a Record
If you want to create a new record that has very similar data to another, you
can do so using a convenient shortcut, the Duplicate option. What you're
going to do now is duplicate Jane Roxann's record and create a record for
her sister. So select Jane Roxann's record using the Control Panel buttons.
You should be able to do this without detailed guidance by now!
Now move the pointer onto the Record Menu and select the Duplicate
option. Superbase displays a message to say that the record has been copied
in memory, and you can now edit it.
You only need to change the information in three of the fields, these are
Number, Forename and Amount. If you look at the screen you can see the
cursor is already at the Number field. So use the Backspace or Del key to
delete the number that is already there. Now type in the new number, which
is "ROX002". Once you've done that press Return to move the cursor to the
next field, which is Forename. This time use CTRL X (Amiga X) to delete
the contents. Now type in the new name, which is "Candy". Now press Return
until the cursor reaches the Amount field. Are you there? Right, use CTRL
X again and then type in 5000. Superbase redisplays it as 5,000.00. That
completes the editing for this record so you can now save it in the usual way.
Removing a Record
After you have been using Superbase for a while you may want to remove a
record from your files. The procedure is straightforward, so let's run through
it now. We'll remove Jane Roxann's record from the Bank file. Select Jane
Roxann's record as you did before.
To remove the record you have to select Remove from the Record Menu,
so do this now. Superbase displays the Remove dialog, asking you to confirm
that this is the record you want to discard. Click on the OK button to proceed.
Superbase returns to the Main Display showing the next record in the file.
4-14
Using the Record Menu
That's it, you've now removed the record. If you want to remove groups of
records, you should use the Process Remove option.
That concludes this short tutorial.
CHAPTER 5
USING THE PROCESS MENU
The main database processing functions are contained in the Process Menu.
It provides all the facilities for managing and manipulating your data, ranging
from simple mailing label printing to complex multi-file queries and
updates.
The Filter
..~.
All the Process menu functions make use of filters to determine which
records are to be processed. The Filter concept is described in detail in
Chapter 1 so you should refer to that chapter if you need to refresh your
memory.
Update
The Project menu Update option allows you to make changes to individual
fields in your files. Update provides a multi-file facility, like Query, and you
can use records in one file to determine what happens to fields in another.
Since multi-file options are more complicated and more powerful than
single file options, and since Update can by definition alter the data in your
files, we recommend that you gain a good understanding of the Superbase
system before starting to use the option. Also, you should be sure to make a
backup of your data before updating it. You can do this using the Copy option
provided by the System menu.
The Update Menu Options
There are three Update menu options: Edit, Load and Save. You use Edit
to create a new Update, or to edit an Update which has been loaded from
disk. Load is used to load an update from disk, Save stores an Update on
disk. When you save an Update, Superbase also saves the names of the
database files associated with it. These files will then be opened
automatically when the Update file is next loaded.
5-2
Using the Process Menu
Update Load
When you click on this option, Superbase displays a file dialog showing a list
of the Update files in the current directory.
After you have selected a file, you will be presented with a filter dialog. If
you click on OK, you will then be presented with a fields dialog. Both these
dialogs are explained in the Update Edit section, further on in this chapter.
At this stage, you can stop and edit the current Update. If you want to run
the Update you have loaded, click on OK in both dialogs.
Update Save
Select this option to save the current update. A file dialog will appear
showing the names of the Updates in the current directory. To save the
current Update under an existing name, click on one of the names in the
panel. To save a new Update, or a new version of an existing Update, type
the file name in the Selection Box.
Update Edit
Edit gives you access to the two Update dialogs, Filter and Fields. If there is
already an Update in memory, you can edit the command lines in these
dialogs; or you can use the dialogs to create a new Update.
Starting a New Update
Update can use only the open files, so if you want to alter or refer to a field
in the Update Command Lines you must first make sure the file that contains
the field is open. Use Project Open File to do this.
Close any files you do not want to use in Process Update or Query.
Now highlight the Process Menu and select Edit Update. Superbase displays
the Update filter dialog.
Using the Process Menu
5-3
Update filter
File: ADDRESS
~
Selecting File and Fields
The filter is like the Control Panel filter, except that the File Name Box at
the top of the dialog has an upward pointing arrow at its right end. This arrow
enables you to display the fields from all the open files in turn. Each time
you click on it, the fields from the next open file are displayed in the Field
Name Panel below. If you go on clicking, the list of files cycles back to its
beginning.
Creating the Filter Command Line
This is done in the normal way, by clicking on field names and operators,
and entering values in the Value Box. Superbase copies the results of your
selections into the Main Box below.
You can edit the Main Box, but since this increases the risk of errors, you
should only do this when you have some experience of the system.
The Filter Command Une can contain any combination offield names from
the open files, and can have a maximum length of 512 characters. When you
are updating one file on the basis of the contents ofanother, you must specify
a link between the files:
Cust Number.Customers = Cust Number.lnvoices
This would ensure that the customer file will only be updated with values
from the invoices file when the Cust Number field in a record in the Invoices
file is EQUAL TO the Cust Number field in the Customers file. Of course
in an example like this, you would probably include other conditions in the
Filter Command Une to limit the updating by date or some other factor.
Using the Process Menu
5-4
When you have created the Filter you want, click on OK. Superbase then
displays the Update Fields dialog.
Update fields
File: ADDRESS
~
Calculation
sepal"atol"
The Update Fields Dialog
In this dialog, you specify the precise updating actions you want Superbase
to perform on certain fields. Typical updating requirements might be
•
•
•
Setting a numeric field to zero.
Adding transaction amounts to balances.
Setting a status indicator field to a new value.
Each updating action is defined the same way. An example:
Code
= "Y"
This sets the Code field to the value "Y", irrespective of its previous value.
Another example:
Balance = Balance
+ Amount
Here the Balance field is mentioned twice. This has the effect of adding the
Amount field to the Balance, instead of replacing the old value of Balance
with the new value ofAmount. The third example increases the Amount field
by ten percent:
Amount = Amount'" 1.1
Using the Process Menu
5-5
Creating the Update Fields Command Line
You start by clicking on a field name. Superbase copies it into the Main Box,
and automatically adds an EQUALS sign operator. Next you click on
another field name, or in the Value Box, where you type in the value you
want, remembering to press Return as you finish. The maximum length of
the Command Line is 512 characters.
Using the Colon Separator
Each time you enter an update expression, you must set it off from the
previous one by clicking on the Colon button. This inserts a colon in the
Command Line. If the examples above were all in one line, they would be
separated like this:
=
Code
"V" : Balance
Amount * 1.1
= Balance + Amount: Amount =
Completing the Update Fields Dialog
Click on OK to finish the Command Line and initiate the Update processing.
Caution
In some circumstances the Update option may skip some of the records in
the file it is updating. The problem occurs when the update modifies a field
which also forms part of the Update filter; for example, it would occur if the
Update fields instruction was:
Salary
= Salary * 1.075
and the Update filter was:
Salary>
= £12000
The solution is to enclose the filter statement in parentheses, as in:
(Salary>
= £12000)
Using the Process Menu
5-6
An Update Example
As this example works with the Deposits file supplied on the demonstration
disk, make sure that you are using this as your data disk.
Before you can construct an update on Deposits, you need to open the
Clients file, and then the Deposits file.
The Deposits file shows the details of the bank deposits made by each of the
individuals in the file, using a separate record for each deposit. Along with
the name of the depositor, it gives the bank name, the type of account, the
amount deposited, and various other details such as the interest rate for that
type of account. If you browse through the file, you will notice that some
types of account are used by several different people.
For the purposes of this example, we will assume that the Gloster bank has
decided to increase the interest rate on its Share Account. The old interest
rate was 7.12%, the new rate is 7.5%.
We now need to alter the records for this type of account so that they show
the new interest rate. One way of doing this would be to go through the file
and edit each record by hand. But by using Update, we can carry out the same
task far more efficiently and quickly.
The first step is to click on Update Edit. Now construct a filter line (in the
Update filter dialog) that will select the records which are to be updated. W e
are only interested in records where a deposit has been made in the Gloster
Share Account, so the filter line should be:
.~
Bank = "Gloster" AND Account = "Share Account"
As it happens, the Gloster bank does not provide any other type of account
- at least, not in this file - so the second condition in the filter is not strictly
necessary; the first condition on it own would be sufficient to pick out the
relevant records. But in a real application, a bank might offer a choice of
several types of account, so we will let this line stand as it is.
Once you have entered the filter line, click on OK. The next step is to specify
how the records are to be updated, using the Update fields dialog. In this
case, you only want to change one field, Interest Rate. The line to enter in
the command line for the Update fields dialog is
Interest Rate = 7.5
When you have set up the command line correctly, click on OK. Superbase
will then update Interest Rate in each of the records selected by the filter,
and save the record on disk.
,-.
Using the Process Menu
5-7
You may have noticed that the Annual Interest field in the Deposit file
records is linked to the Interest Rate field by a calculation formula. Before
saving an updated record, Superbase also recalculates Annual Interest using
the new interest rate.
This example can easily be adapted to illustrate a multi-file application. The
details ofbank interest rates could be stored in a separate file, say a file called
"BankRates". If this were the case, you could change the fields command line
so that it extracted the new interest rate from the BankRates file. Assuming
BankRates used the same field names as Deposits, the line to use would be:
Interest Rate.Deposits = Interest Rate.BankRates
You would also need to specify a more complex filter line, such as:
=
Bank.Deposits
Bank.BankRates AND Account.Deposlts
= Account.BankRates AND Bank.Deposits = "Gloster" AND
"Share Account"
Account.Deposits
=
The first part of this line establishes a 'join' between the two files; the second
part is the same as before.
5-8
Using the Process Menu
Query: the Heart of Superbase
Query is the most sophisticated of Superbase's menu options. It allows you
to produce formatted output from one or more files, with a great degree of
control over both the selection and the presentation of record data. Query
is a mUlti-purpose option which has five main areas of application. It is used
for:
1. Creating complex filters. In many applications, you may find that you
need to retrieve the same set of records over and over again; you may
need to check groups of records on a regular basis using the same or
similar selection criteria. If you used the Control Panel filter you would
have to enter the filter conditions in every session. One of the
advantages of using Query is that you can save a Query on disk.
2. Multi-file applications. By setting up a relational link in the Query filter,
you can select data from several files at the same time.
3. Reporting. Query provides a wide range offeatures for creating printed
reports. You can define a title to appear on each page; you can request
totalling, subtotalling, averages, and counts for any field; and you can
sort fields into groups according to different criteria. These features can
also be used as an adjunct to data retrieval - to provide additional
information about the results of a search, such as record counts or field
totals.
4. Sorting. Query output can be sorted into any order. Indexing already
provides one way of sorting a file, but with the Query facility you can
sort records in either ascending or descending order. You can also
specify several levels of sorting, using a different field for each level.
5. Output options. The output from a Query can be directed to one offour
possible destinations: the screen, the printer, an ASCII file on disk, or
a new database file. This last output option lets you create a new
database file which combines the data from a number of existing files.
Using the Process Menu
5-9
The Query Options
There are three Query options on the Project menu, Edit, Load and Save.
Note that these are unavailable until a database file has been opened. Query
Edit and Query Load present the user with the main Query dialog:
Query definition
Title
I Date I• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
In addition, there are four other dialogs attached to the four Query
command lines - Fields, Report, Filter and Order. The next three sections
describe the Project menu Query options, but they do not explain how to use
the Query dialogs. For a full understanding of these and other aspects of the
Query options, you will need to read Chapter 11, Using Query.
To see Query in action, load one of the demonstration Queries and when
the main dialog appears click on OK. Then turn to Chapter 11 for an
explanation of how these demos work and how to create your own Queries.
Edit Query
Selecting Query Edit displays the main Query dialog. If there is already a
Query in memory, you can then edit it; or you can use the dialog to create a
new Query.
There are two ways of editing an existing Query: by clicking in the command
lines and typing directly into them, you can edit the Query without leaving
the main dialog. If you do this, you must press Return after editing a
command line. Alternatively, you can click on the buttons at the left of the
command line (the Fields, Report, Filter and Order buttons) and then edit
the line in the secondary dialogs.
Before defining a new Query, you need to decide which files you want the
Query to work with.
You can quickly check which files are open with System Status System. If
necessary, close any files which are not needed, and open any which are,
using the Open File and Close File options on the Project menu to do this.
5-10
Using the Process Menu
Note that you only need to open files when you create a new Query.
Superbase automatically opens any database files associated with a Query,
when it loads the Query from disk.
You can also output either the open fields for the current file or a set chosen
just for the Query.
If you want to use the currently open fields, you must select the set you want
before you select Query. Use Project Open Fields to do this.
Once you have done this, selecting Edit presents you with the main Query
dialog. Chapter 11 explains how to proceed from there.
Query Load
Select this option to load a Query from disk. A file dialog will appear, with
a list of the Query files on disk, and you can then select a file in the usual
way. Once it has loaded, you will be presented with the main Query dialog.
Click on OK if you want to run the Query and see the results on screen. For
details of the other output options, see Chapter 11.
Query Save
Use this option to store the settings from the current Query dialog.
Superbase displays a file dialog showing the names of the Query files on disk.
If you want to save the Query under a new fIle name, type the name directly
into the Selection Box. To save an edited Query under the same file name,
click on one of the names listed in the panel above the Selection Box.
Along with the Query settings, Superbase stores the details of the database
files that the Query refers to. When you load the Query, Superbase will
automatically open these fIles for you.
Using the Process Menu
5-11
Process Remove
This option discards a set of records or all the records from the current file.
It uses a Filter, allowing you to specify the conditions under which a record
is to be removed.
Single records should be disposed ofwith the Remove option on the Record
menu.
Using Process Remove
Select Remove from the Process Menu. Superbase displays the Remove
Records Filter dialog.
Re~ove
records filter
File: ADDRESS
IQ]
lAND
I
G
[}]~D
INOT I 0
[] IUKEI [ZJ
[8
01<
I I Clear I ICancel I
The dialog is the same as the normal Filter dialog. See Chapter 1, for a
detailed explanation of how Filters work.
Example 1: Removing Selected Records
In this example we'll use the Address file, so make it the current file if you
haven't already done so. Then select Process Remove.
Your objective is to remove from the file all the addresses where the Country
field has the value "England". Click on Country. Superbase copies the field
name into the Main Box. Now click on the LIKE operator. Then click in the
Value Box, and type "England" (omit quotation marks). Press Return. Your
Filter Command Line should read:
country LIKE "England"
Using the Process Menu
5-12
If it doesn't then click on the Clear button to clear the Filter, and start again.
(If you click on Cancel it will have the same effect, but Superbase will assume
you've finished with the Filter and remove the dialog from the screen). When
you've got the Filter Command line right, click on OK.
Superbase now checks the Filter Command line to see whether there are
any errors in it. If you've entered the example correctly there shouldn't be
any.
Next comes a confirmation dialog, as Superbase does not allow records to
be removed with a single action. Click on OK to go ahead, Cancel to abandon
the action.
Provided you click on OK, Superbase processes the file using the Filter.
Superbase automatically removes all the records that match the Filter. The
Filter Command line is then cleared out, and Superbase returns to the Main
Display.
Example 2: Removing All Records
We'll explain how to do this, but don't actually go through the steps yourself
unless you're sure you want to discard all the records in the current file.
1.
Select Process Remove.
2.
When the Remove Records Filter appears, click on OK.
3.
When the Confirmation dialog appears, click on OK.
Superbase will remove all the records in the file by initializing the file.
Using the Process Menu
5-13
Process Import
This function creates new records in a Superbase database file by reading in
data from an ASCII disk file. If your spreadsheet, communications package,
or other application is capable of producing an ASCII file on disk, then that
file can be loaded into Superbase to give you all the management advantages
of the database. Likewise, an ASCII file produced by exporting from one
Superbase file can be imported into another Superbase file.
In Import and Export operations, the items of data (fields) in the ASCII file
are separated by special characters, so that Superbase can tell where each
one ends. Likewise, each record is also followed by special separator
characters. The default settings for the field and record separators are
respectively the comma and the carriage return. However, if the file to be
imported uses other characters, you can instruct Superbase to use them
through the Set Options dialog.
You cannot use Import to move data directly from one Superbase file into
another. If you want to do this, use the Query function to output data into a
new file.
Import uses a Filter to determine which records in the ASCII file will be
accepted into the Superbase file. You can import data into a limited set of
fields in each record if you open the required set of fields before you do the
import.
Note: You do not need to use the Import option with files from dBase II and
dBase III. Superbase automatically converts dBase files to its own format.
For more details, see dBase Compatibility, Chapter 2.
Using Process Import
Select Import from the Process Menu. Superbase displays the Import Filter.
The dialog is the same as the normal Filter dialog. See Chapter 1, for a
detailed explanation of how Filters work.
Build up your Filter Command Line in the normal way. When you click on
OK, Superbase displays the Import File Name dialog. Enter the name of the
ASCII file from which the data is to be imported.
Using the Process Menu
5-14
IAport filter
File: BANK
Even though the Filter operates in the same way for Import as for the other
Filters, there are a few important extra considerations:
• The file into which the data is to be imported is always the current
file.
• The fields into which data is to be imported must be of the correct
type: a numeric field for numbers, a date field for dates, etc.
• If you are importing into just the set of open fields, Superbase will
create records with the other fields left blank. Index entries for such
fields will be made, but they too will be blank.
• Superbase will signal an error if Import tries to store a blank field
that has Required status. Remove such status temporarily with Pro­
ject Edit.
• Validation checks will be made on all fields in records created by Im­
port, whether they are being imported into or not. Again, you may
need to temporarily remove Validations using Project Edit.
5-15
Using the Process Menu
Process Export
The function creates an ASCII file on disk as a copy of the data from selected
records and fields in a Superbase file.
You may have an application that can accept ASCII files. Word processor
mailing packages, spreadsheets, and communications packages often can.
Also, an ASCII file can be imported into another Superbase file.
You can set up your own field and record separator characters in the Set
Options dialog, and specify whether quotation marks should be placed
around the exported fields (this is necessary ifthe data contains the character
used as a field separator; for example, addresses, dates or numbers may
contain commas).
You cannot use Export to move data directly from one Superbase file into
another. If you want to do this, use the Query function. Export can only
process a single file, so if you need to Export data from more than one file,
you should use Query first to combine the data into one new file.
Export uses a Filter to determine which records from the Superbase file will
be copied to the ASCII file.
Using Process Export
Select Export from the Process Menu. Superbase displays the Export Filter.
Export filter File: ADDRESS I::] B2J
II] II]
IB [8
[I] IT]
Value
OK
lAND
I G
00 0 INOT I 0
ILIKEI
[I]
Using the Process Menu
5-16
Build up your Filter Command Line in the normal way. When you click on
OK, Superbase displays the Export File Name dialog. Enter the name you
want to give to the ASCII disk file. We suggest that you adopt a convention
for naming Export Files, such as ending each name with the extension' .exp'.
Superbase then processes the database file, checking each record to see
whether it matches the conditions set up in the Filter. If it does, Superbase
creates a copy of the data in the currently open fields and adds it to the
Export File.
I
I
I
I
I
Process Print
The Print option provides a quick and easy way of obtaining a printout from
the current file.
The function outputs the currently open fields in the column format set for
Table View. It uses a standard Filter.
N ate: If you are using Superbase with DOS-Plus make sure that your printer
is connected and is on-line before you commence any printing.
Using Process Print
Select Print from the Process Menu. Superbase displays the Print Filter.
Print filter File: ADDRESS OK
I I Clear I ICancel I
The dialog is the same as the normal Filter dialog. See Chapter 1 for a
detailed explanation of how Filters work.
I
I
I
I
I
Using the Process Menu
5-17
Build up your Filter Command tine and click on OK. Superbase prints out
the records that match the Filter. Certain print formatting conventions are
observed:
• The field names appear as column headings, separated from the first
line of data by a blank line, on each page.
Process Mail Merge
Using Mail Merge, you can generate a large number of personalized letters
from a single Text editor document. Each letter will be based on the same
'form' letter which you have created in the Text Editor, but the names and
addresses will be inserted from a Superbase file which holds a mailing list.
Prerequisites
Two things are required before you can print out letters with Mail Merge.
First, you need to create the form letter which will be merged with these
names and addresses. Second, you need a file containing the names and
addresses of all the people who are to receive a letter the targets of your
mailing.
Creating a Form Letter
You create a form letter using the Superbase Text Editor. In appearance, it
will be like any other letter except instead of actual names and addresses it
will contain field names. The procedure is as follows:
1. Open the Text Editor window.
2. Open the Superbase file containing names and addresses.
Alternatively, ifyou prefer to use the Text Editor over the whole screen,
make a note of the field names in the Superbase file. Then click on the
full screen gadget at the top of the Text Editor window (on the Amiga,
resize the window).
3. Type the field names which refer to the individual parts of the name
and address into the Text Editor document. The field names should be
positioned on the page at the points where the name and address will
appear. Place the & character at the beginning and end of each field
name. This character acts as a delimiter. It tells Superbase that the word
it encloses is a field name, not text to be printed.
4. Type the rest of the letter, the part that will remain the same for
everybody in the mailshot.
5. Save the letter as a Text Editor document.
Using the Process Menu
5-18
Steps Three and Four can in fact be performed in reverse order. If you wish,
you can write the letter and insert the field names later, or as you go along.
The first part of the letter might look like this:
SStl"eetS
&City&
&Post CodeS July 26th 1988 Precision Software
6 Park Terrace
Worcester Park
Surrey KT4 7JZ
li~ted
Dear &Title& &lastnaMe&, Ma~ we reMind you to co~lete your User Registration Card ano return it to Precision SoFtware at the above address.
As a registered user, you will be eligible for free
soFtware support. In this example, we have used Precision Software's address for the letter
heading. You would enter your own address here, or, if you were using paper
with the letter heading already printed, you would leave a blank. When you
run Mail Merge, the letter heading and the rest of the text will remain as they
are but the field names will be replaced by the contents of the fields.
I
I
Superbase also lets you insert the system date or the system time in a
document. So instead of:
July 26th 1987
you could enter:
I
I
I
&Today&
Setting the Print Style
The contents of a field can be printed in any of the Text Editor's style options
bold, italic or underlined. To do this, set the print style for the field name
and its delimiters (the ampersand characters enclosing the name). Select the
style you want from the Style menu, then type in the field name and its
delimiters. For instance:
I
I
I
I
I
Using the Process Menu
5-19
Dear &Title& &Lastname&
would produce a letter to a Mr Smith that started like this:
Dear Mr Smith
Fixed Length
You may want to layout a form letter in such a way that the contents of a
field always start in the same column on the page. Normally, if a letter has
two fields on the same line, the second field may be printed in a different
position in each letter, depending on the contents of the first field.
The fixed length option lets you set the length of the first field. By doing this,
you can ensure that the contents of the second field are always printed at the
same position. If the contents of the first field are shorter than the specified
length, Superbase inserts spaces (if they are longer, it truncates them).
You set a fixed length for a field by typing minus signs between the end of
the field name and the second ampersand. The length is specified by the
number of characters from the first ampersand to the second ampersand.
For example:
&Firstname----& &Lastname&
The fixed length for the Firstname field is 15 characters. If the contents of
this field are printed at column 1, the last name will always be printed at
column 17, no matter how long or short the first name is.
Other Mail Merge applications
Mail Merge does not restrict you to names and addresses. This is simply the
most common mail merge application. Any field name may be used and it
may be placed anywhere in a document. You could create a form letter which
said:
We would like to remind you that payment on the invoice
dated &Date&, for the sum of &Amount&, is now 60 days
overdue.
In this case, though, the fields Amount and Date would have to be present
in the same file as the name and address fields. It is possible to use field
names from more than one file, provided the file name is given as well as the
field name. However, when the letters are printed, Superbase will only select
records from the current file. The current record in another file will stay the
same and a field from this file will print the same data in each letter.
Using the Process Menu
5-20
Nonetheless, there are some circumstances in which Mail Merge's multi-file
capability can be useful. Suppose your company was sending out letters in
batches, where each batch included all the customers in a particular area. By
using the file Dealers you could give each customer information about the
dealer in their area. The form letter would include the line:
The dealer for your area Is &Name.Dealers&,
&Address.Dealers&
To do this, you would need to select the required record from the Dealers
file before printing each batch of letters.
Fields may also be repeated in a letter. A typical application for this feature
would be to emphasise a point by repeating the subject's name. For example,
in advertising a product:
Yes, &Title& &Lastname&, a brand new, totally automatic
cocktail mixer can be yours for only £8.50 a week.
Running Mail Merge
The procedure for printing letters using Mail Merge is as follows:
1. Switch on the printer.
2. Open the database file containing the data which is to be inserted in the
form letter.
3. Select Text from the Project menu and then open the text file containing
the form letter.
4. Return to the database by clicking in the database window.
5. Select Mail Merge from the Process menu.
6. You will be presented with a filter dialog. Set the filter conditions for
the current database file. (This is explained in more detail in the next
section.)
7. When you click on OK, another dialog will appear:
Output to printer?
DD~
8.
Click on OK again to start the Mail Merge operation.
Using the Process Menu
5-21
The third step in this procedure is, in fact, optional. If you have not already
opened a text file, you will be presented with an Open File dialog when you
click on OK in the filter dialog.
Mail Merge takes data from the records specified by the filter. It starts with
the first record in the current index sequence. It replaces the field names in
the form letter with the data from the corresponding fields in the record. It
prints the letter and then fetches the next record. This process is repeated
one letter for each record until the last record has been merged with the
form letter.
Setting the Mail Merge filter
You can use the Mail Merge filter to specify which records are to be used.
If you leave the filter line blank, Mail Merge will print a letter for each record
in the file.
Mail Merge presents you with the standard filter dialog, and you build up
your filter command line in the usual way. Here are some examples of a Mail
Merge filter line:
Date> "25 July 1986" AND Date < "25 August 1987"
This line selects all the records where the date field falls between these two
dates. If you were a club secretary, you might use a filter like this to send
letters to people who had not paid their subscription fee.
Lastname LIKE "S*"
This filter instructs Mail Merge to print letters for all the people in the file
whose names begin with S.
Previewing Mail Merge
Mail Merge allows you to preview letters on screen before committing them
to print. This enables you to see what the letters will look like when the
names and addresses have been inserted in them.
The Preview option is selected at the stage when the Output to Print dialog
appears. Clicking on Cancel instead of OK causes Mail Merge to output
letters to the screen.
Preview displays each letter in turn, from the first letter onwards. If you set
Paging on, it will pause between letters.
Click on the Pause button or press the Space Bar when you want to move on
to the next letter.
Using the Process Menu
5-22
Click on the Stop button or press CIRL C to bring the process to a halt.
Otherwise, Mail Merge will preview all the letters that have been selected
by the filter. If you intend to print a large number of letters, previewing all
of them may take some time.
Notice that letters are reformatted after the record data has been inserted.
This means that the contents of a field may move the text which is on the
right onto to the next line. As a result, text on the last line of the page will be
moved to the start of the next page.
Process Labels
You can print mailing labels up to four across using this option. You can
control the dimensions of the label, as well as the number of fields per line.
Labels uses a standard Filter. Only the open fields from the current file are
printed on labels.
Using Process Labels
Select Labels from the Process Menu. Superbase displays the Labels Filter
dialog. The dialog is the same as the normal Filter dialog.
labels filter
File: ADDRESS
When you click on OK. Superbase displays a dialog to specify the shape and
content of the labels to be printed.
5-23
Using the Process Menu
label definition
Fields per line
line 1
line 2
line 3
line 4
line 5
line 6
line 7
line 8
line 9
line 10
Test
I
0
0
0
0
0
I!I
iii
iii
iii
iii
I
label diAensions
0
1m
D
II
0
f:I
First label Aargin
label text width
Second label nargin
First line next label
Copies per label
labels per line
~ Increase
[Y] Decrease
1Single I
I OK
IICancel I
The dialog has three parts. On the left is a panel in which you specify the
number of fields per line on the label. To the right are a number of boxes
for input of dimensions and other parameters. Below are some extra control
buttons in addition to the usual OK and Cancel.
Fields Per Line
Superbase uses the Open Fields List if there is one to determine which fields
are to be printed in which order. The number of fields per line varies from
one to four, and you can have up to ten lines of data per label. You select
the number of fields like this:
1. Click on one of the boxes in the left hand panel. This represents one of
the ten possible lines of the label.
2. Click on the up arrow gadget to increase the number in the panel, or
the down arrow to decrease it.
If you don't want any fields to appear on a specific line, set it for zero fields.
If Super base finds a blank field in a record, it compensates by closing up the
label lines.
Using the Process Menu
5-24
A typical Open Fields
List is this:
The actual label format
is this:
Title
Firstname
Surname
Address
City
State
Code
Title, Firstname, Surname
Address
City
State, Code
You should arrange the Fields Per Line panel like this:
3
1
1
2
o
o
o
o
o
o
Superbase automatically inserts a space between fields when there are
mUltiple fields on a line.
Label Format I Save Format
To alter any of the settings, click in the box to select it, and then click on the
up or down arrows as required. After defining a new label format, you can
save it as a default setting in the parameters file. To do this select Options
from the Set Menu, then click on OK.
First Label Margin
This controls the first printing position for the left-hand column of labels.
You may have to increase the Second Label Margin before increasing the
First Label Margin to ensure that you leave enough room for the label itself.
Using the Process Menu
5-25
Label Text Width
This measures the overall width of the label in characters. Superbase won't
let you make it overlap the Second Label Margin.
Second Label Margin
This controls the first printing position for the second column of labels.
Superbase won't let you decrease it to overlap with the first label.
First Line, Next Label
This sets the interval between labels, by specifying the line on which the first
field of the second row of labels is to appear.
Labels Per Line
This enables you to vary the number of labels you want to print on each line.
This can vary between one and four.
Copies Per Label
You may specify up to 99 copies of each label.
Test Button
The label format can be tricky to get right, especially if you're using a
non-standard size. We have provided a special test function to help you avoid
frustrating errors in the actual print run.
When you've set up the label format and fields, align the labels on the
printer. Now click on Test.
Superbase prints two rows of labels, using the "X" character to show exactly
where the fields will print (it doesn't separate multiple fields on a line).
You can alter the format values and repeat the test as often as you wish.
Using the Process Menu
5-26
Single
This is a convenience feature. To save you effort, Superbase allows you to
print a 'one-off' label or envelope from the current record.
1.
Select the record you want as the current record.
2.
Select Process Labels, and click on OK.
3.
On the Label Definition dialog, click on Single.
Superbase prints the open fields from the current record according to the
settings on the Label definition dialog. You may need to reset the First Label
Margin to get a correct result on an envelope.
CHAPTER 6
TUTORIAL:
THE PROCESS MENU OPTIONS
This exercise takes thirty minutes to complete and takes you through all the
single file processing options on the Process Menu except Mail Merge (it
does not cover the two multi-file options, Update and Query). The objective
is to make you familiar with the way these core processing functions work,
so that you can start to see how you can apply them to your own database.
First, you will create a new file, so that you can Import data into it. Then you
will Export data from the Address file (which is supplied on your disk) into
a temporary file. Next, you Import this data into the file you have created.
Then you can Print some of the imported records and Labels for them. And
finally, you will remove all the records from the new file.
Creating a New File
This file will be used to import records later on in the tutorial. The process
of setting up a file is pretty easy, and you should have had some practice by
now. So we'll skip the details - if you need to refresh your memory you can
check the Thirty Minute Tutorial in Chapter 3.
The name of the new file is New-Adds. Select New File from the Project
menu and type in this name. The Password dialog will then appear. Enter a
password if you want, but keep it simple as you'll have to use it the next time
you open the File. If you don't want to enter a password, click on Cancel.
When the File Definition dialog appears, add the following fields, all of text
type:
Create the Title field by typing its name in the Field Box, then clicking on
the Text button to check that its length will be 20. After exiting from the
Field Length dialog, click on the Add button to add Title to the File
Definition Panel.
Tutorial: The Process Menu Options
6-2
Create the other fields by simply typing in the field name and clicking on
Add. Reselect Street and click on Text so you can increase its length to 30.
When the fields are correct, click on OK to finish the definition process.
Index the new file on Lastname and City. Save the File Definition. Later you
will import data into this file.
Opening the Address File
Now you must open the Address file, which is to be the source for the data
to be exported. Select Open File from the Project menu, and click on
Address, then on OK.
Export from the Address File
You are going to create a disk file that contains a copy of some of the data
in the Address file. You'll use a Filter to specify which records are to be
exported.
The other choice you can make in Export is which fields to export. Superbase
will use an Open Fields List if there is one, so you must select the Open Fields
option from the Project menu. Do this now. Select the following fields:
Title
Lastname
Street
City
Code
Click on OK. Notice that you have only opened some of the fields in the
Address file, and that these do not correspond exactly to the fields in the
New-Adds file. This is intentional, as we want to illustrate the ability to use
an Open Fields Ust for Import as well as for Export.
Exporting Data from Address
Select Export from the Process Menu. Superbase displays the Export Filter
dialog. Click on Lastname, then on UKE, and then click in the Value Box.
Type in this: ''[A-G]*'' (omit quotation marks). Press Return. The Filter
Command Une in the Main Box should read:
Lastname LIKE n[A_G]*n
Click on Clear if it's wrong, and repeat the actions described above.
Tutorial: The Process Menu Options
6-3
This Filter means Superbase will only Export those records whose Lastname
begins with the letters A. B, C, D, E, F or G, irrespective of how many
characters are in the field.
Naming the Export File
Once you've created this Filter, click on the OK button. Superbase requests
a name for the Export rue. Type in "Add.exp". Click on the OK button.
Superbase will now select the records from the Address file, and Export
them into the Add.exp rue .
.~
If Superbase displays a dialog telling you that the "Add.exp" already exists,
perhaps from a previous run through this exercise, you can either click on
OK to overwrite this file with the new one, or click on Cancel, to abandon
the Export.
Viewing the Contents of Add.exp
The next step is to look at the contents of the Add.exp rue to see what an
Export File looks like. Select Ust from the System Menu. Superbase shows
a dialog with a list of rue names.
The name of the temporary rue will be towards the beginning of this list, so
click on the downward facing arrow - if you have to - until the name Add.exp
appears. Once it appears move the pointer into the box and click on the name
to select this file. Click on OK.
Superbase now displays the contents of the file, and you will see that the data
is ordered into Title, Lastname, Street, City and Code. The fields are
separated with commas. The Lastnames are in the range A-G. This confirms
that the Export has worked as planned. If it hasn't, go back and repeat the
procedure. You should also check the Set Options dialog and ensure that
the Import/Export separators have been set correctly. For Gem versions of
Superbase, the Field separator value is 44, and the Record separator values
are 13 and 10; on the Amiga, the Field separator value is 44, and the Record
separator value is 10.
Tutorial: The Process Menu Options
Importing Add.exp into the New-Adds File
Before you can Import you must open the file that is to receive the new
records. Open the New-Adds file from Project Open File.
Now you must ensure that only the correct fields have been opened. Select
Project Open Fields, and open these fields: Title, Lastname, Street, City and
Code. Make sure you've opened them in the right order. Click on OK.
Next, select Import from the Process Menu.
Setting up an Import Filter
Although you exported all the records where the Lastname began with a
letter from A to G, you are only going to import a selection of them. When
you see the Import Filter, if the Main Box already has a Filter Command
Line in it, click on Clear to remove the line. Then click on Lastname, then
on LIKE, then in the Value Box. Type in: [A-D] *fl. Press Return. Your Filter
command Line should read:
!I
Lastname LIKE "[A_D]*"
This means we want Superbase to accept only those records where the
Lastname starts with A, B, C,or D. It will reject any record in Add.exp where
the Lastname begins with E, For G.
Once you've entered this Filter correctly, click on OK.
Superbase displays the Import File Name dialog, into which you type
"Add.exp". Then click on the OK button.
Superbase now imports the records that match the Filter into your New-Adds
file.
Checking the Contents of New-Adds
Now you can view the contents of New-Adds with the Control Panel buttons.
Click on the First Record button. Then Click on Fast Forward, and the
records will be displayed. All the data items from Add.exp should have been
placed in their correct fields. In Table View, the records should look like
this:
'---'..
6-5
Tutorial: The Process Menu Options
~
Project Record Process Set SysteM
I
Superbase: NEW-ADDS indexed on lastnaJlle
arnaula
Broonen
Buchanan
Cellers
Dahlen
Dale
Duplex
r
r
r
s
r
s
.du -"tune
83 Digue du Canal
306 Klrkbridge Street
16 Hi~h Street
2254 olorado Blvd
1105 ColeJllan Avenue
6 Rue des Uosages
~~ ~venue
SBP
•
.).
f arlS
Brussels
~~
Auckland
FreJllantle
los Angeles
San Jose
MarckolshieM
lolA
CA
CA
67
,
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::1.
I"
Printing Records from New-Adds
Now you're going to use the Process Print option to obtain a printout of the
some of the records in New-Adds.
Before you do this, you should drag the open fields of New-Adds closer
together to fit them all onto the page, if you've not already done so. Move
Lastname right up to Title, and then move Code closer to City.
The screen should look like this:
~I
Project Record Process Set SysteM
Superbase: NEW-ADDS indexed on LastnaM"e
"
r
r
r
s
r
s
Drnaula
Broonen
Buchanan
Cellers
Dahlen
Dale
Duplex
"
H avenue.au.Mune
83 Digue du Canal
306 Klrkbridge Street
16 Hi~h Street
2254 olorado Blvd
1105 ColeMan Avenue
6 Rue des Uosages
~arls
Brussels
Auckland
FreMantle
los Angeles
San Jose
MarckolshieM
SBP
..
"
&~m9
•
).
lolA 6169
CA 90941
CA m9S
67390
,
~
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::1 •
I"
Tutorial: The Process Menu Options
Setting Up a Print Filter
Select Process Print. The previous Filter Command Line should be in the
Main Box. If it isn't, repeat your previous selections to obtain it. Now you
can do some direct editing. Click in the Main Box. and then carefully edit
the last part of the Line, using the Backspace key to delete the "0", and typing
a "C" in its place. The Line should look like this:
Lastname LIKE n[A-C)*"
Don't forget the final quotation mark. You have narrowed the Filter down,
so the only records to be printed will be those where the Lastname begins
with A, B, or C.
Once you've entered this Filter correctly, click on OK. If you made a mistake
in editing the Filter Command Line, Superbase will give you a chance to
correct it. If you want, click on Clear, then build up the line from the
beginning as you did for the other dialogs.
Superbase now prints the records that match the Filter in a Table format that
corresponds to the column positions you set up earlier.
Labels
The next part of this tutorial involves printing some labels from New-Adds
using the Label Filter and the Label Definition dialog. Ordinary paper is fine
for allowing you to see the way the label output is formatted. If you have
some mailing label stationery, you can set it up in the printer, but the
instructions below may not be quite right for your size of label.
Selecting Labels from the Process Menu
Move the pointer to the menu bar and highlight the Process menu, select
Labels. You can use the same Filter Command Line as you did for Print, so
when the Labels Filter appears, just click on OK.
Tutorial: The Process Menu Options
6-7
Label Definition Dialog
Once you've done that, Superbase shows the Label Definition dialog. Set up
the Fields Per Line panel to show these values in the first four lines:
2
1
1
1
The rest can be set to zero. You set a value by clicking on the box you want
to change, and then on the up or down arrow to increase or decrease the
value in the box.
Now click on the Labels Per Line box, and set it to "2". Leave the other
settings as they are. Your dialog should look like this:
Label de~inition
Fields per line
line 1 HI
line 2 U
Line 3 U
Line 4 U
Line 5 I!I
line 6 I!I
line 7 I!I
line 8 I!I
line 9 I!I
Line 10 I!I
Test Single
'-~.
I
II
Label diMensions
First label ~argin
label text width
U Second label Margin
U First line next label
U Copies per label
HI . labels per line
~ Increase
~ Decrease
U
U
I
OK
II Cancel I
Before printing the labels, do a label alignment test. Click on the Test button.
You'll see two rows of labels, two columns each, appear on the printer.
When you're all set, click on the OK button. Superbase prints labels for the
records that match the Labels Filter, then returns to the Main Display.
If the output is not as expected, check that the right fields have been opened
in the right order and that the margins are set correctly. Remember that the
Test option is there so you can experiment freely.
Tutorial: The Process Menu Options
Removing records from the New-Adds File
The final exercise in the tutorial is removing records from the New-Adds
file. Select Remove from the Process menu. You are going to remove all the
records from the file, so when you see the Remove Records filter, click on
Clear to clear out the Main Box, and then click on OK
Superbase displays a dialog to ask for confirmation that you do indeed want
to remove records from the file.
This action reMoves data frOM the file.
Do you want to proceed?
Ieancd
rn
I
If you're sure you want to delete the records from New-Adds, click on OK
Superbase now removes all the records from the file.
If you use the Control Panel buttons after the processing has ended, you will
see that Superbase cannot find any data to display, as the End ofFile message
implies.
The tutorial is now complete, and you should open another file if you want
to continue the session.
CHAPTER 7
USING THE SET MENU The options on this menu affect the way Superbase works. Most are very
simple to understand and use.
Check Marks
Where one of a group of menu items, such as Screen and Printer, has a check
mark against it to indicate that it's currently selected, you can switch the
check mark to another item quite easily. From the Set Menu, select the menu
item that does not have the check mark against it. This action removes the
check mark from the other menu item and places it against the selected item.
You can now check that this is so by re-selecting the Set Menu.
Note: Depending on the computer you are using, the check mark will either
be a tick or a triangle.
Output Device
Screen
This is the default output device for Superbase. All output appears on the
screen unless you switch to the printer.
On Gem versions of Superbase, you can do a screen dump of a Superbase
screen using the Desktop accessories Snapshot and Output. Snapshot makes
a copy of the screen on disk, Output dumps it to the printer.
Arniga owners can use the Screen Dump option on the System menu.
Printer
,-" This option permits you to make a printed copy of output which would
normally appear on the screen (see Hard Copy Documentation, Chapter 8).
Make sure that your printer is connected and is on-line before you
commence printing.
To print the current record, select Printer, then click on the current record
button. Superbase will print the field names and field data as they are
positioned on screen.
When you have finished printing, select the Screen option in order to turn
Printer off.
7-2
Using the Set Menu
Views
There are three different ways of displaying records: Table View, Form
View, and Record View. Only one view mode can be selected at a time and
the current View is automatically switched off when you select one of the
other two options.
Table View
Table View is used to display or print records in columns. While you are
using Table View to browse through your records the field names appear at
the top of the screen, with the data for each field below the name. If the
Printer is in use, you will receive a printout of the screen, with the field names
printed as if at the top of each screen.
While Table View is selected, you can move the columns of data right or left
by clicking and holding down the mouse button in the column you want to
move, then dragging the column to its new position. There are some rules
governing what you can and cannot do:
• You cannot move the left-hand column.
• All columns to the right of the selected colunm move with it.
• After moving a column to the right, you may have to redisplay the data if a column has been truncated. • The current settings remain even if you open a different set of fields for the file. • If you have dragged columns to compress the display, you can restore
the true length of a column by double clicking in it.
Form View
Form View allows you to design your own screens for entering and displaying
record data.
The first time you select Form View for a new file, the field names are
displayed down the left hand side of the screen, with the data for the current
record, if there is one, to the right, one field per line.
You can rearrange the screen. You do this by clicking on a field name, and,
while keeping the button depressed, dragging the field to its new position on
the screen. There are a number of rules:
Using the Set Menu
7-3
• The worksheet on which the fields can be positioned is 273 columns
wide.
• The number of lines available is determined by the number of fields in the file definition. • Fields which are not open are not shown.
• Paging is automatically switched on. This allows you to scroll the win­
dow in both axes.
• You cannot overlap field names or data areas.
You must save the File Definition with Project Save File in order to store
the current Form View.
Record View
Record View is also used to display records on the screen. However, this
time the field names appear down the lefthand side of the screen,
right-aligned to a fixed point.
The data from the open fields for each record is shown in a block. If Paging
is off, the record blocks will scroll up or down the screen when you use the
Control Panel buttons.
7-4
Using the Set Menu
Paging
While you are viewing the records within a file you may only want to see just
one 'page' at a time. The effects vary depending which of the three Views
described above is switched on. You toggle Paging on and off by selecting it
from the menu in the normal way.
Paging in Table View
When Paging is on, Superbase displays a screen of record data, one record
per line, until the screen is full. It then selects the Pause button and waits.
Click on Pause to see the next screen of data, or another record selection
button to perform another action.
When Paging is off, Superbase continues until it reaches the end of the file
or you interrupt it by clicking on Pause or Stop.
Paging in Record View
When Paging is on, Superbase displays one record at a time on a screen by
itself. When paging is off, Superbase displays the records one after the other
on the same screen. Fast Forward or Rewind scroUs through the records until
Superbase reaches the end of the file or you interrupt with pause or Stop. (If
a record is longer than the screen then on single record selections such as
Next Record Superbase scrolls to the last field and stops.)
Paging in Form View is always switched on.
The Paging function does not affect the printer.
7-5
Using the Set Menu
Options
Some functions that are carried out by Superbase can be changed to suit your
individual preferences. The range of items you can change are shown in the
two Options dialogs. The first dialog is presented when you select Options
from the Set Menu:
Systelll options
I
Display speed
o Auto calculation
o Selective calculation II
Calculation count IlIIport I Export
9 Field separator
ill
0
Record separator
Use quotation lIIarks
mil
0
I
Bu Her count
External file query
More
OK
I
I
IICancel I
When you click on the More button at the bottom left-hand comer of the
first dialog, Superbase displays the second Options dialog:
Start directory path
\sbase\jbar
ParaMeter file path
Telllporary file path
1$9,999.001... IDecilllal point fO/"lllat
1..-1 £ 1...1Currency sylllbol
"'-""'O"""K---.
I Cancel I
Amiga owners will notice that the second Options dialog looks slightly
different on their machine: below the Currency symbol, there are three extra
items, a box for entering a Printer Initialization Sequence, and two selection
buttons for Print Raw and Custom Screen. These features are described in
a later section in this chapter.
Using the Set Menu
7-6
Whenever you click on OK in either of these dialogs, Superbase stores your
preferences in a file called 'sb.par' (on the Amiga it is called 'Superbase.par').
This file contains a set of parameters which are used in various Superbase
functions. The next time you run Superbase, it will set the preferences you
have specified in the '.par' file. In effect, this allows you to personalize
Superbase so that it is always set up in a way best suited to your requirements.
The '.par' file can be viewed with System List, and contains the following
parameters:
Currency symbol Currency separators Decimal point format Default number format Default date format Superbase system Date Import/export field separators Import/export record separators Import/export quotation marks Printer defaults (Gem only) Printer initialization sequence Start directory Parameters directory Temporary file directory Labels format Buffer count Auto calculation/selective calculation Calculation count Some of the parameters in this list are not set in the Options dialog. Thus,
the Labels format is defined with the Process Labels options, but it is stored
with the parameters file. Similarly, the default number and date formats are
set using their respective Set menu options.
Direct editing of this file is possible and does allow you to specify your own
currency symbol ofup to four characters. However, an invalid parameter file
will cause Superbase to shut down on start up.
Using the Set Menu
7-7
Display Speed
The first item that you can change is the display speed. This controls the
amount of time that a record or picture is displayed on the screen before the
next one is displayed. The feature is used in two situations:
• When scrolling records in Table View or Record View, in either Fast
Forward or Rewind direction.
• When External Files are being displayed in Fast Forward or Rewind
direction, or in a Query.
To alter the display speed simply move the pointer and click on the vertical
bar. You can then drag the bar to the left to make the display speed slower,
or to the right to make it quicker. The default speed setting is the fastest.
Calculation Options
These options are used to set the number of times a calculation is performed,
and to specify when fields are calculated. The section on Linked
Calculations, Chapter 2, explains why it is sometimes necessary to repeat
calculations. If your files do not contain any linked calculations, you can
ignore these options.
Auto Calculation
The Auto Calculation feature enables you to specify that calculations are
performed after every data entry; that is, whenever you press Return after
entering data in field. The number in the Calculation Count box specifies
how many times the calculations are performed. Thus, if the Calculation
Count is 3, the calculations are performed three times.
To select this feature, click on the Auto Calculation button.
Selective Calculation
When this option is selected, Superbase only performs a calculation if the
field ( or fields) which the calculation refers to has been modified.
Calculation Count
Use this option to set the number of times calculations are performed. Enter
the number in the box and press Return.
7-8
Using the Set Menu
Import/Export
You can specify the characters that are to be used to separate fields and
records from one another when you are Importing or Exporting. Up to two
characters can be used for each kind of separator.
Characters are specified by typing in the ASCII code that is equivalent to the character you want to use. To enter a two character separator, type in a comma after the first character, then type in the ASCII code for the second
character. On the Amiga, the default values are 44 (the comma) for the field separator,
and 10 (the line feed character) for the record separator. Gem has the same
default value for the field separator, but uses two characters as the record
separator, 13 (the carriage return character) and 10 (the line feed character).
A list ofASCII codes is provided in the Appendices at the rear ofthis manual.
If you want to change the default values move the pointer and click in the
box. This will produce the cursor and you can then type in the new ASCII
code. Remember to press Return to register the change.
Warning: Do not use the same characters for both the field and the record
separators.
Quotation Marks
Fields may contain punctuation marks such as commas. This can cause
problems, as any character that is the same as the Field Separator character
will be treated as such unless it is enclosed in double quotation marks. This
option allows you to specify that every field Exported will be enclosed in
double quotation marks.
To switch this feature on, click on the button next to the option. To switch it
off, click on the button in its selected mode.
Superbase automatically discards double quotation marks around fields
when it finds them during an Import.
Buffer Count
This option varies the amount of memory Superbase uses to store record
data. Increasing the number of buffers cuts down the number of times
Superbase accesses the disk drive, and so increases the speed of the program.
However, a very large number of buffers gives Superbase more work to do
checking their contents in certain operations, and so slows the system down.
Each buffer requires 512 bytes, so the total memory allocated to buffers can
..~.
Using the Set Menu
7-9
soon mount up. It's best to compromise: the recommended number to use
is between 10 and 20.
External File Query
This feature applies to the Query option on the Process menu. If External
File Query is OFF and you output an External File Field as part of a Query,
you'l1 see only the textual content of the field: the name or pathname of the
external file. However, ifyou set this feature ON and then output an External
File Field in a Query, you'll see the contents of the external file, as if you
were doing a Fast Forward.
Start Directory
This option allows you to specify which directory will be the current directory
when you start a session with Superbase. If you do not specify a start
directory, you will start in the same directory as you were in when you loaded
Superbase.
You will use this option if you store your data files in a different directory
from the Superbase directory. If you specify the data directory as the start
directory, the files it contains will be available as soon as Superbase has
loaded.
To specify the start directory, enter the path name for the directory. For
example:
\Sbase\sbdata
/Sbase/sbdata
This line instructs Superbase to start up in the sbdata directory, which is a
subdirectory of the Sbase directory.
B:
DFO:
This specifies that the start directory is on the disk in drive B (or drive 0 on
the Amiga).
7-10 Using the Set Menu
Parameter file path
The parameter file path specifies the directory where the '.par' file is stored.
There are three rules governing the way Superbase handles the parameter
file:
• When you load Superbase, it loads the '.par' file from the current di­
rectory (if it is there). • When you set one of the parameters in the two Options dialogs and click on OK, Superbase saves the '.par' file in the directory specified in the Parameter file path box. If a file path has not been specified, it saves the '.par' file in the current directory. • When you change the directory, Superbase searches the new current directory for a '.par' file. If it finds '.par' file, it loads it into memory, and resets the parameters accordingly. This option gives you the ability to create multiple parameter files, one for
each set of requirements.
Temporary File Path
There is only one situation in which you need to be concerned about the
temporary file path: when you are using the Query Order command to
produce sorted output. Normally, Superbase sorts data using an area of the
computer's memory. But if there is not enough available memory space, it
sorts the data on disk. For this purpose, it creates a temporary file, which it
uses as a work area. Typically, a temporary file would be needed when a large
number of records are being read in order to produce sorted output.
You can use this option to specify the directory in which Superbase will
create the temporary file. This would be necessary if there is only a small
amount of disk space left on the current disk. You would then enter the path
name (or drive specifier) for the disk in another drive.
Decimal Point Format
This option enables you to change the format of decimal numbers as they
appear on the screen. It is also used to set the position ofthe currency symbol.
You can specify either that the currency symbol appears at the front of a
number (leading) or that it appears after a number (trailing).
There are three decimal number formats. Combining these with the two
currency formats, gives you six choices:
Using the Set Menu
•
•
•
•
•
•
7-11
$9,999.00 (default value)
$9.999,00
$9999,00
9,999.00$
9.999,00$
9999,00$
To change the format simply click on the arrow to the right of the box. The
display changes to show a different format. Repeated clicking on the arrow
cycles through the six options.
When you click on the OK button, Superbase will use your chosen format
to display decimal numbers.
Currency Symbol
This allows you to change the currency symbol for numeric fields whose
format includes a currency symbol. The selection is global you cannot have
different currency symbols for different fields, although you can choose to
print individual characters as such, e.g. "$". The choices are as follows:
£
$
DM
F
Fr.
Pt
¥
DKr
Kr
SEK
os
mk
Drs
L
G
R
TL
Pound
Dollar
Deutschmark
Franc
French Franc
Peseta
Yen
Danish Krone
Krona/Krone
Swedish Krona
Austrian Schilling
Finnish markka
Greek Drachma
Italian Lira
Guilder
Rand
Turkish Lira
In order to change from one symbol to another, simply click on either the
left-hand arrow or the right-hand arrow which are at either end of the
currency box. You can cycle through the sequence 'downwards', but not
'upwards' past the dollar symbol.
7-12 Using the Set Menu
Printer Initialization Sequence (Amiga only)
With this option, you can define a sequence of commands which will be sent
to the printer before printing starts. This would allow you to select a variety
of print modes, e.g. Bold and Emphasized.
To enter a printer intialization sequence, click in the box to activate the
cursor; then type in the printer commands as a sequence of numbers
separated by semi-colons.
Print Raw (Amiga Only)
Normally, any output to the printer has to pass through the Amiga 'printer
device'. Depending on the printer driver you have selected (using the Amiga
Preferences), this may have an affect on the output - it may be set up to
translate certain character sequences into other character sequences.
Print Raw allows you to bypass the printer device. When this option is
selected, output is sent directly to the printer, without intervention from the
Amiga.
Custom Screen (Amiga Only)
By default, Superbase opens its windows within the Workbench screen. If
you select the Custom Screen option, Superbase will make use of a separate
screen. Usually this has the advantage of speeding up the rate at which
windows are displayed.
The time taken to open a window depends on the number of windows that
are already present, even though some of them may not be visible. The more
windows there are, the longer it takes to display a single window. In the
Workbench screen, several other windows may have already been opened
as well the Superbase windows.
By selecting Custom Screen, you reduce the number of windows that can be
present at anyone time. However, if you close the Workbench windows after
loading Superbase, you will achieve the same display rate as with the Custom
Screen.
There are two points to note in connection with Custom Screen:
• Once it has been selected, this option will not take effect until the next time Superbase is loaded. • The Custom Screen requires extra memory, so it should not be se­
lected unless the computer has more than S12K Ram. Using the Set Menu
7-13
Number Format
The range of different number formats is described in Chapter 2. The data
in a numeric field is always displayed in the number format that was set in
the file definition.
The purpose of providing an additional Number Format dialog in this menu
is to allow you to set the format for a derived number. A derived number is
the result of a mathematical expression, involving numeric fields, functions,
or values. An example would be:
Quantity * Price.
Derived fields can only be output as part of a Query.
Date/Time
Uke Number, the different date and time formats are described in the
section on creating a new file.
Similarly, the purpose of this dialog is to allow you to set the format for a
derived date. A derived date is the result of a mathematical expression,
involving date fields, numeric fields, functions, or values. An example would
be Meeting Date + 15. A date can also be derived from an expression which
includes the system variable TODAY, as in: TODAY - Date. Derived fields
can only be output as part of a Query.
The same considerations apply to derived times. If you want to include the
current time in your Query output, you can enter the system variable NOW
as a derived time. The time will then be displayed in the format specified in
the Daterrime dialog.
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CHAPTER 8
USING THE SYSTEM MENU The options on this menu are utilities for improving your understanding and
control of your Superbase database.
Printer Options (GEM only)
This dialog enables you to define the paper types, paper sizes and printer
initialization sequences that you will be using with your printer.
Selections are made by clicking on the appropriate button. This causes the
button to be highlighted.
The dialog is divided into five areas.
The first area "Paper Type" allows you to set your paper type. This can either
be Fanfold or Single Sheet.
The second area "Paper Size" enables you to set your paper size. This can
either be Narrow Tractor, Wide Tractor, US Letter or US Legal. Narrow
Tractor is 80 columns by 60 lines; Wide Tractor is 132 columns by 60 lines;
US Letter is 80 columns by 60 lines; and US Legal is 80 columns by 78 lines.
The third area "Custom" enables you to define your own paper size. You do
this by defining the number of columns and lines that will fit onto your paper.
Simply click in the value boxes and enter the number of columns and lines.
The fourth area "Printer Initialization Sequences" allows you to define a
sequence of commands which will be sent to the printer before printing
starts. This would allow you to select a variety of print modes, e.g. Bold and
Emphasized. These commands must be entered as a sequence of numbers
separated by semi-colons.
Using the System Menu
8-2
Hard Copy Documentation
You can obtain a printout from certain system options by switching the
Printer option on from the Set Menu. Printable options are:
Directory List
Status File
Status System
List
Version (Amiga Only)
This displays the Copyright Notice and Program Credits. It also includes the
Version Number of your copy of Superbase. If you need to request software
support, be sure you cite your version number.
Directory
List
This produces a listing of the current directory, in sorted order. The name
of the directory and the date are also given.
Change
This enables you to change from one directory to another, or from one disk
to another. Superbase will display a dialog which lists the current directory's
subdirectories, i.e. the directories on the next level down in the directory
hierarchy. To change to another directory on a lower level, click on the
directory name, then on OK, or double click on the name.
On GEM versions of Superbase, if you want to go to the directory on the
next level up (sometimes known as the 'parent' directory), select ' ..', which
will be the first item on the directory list.
On the Amiga. you select the directory on the next level up by typing '/'.
To change to another disk - a disk in another drive - type in the drive name,
then press Return or click on OK For example, if the current drive is C
(DHO), you would enter
A:
DFO:
to change to the disk in drive A (drive 0).
Using the System Menu
8-3
Superbase accepts pathnames, so you can also switch to a directory on
another branch of the directory 'tree'. Remember that you have to type in
the full pathname, giving the path from the root directory to the target
directory.
Note: You should close all open files before changing to anotherdrive orbefore
changing the disk in the same drive.
Status
File
This option provides a snapshot of the status and statistics of the current file.
Statistics include: current index, number of records, number of fields,
number ofindexes, block size and file size. Also detailed are the field names,
attributes, format, and Form View co-ordinates for each field, and any
calculation or validation formulas. Finally, you can see whether a password
has been set, the type of read/write privileges for the file, and the file's
valid/invalid status.
System
This provides a summary of the data described above for all open files, but
excluding statistics for the individual files.
Additional data is shown for these items: Amount of free memory, amount
of free disk space, current directory, number of files open and the number
of files available.
Free Memory and the External File System
Ifyou have difficulty in displaying the pictures or text files from the External
File System, or you are having difficulty performing multi-file sorts, please
refer to Appendix H.
8-4
Using the System Menu
List
The purpose of Ust is to allow you to view Ascii text files, such as Export
files, '.sbd' files, or Query files ('.sbq' files). You cannot use it to view
program files, database files, or text files which contain control characters.
This last category includes text files created in the Superbase Text Editor
('.sbt' files).
When you select Ust, Superbase displays a dialog which lists the files for the
current directory. You can then pick the file whose contents you want to view.
As Superbase displays or prints the contents of the file it ignores tab
characters.
If the file contains non-printable characters (such as control characters),
Superbase will display a "Can't do this" message and stop the display.
Reorganize
When you delete records from a file using the Record Remove option,
Superbase does not actually remove them from the disk. Instead it simply
marks them as deleted records and thereafter ignores them when it carries
out file operations. (You can check this by noting the file size with the Status
file option, before and after selecting Record Remove.)
Superbase will store new records in the space which was occupied by the
deleted records. But as far as other programs are concerned, the records are
still there and the space is unavailable. If you have removed a large number
of records - say, over a long period of time - you may be left with a significant
amount of wasted disk space. Removing a large number of records from one
file, may also mean that Superbase takes longer to read records from the file.
Reorganize builds a new file using the same name, the same file definition,
and the same data, but without the deleted records. It allows you to reclaim
wasted disk space.
Reorganize works with the current file.
Once you select this option from the System menu, Superbase asks you to
enter the name of the destination file. This is the name under which the
reorganized file will be stored. You now have a choice of storing the file in
the current directory under a new name or in another directory (under the
same name or new name). If you choose another directory (or another drive),
you should enter the path name and the file name. For example, to store a
Using the System Menu
8-5
reorganized version of the Address file in a directory called DATA2, you
would type in:
\data2\addreSs
/data2/address
To store the file on another disk, you also need to enter the drive specifier,
as in:
a:address
dfO:address
or
b:sbase\newadds
df1 :sbase/newadds
Note that in the last example, Address will be stored as Newadds.
To store Address in a different directory under the same name, it is not
necessary to enter the file name; the path name on its own is sufficient:
b:sbase\
df1:sbase/
To store the file in the same directory, just enter the new name. Make sure
that it is not the same as the current name.
There are two points to bear in mind in connection with Reorganize:
• This option should only be used periodically and not on a regular basis. Unless you have deleted a large number of records, there is only a small advantage to be gained by reorganizing a file. • Check that there is enough space on the destination disk to accomo­
date the reorganized file. As a rule of thumb, this should be at least as much as the space occupied by the current file. Using the System Menu
8-6
Using Reorganize for Data Recovery
The Reorganize option also be used to recover records after their data has
been corrupted; i.e., when an attempt to open a file produces a disk error
message. Reorganize steps over any errors it finds in a file and retrieves as
many valid records as it can. The records which have been damaged will be
lost when the new file is created so Superbase informs the user with the
message:
New file has different record count
There may also be circumstances in which Reorganize canbe used to recover
data which could not be accessed before. For example, if you turned off the
computer after storing new records in Batch mode, the details of these
records would not be stored in the file header. Reorganize rewrites the file
header so that the records are included in the new file. In this case, it issues
another error message (as well as the one above):
Source file size incorrect In header
Housekeeping Options
The last three options on the System menu are the same as the disk utilities
or commands provided by your computer's disk operating system. They are
often referred to as housekeeping commands, because they enable you to
organize the files on your disks, to keep them tidy. The advantage in using
these options, instead of the equivalent DOS commands, is that you do not
have to exit from Superbase.
All three options present you with a dialog showing a list of all the files in
the current directory.
Delete
Deletes a file from disk. Note the difference between Delete and the
Project menu option Remove. Remove deletes the current 'sbf (a
database file) file together with its associated 'sbd' file and index files.
Delete only deletes one file at a time.
Rename
Renames a file on disk. When you have selected a file from the list, it
displays another dialog where you type in the new name.
Using the System Menu
8-7
Copy
Copies a file to another directory or another disk. After you have
selected a file from the dialog list, it displays another dialog where you
type in the name under which the file is to be copied. A file can be
copied to the same directory under a new name, or it can be copied to
a different directory under the same name or a new name.
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CHAPTER 9
EXTERNAL FILE
MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
This unique feature allows you to store the names of external files in a
Superbase database file, and display both the database records and the
external files themselves using the database's indexing and searching
facilities.
There are two types of external files: text files and picture files. The way
external text files are controlled is more or less the same in both the Gem
and Amiga versions of Superbase. But the way picture files are controlled is
sufficiently different to warrant a separate treatment for each version. This
chapter, therefore, is divided into three main sections. The first section
covers all the features of the external management system that are common
to both versions of Superbase. The second and third sections explain the way
picture files are handled on Gem and the Amiga.
Amiga owners also have the ability to store and play back external sound
files. These are described in the third section.
Note: Memory Allocation
In Gem versions of Superbase, some of the images and text documents in
the demonstration files require more free memory than others. If you
experience difficulty in displaying them you should refer to Appendix H at
the rear of this manual.
On the Amiga, you should ensure that you have sufficient contiguous
memory before you view external picture files. This should be at least 40K
for a low resolution image.
Picture Files
Picture files hold graphic images. Usually they will have been created in a
painting or drawing program, but you may also use them for digitized images.
The restriction here is that the digitized image must be stored in a format
that Superbase accepts. Details of the formats required for images are given
in the appendices for the Atari and Amiga. On the IBM and compatible
machines, Superbase accepts' .img' files.
External File Management System
9-2
The applications for the external picture files are numerous. Whether you are storing plans of houses for a real estate business, CAD drawings, digitized
picture library images, or just your own paint program creations, a powerful cross-referencing and display manager is a valuable aid to efficiency. Text Files
External text files provide a bulk text or memo facility. They are used to store
the same kind ofinformation as database text fields but do not carry the same
limitations on the amount of information. The maximum length for a text
field is 255 characters. The maximum size of a text file depends on the
amount of free memory available. If you try to load a document for which
you have insufficient memory, Superbase will load as much of the document
as it can and will then display an error message.
External text files may be created with the Superbase Text Editor or with
another wordprocessing program. Superbase displays an external text file by
loading it into the Text Editor. You can then scroll through it or edit it, just
as if you had selected the Text option from the Project menu. Any file,
therefore, that can be loaded into the Text Editor, can be used as an external
text file.
External File Fields
In the File Definition, there is an External File field type. External File fields
are like Text fields, except that Superbase can use their contents as path
names for external files. A path name is simply a path through the operating
system directory structure to the file itself. The contents of an external File
field can be:
•
•
•
•
A file name.
A path name that includes a file name.
A:, B:, or C:, followed by the path name and a file name.
DFO:, DF1:, or DHO:, followed by the path name and a file name.
When you enter the name of an External File, you must supply the full file
name, including any extension name. If you are using a text file which you
have created in the Text Editor, you must supply the 'sbt' extension, e.g.:
Comment.sbt
'-__ External File Management System
9-3
File Name: Same Disk, Same Directory
At its simplest, an External File field refers to a picture or a document in the
same directory as the database file, for example:
Roomplan.img
Castle
This is the name given to a picture created with a paint program.
Same Disk, Different Directory
If you want to access a file in another directory you must include the name
of that directory in the External File field. Superbase can then go to that
directory, open the file and read the data.
Suppose you kept picture files in a directory called Images. The External
File field contents would have to look like this:
\lmages\Roomplan-img
Images/Castle
File Name: Different Disk
If your external file was on another disk, you would have to start your path
name with the disk drive specifier, either A:, B:, C: or D: (DFO:, DF1:, or
DHO on the Amiga). Continuing with the text file example, suppose you kept
a text files in a directory called Documents on the disk in drive A (drive 0
on the Amiga). The External File field would have to hold the following path
name:
A: Documents\Comment.sbt
DFO:Documents/Comment.sbt
The colon tells Superbase that the Documents directory is to be found on
the disk in drive A Superbase will therefore expect to find a disk in drive A
If it does not find a disk, or does not find the directory, Superbase will display
an appropriate error message.
9-4
External File Management System
Viewing Text Files
External text files are displayed in the Text Editor window. When you click
on the External File button, Superbase loads the fIle into the Text Editor
and makes the Text window active. At this point, you can treat the fIle in the
same way as any other text file. Clicking the External File button has the
same effect as clicking on the Text option in the Project menu, and then
loading the fIle with the Open option in the Text Editor menu.
In most cases, you will only want to view the file; if it is longer than the text
window, use the scroll bars to scroll it into view. But you can also take
advantage of any of the Text Editor functions. Thus you could insert new text
and save the file on disk, or you could replace the text with another
document, and then save it.
Controls for External Text Flies
The External File controls are used in the same way with a text file as for a
picture fIle:
• The External File button displays a text file in the Text Editor win­
dow. • The Control Panel is used for selecting any particular text file, or for
browsing through a series of text fIles.
• The External > > and External < < buttons are used to move from
one text file 'level' within a single record.
Likewise, the controls for manipulating the Text Window are the same as for
the Picture window. The techniques for closing, re-opening, sizing and
scrolling the window are also explained in Chapter 10.
Example
The Help database file on the demonstration disk illustrates some of the ways
of using external text files. It shows how you could use them to provide a
Help screen facility. The files associated with the first record provide a
Contents page for the text entries associated with all the other records.
After opening the Help file, click on the External File button. This action
will load the Contents page into memory and display it in the Text Editor
window.
External File Management System
9-5
Each entry in the Contents pages, represents a separate text file, which has
been stored on disk under the same names as the entry. If you now want to
view the Help screen for a particular topic, follow this procedure:
1. Make a note of the file name associated with the topic.
2. Click on the Key Lookup button. Now type in the file name and press
Return.
3. Superbase will then display the text entry for the topic you have
selected.
If you want to read another Help entry, click on the First record button on
the Control panel and repeat these steps. Alternatively you can browse
through the entire document (remembering that it is stored as a number of
separate text files) using the Next and Previous buttons.
The next section describes another way of retrieving the Help file for a
particular topic: using the external file search facility.
Searching External Text Files
~/ Superbase provides a special operator for use with external text files the
CONTAINS operator. CONTAINS works in the same way as the LIKE
operator, but whereas LIKE is used to search for text strings in text fields,
CONTAINS searches for text strings in external text files.
CONTAINS can be entered in any Superbase filter command line, but it will
be used most commonly with the Control panel filter or with the Query filter.
It must be preceded by the name of an external text field, e.g.:
Main_Entry CONTAINS "*tractor*"
In this example, the name of the external text field is Main_Entry. In each
record in the database file, the Main_Entry field stores the name of an
external text file. When you enter this line in a filter, Superbase searches all
the external text files associated with the Main_Entry field for an occurrence
of the word 'tractor'. If it finds the word, Superbase displays the text file in
the Text Editor window.
Youwill notice that the example filter line makes use of the pattern matching
character '*'. The reason for this is that CONTAINS searches for matching
lines rather than matching words. This means that you need to define the
search string as an entire line rather than a single word. The word 'tractor'
may be located anywhere on a line, so you need to take this into account by
placing the ,*, character before and after the word in the search string. If you
External File Management System
9-6
were sure that the word only occurred at the beginning of a line, you could
omit the first '*' character, as in:
Main_Entry CONTAINS "tractor*"
You may also use any of the other pattern matching characters that are
available with the UKE operator. For example:
Main_Entry CONTAINS "*[a_d]. Smith*"
This will search for all the people whose last name is Smith and whose first
name initial falls in the range A to D, such as 'A Smith' and 'D. Smith'.
Note that because CONTAINS works on a line by line basis, it will not be
able to locate a string that extends over two or more lines; for example, if the
search string is "*John Smith*", CONTAINS will not find an occurrence of
'John Smith' where the first name is at the end of a line and the second name
is at the start of the next line.
Querying External Files
You can use the facilities of the Query option on the Process Menu to
produce text or picture output in conjunction with data output. Two steps
are necessary to achieve this:
1. Select the External File Query button in the Options requester on the
Set Menu.
2. Name the External File field or fields that you want to view in the Query
Fields line.
Gem: Viewing Picture Files
Ensure that the Pictures demonstration file on your disk is open, and that
you have enough free memory. See that Form View is set and select the first
record.
You will see that the file is indexed on Number, and there are two External
File fields for this record. These are Picture 1 and Picture 2. These External
File fields can be thought of as being on different 'levels', with Picture 1 being
on the highest level, because it's the first External File field in the record.
This concept of 'levels' becomes important later on when you move from
one External File field to another within a single record.
External File Management System
9-7
There are three 'tools' you can use to view the External File, these are:
•
•
•
The External File button
The Control Panel
External > > and External < <
External File Button
Now that you have opened the Pictures file and the first record is on the
screen, you can look at the image associated with the first External File field
in the current record. To do this you have to click on the External File button
at the right-hand end of the Control Panel. Click on it now.
Superbase will split the screen into two windows. The window on the left is
the Superbase window, and the window on the right is the Picture· File
window. We will discuss windows later in this section, so don't worry about
them for the moment.
Control Panel
If you now wish to view the image from the next record in the Pictures file,
click on the Next Record button on the Control PaneL Do this now.
You will notice that Superbase displays the next record in the Superbase
window and then displays the image in the Picture window.
From time to time you may want to move within a record from one External
File field to another. You do this using the Record Menu.
External > > and External < <
Both these options are to be found on the Record Menu. Using these options
you can move from one 'level' to another within a single record.
Try this now. Select External > > from the Record Menu, and watch the
screen. Superbase does not have to get the record - it's already in the
Superbase window. All it has to do is to display the image associated with
the second External File field for the current record.
9-8
External File Management System
Manipulating Windows
Active Window
By now you will have become familiar with the two windows you have on
your screen. You should be aware that you can only work in one of these
windows at anyone time. The way you let Superbase know which one you're
working in, is to make one 'active' and the other 'inactive'.
To make a window 'active' you move the pointer into a window and click the
mouse button. Try this now. Move the pointer into the Superbase window
and click the mouse button. You will notice that as soon as you do this the
scroll gadgets appear around the window. If you now look at the External
File window, you will see that there are no scroll gadgets.
Scroll Gadgets
You can use the scroll gadgets within the active window in order to see the
remaining part of the Superbase record or Picture you can't see.
Assuming that your active window is the External File window, click on the
arrow gadget in the bottom right·hand corner. As you do this watch the
screen. You will notice that the picture moves slightly to the left within the
window.
As an alternative to this, you can use the scroll bar at the bottom ofthe screen.
This will enable you to scroll the picture in bigger steps.
Also you can click in the shaded area to the left or right of the scroll bar
(depending on where the scron bar is currently positioned). This will enable
you to move to the far left or right of the image in one go. A similar effect
can be achieved by clicking in the shaded area on the scroll bar at the side
of the screen but this time you will move up or down.
Full Box Gadget
If you now wish to make either the Superbase window, or the Picture window
its full size, you can use the Full Box Gadget. This is always located in the
top right·hand corner of a window. Click on the Full Box Gadget within the
Picture window, and watch the screen.
External File Management System
9-9
If you want to view the Superbase window you can use one of three methods:
1. Click on the External File Button. This works like a toggle and swaps
the windows from front to back.
2. Use the Full Box Gadget. This also works like a toggle. This toggles the
window between its maximum size and its previous setting.
3. You can re-size the External File window. This is explained in the next
section.
Re-slzing windows
In order to re-size a window you use the Sizing Gadget. This is situated in
the bottom right-hand corner of a window. Move your pointer so that it is in
the bottom right-hand corner of your Picture window. Make sure that this
window is active by clicking in it.
Now press and hold down the mouse button. As you do this you will see some
dotted lines appear around this active window.
Now move the pointertowards the top left-hand corner ofthe window. Then,
whenever you feel like it, release the mouse button.
The Picture window will now be drawn in this new position.
Moving Windows
Once you have re-sized a window, you may wish to change its position on the
screen. You can do this by moving the pointer onto the grab bar at the top
of the window. Then press and hold down the mouse button. Now move the
pointer - and the window - to its new position.
Using this method, you can if you want, place the Picture window on the left,
and the Superbase window on the right.
Closing Windows
When you want to close a window, you click on the Close Gadget which is
located in the top left-hand corner of a window.
Try this now. Click on the Close Gadget in the External File window, and
watch the screen. The Picture window is closed leaving the Superbase
window open.
Note: When you click on the Close Gadget in the Superbase window,
Superbase will assume that you want to close the program, and will display
the confirmation dialog you see when you select Quit from the Project menu.
9-10
External File Management System
Amiga: Viewing Picture Files
Ensure that the Pictures demonstration file on your disk is open. Set Form
View is set and select the first record.
You can see that the file is indexed on Picture Number, and there are three
pictures for this record. These are Picture 1,2, and 3. Think of these pictures
being on three different levels, with Picture 1 being on the highest level.
These 'levels' become important when you start to move around from record
to record using the External File System Menus.
External File Button
Now that you have opened the Pictures file and the first record is on the
screen, you can look at the first picture. To do this you have to click on the
External File button at the right-hand end of the Control Panel. Click on it
now.
Superbase displays the external file named in the first External File field for
the current record. It's called Castle.
The External File button always shows a picture if it can find one. You do
not click on this button to close down the External File screen; for that you
use the Close option from the Control Menu, described below.
If you look at the top of the screen you will see the title of the picture. To the
right are the depth gadgets, which will be explained later.
The External File System uses its own screen and window, and has a separate
set of menus for controlling the pictures.
Problem: Menus Won't Display
If you can't display the External File System menus when you press the
right-hand mouse button, this is because the window is inactive. You must
click in the window with the left-hand button once to activate the window.
This is a feature of the Amiga's Intuition windowing system.
External File Management System
9-11
Image Menu
This menu provides three options for selecting pictures individually, within
a single record.
Next
Castle is the external file named in the first External File field. If you want
to see the picture for the next External File field, you must select Image Next.
We refer to this as selecting the next 'level' in the External File system.
Select Image Next in the usual way, by holding down the right- hand mouse
button while moving the pointer to highlight the item you want, then
releasing the mouse button.
Try this now. Superbase displays the picture named in the second External
File field in the first record in the Pictures file.
Whenever Superbase displays the message "No External Data", this
indicates that the selected record has no file name in the External File field.
Previous
This option is the opposite of Next. If you want to go up a 'level' and view
the picture named in the first External File field in the current record, you
must select Previous from the Image Menu.
Advance
Some IFF files may have more than one 'frame' in them. In such cases, you
can display the next frame by selecting Advance from the Image menu. There
is no option to display the previous frame.
Record Menu
The options on this menu are like those on the Main Display Control Panel.
They allow you to select records within the database file. When Superbase
selects a record, it uses the External File field at the current 'level' to find
and display a picture. The message "No External Data" indicates that the
selected record has no file name in the External File field at that level.
If you have a Filter in use in the Main Display, Superbase will only select
records that match the Filter.
9-12
External File Management System
First, Last, Next, Previous
Each of these options selects a single record in the database file, and uses
the External File field at the current 'level' to find and display an external
file.
Forward
This option finds and displays the external files - at the current 'level' - for
all records from the current record to the end of the file. This gives you a
'slide show' capability.
• If a Filter is active, Superbase will use it.
• The duration of the display can be varied from the Set Options re­
quester. • You can interrupt the display by selecting Pause or Stop from the Control Menu, or clicking on the Pause or Stop buttons on the Con­
trol Panel, if you've made it visible. Rewind
This option is the opposite of Forward. It causes Superbase to go backwards
through the file and display one image after another until you reach the
beginning of the file.
Control Menu
This menu provides some simple control options.
Pause
While Superbase is displaying in either Forward or Rewind mode, you may
want to pause and look at one of the pictures. You can do this by selecting
Pause from the Control Menu. Superbase completes the current display and
stops. If you look at the Control menu you'll see that this option is highlighted
to show it's active. Once you've selected this option from the Menu,
Superbase will leave the current picture on the screen until you select
Rewind or any other Menu option.
Stop
If you want to stop during Forward or Rewind, use Stop. Superbase
completes the current display and stops. You can now use any other menu
option.
External File Management System
9-13
Hide and Show Title Bar
The purpose of these options is to allow you to remove the title bar from the
External File window, so that a Screen Dump doesn't reproduce it. The title
bar normally shows the name of the picture being displayed - or "No External
Data" if Superbase can't find an external file.
Screen Dump
The Screen Dump option allows you to reproduce the External File window,
provided you have a printer capable of high resolution graphics. The
parameters for graphics printing are set from the Preferences system utility.
Close
Use this option to close down the External File screen and return to the
Superbase Main Display. When you're selecting records from the Main
Display and the External File button is highlighted, Superbase automatically
finds and reads external files. This slows the system down. Ifyou want to stop
Superbase reading external files, enter the External File screen, and select
this Close option.
Combined Database Record and External File Display
It's possible to resize windows and drag windows and screens so that both
data and picture are visible on the same physical screen. This allows you to
provide a caption or other relevant information for the picture, or to use the
Control Panel buttons instead of the Record and Control Menus.
Moving Screens
In the External File screen, move the pointer to the title bar, press and hold
down the left-hand button of the mouse, then drag the pointer down to the
bottom of the screen. The picture moves down the screen and reveals the
Superbase Main Display behind. You can release the mouse button at any
point, so that any proportion of the picture remains visible.
9-14
External File Management System
Sizing the Superbase Screen
If you drop the External File screen right down, you can move the pointer
into the Superbase screen and use its gadgets.
• Use the resizing gadget to make the Main Display window smaller.
• Drag it down the screen a bit.
• Drag the Control Panel window up to the top of the screen, above the
Main Display.
• Re-enter the External File screen, click once to activate it, and drag the screen up to the bottom of the Main Display window. Control Panel
You can now use the Control Panel in the same way as you normally would
with Superbase files. But having the screen arranged as it is means you can
see both the current record and the picture for the current 'level' ofExternal
File field.
Depth Gadget
In the External File screen, you can flip the current image behind the
Superbase screen by clicking on the depth gadget on the Title bar of the
picture. To get the picture back again you simply click on the External File
button on the Control Pane1.
Don't try to redisplay the External File screen with the Superbase Main
Display depth gadget. Use the External File button.
External File Management System
9-15
External Sound Files
If you store the name of a sound file in an external field, the Amiga will play
back the file when you click on the External Fi.1e button. If the External File
screen is displayed, you can use a sound file to accompany a picture.
Superbase accepts two types of sound files: IFF sound samples, produced by
sound sampler programs such as Perfect Sound; and 'data dumps' which are
produced by a sound digitizer. Files in IFF format incorporate information
about the speed at which they are played back. For other files, you can set
the play back speed using an optional speed parameter. This must be entered
in the external file field after the sound file name, and separated from the
name by a semicolon. For example:
/Sounds/Chord;150
This specifies that the Chord sound file (in the Sounds directory) should be
played back at a speed of 150. The smaller the number, the faster the sound
file is played back and the higher the pitch. For most sound files, this figure
should be around 200.
CHAPTER 10
THE TEXT EDITOR
The Text Editor is suitable for entering and editing text of almost any kind,
from short memos and letters to lengthy written reports. It is not, however,
intended as a replacement for a word processing program, and it does not
provide all the features you would expect to see in a word processor. But you
may find it more convenient to use the Text Editor for many of your word
processing requirements.
More specifically, it is used for two purposes relating to Superbase itself:
• to create form letters for Mail Merge applications
• to create large text entries which can be linked to database records and are stored as external text files. The Text Window
When you select Text from the Project menu, Superbase opens a window in
the right-hand half of the screen (see next page). This is the text window
where you enter text and edit it. At the top of the screen the normal menu
headings are replaced by a set of Text Editor menu headings.
The database window showing the current record remains open but is now
inactive. If you move the mouse pointer anywhere in the database window
and click in it, the window will become active again and the Text Editor
menus will be replaced by the normal database menus. Superbase lets you
switch between the Text Editor and the database at any time simply by
clicking in their respective windows.
If you are editing a large document, the text window will only show part of
it. The scroll bars enable you to move the window over different parts of the
document. You can also do this by moving the cursor to the edge of the text
window. The maximum width for text is 240 characters.
The Text EdHor
10-2
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Selecting Full Screen
GEM If you prefer to edit text using the full width of the screen, click on the full screen gadget, the diamond at the top right hand corner of the text window. Clicking on the diamond a second time makes the window half size again, and brings back the database window. AMIGA To edit text using the full screen on the Amiga, first move the text window to the left-hand side of the screen; then drag the bottom right-hand corner of the text window to the right of the screen using the size gadget. Closing the Text Window
To close the text window either click on the close window gadget at the top
left corner, or select Quit from the Project window (or press the keyboard
equivalent Alt Q). Closing the window does not remove text from the
computer's memory. If you open the text window later, any text you have
entered will still be there.
The Close option on the Project menu shuts down the Text Editor and also
clears text from memory. Do not use this option if you only want to close the
text window temporarily.
The Text Editor
10-3
The Text Editor Menus
The Text Editor menus are only available when the text window is active,
and the options they provide can only be used with text inside this window.
Unlike the rest of the manual, this chapter does not follow the menu
structure closely, and it does not explain each of the menu options in turn.
Instead it is organized under headings which relate to different tasks ­
Entering Text, Editing Text, Loading and Saving Text, and so on. Each of
the menu options is introduced at the point where you will need to use it.
The Project menu, however, deserves a slightly fuller explanation. You will
notice that some of the options on the Text Editor's Project menu are the
same as those on the database Project menu. Not only do they have the same
names, but they also work in the same way. The difference is that the Text
Editor options only operate on text files.
Most of the time, you will be working with text files you have created in the
Text Editor. These are stored on disk as '.sbt' files; they have '.sbt' extension
names. You may also use text files produced by other word processing
programs.
Here's a list of the Project menu options, together with a brief explanation
of what their functions are:
New
Creates a new text file and clears any existing text from
memory.
Open
Loads a text file into the Text Editor from disk. If a file is
already present it will be replaced by the new file.
Close
Clears a text file from memory and closes the text window.
Save
Saves a text file on disk.
Remove
Removes a text file from disk.
Print
Prints the text file in memory, the file that is currently in the
Text Editor.
Quit
Closes the text window and returns the user to the database
window. Does not clear the current text file.
10-4
The Text Editor
Creating a New File
When you enter the Text Editor for the first time in a session, you will be
presented with a blank page. So, you can start creating a new file straight
away. Unlike the procedure for creating a new database file, it is not
necessary to select Project New first.
You only need to select the New option if you have already entered some
text or you have previously loaded some text from disk. New clears the
existing text from the Text Editor and lets you start afresh with a new text
file.
Entering Text
Text can only be typed in when the Text Editor cursor is on the screen. The
cursor is a vertical line (a rectangle on the Amiga) which shows where the
next character you type will appear. If you have just started a new file, the
cursor will be at the top left-hand corner of the text window. If it is not on
screen, you can click in the text window to bring it back.
Word Wrap
The Text Editor allows you to specify where lines of text start and finish by
setting the left and right margins. In a later section, we explain how you can
alter the margins for the whole document or each individual paragraph.
By default, the left margin is at column 5 and the right margin is at column
75. !fyou type a word that extends beyond the right margin, the Text Editor
automatically moves the word to start of the next line. This is known as 'word
wrap'. The cursor is also moved to the next line so you can carry on typing
without interruption.
Paragraphs
On a typewriter, you usually need to press the Return key when you reach
the end of a line. In the Text Editor, you use the Return key to end a
paragraph. Pressing Return takes the cursor to the start of a new line and a
new paragraph.
The Text Editor uses a small black rectangle as a paragraph marker to
indicate the line where a paragraph ends. Paragraph markers are placed on
the right-hand edge of the text window.
10-5
The Text Editor Editing Text The Text Editor provides a large number of facilities for editing text. You
can either edit text after you have entered it, or you can edit text that has
previously been saved on disk (see Loading Text).
Some ofthe editing facilities are available from the Text Editor menus. Most
of them, however, are keyboard controls, involving the cursor keys or key
combinations. All the key combinations use the Ctrl key plus a letter key.
Note that the Ctrl key is represented by the' "', character. For example:
"'B
indicates that the Ctrl key and the letter B should be pressed in combination.
,~ We explain each of the key combinations later on in this chapter. But if you
want a quick reminder of which keys to use, you can bring up the Text
Editor's help window. This appears when you select Help from the Options
menu.
CONTROL KEYS FOR EDITING
AB Beginning of text
AW Delete tlord
AE Delete to end of line
AN New line
AS Split line
AF ReforMat paragraph
AG End of text
AD Delete line
AX Clear line
AU Insert onloFf
AA Join line
AU Undo
OK
'-.-/
To remove the help window, click on OK
The Text Editor
10-6
Moving the Cursor
With the Text Editor, you can move the cursor around the screen and edit
text at any point on the screen.
The cursor keys are used to move the cursor by one character at a time. Note
that the term character includes the space character.
Note: In GEM versions of Superbase, you may find that the cursor keys move
the pointer intead of the cursor. In this case, press the Ctrl key once to switch
back to the cursor.
Left arrow
Right arrow
Uparrow
Down arrow
Moves the cursor to next character to the left.
Moves the cursor to the next character to the
right.
Moves the cursor to the character in the same
column on the line above.
Moves the cursor to the character in the same
column on the line below
For larger cursor movements, use the following keys:
AB
AG
Takes the cursor to the first line in the text
Takes the cursor to the last line in the text
Horne (GEM)
Moves the cursor to the beginning of a line
Shift left cursor (Amiga) Moves the cursor to the beginning of a line
End (GEM)
Moves the cursor to the end of line
Shift right cursor (Amiga) Moves the cursor to the end of a line
Tab
Moves the cursor eight characters to the right
Shift Tab
Moves the cursor eight characters to the left
There are two ways of bringing text into view if it extends beyond the text
window. Moving the cursor in one direction to edge of the text window scrolls
the window in the same direction. Alternatively, you can scroll the window
using the mouse pointer and the scroll bars.
You can also use the mouse to move the cursor within the text window. To
do this, move the pointer to the point where you want to the cursor to be,
and click once.
Note that you cannot move the cursor beyond the last line of text.
1~7
The Text Editor Deleting Text
The controls for deleting text operate on the text at the current position of
the cursor. Before using these controls, you should check that the cursor is
in fact located at the point where the text is to be deleted.
The keys to use for deleting text are:
Backspace
Del
AX
Deletes the character to the left of the cursor
Deletes the character to the right of the cursor
Deletes the word to the right of the cursor
Deletes the current line
Deletes text from the current position of the
cursor to the end of the line
Deletes all the text on a line, leaving a blank
line
Selecting Delete line from the Edit menu has the same effect as AD.
Undo
If you delete a line, a word, or just a few characters by mistake, A U lets you
restore the text you have deleted. This option reverses the effect of the last
deletion.
',-_ Larger blocks of text can also be restored, provided they have been deleted
with the A D key combination. For example, if you delete a five line
paragraph by pressing A D five times in succession, pressing A U five times
in succession will restore the paragraph.
Because A U restores text at the point where the cursor is currently located,
you can use it to move a line of text or a paragraph to a new position in your
document. To do this, delete the line using A D, move the cursor to the new
position, then press AU.
The Undo option restores the line to the state it was in before the cursor
moved onto it. This means that you can also use U to reverse the effect of
an insertion. If you press A U after typing in a line of text, the text will then
be removed from the document.
A
The Text Editor
10-8
Copying Lines
The key combinations A Land A R allow you to copy a line of text to another
position in the document. A L is used to select the line you wish to copy:
move the cursor to any point on the line and press A L. You can then use
A R to insert a copy of the line that has been previously selected with A L:
move the cursor to the point in the document where the line is to be inserted
and press A R. A copy of the line will be inserted below the cursor.
Inserting Text
The way text is inserted in a document depends on which typing mode has
been selected. There are two typing modes, Insert and Overwrite. To switch
between them, click on Insert in the Options menu or press the key
combination A V. Insert is the default mode. When this mode is selected
Superbase places a check mark next to the menu item.
On Gem versions of Superbase, each mode has its own type of cursor (on
the Amiga, the cursor stays the same). Insert uses a thin vertical line,
Overwrite uses a thicker vertical line.
Both modes let you type in text at the end of a document, and they create
new lines as you do so. The difference comes when you enter text within a
document.
Insert Mode
With insert mode, you can insert text in a document without overwriting the
existing text. Any text in front of the cursor is pushed to the right to make
room for the new text. At the same time the Text Editor reformats the rest
of the paragraph so that it does not extend beyond the right margin.
Pressing the Return key in Insert mode splits a line at the point where the
cursor is. The part of the line after the cursor is then placed on a new line
following the current line. Another way of doing this is to use the key
combination A S.
Likewise, there are two ways of closing up (or joining) lines in Insert mode:
either, position the cursor anywhere on the first line and use the key
combination A A; or, position the cursor at the start of the second line and
press the Backspace key.
Note that when you press Return or
of a paragraph.
A
S, the current line becomes the end
The Text Editor 10-9
Overwrite Mode
In overwrite mode, the characters you type in replace the existing characters
to the right of the cursor. Use this mode when you want to rewrite a line or
a paragraph. It saves you the trouble of having to delete old text after typing
new text.
Pressing Return in overwrite mode moves the cursor down to the start of the
next line.
If you want to insert text in overwrite mode, first press
text. Then close up the rest of the text using A A
A
S. Type in the new
Inserting New Lines
'-../
To insert a new line in the text you are editing, position the cursor at the left
margin and press Return (only in Insert mode) or A S. In effect, this creates
a single line paragraph, even though the line is blank and has no characters
on it.
The New Line option on the Edit Menu (also N) lets you create a blank
new line without at the same time inserting a new paragraph. This option
inserts a new line between the current line and the next line down.
A
Formatting Text
The format of a document refers to the way it is arranged on a page; i.e. it is
specified in terms of the left margin, the right margin and the line length.
When you create a new document, the Text Editor has a default format which
ensures that lines start and finish at columns 5 and 75, and that the maximum
line length is 70 characters.
To control the document format, the Text Editor uses a ruler line. Initially,
the ruler line is not visible. You can display it on screen by selecting the Ruler
option from the Options menu. Click on Ruler and the line will appear at
the top of the text window.
~< The angled bracket at the left of the ruler indicates the current position of
the left margin, the angled bracket at the right of the ruler shows where the
right margin is.
10-10
The Text Editor
Altering the Ruler Settings
You can move the left and right margin settings to any position on the ruler
line. Place the mouse pointer on the ruler line at the point where you want
to set a new margin and click the mouse button. If the pointer is nearer the
left angled bracket, this action will reset the left margin; if it is nearer the
right bracket it will reset the right margin.
As soon as you alter the ruler settings, the Text Editor reformats the text so
that it fits into the new margins. However, the ruler settings only apply to the
current paragraph and the paragraphs after it. (The current paragraph is the
one where the cursor is.)
If the cursor is in the first paragraph of the document, the effect of resetting
the margins will be to reformat the entire document. If the cursor is located
in another paragraph, the text above the current paragraph will not be
affected.
Note that in setting the margins you are also setting the line length. In other
words, you can approach this operation from two different angles. Suppose
your main consideration was that the line length should be 70 characters.
First, you would set the left margin, then you would move the pointer 70
characters to the right and set the right margin.
A quick way of working out the column position on the ruler line, is to use
the Tab key. Pressing the Tab key moves the cursor eight characters at a time.
Use Tab to position the cursor below the ruler line in the column you require.
Then align the pointer with the cursor.
Multiple Rulers
Ifyou wish, you can assign a separate ruler line to each paragraph. The ruler
line at the top of the screen will then reflect the margin settings for the
current paragraph - the paragraph where the cursor is currently positioned.
You can change the margins for a single paragraph by moving the cursor to
that paragraph and then resetting the ruler. But when you do this the
paragraphs following the current paragraph may also be reformatted. The
point to bear in mind here is that a reformatting operation applies to the
current paragraph and any paragraphs following it which have not already
had a ruler line set for them.
The Text Editor
10-11
Example
To illustrate the way multiple rulers work, let's consider an example
involving a document with just four paragraphs. Initially, they all use the
same ruler, the default ruler. Altering the margins for the first paragraph
will have the effect of reformatting the entire document.
If you reset the left margin for the second paragraph to column 30,
paragraphs 3 and 4 will also be shifted to column 30. The first paragraph,
however, will stay at column 5, the default setting.
Next, move the cursor to paragraph 3 and reset the ruler so that the left
margin is at column 15. You will notice that this action reformats paragraphs
3 and 4 but leaves the other two paragraphs unchanged.
Finally, return the cursor to the second paragraph and position the left
margin at column 40. Because paragraphs 3 and 4 no longer use the same
ruler, this operation will only affect the second paragraph.
Formatting a Paragraph
After editing a paragraph you may find that it no longer fits into the current
margin settings. If this is the case, pressing A F will readjust the lines in the
paragraph so that it is correctly formatted.
With many editing operations, it will not be necessary to use "F. A
paragraph is automatically formatted when you insert text or when you move
the cursor to another paragraph.
The Text Editor
10-12
Setting the Type Style
Four different type styles are available:
Plain
Bold
Italic
Underlined
Text is shown on screen in the type style you select. Provided you have
installed the appropriate printer driver, the text will also be printed in the
selected type style.
You cannot select 'Plain' and one of the other type styles at the same time.
Otherwise, any combination of type styles can be used:
Bold and italic
Bold and underlined
Bold, italic and underlined
Italic and underlined
There are two ways of setting a type style: either by selecting one of the style
options from the Style menu, or by pressing the keyboard equivalents for the
options. The key combinations for the Text Editor's type styles use the Alt
key (on the Atari, this is labelled Alternate) plus a letter key:
AIt P
AIt B
AIt U
AIt I
Plain
Bold
Underline
Italic
Once you have selected a particular style, the Text Editor will place a check
mark next to the menu option, and any text you type in will now be displayed
in that style. To tum a style setting off, click on the style option a second time,
or press the key combination again. If you want to alter the type style for a
word or a line of text, you will have to delete the text, select a new style, then
type it again.
The Text Editor
10-13
Loading Text
Use the Open option on the Project menu to load a text file from disk. (Make
sure that the Text Editor menus are active, not the database menus.)
Selecting Open presents you with the standard Superbase file dialog, listing
all the 'sbt' text files in the current directory. 'sbt' files are files which have
been created with the Text Editor.
You select a file in the usual way, by double clicking on it or by clicking once
and then clicking on OK. If you want to load a file from another directory,
type the path name and file name into the Selection Box.
When you load a file in this way, it replaces any file that may already be
present in the Text Editor.
Loading Files Produced by Other Programs
To load a file which has been created with another program, type the file
name in the Selection Box. The file must have an extension name and the
extension name must not be 'sbt'. If there is no extension name, the Text
Editor will assume the file is an 'sbt' file and will be unable to load it.
Although you can load files from other programs into the Text Editor, you
will not be able to format them; nor will you be able to set text in different
type styles. The ruler line and the style options will be unavailable.
Text files from other programs can be divided into two types: files with
control characters in them, and files without control characters (sometimes
referred to as ASCII files or non-document files). You can attempt to load
the first type of file, but the results will be unpredictable. The Text Editor
may not be able to read the control characters, or if it does succeed in loading
the file, the control characters will appear on screen as quite different
characters, for example as graphic symbols.
Word processor text files usually contain control characters; they are used
to store the details of a document's format and type styles. However, most
word processors also provide an option for saving a document without any
control characters - they may allow you to do this by printing a file to disk,
or they may offer a non-document mode.
If you load this type of file into the Text Editor, you will be able to edit it ­
to delete and insert text but it will not be possible to reformat the text. If you
wish to reformat the text, you must first save the file as an '.sbt' file (see the
next section) and then load it back into the Text Editor.
10--14 The Text Editor
Saving Text Files
To store the current text on disk, select the Save option on the Project menu.
Superbase will display a Save File dialog. Type in the file name and click on
OK.
Note that files from other programs can be loaded into the Text Editor and
then saved as '.sbt' files: when the Save File dialog appears, you should delete
the previous extension name; the Text Editor will then add a '.sbt' extension
to the first part of the file name.
Converting to ASCII
You may want to convert Superbase text files to ASCII files. The technique
for doing this is as follows:
1. Rename the '.sbt' file, giving it a different extension; e.g., rename
'Merge.sbt' as 'Merge.asc'.
2. Load the file into the Text Editor. Its name will not appear in the list of
files presented by the Project Open dialog and you will have to type it
into the dialog box (remember to include the extension name).
3. Delete the lines containing information about ruler lengths. These will
be blank lines except for two figures which give the start and end points
for the ruler that is attached to the following paragraphs.
4. Save the file using the same name with which it was loaded.
Printing Text
Select Print from the Project menu to print a document. This option prints
the current Text Editor document. If you want to print a file that is stored on
disk, you need to load it into memory first.
Text is printed out exactly as it appears on screen. To this extent. the Text
Editor acts like a WYSIWYG word processor: your hard copy version of a
document will have the same margins as the document on screen, and text
will be printed in the same type style.
Where the Text Editor differs from a word processor is that it does not offer
as many print formatting features. For example, it does not allow you to set
line spacing, or to specify how lines are justified.
The Text Editor
10-15
However, you may be able to set some of these features using a printer
initialization sequence. To do this, make the database window active and
select Printer Options from the Options menu (on the Amiga, the printer
initialization sequence is set using the second part of the Option dialog).
When you have entered a sequence ofcommands in the Printer Initialization
box, return to the Text Editor. Then select Print from the Project menu. You
can also set a printer intialization sequence in the printer definition file
see Appendix I for more details.
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CHAPTER 11
USING QUERY
The Query option provides you with a powerful and versatile tool for
selecting data. In some respects, it is similar to the Filter facility available
from the Control paneL But unlike the Filter, Query allows you to define
not just one, but four command lines: Fields, Report, Filter and Order lines.
Each line is used to specify a different aspect of the Query output.
• Fields determines which fields are output.
• Report allows you to include other features such as totals and record
counts. It also controls the way data output is formatted.
• Filter controls the selection of records from a file. As a multi-file fil­
ter, it allows you to set up relational links between files. By doing this, you can make the selection of records in one file dependent on records in another file. • Order specifies the order in which records are sorted. You can sort a file on one field - this sorts records in the same way as an index - or you can use several fields to sort a file at different levels. Query Definition Dialog
The dialog has three parts ( see below). At the top is the Title Box, below this
is the Query Command Panel, and at the bottom left you will see three
buttons for selecting the destination for the output from the query.
Query Definition works by accepting your selections and typed input
through four dialogs linked to the Fields, Report, Filter and Order buttons
next to the Query Command Panel. Superbase then searches the file or files
and outputs any records that match your Filter values .
........................Ip~el
11-2
Using Query
Title Box
The Title Box has three parts: Date Selector, Text Entry Box, and Page
Number Selector. If you make any selections or enter any text, Superbase
will print the results as a Title at the head of each page or screen of the query
output, followed by a blank line. If you don't use the Title Box at all,
Superbase starts the query output at the top of the page.
If you click on the Date Selector, the Title will include the system date, as
shown in the Date Format dialog on the Set menu. The date is always aligned
with the left margin. Superbase highlights the Date Selector when it's active.
To enter the text you want for the query output title, click in the box between
the Date and Page Number Selectors, and start typing. The maximum length
is 80 characters.
If you click on the Page Number Selector, the Title will include a page
number. The page number starts at one and increases by one every time it's
printed. The page number is always aligned with the right margin. Superbase
highlights the Page Number Selector when it's active.
Query Command Panel
The four lines of the Query Command Panel do most of the work of the
Query option. Each line defines one of the elements ofa query: output fields,
report features, filter conditions and sorting order; each of the first three can
be up to 512 characters long.
When you open a previously saved query from the Project Menu, Superbase
copies its details into these four lines. You can then click on OK to use it, or
edit any of the lines directly.
You do not have to use all four lines. For example, to produce a sorted report
that prints just the open fields for all the records in the current file, you would
only use the Order line to specify the fields to sort on.
Query Fields
If you want to output just the open fields for the current file, leave this line
blank. Don't click on the Fields button; go on to the next section.
If you do want to select a set of fields for the query output from the open
files, click on the Fields button. Superbase displays the Query Fields dialog.
.~
11-3
Using Query
Query fields
File: ADDRESS
[]!!]File
~
Position
Length
Heading
OK
~
I I Clear I ICancel I
Also, if you want to output the Open Fields List instead of or as well as fields
you select using the Fields button, type ALL at the beginning of the Filter
Command Line.
The Query Fields dialog resembles the Filter dialog, but has several
important differences. Its purpose is to allow you to select fields from any of
the files being used in the query, and apply certain operators and parameters
to them. Before looking at these you should understand how to select a file.
'-....d
Selecting File and Fields
At the top of the dialog is the File Name Box, containing the name of the
first open file. The fields in the Field Name Panel below belong to this file.
You can select any field by clicking on it in the usual way.
If you want to select a field belonging to another open file, you must first
click on the upward pointing arrow to the right of the File Name Box. This
action selects the next open file, and displays its name and the field names
that belong to it. You can cycle through all the open files by repeated clicking
on the arrow.
Superbase checks to see whether a field name is unique across all the open
files. If it is not, Superbase appends the file name automatically:
Lastname.Address
For simple queries, you just click on the field names you want, and then on
OK. But if you want to add features to your query output you must use the
special operators and options to the right of the Field Name Panel.
If you click on one field name after another, Superbase will use a comma to
separate the names in the Fields Command line. When the field data is
Using Query
11-4
output, the comma has the effect of placing a space between each item. If
you replace the commas with semi-colons, the items will be output without
any spaces in between.
Derived Columns
A derived column in the query output is one in which the data is generated
from a calculation, usually involving an existing field or fields, one or more
arithmetic operators, and numeric variables. Examples are:
Multiplication of fields:
Fixed decimal places:
Percentage increase of 15%:
Percentage decrease of 8%:
Future date:
Margin:
Quantity * Price
FIX( amount/3,2)
Price * 1.15
Price * .0.92
Date + 30
Sales - (Cost + Commission)
The usual set of arithmetic operators is available. To set up a derived column,
click on each of the elements of the calculation in turn, except for actual
values, which you should type into the Value Box, pressing Return to enter
them.
A derived column that produces a numeric result is output in the default
numeric format, which is specified with the Number Format option on the
Set menu.
likewise, a derived date column is output according to the format specified
with Date Format on the Set menu. The data in a derived text column is
output at its actual length, which means that following fields will not be
regularly positioned unless you specify a fixed length for the derived text or
a fixed column position for the next column.
AS Heading
When you specify a field as part of the query output, Superbase normally
prints its name at the head of its column on each page. But this is not possible
for a derived column, which has no name of its own. Consequently,
Superbase allows you to enter a piece of text as a special heading. This can
be done for both derived and normal columns.
After specifying the field or calculation, click on the button for AS Heading
then type the heading you require into the Value Box and press Return. AS
will stay highlighted until you press Return. Examples:
Sales - ( Cost + Commission) AS "Margin"
Lastname AS "Name"
Using Query
11-5
You may enter any piece of text. Positioning is done with the @ Position
option. If you're using Query to create a new database, you must make sure
that the headings for any derived columns are valid field names - legal
characters only and not more than 15 characters in length.
@ Position
If you don't specify column positions for the fields, Superbase will output
the field data for each record in a line, with each field appearing right after
the previous one. Control over the exact positioning of data is obtained by
clicking on the button for @ Position, and entering the desired column in
the Value Box. You do this before clicking on the field name.
For example, to print Lastname at column 12, you click on @ Position, then
in the Value Box, where you type in "12" (no quotation marks), and press
Return. Then you click on Lastname. Superbase shows this in the Main Box
as:
@12 Lastname
We suggest that you try out column positions on screen and then adjust them
before starting a lengthy report.
Overlapping fields can cause problems. Typically, this occurs when you tell
Superbase to print a field at a column position which has already been used
by the preceding field's trailing spaces. Superbase's response in this situation
is to print the field at the correct column position on the next line (see &
Length, below).
The maximum column position is 255. On a printer this will be wrapped
round according to the margins you have set.
& Length
The solution to the problem of overlapping fields on a line is to limit the
number of characters output for each field. You do this by clicking on the
button for & Length, and then entering the desired number of characters in
the Value Box. You do this before clicking on the field name.
For example, to set a length of 12 for Lastname, click on & Length, then
click in the Value Box, where you type 12 and press Return. Then click on
Lastname. Superbase shows this in the Main box as:
&12 Lastname
Using Query
11-6
New Lines
You can start a new line in the output at any point by clicking on the LINE
button. Superbase places the NEWLINE symbol in the Main Box.
If you want a blank line in the output you may need to click on LINE twice,
depending on the actual print position.
Other Format Parameters
There are a number of other parameters that can be used to specify the
format for Query output. These are not shown in the Query Fields dialog and
must be typed directly into the Fields Command line with spaces or
semi-colons separating them from other words in the Command line.
The following table lists all the output format parameters that are not shown
in the Query Fields dialog:
Parameter
Purpose
FIELD
DOWN
BF [ON]
UL[ON]
IT [ON]
BF!UI)IT OFF
ATIROFF
FG (Amigaonly)
BG (Amiga only)
EJECTnn
Suppresses the field name headings
Outputs each item in an expression list on new line
Sets text to bold face
Underlines text
Sets text to italic
Turns selected text style attribute off
Turns all text style attributes off
Sets foreground colour
Sets background colour
Outputs data on a new page if there are less than nn
lines left at the bottom of the current page
FlEW
When this option is not used, Superbase prints the name of each field at the
top of the 'page' as a heading for the data in the column below it. If you want
to suppress the headings for all the fields in the command line, place the
FIELD parameter at the front of the line. If you place FIELD anywhere else
in the command line, it will only suppress the headings for the fields that
follow it. Examples are:
FIELD Firstname, Lastname, Country
Firstname, Lastname, FIELD Country
Using Query '-.. / 11-7
DOWN
DOWN must be placed at the front of the Command line, before the field
names. It ensures that the data for each field is output on a new line. For
example:
DOWN Firstname, Lastname, City
would output data like this:
Pierre Arnauld Paris Note that DOWN presents data in the same way as Record View and
displays field names in reverse video; that is, the foreground colour becomes
the background colour and vice versa. If you wish, you can combine DOWN
and FIELD, so that the data for each field is output on a separate line but
without the field name, e.g.:
FIELD DOWN Firstname, Lastname, City
STYLE PARAMETERS
BF, UL, and IT set the text style for output. BF sets boldface UL sets underline IT sets italic Each of these can be set by ON (which is optional) and unset by OFF.
ATIR OFF unsets all the text style attributes.
~j For example:
UL BF FIRSTNAME, LASTNAME, UL OFF CITY, COUNTRY
Using Query
11-8
COLOURS (Amiga only)
On the Amiga you can also set the foreground and background colours, using
FG and BG. Each takes a parameter in the range 1 to 4 for the four colours
set by the Amiga Preferences utility. For example:
FG 2;BG 1 Firstname,Lastname
EJECT
You can use EJECT to ensure that all the data for a single record is output
on the same page. The number following EJECT should be the number of
lines occupied by the record data. Thus, if you were using two lines to output
the data from each record, the Fields command line would look like this
Firstname, Lastname, NEWLINE City, Country EJECT 2
Superbase will then display or print a new page whenever less than two lines
are left on the current page.
Entering EJECT on its own or EJECT 0 causes Superbase to output a new
page for each record.
11-9
Using Query
ON File
Outputting data from more than one file raises a special problem of
formatting. The ON File option is designed to solve it.
The best way to explain how ON File works is with an example. For this
purpose, we will use one of the demonstration Query files, DClients.
Load DClients using the Query Load option. DClients automatically opens
the two database files, Clients and Deposits. Both files hold data relating to
the same set of individuals. The Deposits file contains details of the bank
deposits made by the individuals in the Clients file, using one record for each
deposit. Note that the relationship between the two files is 'one to many':
for each record in the Clients file, there may be several records in the
Deposits file.
DClients outputs data from both files, using the Lastname field as a link.
This link is set up in the Query filter, which is explained later.
The Fields line in the DClients Query file specifies which fields are to be
shown in the report:
Firstname.Clients,Lastname.Clients,Street.Clients,
@27 Bank,Amount,Date
When you click on OK in the Query dialog, the screen output should look
like this:
Deposits By Client
,--/'
Firstnal'le
Lastnaflle
Bank
AMOunt
Donna
Donna
AdaMS
AdaMS
Oppens &Benworthy
Hindhead Permanent
£3000
£16001l
- . - - ..
£191lOO
.. .. .. .. .... ...
£5000
£2500
£5900
................ ­ ..
£12500
~
Bruce
Bruce
Bruce
Clarke
Clarke
Clarke
Ludlow
rtational rtorthern
Baker Bank
~
~
Date
__
.............. -....
_:E:;;:~.
£31500
~
25 Jul 1986
25 Jul 1986
~
===========­
8 Aug 1987
23 Feb 1986
21 Feb 1986
Using Query
11-10 Too much data is repeated. What is needed is a way of telling Superbase
which details to print for each file. ON File does exactly that.
The demonstration Query file Deptran works with the same database files
as DClients, but uses ON File to format its output. The only difference
between these two Queries is in the Fields line:
ON "Clients" Flrstname.Clients, Lastname.Cllents,
Street. Clients, ON "Deposits" @27 Bank,Amount,Date
If you now load Deptran and click on OK, the screen output will be like this:
Deposits By Client
Firstna/1le
lastnallle Bank
Donna
Adairls Oppens &Benworthy
Hindhead Pernanent
Anount
Date
£3000
£16800
....................
25 Jul 1986
25 Jul 1986
£19800
~
Bruce
Clarke
ludlow
Hational Northern
Baker Bank
.... " ........ ..
"
£5800
£2580
£5800
.............. -..
£12500
-=---­
..................
8 Aug 1987
23 Feb 1986
21 Feb 1986
­
£31500
-=c_=~
As you see, ON File ensures that the names and addresses are not repeated.
It instructs Superbase not to output fields from a file unless the current
record has changed. You can think of ON as being short for 'on change of
record'.
In this example, Superbase reads a record from the Clients file and then reads
the records in the Deposits file. Every time it finds a Deposits record whose
Lastname field matches the Lastname field in the Clients file, it outputs the
data specified by the Fields line. Without the ON "Clients" command, it
repeats the first and last names from the Clients file for matching records in
the Deposits file. The effect of ON "Clients" is to suppress duplicate names.
Using Query
11-11
The second instance of ON File - ON "Deposits" - has a different effect. It
cancels the first ON command and instructs Superbase to output data for all
the matching records in the Deposits file. Ifyou left out ON "Deposits" from
the Fields line, only the first matching record for each client would be
printed.
Superbase assumes that the ON command applies to all the field names to
the right of it, irrespective of which file they belong to. This is why we need
to include ON "Deposits" in the Fields Line; it ensures that the first ON
command only applies to the fields in the Clients file.
Ifwe were not concerned about the order in which fields are output, we could
dispense with the second ON command, as in the following Field line:
Bank,Amount,Date ON "Clients" Flrstname.Clients,
Lastname.Clients
Entering ON File
To include this in the Fields command line, click on ON File in the Fields
dialog. Superbase will then copy ON into the Main Box together with the
name of the file that's in the File Name Box.
Note that ON File only works when the data for each "level" of the Query
output is held in separate files.
Using Query
11-12
Query Report
Superbase allows you to specify features such as totalling for the output fields
in a query. If you don't want any features of this kind you should leave this
line blank, avoid clicking on the Report button, and skip to the next section.
Ifyou do want some report features in your query output, click on the Report
button. Superbase displays the Query Report dialog.
Query report
File: CLIENTS ~
SlIi1
I MEAN I
The Query report dialog, like many others, has three main parts. To the left
is a Field Name Panel, with a File Name Box above it. On the right is a set
ofbuttons for making selections, and the Value Box. Below these is the Main
Box into which Superbase copies the results of your selections.
Field Groups
This is a key concept. A report consists of a series of records, which may be
divided into groups according to the sorting order you set. For example, in
a file such as our demonstration Address file, all the address records for each
country may be printed together, and all the records for each city may be
printed together, using a Country group and a City group.
Using Query
11-13
In this example, the City groups would appear within the Country groups:
England London London London York West Germany Bonn Bonn Heidelberg A Field Group is defined by a change in the content of the field. The change
from Bonn to Heidelberg defines a City group, and the change from England
to West Germany defines a Country group. Note that the change in the
Country group necessarily implies a change in the City group: West
Germany terminates both York and England.
In this example, we would say that the file was Ordered or Sorted by City
within Country. Now, if the file also had numeric or financial data, it would
be very useful to be able to generate a subtotal for each Country and City
group. Averages and record counts for each group would also be interesting.
And we would like to see figures for the overall totals, averages, and counts
as well.
The Report dialog allows you to specify these features for both the report
as a whole and any group within it by clicking on the keyword buttons and
entering field names.
Summarize
The Report will suppress all record data and only output information from
the following functions.
Report
When this button is highlighted, the selections that you make will apply to
the report as a whole, not just to a group within the report.
Group
When this button is highlighted, the selections that you make will apply to
one Field Group within the report.
Sum
The fields that follow the keyword will be totalled or subtotalled depending
on whether Report or Group is selected.
11-14
Using Query
MEAN
The fields that follow the keyword will be averaged or sub-averaged
depending on whether Report or Group is selected.
COUNT
The records in either the whole report or a group will be counted or
sub-counted depending on whether Report or Group is selected.
Superbase prints the totals and means for each specified field in the column
for that field, aligned with the field's numeric format (see also Overflow in
Subtotals or Totals, below). Counts are printed once for each group in the
leftmost column.
Report Example
This example illustrates all the Report features we have mentioned. It shows
you how to create a report on the data in the demonstration file Customers.
The Customers file holds data for the same individuals as the Address file,
but it has been modified to include two fields for storing financial data:
Year_to_Date and Balance. Year_to_Date shows the total value of the
orders placed by a customer over the past year. Balance shows the
outstanding balance on orders which have not yet been paid for.
Let's set out our objectives in creating this report.
First, we want to sort customers into groups according to geographical area.
The sort order will be country then city; that is, the highest level of grouping
will be by country, and within each country customers will be sorted
according to their city.
Second, the report will show the totals for the two numeric fields in each
City and Country Field Group. It will also show record counts for each group.
Third, the report will show totals and records for the file as a whole.
How do you create a report which satisfies these requirements? The
following sections take you through the procedure step by step.
Using Query 11-15
Report Totals, Averages, and Record Counts
The first step is to define the requirements for the report as a whole.
1. Click on Report. This tells Superbase that the selections you are going
to make will apply to the report as a whole.
2. Click on Sum. This indicates that the fields you are going to select are
to be totalled for the report as a whole.
3. Click on a numeric field in the Field Name Panel. Superbase copies the
name into the Main Box after the keywords. Repeat this action for all
the fields you wish to have overall totals for. If you selected
Year_to_Date and Balance, the Report Command line so far would
be:
REPORT SUM Year_to_Date, Balance
4. Record counting. This feature is either on or off. If you want the records
to be counted and the total printed at the end of the report, use this
option. Click on Count. Superbase copies the keyword into the Main
Box:
REPORT SUM Year_to_Date, Balance COUNT
It's important to realize that the order of your actions is important here. By
clicking at random on operators and field names, you could produce a
meaningless Report Command tine. This won't harm your data, and it's the
price you pay for complete flexibility, but you should try to avoid it
nevertheless. A line like this doesn't help anyone:
SUM MEAN Year_to_Date, Lastname, COUNT REPORT
MEAN City
Superbase will either give you a "Can't do this" message if there's an error
in the line (such as trying to sum a text field), or print meaningless data. So
proceed carefully.
Using Query
11-16 Group Totals, Averages, and Record Counts
Now we come to the business of specifying report features for the different
groups within the report. The procedure is very similar to that for the report
as a whole.
1. Click on Group, and then on a single field name. Superbase applies the
selections you make next to the named group only. If you selected
Country, the Report Command Line would look like this:
GROUP Country
The field that defines the Group should also be part of the Query Order
Command Line. Most often it's a text field, but if your report groups its
records by date or number then you could obtain meaningful subtotals
from a date or numeric field. The only fields you should not use as
Group fields are those that change their values from record to record,
such as most financial items.
2. Click on Sum. This indicates that the fields you are going to select are
to be totalled for the group - in other words they will be subtotals.
3. Click on a numeric field in the Field Name Panel. Superbase copies the
name into the Main Box. Repeat this action for all the fields you wish
to have subtotalled for the group. If you selected Year_to_Date and
Balance, the Line so far would be:
GROUP Country SUM Year_to_Date, Balance
4. As for the report as a whole, the record counting function is either on
or off. By definition it counts only the number of records in the group.
Click on Count, and Superbase copies the keyword into the Main Box:
GROUP Country SUM Year_to_Date, Balance COllNT
The next step is define a City group. Do this in the same way as Country. The
final Report command line should now be:
REPORT SUM Year_to_Date, Balance COUNT GROUP
Country SUM Year_to_Date, Balance COUNT GROUP City
SUM Year_to_Date, Balance COUNT
It looks lengthy, but when you read it through it's quite easy to understand
what's going on.
11-17
Using Query
Field Group Order Rule
Remember that we said earlier that the City group can be described as being
within the Country group? This makes the Country group the outer group,
and as you can see above, it comes before City in the Command tine. The
order from outer to inner must be reflected in the way you build up the
Command Line, or Superbase will be unable to keep track of the subtotals.
The Rule is:
Specify field groups from the outer level inwards.
,_/
Example Output
For this example, we also need to set the Order command line - see page
11-23. If the Order line was specified by the field Country, the first page of
our example report would look like this:
Country
City
Australia
Free/llantle
Group count 1 Freelliantle
Australia
Australia
Australia
Sydney
Sydney
Sydney
Group count 3 Sydney
GrQup count 4 Australia
Year_to_date
Balance
................... ., ....
£400.00
--- ..............
£400.00
£76.00
........................
...-- .. - .. --­
£242.00
£239.00
£2000.00
£1'1.1'10
£40.01'1
£199.95
.........................
£76.00
.. ............ . .
£249' .00
£239.95
............................
£2991.00
.. ..............
........... "' ............
.. .............. -..
£315.95
Using Query
11-18
Summary Reports
You can obtain a report that suppresses the main detail of the query output
and prints just the summary information. Click on the Summarize button to
activate this feature. Ifyou wanted a summary report based on the one above,
but without the mean information, the Report Command Line would be:
SUMMARIZE REPORT SUM Year_to_Date, Balance COUNT
GROUP Country SUM Year_to_Date, Balance COUNT
GROUP City SUM Year_to_Date, Balance COUNT
The report output would look like this:
Country
Balance
City
£400.00
£76.BB
£2481.09
£239.95
£2881.09
£315.95
£2881.011
£315.95
Group count 1 Freemantle
Group count 3 Sydney
Group count 4 Australia
Report count: 4
Derived Columns
If you want to apply report features to derived columns, you can. However,
you must refer to the derived column expression by the name you gave it
with the AS Heading feature in the Query Fields dialog.
For example, the Query Report Command Line for subtotalling a derived
column where the original expression was Year_to_Date * 0.15 and the AS
Heading text was "15%" would be:
GROUP Country SUM Year_to_Date,Balance,"15%"
You would enter "15%" into the Value Box in the usual way. Obviously you
must ensure that each item of AS Heading text is unique, or Superbase may
confuse one expression with another.
Using Query
11-19
Overflow in Subtotals or Totals
Every time you request totals for a numeric field, you run the risk of creating
a format overflow. Suppose you had a numeric field with a format "999.00",
defined at this length because the field itself can never exceed 999 in value.
If the total were to run into four figures, as it would if even just 10 records
had the value of 100 in this example, the format would not be able to handle
it, and Superbase would print or display number signs:
###.##
To prevent this happening, you must adjust the field format in the File
Definition. Select Project Edit, select the field to be adjusted, and click on
the Numeric button. Then increase the length of the format by clicking on
the upper left arrow on the Number Format Panel. Exit from the Number
format dialog, then from the File Definition dialog, both times by clicking
on OK. Then select Cancel on the Save File Definition dialog.
Now Superbase will use the expanded numeric format for all the numbers
in the column, as well as subtotals and totals.
You may prefer to make such changes permanent, by saving the File
Definition with the expanded format.
Totals for Non-Printing Fields
You may request totals for fields that do not appear in the Query Fields
Command Line. Superbase prints such totals without a column heading after
any totals for fields that are being printed.
Using Query
11-20
Query Filter
The Filter button calls up a dialog very similar to the Filter dialogs used in
the other functions on the Process menu.
Ifyou don't want to restrict the records selected for the query output, leave
this line blank.
If you're leaving the Filter line blank, don't click on the Filter button, and
go on to the next section. If you want to set up a Filter, click on the Filter
button. Superbase displays the Query Filter dialog.
Query filter File: ADDRESS
~
The Query Filter is very similar to the Filter that you're familiar with from
the Control PaneL However, this Filter allows you to select fields from any
of the open files being used in the Query. Above the Field Name Panel is
the File Name Box containing the name ofone ofthese files. The field names
in the Panel belong to the file whose name appears in the box. If you want
to see the fields for the next open file, click on the upward pointing arrow to
the right of the File Name Box.
Apart from this difference, the Query Filter works exactly like other filters.
You click on a field name, then on an operator, then in the Value Box or on
another field name. (Remember to press Return after you've entered a value
in the Value Box.) Superbase builds up the Filter Command Line in the
Main Box as you make selections and enter values.
Using Query 11-21
Relational Queries
If you're new to databases, or you have no intention of finding out how
Superbase handles multiple files, you may wish to skip this section. It's
intended for those users who want to explore the possibilities of linking files
together to form a sophisticated database system.
File Design
Although the design of the individual files that comprise a database is
important to the successful implementation of a complex or multi file
system, it is too large a topic to be covered in this Guide. Advanced users
should consult appropriate publications.
4
In your case, as in every case, a database meets the needs of a particular
application. This makes it difficult to give much general advice beyond a few
basic points:
• Keep record and index key sizes small.
• In each file that is to form part of a multi file query, set up a field to
be used for linking across files. The field names do not have to be the
same.
• Place an identifier such as a record or customer number in this field.
For every pair of files to be linked, there must be identifiers that are
the same in both files, yet unique within each.
• Index files on all identifier fields used for linking.
• Base transactional records such as invoice line data on a single trans­
action with no repeating fields.
4
Query Filter Command Line Rules
Creating an efficient Query Filter is something you have to learn. Even
sophisticated users of mainframe databases often find that the results oftheir
first attempts at a query are not exactly what they want. It's important to have
a realistic level of expectation, to avoid frustration. Realize that the process
of experimentation and feedback is normal.
A query is multi-file when fields from more than one file are named in the
Query Fields Command Line. For a multi-file query to work, you must
specify links between the files. A link is known as a 'join' in the jargon. A
join takes the form of two fields joined by an EQUALS operator:
Custref.lnvoices = Custnumber.Address.
You can have joins between more than one pair of files, and a file or field
may appear more than once in the series of joins.
Using Query
11-22
Although Superbase, true to its philosophy, allows you to create a Query
Filter in almost any form, only certain techniques will work properly. To
make this clear, we have come up with eight important rules for building up
Query Filter Command Lines.
Rule One
When linking any two files, there must be a link between them in the form
of record identifiers that are the same in both:
Custref.lnvoices
= Custnumber .Address
Rule Two Do not use OR expressions when linking across files: Custref.lnvoices = Custnumber.Address OR CustreUnvoices
Custname.Address. =
Rule Three Use only the EQUALS operator when linking between files. Rule Four Place all expressions that link across files at the start of the Filter Command Line. Rule Five. Later in the Command Line, if you want to use an OR expression, enclose it within parentheses: ( City = "London" OR City
= "New York" )
Rule Six Sequence all filter expressions in an order from most precise to least precise. For example: =
CustNumber
CustRef AND Country LIKE "England" AND
Balance > 1000 AND ( Name LIKE "smith" OR Name LIKE
"jones")
The join comes first, followed by a string match on "England", which is a
single value - quite precise. Then comes a GREATER mAN expression
less precise, as many values can be greater than 1000. OR expressions,
whatever the degree of precision involved, always come last, inside
parentheses.
Rule Seven
Files are processed in the order in which they are mentioned in the WHERE
statement (Query Filter Line). In some cases you will want to process the
smallest file first, in some cases you won't. You may have to experiment to
find the optimum query for a particular application.
Using Query
11-23
Rule Eight
Every file reference in the WHERE statement or Query Filter line must be
part of a chain. WHERE A = B AND B = C is acceptable, but WHERE
A =B AND C =D is not. A simple rule of thumb is that there should always
be one less join than the number of files in the query.
Caution: These Rules must be followed. Ifthey are notfollowed, you could end
up with queries that produce enormously repetitive and meaningless results, and
take a very long time to do so.
If you want to interrupt a Query, click on the Stop button. The process will
only halt on retrieval of data that matches the selection criteria.
Alternatively, you can use the key combination Control-C to stop a process.
Query Order
The Order button allows you to specify a sorted order for the query output.
Ifyou don't specify any order, Superbase will present the records in the order
in which it finds them on the disk. Most probably, they will not be in any
alphabetic or indexed order. As this is the fastest way of retrieving
information from the disk, you may want to use it in certain situations where
the order of presentation does not matter. And if you're creating a new
database you should definitely avoid specifying an order, to speed up the
processing. However, in the majority of cases, you'll want to see the records
ordered, especially when:
•
•
~.
Indexed order, such as date order, is an important part of the file.
You have set up subtotals on the Report line.
If you don't want to specify any order, don't click on the Order button. Skip
to the next section to complete the Query Definition.
Ifyou do want to add order features to the query, click on the Order button;
Superbase displays the Query Order dialog.
The Query Order Dialog
This dialog allows you to select fields for sorting from any file, specifying
whether each one is to be sorted in ascending or descending order.
You can select fields from any of the open files being used in the Query.
Above the Field Name Panel is the File Name Box containing the name of
one of these files. The field names in the Panel belong to the file whose name
appears in the box. If you want to see the fields for the next open file, click
on the upward pointing arrow to the right of the File Name Box.
11-24
Using Query
To the right of the Field Name Panel are the buttons for the Ascending and
Descending options. The procedure is quite simple:
1.
2.
3.
Click on a field name.
Click on either Ascending or Descending.
Repeat with other fields if necessary.
The default length for sorting is 15 characters per field. Superbase gives
equal weighting to upper case, lower case and accented instances of a
character.
Caution. You will need to have an area offree memory before you use Query
Order.
When you're finished, click on OK to return to the main Query Definition
dialog. Superbase copies your selections into the Order line.
Single and Multiple File Sorting
Outputting records from a single file is comparatively easy, and Superbase
performs the operation without affecting the file itself. If you specified an
order using just a single index, Superbase outputs the data as it finds it. But
if your Order request includes several fields. you may have to wait a while
for Superbase to create a temporary file prior to producing the query output.
The temporary files are identified by the names "sb.tmp" and "sb.srt".
However, if you are using more than one file, Superbase has to do quite a
lot more work. Although the amount ofwork varies depending on the precise
Order request you set up, essentially it means that Superbase can't tell what
the final order is to be until it's finished reading all the files. Consequently,
you may have to wait for the results of the query while Superbase places all
the data that is to be output into a new file, which is indexed according to
the order you specified. When this is done, Superbase switches to an output
phase, and produces the results you want.
11-25
Using Query
Query Output Destination
You select the destination for the query output by clicking on the
appropriate button; then click on OK to run the query.
OK
Always directs output to the Screen.
Print
Always directs output to the Printer.
Disk
This selection creates an ASCII disk file containing the query
output. The output is formatted as if it were being printed, so
provided the file is not too large for your word processor, you
may be able to load and edit it like an ordinary text file.
Say
Amiga only. If you select Say, the Amiga will output the Query
data as speech, using the built-in speech facility.
File
Creates a new Superbase file. See below.
After selecting a device other than the screen you need to click on OK to
start the output process.
Output to File
This selection creates a new Superbase '.sbf file with a file definition
consisting of the fields and/or formulas specified in your Query Fields line.
The new file is indexed on the first field that was indexed in the original files,
or, if you did not select any indexed fields for output, on the first field in the
output.
Superbase ignores any formatting or reporting elements in the query.
Derived items are treated as new fields, but you must ensure that the text
set with Heading is valid as a field name.
Once you've selected your output destination you must click on OK to
initiate the Query output. The Disk and File options require you to enter a
name for the file you're about to create.
CHAPTER 12
QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE
This section of the User Guide allows you to find out quickly what each
Superbase menu option is for. If there is a keyboard equivalent for a menu
option, it is given as Alt/Amiga followed by the key. In Gem versions of
Superbase you press Alt in combination with the key; on the Amiga, press
the right Amiga key.
Project Menu
The Project menu contains the main options for managing the database:
selecting the files, fields, and indexes for other menu options to use.
Project New File
Create a new file. You enter the field names, formats, and attributes, plus
any required formulas and input validation checks. The system then creates
a file with a '~sbd' extension to hold the file definition and a file with a '.sbf
extension to hold the record data.
Project New Index
Create a new index. Indexes can be used to display the records within a file
in different orders, and for quick retrieval of records. Once you have created
a new index, an index file will be created in the directory. This will have the
same name as the file with an extension consisting ofa full stop and a number.
Project Open File
Open an existing file. You can open more than one file at anyone time, but
only one can be the current file. The Query and Update functions can use
multiple files. The number of files you can open depends on the amount of
available memory. Keys: Alt/Amiga O.
Project Open Fields
Open a list of fields. Once you have opened a file you can choose which fields
to view, and so limit the amount of space each record takes up on the screen.
This option enables you to choose those fields you want to see, for each
record within the current file. If you have not opened a list of fields, then all
the fields for the current file will be displayed.
Project Open Index
Choose and open an existing index. The records in the current file are
presented in the order of the open index. Keys: Alt/Amiga I.
12- 2
Quick Reference Guide
Project Close File Close an open file. This option lets you choose which of the open files you want to close, reducing the amount of memory needed by Superbase. Project Close Fields Close a list of fields. Once you have closed the list you can view all the fields within the current file, instead of only those you have opened. The list of fields is still available and you can re-open it with Open Fields. Project Edit File Change the definition of the current file. You can add or delete fields, change field names, field lengths and field types, as well as any formulas or validation checks. Project Save File Save the current definition of the current file. H you have made any changes to the file definition using Edit File and you wish to make them permanent, you should do so using this option. Project Remove File Remove an open file from the disk. The '.sbd', ',sbf' and all index files associated with the selected file are deleted. Project Remove Index Remove an index from an open file. The relevant index file is deleted. Project Text Select the Text Editor. This option opens the Text Editor window and activates the Text Editor menus. Project Quit Exit from Superbase and return to Desktop (or Workbench). Record Menu
The Record menu contains all the options for entering and editing data into
a file.
Record New
Enter a new record into the current file. Superbase presents a blank record
and you type the data into the fields. H you have opened a list of fields, then
you can only enter information into those fields. Keys: AltJAmiga N.
'-.-.
Quick Reference Guide
12-3
Record Edit Change the details of the current record within the current file. The record you wish to edit must be the current record. You can only edit those fields you have opened. If you are viewing the current record in Table format and you select this option, Superbase automatically switches you to View format or Form format and sets the Paging option on. Keys: Alt/Amiga E. Record Batch Turn Batch mode on or off. Batch mode reduces the time taken to save records on disk. Thrn Batch on when you are saving, removing, or editing a number of records, one after the other. Record Duplicate Make a copy in memory of the current record. This can then be edited and saved as a new record. The function saves time when you are entering the same or very similar information into more than one record. Record Remove Remove the current record from the file. Superbase waits for your confirmation before finally removing the record. Record Save Save the current record in the current file. This is used after you have entered record details with New, Edit or Duplicate. You can call up the Record Save dialog at any time by double clicking the mouse. Keys: Alt/Amiga S. External> > This option is used to manipulate the external files associated with a single record. This option enables you to display the next image within the current record, which could either be a picture or a text file. External < < This option is used to manipulate the external files associated with a single record. This option enables you to display the previous image within the current record, which could either be a picture or a text file. Process Menu
The Process menu options cover all the main database processing
requirements: searching, sorting, reporting, updating, deleting, importing,
exporting and label printing. All options allow the use of a Filter to
determine which records are to be processed.
12-4
Quick Reference Guide
Process Update Edit Run an Update, edit an existing Update which has been loaded from disk, or create a new one. Use this option for automatic update of one or more fields within a set of records from one or more files. The Filter can refer to more than one file. Process Update Load Load an Update from disk. Superbase also opens the database files associated with the update. Process Update Save Save the current Update on disk. Superbase stores the update filter and fields setting on disk in a '.sbu' extension file. Process Query Edit Run a Query, edit an existing Query which you have loaded from disk, or create a new one. Query allows you to interrogate the database and retrieve information from one or more files. You can include report formatting and analysis functions in the query. The results may be sorted in any order, and then output to the screen, the printer, a disk file, or a new database. Process Query Load Choose and open a Query previously stored on the disk with Query Save. Superbase also opens the database files associated with the query. Process Query Save Save the settings for the current query. Superbase stores the title, settings for totalling, etc., and the Filter and Sorting instructions as they were last set up with Process Query Edit, in a '.sbq' extension file. Process Remove Remove a group of records from a file, according to the values and conditions set in the Remove Records Filter. Process Import Import data into a Superbase file. You must first set up the necessary file definition. You can select the field and record separators to match the format of the import file. A Filter determines which records are accepted into the file. Process Export Export data from a Superbase file. The function uses the current set of fields and a Filter. You can define your own field and record separators. Quick Reference Guide
12- 5
Process Print
Produce a listing of the current file. The function outputs the current fields
to the printer using Table format. A Filter determines which records are
selected for printing.
Process Mail Merge
Merge data from records in database file, with a form letter created in the
Text Editor. The database must already be open; but if you haven't opened
the text file which holds the form letter, Superbase will present a file dialog
where you can select a text file for your mail merge.
Process Labels
Print a selection of labels. You can print labels up to four across. Up to four
fields may be placed on each line of a label. A Filter determines which
records are selected for printing. Label settings are saved with the 'sb.par'
file when you click on OK in the Options dialog.
Set Menu
The Set menu contains a number of options which directly affect the way data is processed and presented. Set Screen Send all output to the screen. Set Printer Copy all output to the printer. Set Table View Set the screen display to Table View. When you set this option the field names appear across the top of the screen, with the data for each field in the same column as the field name. Keys: AltlAmiga T. Set Form View Set the screen display to Form View. You can rearrange the line and column positions of the fields in Form View by dragging them around the screen. The arrangement of fields last saved with Project Save File is recalled when you set this option. Keys: AltlAmiga F. Set Record View Set the screen display to Record View. When you set this option the field names will appear down the left hand side of the screen, with the data for each field on the same line as the field name. Keys: Alt/Amiga R. 12-6
Quick Reference Guide
Set Paging
Switch Paging on or off. This allows you to choose whether you want to see
the data in a continuous list (Paging off), or a page at a time (Paging on).
The Record menu data entry options all switch Paging on automatically, as
does Set Form View.
Set Options
Lets you alter the system settings. These include: the speed at which records
are scrolled onto the screen; the currency symbol; the format for thousands
and decimal point separators; import and export field separators and
external file handling controls; the start directory and the directory for the
parameters file; printer initialization sequence for the Amiga;and a number
of other features.
Set Number Format
Choose the format for temporary numeric data such as the product of a
multiplication of two fields.
Set Daterrime Format
Choose the format you want temporary dates or times to appear in, and set
the Superbase system date and time.
System Menu
The System menu includes a number ofutilities to increase your control over the database. Version (Amiga only) Display the Copyright Notice and the program version number. Printer Options (Gem versions only) Allows you to select your paper size and paper types for use with the printer you have connected to your computer. On Gem versions, you can also set the printing mode to either Draft or Graphics. System Directory List Produces a sorted list of the contents of your current directory. This can be sent to either the screen or the printer. Keys: Alt/Amiga D. System Directory Change Switch to a new directory or subdirectory. Keys: Alt/Amiga X. System Status File Gives you a report of the status of the current file, including selected statistics. The output of this and the next function can be printed by setting the Printer option on. Keys: Alt/Amiga Y. Quick Reference Guide
12-7
System Status System Gives you a short form report of the status of all the open files. Keys: Alt/Amiga Z. System Reorganize Reorganizes your database. This will be needed once you have been using your database for a while, and is used to tidy up the file space and make access time quicker. System List Produces a listing of any text file in the directory. The listing will appear On the printer if the Printer option is selected on the Set Menu. Note: This option can only be used with ASCII (non-document) text files. Keys: AltlAmiga L.
System Delete
Delete any file on disk. Use this option as an alternative to the file deletion
facility provided by your computer's operating system.
System Rename
Rename any file On disk. Use this option as an alternative to the file rename
facility provided by the computer's operating system.
System Copy
Copy any file on disk. Use this option as an alternative to the file copying
facility provided by the computer's operating system.
APPENDIXA
ERROR MESSAGES
A file must have at least one index If you need to remove and rebuild the only index to a file you must first build a temporary one on another field. To change from a unique to a duplicate index, you must remove and rebuild it. Access to file not allowed The file requires a password. Password protection cannot be removed and passwords cannot be changed. If you want to dispense with password protection for a file, you must export all the data and then import it into a new file. Can't access directory System error or the directory doesn't exist. Check that the correct disk is inserted. Can't access disk information System error. DOS cannot return directory information. Can't AND illegal values The AND operator cannot handle values greater than 2,147,483,647 or less than -2,147,483,647. Can't divide by zero Divisor in an expression or equation is equal to zero. Can't find this field Usually caused by mis-spelling a field name. Superbase treats any text item that is not a string variable or a reserved word as a field name. This message will be generated if the field referred to does not exist. Can't find this file Usually caused by mis-spelling a file name in a command line. Superbase treats a text item following a field name and a period (full stop) as file name. This message will be generated if the file does not exist. Can't open the printer Physical system error. Check that the printer is correctly connected and switched on. Can't OR illegal values The OR operator cannot handle values greater than 2,147,483,647 or less than -2,147,483,647. A-2
Error Messages
Closing parenthesis missing Error in formula or query command line. There must be an equal number of opening and closing parentheses. Data too long for field Occurs when the data you are trying to store in a field is longer than the length of the field as set in the file definition. Edit field length if necessary. DOS can't open file System error while trying to open a Superbase '.sb£' or index file. DOS can't open input file System error while trying to open a Superbase •.sbd' or other sequential file for input. DOS can't open output file System error while trying to open a Superbase '.sbd' or other sequential file for output. DOS error deleting file Disk error while attempting to delete a file. DOS error reading data Disk read error while reading a Superbase '.sb£', an index file, or other sequential files. DOS error reading file Disk read error while reading a Superbase '.sbd' or index file. DOS error writing data Disk error while writing a Superbase '.sb£' or index file. DOS error writing file Disk error while writing a Superbase '.sbd' or other sequential file. Duplicate entry for this index Index in use allows unique entries only. Can occur when saving a record or importing records leaving blank index fields. End of external file Image Advance produces this message when the external file is only one screen or 'frame' long. End of file Information message. Error Messages
A-3
Error while renaming file Disk error. The most likely explanation is that the disk you are using has been corrupted. Try renaming the file to another disk:, or saving it first in another directory. External file not compatible External picture files must be '.img' compatible (or IFF on the Amiga) for Superbase to be able to display them. External file not found Occurs when the file named in an External File field is not found where it should be. Check directory and/or path name and/or disk volume name. Field already exists Each field name in a File Definition must be unique. Field already has an index Occurs when you attempt to create an index on a field which already has an index; for example, with the New Index option or with the CREATE INDEX command. Field does not match validation If a field has a validation formula you must enter data within the formula's limits. Errors can occur during Import or when editing records. Use System Status File to read Validation formulas. Field not defined Program error. You have referred to field which does not exist if you type a variable name incorrectly, Superbase will assume you are trying to access a field and will issue this error message. Field requires numeric data You cannot assign text data to a numeric field. Field requires text data You cannot assign numeric data to a text field. File already exists Superbase will not allow you to overwrite an existing database file. File contains non-text characters megal control character detected in Superbase '.sbd' or other sequential file. File data in wrong format Illegal field and/or record separator detected during Import. Also occurs with other sequential files when the format is incompatible with the function you are trying to execute. A-4
Error Messages
Formula too complex Evaluation capabilities have been exceeded. Function not allowed with text Mismatch of function and arguments. See Appendix C. Function not allowed with number Mismatch of function and arguments. See Appendix C. Function syntax - comma missing See Appendix C. Function syntax - invalid parameter See Appendix C. Incomplete field or value missing Superbase has detected an error in a formula or a command line. Check that expressions are complete and do not end with an operator. Insufficient memory You will see this message when you try to view an External File or do a sort using Query Order, and Superbase cannot find sufficient memory to do the operation. See Appendix H for instructions on how to gain extra memory. Invalid date The full date range is January 1,0001 to December 31, 9999. You have probably entered a date in the wrong day, month, year sequence giving a month number greater than 12, or tried to enter illegal text or date separators. Invalid date format Program error, or '.sbd' file invalid. Invalid field name Reserved words are not allowed: see Appendix D. Field names may not begin with numbers, and should include only alphanumeric, space and underscore characters. Invalid field type Program error, or '.sbd' file invalid. Invalid numeric format Program error, or '.sbd' file invalid. Invalid numeric parameter Illegal value for a function. Error Messages
A-5
Invalid parameter
Program error. Check the syntax for the command or commands in the line
which caused the error.
Invalid text parameter megal value for a function. '--/
Invalid time
The time range is from 0:00 to 23:59 (or 11:59 pm). You have entered a time
which falls outside this range, e.g. 25:06.
Name too long Field name exceeds limit of 15 characters. No external file field defined You have clicked on the External File (camera) button when the current file has no External File fields in its definition. No more images for this record External Next or External Previous cannot work when you are already looking at the last or first image respectively for the current record. No record selected Program error. You have referred to a record without having opened the file it belongs to. No record with this key Appears for your information whenever a key lookup doesn't find an exact key match, even if you used a partial key entry to retrieve the record. Not an index Your attempt to open or remove an index failed because the index file does not exist. Number too large Superbase handles numbers up to 1.797693134862e308. Number too long Exceeds permitted format maximum of 13 digits. Opening parenthesis missing
Error in formula or query command line. There must be equal number of
opening and closing parentheses.
Operator not allowed with text
Only certain operators may be used with text items; e.g. you cannot multiply
text items.
A-6
Error Messages
Print command failed Failure occurred during a printing operation. Problem positioning in data file Superbase system error. Restart. Occurs when Superbase tries to read a record which does not exist. The cause may be that you have swapped disks without first closing files or changing the directory. You should always close any open files before changing disks. Problem reading external file Error within external file. Problem with console device Amiga only. It may mean that there is not enough memory, in which case you should try closing any files that are not needed; or it may indicate an operating system error. Problem with narrator device Amiga only. It may mean that there is not enough memory, in which case you should try closing any files that are not needed; or it may indicate an operating system error. Remove index before deleting field You cannot remove an indexed field from the File Definition until you have made it a non-indexed field by removing the index. SUPERBASE error deleting key: 100/101/102/103 Superbase system error in index. Remove and rebuild index. SUPERBASE error reading block: 200/201 Superbase system error in data file. Export data and import into a new file. This field must have some data This field is a required field. If a file contains required fields, you must enter data in these fields when you are creating a new record. Undefined error Internal Superbase system error. Please notify software supplier. APPENDIX B
THE LIKE OPERATOR
LIKE is the operator you should use when searching for text strings in fields.
This means that you will use it very frequently in Superbase's Filter
Command Lines to define and select the records you want to view or process.
LIKE allows you to use pattern matching characters so you can define text
strings with fixed patterns of characters whose content may vary, or text
strings of indefinite length as well as content. You can also use square
brackets to define specific ranges of characters to be accepted by the Filter.
LIKE Syntax
LIKE "*"
LIKE "?*"
LIKE ''text''
Searches for empty fields with '*' on its own
Searches for fields that are not empty
Field with content "text"
The asterisk represents a text string of any length:
LI KE ''text*''
LI KE H*text"
LIKE u*text*"
"Text" string at start of field ''Text'' string at end of field ''Text'' string anywhere in field The question mark represents a single character:
LIKE H???"
LIKE "?text'?"
LIKE "'?text*"
Fixed length, any content
Fixed length, fixed content "text"
Fixed leading length/content, any length
A range inside square brackets may be used in place of a question mark
character:
LIKE "[a-m]"
LIKE H[adg_j]*"
Single character range 'a' through 'm'
Character 'a', 'd', or 'g' through 'j'
The caret or up arrow at the start ofa bracketed sequence signifies exclusion:
LIKE "[ A n_w]H
Excludes characters 'n' through 'w'
You can combine different elements of the pattern matching syntax:
LIKE "a??[c-h]?x*"
This matches 'a' in the first position. any character in the second and third
positions, the range from 'c' to 'h' in the fourth position. any character in the
B-2
The LIKE Operator
fifth position, 'x' in the sixth position, and any number ofcharacters following
the 'x'.
Examples
Each of the examples uses the demonstration Address file.
Example 1
Suppose you want to find the records for the customers whose forename is
'Robert'. You would have to enter the following in the Filter Command Line
box:
Forename LIKE "robert"
Notice that we don't trouble to enter an upper case 'R', as the LIKE operator
is case insensitive. You can try this out now if you wish. Once you have
entered this Filter Command Line, click on OK. Superbase will then display
all the records where the Forename field is LIKE "Robert"; in fact there is
only one, which is record number DALO001.
Example 2
Supposing that you don't know the full forename you're looking for, but you
know that it starts with an's'. Again you can use the LIKE operator to help
you. You would need to create the following Filter Command Line:
Forename LIKE "s*"
The '*' is important, because you are telling Superbase to find any record
that starts with an's' and can be followed by any number of characters. If you
create this Filter Command Line and click on OK you'll find that Superbase
will list four records, starting with Steve Buchanan's record.
Example 3
What if you don't know which letter the forename starts with, but you know
that it contains an 'r' somewhere in the spelling? To find the record this time
you would have to use the following filter:
Forename LIKE "*r*"
Once you've entered this filter you should get 12 records, which each contain
an 'r' somewhere in the forename.
The LIKE Operator
B-3
Example 4
Although this is a slight digression, it's useful to be able to NEGATE a LIKE
expression. I£you want to get all those forenames which don't contain an 'r',
you can change the previous Filter Command line to read:
NOT (Forename LIKE "*r*")
This will list the forenames which you didn't get in Example 3
Example 5
Taking our example a step further, supposing you want those records where
the fourth character of Forename is an 'r'. In order to do this you would use
the following Filter Command line:
Forename LIKE "???r*"
Superbase will list three records from the Address file.
Example 6
Suppose you don't know any of the letters in the Forename, but you know it
contains five characters. You could find the record with the following Filter
Command line:
Forename LIKE "?????"
This time Superbase will list those records whose Forename is five
characters long. If you want to find those records where the Forename is at
least five characters long, you can type an '*' after the five question marks.
Example 7
LIKE also allows you to search for ranges of characters. Suppose you want
to list just those records where the Forename begins with 'a', 'b', or any letter
between 'j' and 'm'. The Filter Command line should read:
Forename LIKE "[abj-m]*"
Notice that whatever is inside the square brackets represents a single
character. If you want to specify ranges for more than one character in a
string, you must use a set of square brackets for each one.
APPENDIX C
FUNCTIONS
The terms in italics indicate the type of argument each function takes:
X and N must be numeric values. The value can be supplied by a numeric
field, a numeric constant (i.e. a number), or the result of a calculation or
another function. Examples are:
I NT(Total 1(TotaI2)
INT(235/52)
INT(SQR(numfield»
X$ must be a text string. You can enter the name of a text field, a text
constant (i.e. a string of characters enclosed in quotation marks), a
concatenated string, or the result of another function. Examples are:
RIGHT$("Mr Smlth",4)
RIG HT$(Name.Address,4)
LTRIM$(Code + "I" + LEFT$(Lastname,3»
The other terms -file name, date, time, etc. - should be self explanatory. File
names must be enclosed in quotation marks. The values for date and time
can be supplied by date and time fields, the results of calculations involving
date and time fields, or system variables (TODAY and NOW).
ABS(X)
Returns the positive value of X
ASC(X$)
Returns the ASCII value of a single character.
ATN(X) Returns the angle measured in radians, whose tangent is X CHR$(X)
Returns the text character associated with the ASCII code value inX
COL(O)
Returns the current screen column.
COS(X)
Returns the cosine value of X, where X is an angle in radians.
C-2
Functions
DATE$(date (,datefonnat])
Returns a text string from a Superbase date field or a julian date number,
using optional format.
DAY$(date)
Returns the day of the week as a text string. DAY (date) Returns the day of the month as a numeric value from a date field or a date string. DAYS(date)
Returns the julian date number of a date field or date string. DISKSPACE(disk name) Returns the amount of free disk space. EOF(filename)
Returns the value of -1 when the end of a file is reached. ERR$(N) Returns the error message for error number N. EXP(X)
Returns the mathematical constant 'e' (2.71827183) raised to the power of
X.
FCASE$(X$)
Capitalizes the first letter of X$.
FIX(.X,N) Sets the number of decimal places to which the numeric expression X (which may be a field) is stored. FOUND (file name) Returns a numeric value which depends on the result of the last key lookup search. If the search was successful, it returns -1, otherwise it returns O. FREE(N) Returns the amount of free memory. On the Amiga, the value of N determines whether FREE refers to chip memory, fast memory, or the total amount of free memory. Use 2 for chip memory and 4 for fast memory. If you enter the value of 0, FREE returns the total amount of free memory, both on the Amiga and other versions of Superbase. HRS(time)
Returns the number of hours from a time field.
Functions C-3
INS1R(N,x$, Y$) Returns N as the starting character position of substring Y$ within the string X$, or 0 if the string is not found. INT(X) Returns the integer value of a number. LCASE$(X$) Returns the lower case equivalent of a text string or field. LEFf$(X$,N) Returns the leftmost N characters of a text string or field. LEN(X$) Length of string. LEN(X$) Returns the length of a text string or field . .~
LOG(X)
Returns the natural log of a numeric field or number.
LOOKUP(jieldl,/ield2)
Validates the data in fieldl by checking to see if it exists in field2. Field2
must be a field in another file.
L1RIM$(X$) Trims leading spaces from X$. MID$(X$,M,N)
Returns a substring of length N beginning at character position M from
within a text string or field.
MINS(time)
Returns the number of minutes from a time field.
MONTH$(date)
Returns the month of the year as a text string.
MONTH(date)
Returns a numeric value for the month of the year.
PCOL(O) Returns the current printer colunm. PROW(O)
Returns the current printer row.
C-4
Functions
RECCOUNT(file name) Returns the number of records in file. REPLICATE(X$,N) Replicates X$ N times. RIGHT$(X$,N) Returns the rightmost N character of a text string or field. RND(X) Returns a randomly generated number between 0 and 1. If Xis 0 the number is the same as the previous one. If X is less than zero, the function is reseeded. If X is greater than zero, a new number is generated. SECS(time)
Returns the number of seconds left over after subtracting the number of
hours and minutes.
SER(file name)
Returns the serial number of the specified file. SGN(X) Returns a value depending on the value of X: -1 for negative or equal to zero, 1 for positive. SIN(X) Returns the sine of X where X is a value in radians. SPACE$(N) Returns a text string with N spaces. SQR(X) Returns the square root of X
S1R$(X) Returns the text string equivalent of a number or numeric field. TAN(X) Returns the tangent of X where X is a value in radians. THOUSECS(time)
Returns the number of thousandths of a second left over after subtracting seconds, minutes and hours. TIME$(X;time format) Returns a time string from X using optional time format. Functions
TIMEVAL(time) Return the value of a time string in thousandths of a second. 1RIM$(X$)
Trims trailing spaces from X$.
UCASE$(X$) Converts a text string to upper case. VAL(X$)
Returns the numeric equivalent of a text string or field.
YEAR(date)
Returns a numeric value for the year.
C-5
APPENDIX D
RESERVED WORDS <~<
~<
ADD
AFTER
ALL
AND
APPEND
AS
ASCENDING
ASK
ATTR
BEFORE
BELL
BF
BG
BLANK
BREAK
BUFFERS
CALL
CHAIN
CLEAN
CLOSE
CLS
CONTAINS
COPY
COUNT
CREATE
CURRENT
DATA
DATEBASE
DEBUG
DELETE
DESCENDING
DIM
DIRECTORY
DISK
DISKSPACE
DISPLAY
DOWN
DUPLICATE
EDIT
EJECT
ELSE
END
ENDREPORT
ENTER
ERASE
ERRNO
ERROR
EXECUTE
EXPORT
FG
FIELD
FILE
FIRST
FIX
FOOTING
FOR
FORM
FROM
GET
GOSUB
GOTO
GROUP
HEADING
HOME
IF
IMPORT
INDEX
INPUT
IT
KEY
LABELS
LAST
LET
LIKE
LINE
LIST
LOAD
LOCATE
MAKE
MEAN
MEMORY
MENU
MERGE
MOD
MODIFY
NEW
NEWLINE
NEXT
NOT
NOW
NUMBASE
OFF
ON
OPEN
OR
ORDER
OUTPUT
PAGING
PASSWORD
PG
PI
POSITION
PREVIOUS
PRINT
PRINTER
PROTECT
QUERY
QUIT
READ
RECORD
REM
REMOVE
RENAME
REORGANIZE
REPORT
REQUEST
RESTORE
RESUME
RETURN
RUN
SAVE
SAY
SCRDUMP
SELECT
SET
SHOW
STATUS
STEP
STORE
SUBTOTAL
SUM
SUMMARIZE
TABLE
TEXT
THEN
TO
TODAY
UL
UNIQUE
UPDATE
USING
VIEW
WAIT
WEND
WHERE
WHILE
APPENDIX E
",-,-"'
ASCII Values
ASCII
Decimal
ASCII
Decimal
NUL
SOH
STX
ETX
EOT
ENQ
ACK
BEL
BS
HT
LF
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Space
10 11 *
FF
CR
SO
SI
DLE
DC1
DC2
DC3
DC4
NAK
SYM
ETB
CAN
EM
SUB
ESC
PS
OS
RS
US
12 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 vr
c~/
~~
,~
!
#
$
%
&
(
)
+
13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 I
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
59 =
?
60 61 62 63 APPENDIX F
CHANGES IN SUPERBASE This appendix lists the major new features that have been incorporated in
this version of Superbase.
Query and Update
• Update files can be saved and loaded from disk.
• Loading a Query or an Update opens the associated database files.
EFMS facilities
• Improved facilities for handling external text files.
• Search facility with external text files.
• Amiga only: EFMS supports IFF sound files or digitized sound data.
Support for text files now available on the Amiga.
New field types
'--./
..~
-"---'
• Time type field HH:MM:SS. Time field values are stored as thou­
sandths of a second. Time arithmetic automatically manipulates time
values from hours to thousandths of a second. Both 12 and 24 hour 5
clock formats are supported.
• Serial fields supported through SERO function. Provides ability to
generate an automatically incrementing value for new records.
• Addition of text field attributes. Text fields may be specified as upper
or lower case, or capitalized.
• Bulk text or memo type fields can be created as EFMS text files.
They can be edited via the text editor.
• Multiple response fields. You can specify up to nine entries for a text
field. Individual response elements can be referred to by subscript in
queries.
• Constant field types. Editable initial values.
• Read only field types
F-2
Changes In Superbase
Data entry support
• Batch menu option to speed up data entry and record removal.
• Storing a record presents a blank record for the next entry.
• Cross-file validation for relational lookup using the LOOKUP
function.
• Cross-file calculation for relational data checking.
• Ternary calculations for conditional validation/calculation.
• Ability to have a validated calculation.
• Help/Error messages for fields not matching validation.
New Options
• Query temporary file destination - the user can specify a destination
for temporary files created by query.
• Start directory (requires path for .par).
• Specify trailing currency symbol.
• Calculation options.
• Custom screen on the Amiga.
Indexing
• You may attempt to create a unique index on an existing field. If du­
plicates are found you may continue or canceL Continuing produces a
non-unique index.
Default settings
Superbase now saves the fol1owing additional default settings:
•
•
•
•
Labels format.
Number of disk buffers.
Open field list for each file.
New options (see above).
Printer support
• Printer initialization sequence for Amiga.
• Raw output to printer on Amiga.
Text editor
• Allows creation of external text files and mail merge letters. Also suit­
able for a wide range of wordprocessing type applications.
Changes in Superbase
F-3
Mail merge
Available from the Process menu. Allows database file data to be merged
with a document created in the Superbase Text Editor.
New functions/commands
• For functions, see Appendix C.
• For commands, see Query Report, Chapter 11.
Others
• Two characters for import / export separators.
• Speak button for query output (Amiga only).
Using Superbase Personal Files in Superbase
Personal 2
Superbase Personal is upwardly compatible with Superbase Personal 2; so
if you have upgraded from one to the other, you can use any of the files that
you created in Superbase Personal. (It doesn't work the other way round:
Personal 2 files cannot be loaded into Superbase Personal.)
However, there a number of differences in the way the two programs store
file data. You should take these into account when you are loading Personal
files into Personal 2. When you save the files, Superbase Personal 2 will
automatically convert them to its own format. But in some cases you may
need to edit your Personal files before you can use them.
Here is a checklist of the points to bear in mind when converting files from
Personal to Personal 2:
• Personal 2 query files include the details of any database files associ­
ated with a query and these files are opened automatically when the
query is loaded. If you use a Personal query in Personal 2, you will
need to open the database files yourself before loading the query.
Then save the query in order to convert it to the Superbase Personal
2 query format.
• Although Superbase Personal does not offer a Constant field type, it
allows you to create a special type of calculation formula which acts
like a constant formula. For example, if you define a single word for­
mula such as "London" or TODAY it will have the same effect as the
equivalent constant formula in Superbase Personal 2. When you load
a Personal file into Personal 2, calculated fields will be defined as
CLC RDO fields. If they were originally intended to act as constants,
F-4
Changes in Superbase
you should change the CLC attribute to CON by selecting Edit File
and editing the file definition. You may also want to remove the
Read Only attribute.
• The list of words that are reserved for the use of the system is more
extensive in Superbase Personal 2 than in earlier versions. (see Ap­
pendix D). As a result, you may find that some of the field names in
your Personal 1 files are treated as reserved words in Superbase Per­
sonal 2. For example, Personal 2 offers a large of number of new func­
tions such as YEAR and HRS. If you have used YEAR as a field
name, it would now become invalid. Before loading a Personal 1 file,
check that the field names are valid; if they are not, change them by
editing the file definition.
APPENDIXG
TUNING FOR OPTIMUM
PERFORMANCE
To obtain the best performance from Superbase, follow these guidelines:
• Don't create unnecessary indexes.
• Don't index fields that contain large numbers of duplicate entries, or
have a small range of possible entries, such as "M" and "F" for gender.
• If you work with a large file and you need to delete many records, re­
organize using the following procedure:
1. 2. 3. 4. Remove all indexes but one.
Use Process Remove to delete the required records.
Rebuild the other indexes.
Use System Reorganize to create a compressed file.
• If you consistently use one index with a file, you can improve perfor­
mance with this procedure:
1. 2. 3. 4. Make a backup of your data.
Export all the data into a sequential file.
Execute Process Remove to empty the database file.
Import the data back into the file.
• Uyou do not need to retrieve records in indexed order, use Process
Query without specifying any Order fields; this is the quickest way of
reading a file.
APPENDIX H
GAINING MORE MEMORY
The advice given here only applies to Gem versions of Superbase which are
running under MS DOS. On other machines, users are advised to close any
open files that are not in use.
This Appendix explains how you can gain more memory if you are having
difficulty in displaying the pictures or text files from the External File
System.
There are two ways of doing this:
1.
Rename your Desktop accessories.
2.
If you have one, disable your RAM Disk.
Rename your Desktop accessories
This can either be done from the Desktop using the RenamelInfo option
from the File menu, or using MS~DOS.
To rename your desk accessories via MS-DOS you must first be in the
GEMBOOT directory, which is on your Startup disk. So, change to that
directory, then list the directory on the screen. The desk accessories are
identified by the ".ACC extension to the filename. If you look at the screen
you should see that you have "CALCLOCK.ACC and "SNAPSHOT.ACC"
fI
In order to temporarily remove them, you have to rename them something
else other than ".ACC ", So, if we use the "Snapshot" as an example, you'll
see how easy it is.
Assuming you are at the MS-DOS colon prompt, type in the following:
Rename SNAPSHOT.ACC SNAPSHOT.TMP
Remember to press Return at the end of the line. If you now list the current
directory, you will see that the extension has changed to ",TMP ".
You can now follow this procedure for your other Desktop accessories.
When you want to get them back on the Desktop, you simply rename them,
remembering this time to use the extension' .ACC '
Once you've renamed all your desk accessories, remember to switch your
computer off. This will free the memory used up by the desk accessories.
Then start up your computer in the usual way.
Gaining More Memory
H-2
Disable your RAM Disk
Note: This section applies to the Amstrad PC 1512. If your computer has a
RAM disk, or if you have installed one, please refer to your User Manual to
find out how to disable your RAM Disk.
The program necessary to disable the RAM disk is on your Desktop disk, so
make sure that you have the Desktop disk in your disk drive, and you are in
MS-DOS.
Now type in the following:
nvr
Remember to press Return once you've typed it in.
A menu will now be displayed, which has an option "Size of RAM disk". Use
the cursor control keys to move the pointer down the menu to select this
option.
A message will now be displayed telling you of the current size of the RAM
disk. You should now set this to 2, not O. If you set your RAM Disk to zero
you will have difficulty in loading your DOS and GEM Start-Up disks.
Now press the Esc key to return to the menu. Move the pointer down the
menu and select the last option, "Exit Menu".
Press Return to save the alterations you have made, followed by another
Return to exit back to DOS.
You will now have to re-start your computer. So, switch off your computer
and place your MS-DOS Disk in drive A. Now switch on your computer.
Once the prompt appears on your screen, remove the MS-DOS Disk, and
put in your GEM Startup Disk.
Now type in "cd gemsys". Press Return.
Then enter "gemvdi" and press Return again.
You will now see the usual dialog appear on your screen asking you for your
Desktop Disk. Now you can continue in the usual way.
APPENDIX I
THE PRINTER DEFINITION FILE
The printer definition file contains information about the control codes used
by the printer. Whenever you output data to the printer - whether as a text
file, as program output, a query, a report, or by printing records - Superbase
consults this file to fmd out which (if any) control codes it needs to send. The
file is called SB.PRT and it contains three types of printing information:
• Control codes for the Superbase print styles - bold, underline and italics. • A printer initialization sequence. This has the same effect as the printer option on the System menu. It allows you to define a se­
quence of commands which are sent to the printer before printing starts. • An unlimited series of character substitutions. This feature is primar­
ily for users who need to print characters which are not available
from the keyboard such as foreign characters or certain symbols.
Each of these three features is explained in more detail further on in this
document in the section headed Creating a Printer Definition File. Many
users, however, will not need to familiarize themselves with these details.
The SB.PRT file which is supplied with your Superbase program disk is set
up for Epson printers. Ifyou have an Epson printer or one of the many makes
of printer that is Epson compatible, you can leave the SB.PRT file as it is.
Also include on the program disk is a printer definition file for Diablo and
compatible printers:
DIABLO.PRT (compatible with Qume and Juki printers)
If this matches your printer, you can substitute it for the existing SB.PRT
file, using the Rename option on the System menu or the equivalent MS
DOS command. Before doing this, you will need to rename SB.PRT as
something else (such as SB.TMP). Then rename name the file
DIABLO.PRT as SB.PRT.
Owners of other makes of printer will have to create their own printer
definition file, as explained in the next section.
Note: It is important that you store the printer definition file in a directory
where Superbase can find it. This should be the directory that is current after
you have loaded Superbase. The SB.PRT file is loaded at the start ofa session
with Superbase and it will then take effect for the rest of the session.
1-2
The Printer Definition File
Creating a Printer Definition File
SB.PRT is an ASCII file so you can edit it or create a new file using the
Superbase Text Editor or any word processing program.
If you create a new SB.PRTwith the Text Editor, you will need to load in the
existing file, edit it and then save it under the same name. This way, you will
ensure that it is saved as an ASCII file rather than in Superbase's text format.
(It is in fact possible to create ASCII files from scratch using the Text Editor
- see Chapter 10.)
Similarly, with a word processor, you should take care that SB.PRT is saved
as ASCII and not in the word processor's text format. This may mean that
you have to type it in 'non-document' mode, or the program may provide an
option for saving documents as ASCII files.
The information in the SB.PRT file is interpreted according to its line
number. Thus in the first line Superbase expects to find the control codes
which turn underlining on, while the codes on line 7 will be interpreted as
the printer initialization sequence. The exact sequence is as follows:
1. Underline on
2. Underline off
3. Bold on
4. Bold off
5. Italic on
6. Italic off
7. Printer initialization sequence
8. Attribution off sequence
9 onwards. Character substitution.
If you wish to insert comments in the file, you can do so by entering a
semicolon at the end of the line, followed by the comment. Alternatively, by
placing a semicolon in the first column, you can enter a comment line on its
own. If the first character is a semicolon, Superbase will ignore the line and
will not take it as part of the control code sequence.
The Printer Definition File
1-3
In the first eight lines of the printer definition file the control codes should
be entered as numeric values separated by commas. For example, the
SB.PRT file for Epson printers (which is the file Superbase uses by default)
looks like this:
Superbase printer definition
EPSON type printers
Same as Superbase defaults
27,45,1;
27,45,0;
Underline on Underline off 27,69;
27,70;
Boldon Bold off 27,52;
27,53;
Italics on Italics off 27,45,0,27,70,27,53; Initialize: Reset all modes 27,45,0,27,70,27,53; Attr off : Reset all modes £ =35; Special for UK convert pound sign
When you create your own SB.PRT file, you will have to consult your printer
manual to find out which control codes are used to set the print styles.
Usually, the codes will be given in two formats: as the ASCII control
character ESC followed by one or two ASCII characters, and as the decimal
values for these characters. (There may also be several single character
controls such as SI, decimal 15, which sets condensed pitch.) The codes to
set bold print on Epson printers, for example, are shown as:
ESC E (as ASCII characters)
and
2769 (as decimal values)
Remember to enter the control codes in the second format - as decimal
values rather than ASCII characters.
The Printer Definition File
1-4
The lines in the SB.PRT file from 7 onwards are optional and can be left
blank. Line 7 is used to set up the printer before output in the same way as
the printer initialization sequence in Printer Options on the System menu.
If used, Line 8 should contain the control codes to tum off any attributes that
may have been turned on previously.
In the SB.PRT file listed above, Line 7 is redundant since it merely turns off
the print styles and is repeated in Line 8. By editing this line you could insert
quite a different set of printer commands. For instance, you could use it to
set up the printer for Near Letter Quality (NLQ) printing. To do this on an
Epson printer (or, at least, on some makes of Epson printer) the sequence
to enter would be:
27,120,01
Lines 9 onwards must take the form:
char
= char1 [,char2] [,char3] [, ...]
where 'char' is the character you want to change, and the characters to the
right of the equal sign are the ones that are to be substituted for it. 'char' can
be either the character itself or its ASCII code; for the substitution characters
the decimal values must be given.
When Superbase sends data to the printer, it first checks each character in
the output against the characters specified in lines 9 onwards. If it finds a
match, Superbase translates the character into the substitution character(s).
In most cases, this facility will be used to substitute a single character only,
such as a currency symbol. But it also allows owners of daisy wheel printers
to create printing characters which are made up of two characters in
combination with the backspace character (ASCII 8).
Suppose, for example, your daisy wheel does not offer the French character
'd' ('a' circumflex) but it does include the circumflex. You can display 'a' on
the screen by holding down the Alt key while typing the ASCII code for this
character, 131, on the numeric keypad. The letter 'a' and the circumflex
accent have the ASCII codes 65 and 94; to ensure that the character appears
on the printer, you would enter the following as line 9:
a = 65,8,94
Another application for the character substitution facility is to use it for
inserting control characters within the text ofa document. An example would
be:
{ = 27,87
The Printer Definition File
1-5
Here the control codes for enlarged print on Epson printers are substituted
for the curly bracket character.
If you create control code sequences in this way, there are two things you
should take into account. First, within Superbase the character will be
treated as a printable character even though it does not appear in printed
output; and it will therefore have an effect on the format of a line. For this
reason, it is best to place control characters on a blank line.
Second, any occurrence of this character will be translated into the
substitution characters when output to the printer; so you should make sure
you choose a character that is not used elsewhere.
APPENDIX J
SUPERBASE START OPTIONS
These options are used to configure Superbase in certain ways before
starting up. For example, they allow you to remove the scroll bars or the
remote control panel.
AMIGA
.'--.--.
When you run SBP from the CU, you can use the following optional
parameters:
SBP [-c] [or] [-fformname] [-p] [os] [-z]
-c
-r
-f
-p
·s
·z
Selects custom screen
Disables returns (chr$(13)) when writing to disk files
Loads form at startup time
Removes remote control panel
Removes scroll bars from Superbase window
Removes sizing gadget and disable sizing
NOTE: Remember to set the stack to at least 8000 before running Superbase
from the CU.
The start options are also available from the Workbench by setting Tool
Types in the Info for the SBP icon as follows:
SCREEN =WORKBENCH Use Workbench SCREEN = CUSTOM
Use custom screen RETURN = ON
Enable returns Disable returns RETURN = OFF
SYSTEM = NOPANELI NOSCROLLI NOSIZE Remove panel scroll bars and size gadget
You also may use any combination of the three options in the SYSTEM item.
To load a form at startup, create an icon for it with the default tool set to
SBP and then double click on it.
GEM Versions
On GEM Versions of Superbase, you can specify start options by placing the
following parameters in the first three lines of the SB.PAR file in any
combination and in any order:
-p
-s
-z
Remove the remote control panel Remove scroll bars Remove size gadget APPENDIX K
SUPERBASE ON THE ATARI-ST
This Appendix explains a number of tasks and features which are specific to
the ATARI-ST version of Superbase.
'--
If you have not used the GEM environment before, you should read Chapter
2 of your ATARI-ST Owner's ManuaL
Installing and Loading Superbase
Superbase Personal 2 is not copy-protected, so the first thing to do is make
a backup copy of the program disk. The procedure for copying a disk is
explained in the ATARJ-ST Owner's Manual.
Hard disk owners are advised to create a new directory (a new folder) for
Superbase. Then open a window on the floppy disk and drag all the files on
the disk into the new folder.
Apart from this, Superbase Personal does not require a special installation
procedure. On floppy disk systems, you should insert the program disk in
drive A and click on its icon; hard disk owners should open a window on the
Superbase directory. You can then load the program straight away by double
clicking on the SBP.prg icon.
Screen Resolution
Superbase can operate in high or medium resolution; it is not designed for
low resolution screens. If you attempt to run Superbase in low resolution
mode, the system will advise you to reset the resolution mode in Desktop
Preferences, and reload Superbase.
Superbase Environment The Superbase Screen The Superbase screen is made up ofseveral different areas, bars and gadgets.
At the top of the screen is the Menu Bar. This shows you the Superbase
menus. These are: Project, Record, Process, Set and System.
K-2
Superbate on the Atari-ST
Below the Menu Bar is the Title Bar. At the moment you will see the
message: "Superbase: Please open a file". This message is always displayed
until you open a file. Once you open a file, the Title Bar displays the name
of the open file and its current index.
Below this bar is the display area. This is where your record data, pictures or
text files are displayed.
Below and to the right of this area are the scroll bars. These allow you to
scroll the display area vertically and horizontally.
Finally at the bottom of the Superbase window is the Control Panel. This
allows you to browse through the current file looking at your records and
perform certain other database activities. For further details on how to use
the Control Panel are given in Chapter 1.
Using the Mouse
All operations within Superbase are performed with the left-hand button of
your mouse. The other button or buttons on your mouse have no function
and can therefore be ignored.
There are four types of action you can perform with your mouse. These are:
•
•
•
•
Point
Single click
Double click
Press and hold (Drag)
USing the Mouse to Point
Throughout Superbase you use the pointer to make selections and to make
decisions. The position of the pointer on the screen is determined by where
you have positioned the mouse on your work area.
If you have not already used the mouse, move it around your wo:t;k area and
watch what happens to the pointer on the screen. The pointer will imitate
the exact movements you make with the mouse.
Superbase on the Atari-ST
K-3
Single Click
A 'single click' is a single depression and release of the left-hand mouse
button.
It is used in situations where you want to make a selection from a menu or
where you make a decision such as clicking on an OK or a Cancel button.
Double Click
A double click is two single clicks in quick succession.
In Superbase the double click is used as a selection shortcut.
For example, when you open a file, instead of clicking on the file name then
clicking on the OK button, you can speed up the selection process by double
clicking on the file name instead.
Press and Hold (Drag)
This is when you depress and hold down the mouse button, then move the
mouse.
This method is used when you want to drag a field name around the screen
or resize a window.
To end the dragging action, simply release the mouse button.
Gadgets
There are five gadgets within the Superbase window. These are: Move Bar,
Scroll Bar, Size Box, Full Box and Close Box.
The purpose and use of these gadgets, are explained in your ATARI-ST
Owner's Manual, Chapter 3.
K-4
Superbase on the Atari-ST
Keyboard Equivalents
Throughout the Superbase User Guide you will find that several keys are
mentioned for which you have no equivalent on your ATARI-ST keyboard.
The list below shows those keys for which you have no equivalent, under the
heading "Manual", and those keys you can use in their place, under the
heading "ATARI-ST'.
Manual
Alt-(key)
Alt-U
Home
End
Shift-Tab
Escape
ATARI-ST
Alternate-(key)
Undo (Alt-U also available)
ClrHome
Insert
Control-T
Esc
File Management System
On the ATARI-ST, Superbase's method of handling external files takes into
account the three possible resolutions in which images may be found.
In high resolution screen mode, Superbase reads and displays high, medium
and low resolution images in monochrome shades. There may be some
aspect ratio distortion for images which are not themselves high resolution.
In medium resolution screen mode, Superbase reads and displays high,
medium and low resolution images.
• High resolution images are shown in monochrome, twice the size of the original, with inevitable aspect ratio distortion. • Medium resolution images are shown in their correct colours. Super­
base is set to the colour palette of the image - certain colour combi­
nations could make data hard to read.
• Low resolution images are shown fun screen only, in their correct col­
ours.
Low Resolution Images
When Superbase displays a low resolution image, it does so on a full screen.
In this situation, the normal windows and database control facilities are not
available. Your only possible action is to return to the normal Superbase
window. To return to the medium resolution screen you must click the mouse
once.
Superbase on the Atari-ST
K-5
The low resolution image may be redisplayed by clicking on the highlighted
camera button, until you select another external file image. To close a low
resolution image, double click while it is being displayed.
Image Format Compatibility
Superbase can read images in the following formats:
Degas (compressed and uncompressed)
Neochrome
-img
Superbase uses the three character extension on the file name to determine
the type of file it is reading. For Degas, these will be .pil, .pi2 and .pi3 for
uncompressed low, medium and high resolutions, and .pcl, .pc2 and .pc3 for
the compressed equivalents. Neochrome files have a .neo extension.
Preserve these extensions if you need to rename image files.
'-.j
APPENDIX L
SUPERBASE ON THE AMIGA This appendix explains a number of tasks and features which are specific to
the Amiga version of Superbase. These are:
• Setting up Superbase
• How to load Superbase
and under the heading, The Superbase Environment:
•
•
•
•
•
•
.~.
Menus and Requesters
Windows
Changing the Directory
Using Preferences
External file formats
Ram disk support
Setting up Superbase
Before you can load Superbase for the first time, there are several
preparatory tasks to be performed. This section takes you through the
procedure step by step. It assumes that you already know how to do a number
of things which are either essential to the Amiga operating system or
common to almost all Amiga programs:
~.
• Switching on the power.
• Loading Kickstart and then Workbench.
• U sing the mouse to point, click on icons or menu items, and drag
icons or windows around the screen.
• Resizing windows.
• Using the format and back gadgets.
• Using the close gadget.
• Creating a new directory.
• Formatting a disk.
If you do not know how to do any of these, refer to the Amiga User Guides,
in particular Introduction to Amiga.
Superbase on the Amiga
L-2
Prerequisites
To run Superbase on an Amiga, you need at least 512K RAM. A second disk
drive is optional.
For the setting up procedure, you should prepare at least one blank,
formatted disk on which you will make a 'backup' copy of Superbase. You
are also advised to format another disk to be used for storing data.
Make a Backup of the Program Disk
Use either the CLI 'copy' command or the Workbench copying procedure
to make a backup copy of the Superbase program disk, or to install the
program on a hard disk. Store the original in a safe place.
You have now made an authorized copy of Superbase. To run any copy, you
must use the software protection device described below.
Using the Software Protection Device (Dongle)
Insert the dongle that comes with the Superbase package into the games port
marked with a '2' on the right-hand side of the computer. The dongle must
be present while Superbase is loading and throughout its operation.
Loading Superbase
Superbase does not require a special installation procedure before it can be
run on the Amiga. Once you have loaded the Amiga Workbench, you can
load Superbase straight away simply by double clicking on its icon.
First insert the Superbase program disk, and double click on the disk icon
when it appears on the Workbench. double click on the program icon when
the program disk window opens. Chapter 1 in this guide explains how to
proceed from there.
Alternatively, if you have two disk drives, you can run Superbase from the
CLI (it is possible to do this with one disk drive but less convenient). Open
a CLI window, type "stack 8000" and press Return; then type in the program
name ("Superbase and press Return.
lt
)
Superbase on the Amiga
L-3
The Superbase Environment
Menus and Requesters
Superbase menus are obtained in the same way as for all Amiga programs.
Press the right-hand menu button and hold it down. Superbase will display
its menu bar at the top of the screen, showing the menu headings. When you
release the mouse button, the menu bar will disappear.
To select an item from a menu, keep the right-hand mouse button pressed
down and move the pointer to the top of the screen, so that it highlights the
menu heading. As you do this, the menu appears below the heading. You
can now select one of the menu options by moving the pointer down the list;
highlight the option you want to select and release the mouse button.
Some Superbase menus options present you with a sub-menu. This will
appear at the right of the main menu. You select an option from a sub-menu
in the same way as from one of the main menus: move the pointer to the
right and highlight the option you require.
As well as menus, many Superbase operations make use of requesters. Note
that throughout this guide requesters are referred to as 'dialogs'. You will
find an explanation of how to use requesters in Chapter 1. The only point
that needs to be made here is that you select items from a requester by
clicking or double clicking the left-hand mouse button - not the right-hand
button.
Windows
Superbase takes advantage of all the features provided by the Amiga's
'desktop' interface, Intuition. All the standard gadgets are available to you
- the Close Gadget, the Back and Front Gadgets, the Scroll Bar, the Sizing
Gadget, and the Drag Bar - and they allow you to manipulate windows in
the normal way.
The menu bar at the top ofthe screen is fixed at this position; but every other
element in the Superbase environment can be rearranged to suit your
requirements. Windows can be closed, opened, sized, and moved to a new
position. The Control Panel at the bottom of the screen occupies a separate
window; so, if you wish, you can even drag this to another position on the
screen.
Superbase on the Amiga
L-4
In addition, you can specify that Superbase is displayed in a separate screen
(a custom screen) to the Workbench screen. You will then be able to move
the screen down to reveal the Workbench windows underneath. This option
(which should not be used unless your computer has more than 512K) is
described in Using the Set Menu, Chapter 7.
Using Preferences
Provided the Workbench disk is inserted in one of your computer's disk
drives or if you have a hard disk system, provided it is present on the disk
you will be able to access the Preferences tool. You can then make use of
any of the functions provided by Preferences; for example, to change screen
colours, or to alter the keyboard response rate. Note that you can also access
other Amiga tools, such as the CLI, while you are running Superbase.
Changing the Directory
You are advised to keep your data files in a separate directory or on a
separate disk to the Superbase program. If you do this, you will need to
change the directory after loading the program.
Select the Directory Change Option from the System menu. Type in the
name of the drive you wish to work on (usually DFO: or D Fl:), or the volume
name of the disk (e.g. Datadisk:). If you are using a hard disk, type in the
directory path name.
Note that you need to change the directory even if you are only using one
drive. When you replace the disk in the drive with another disk, select
Directory Change and type in the drive name (Le., change DFO to DFO).
Make sure, however, that you close any open files before swapping the disks.
External File Formats
Chapter 9 describes the formats which are acceptable for external text files.
External picture files must be in the IFF image format.
External sound files can be either:
•
IFF sound samples., produced by a sound sampler program such as
Perfect Sound.
or
•
Data dumps, produced by sound digitizer.
Superbase on the Amiga
L-5
RAM disk support
Normally if you wish to use the Amiga RAM disk within a program, you need
to copy data files into the RAM disk before running the program. With
Superbase Personal 2, this step is unnecessary. You can load data into the
RAM disk simply by using the drive identifier RAM: when you open a
Superbase file. If the file is not already in the RAM disk, Superbase will copy
it to the disk from the current directory, and open it at the same time.
Superbase also provides a similar service when you close the file. It asks if
you want the file to be copied back to the current directory, i.e. to the floppy
or hard disk it was originally copied from. If you click on OK it does the job
for you. Should you click on CANCEL the file will not be copied back and
you will be asked if you want to erase the copy you have in the RAM disk.
Selecting CANCEL will leave the RAM copy intact. (Note that if you open
an existing file on RAM disk which has not been put there by Superbase then
when you close that file Superbase will not ask you if you wish to copy it
back.)
As an example, suppose the Address file is stored on the disk in drive DFl:
and the current directory is DFl:. To open this file from the RAM disk you
would select the Open File option on the Project menu and then enter:
RAM:Address
You can now work on the file in the normal way - retrieve data, edit data,
remove records, and so on - with the advantage that file operations using a
RAM disk are much faster than they are on a physical disk. Remember to
close the file at the end of a session so that any changes you have made can
be saved permanently in the directory from which it was copied.
This feature also works with other Ram disk facilities where the drive
identifier is VDO: or VDK:.
Index
& Length 11-5 .par file 7-6 @position 11-5 A
Add button 2-6 Address file 1-6 ALL 11-3 Amiga RA\1 disk support L-4 AS Heading 11-4 ASCII codes E-1 ASCII files Creating 11-25 Listing 6-3,8-4 Loading 10-13 Auto Calculation 2-27,7-7 B
Batch data entry 4-8 BF 11-7 BG.11-8 Buffer count 7-8 Buttons Current record 1-10 External 4-10 External File 1-28, 9-7 External File Query 9-6 Fast Forward 1-10 Last record 1-11 Next record 1-10 Pause 1-11 Previous Record 1-10 Rewind 1-11 Stop button 1-11 Test 5-25 C
Calculation Count 2-27, 7-7 Calculation Formula 2-22 Entering data 4-5 Calculation options 7-7 Changes in Superbase F-1 Check marks 7-1 Checklist Calculation 2-28 Validation 2-20 Close Fields 2-45 Close File 2-44 Closing dependent files 2-45 Colours 11-8 Colours (Aroiga Only) 11-7 Columns 1-13 Constant formulas 4-5 Constants 2-29 CONTAINS 9-5 Control Panel 1-9 Converting dBase files 2-35 Converting to ASCII 10-14 Copying Files 8-7 COUNT 11-14 Cross-file Calculation 2-33 Validation 2-32 Currency symbol 7-11 Current file printing 5-16 Current Record 1-10, 1-17 Custom screen 7-12 D
Database files 2-1 Maximum number 2-38 Index
Date fields 2-13 Changing 2-48 Date format 3-4 Date format 7-13 dBase compatibility 2-35 dBase files 5-13 Decimal point format 7-10 Default dialog keys 1-5 Default Form View 1-14 Deleting Files 8-6 Demonstration files 1-5, 11-9 Derived columns 11-4, 11-18 Desktop accessories H-l Dialogs 1-4 Default keys 1-5 Query 11-1 Query Order 11-23 Directory 8-2 Changing 1-5, 8-2 Current 1-5 Listing 8-2 Printing 8-2 Display speed 7-7 DOWN 11-6 -11-7 E
EJECf 11-8 Error messages A-I Exponential format 2-12 ExportS-IS Example 6-2 Export!Import separators 6-4 External 4-10 External < 4-10 External file Button 1-28 External File Fields 2-16 External File Management System 9-1
External file query 7-9 External Files Amiga 9-10 Gem 9-6 Picture 9-1 Querying 9-6 Searching text 9-5 Sound (Amiga only) 9-15 Text 9-2 F
Fast Forward 1-10 FG 11-8 Field 11-6 Adding new 2-6, 2-47 Deleting 2-7, 2-50 Field Attributes 2-16 Constants 2-29 Field names 2-5 Changing 2-47 Field types 2-6 Overview 2-1 Text 2-8 Fields Close 2-45 External File 9-2 Maximum number 2-38 Moving 1-15 Opening 1-12 File Close 2-44 Definition dialog 2-4 Merging 11-25 Opening 1-3 Removing 2-52 Saving 2-51 File definition 2-39 Editing 2-46 File names 2-3 File types .PRTI-1 Index 2-1 Overview 2-1 sb.par7-10 sbd 2-1, 2-51 Index
'~
'--.-/ ,~
sbf2-1 sbt 10-3 Filter Button 1-19 Command line 1-20,1-23 Dialog 1-19 Import 6-4 Mail Merge 5-21 Suspending 1-24 Using 1-24 Filters Print 6-6 Query 11-20 Fixed length 5-19 Form letter 5-17 Form View 7-2 Saving 7-3 Form View design 1-14 Format overflow 11-19 Formulas Calculation 3-8 Changing 2-49 Constants 4-5 Validation 3-7 Functions 2-29, C-l
LOOKUP 2-33 SER2-30 G
Gaining more memory H-l Ghosted items 1-3 Group 11-13 Group totals 11-16 H
,-"
Hard copy documentation 8-2 Housekeeping commands 8-6 I
Image Menu (Amiga only) 9-11 Import 5-13, 6-4 Import!Export separators 7-8 Indexes Changing 2-43 Maximum number 2-38 New 2-35,3-9 Open 2-42 Removing 2-52 Insert mode 10-8 IT 11-7 K
Key controls Filter 1-23 Record editing 4-3 Text Editor 10-6 Key lookup 1-16 Keyboard equivalents 1-3 L
Labels 5-22 Fields per line 5-23 Save format 5-24 Single 5-26 Last record 1-11 LIKE 1-21, B-1 List 6-3, 8-4 Loading Superbase 1-1 LOOKUP 2-32 M
Mail merge 5-17 Filter 5-21 Fixed length 5-19 Other applications 5-19 Previewing 5-21 Running 5-20 Setting the print style 5-18 Main Display 1-7 Mean 11-14 Memory Requirements 9-1 Merging files 11-25 Index
Multi·file applications 11-9 11·21
.
'
MultIple response field 2·9
Multiple response fields 2·8
N
Next Record 1-lO
Non-document files
See ASCII files Number format 7-13 Numeric field Changing the length 2·lO Selecting numeric format 2-11 Numeric Fields Changing 2-48 Numeric overflow 2-13 o
ON file 11-9 Open Fields 1-12, 2-40 Open Fields list Saving 2-41 Open Index 2-42 Operators 1-20 Logical 1-22 Mathematical 1-22 Relational 1-21 Options 7-5 Order 11-23 Output device 7-1 Output to disk 11-25 Output to File 11-25 Output to Printer 11-25 Output to Screen 11·25 Overwrite mode 10-9 p
Paging 1·13, 7-4 Record View 7·4 Table view 7-4 Parameters directory 7·10 Parameters file 7-6 Password 2-39 Passwords 2-3 Path names 1-6 Pattern matching SeeUKE Pause button 1·11 Previous record 1-10 Print 5-16 Print raw 7-12 Print style Mail merge 5-18 Printer 7-1,8-2 Printer definition file 1·1 Printer driver 7-12, I-I Printer options (GEM) 8-1 Printing Current file 5-16 Directory 8-2 Records 6-5 Process Menu 5-1 Process Remove 5-11 Q
Query 5-8, 11-1 Applications 5-8 Command lines 11-2 Dialogs 5-9 Editing 5-9 Fields 11-2 Format Parameters 11-6 Loading 5-10 NEWUNE 11-6 Output destination 11-25 Saving5·lO Title 11-2 Query Definition Dialog 11-1 Query Order 11-23 Query Output Disk 11-25 File 11-25 Printer 11-25 Screen 11-25 Index
Query Report 11-12 Quit 2-53 R
~/
"-
'--" '-..-/
"'---....'/
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',_/
'-.../
Read Only Fields 2-16 Changing 2-49 Record Duplicate 4-9 Record Menu 4-1 Record New 4-6 Record Remove 4-10 Record save 4-7 Record View 7-3 Records Editing 4-1, 4-9 New 4-6 Saving 4-7 Relational Queries 11-21 Remove A set of records 5-11 Filter 1-27 Record 4-10 Remove File 2-52 Removing Records 6-8 Renaming Files 8-6 Reorganize 8-4 For data recovery 8-6 Report 11-13 Example 11-14 Reporting 11-12 Requesters See Dialogs Required Fields Changing 2-49 Reserved words D-1 Rewind 1-11 Rulers 10-10 S
'~
Save Label format 5-24 Open Fields List 2-41 Text 10-14 Save File 2-51 SAY 11-25 Screen Dump (Amiga) 9-13 Scroll bar 1-9 Scrolling the screen 1-9 Selective Calculation 2-27, 7-7 SER2-30 Set Menu 7-1 Sorting Multiple File 11-24 Sorting records 5-8, 11-23 Sound files (Amiga) 9-15 Start directory 7-9 Start options J-1 Status 8-3 Printing 8-2 System 8-3 Status File 8-3 Stop button 1-11 Style Query parameters 11-7 Text Editor 10-12 Style parameters 11-7 Sum 11-13 Summarize 11-13, 11-18 Superbase on the Amiga L-1 Superbase on the Atari K-1 System menu 8-1 System status 8-3 System variables 2-24, 7-13 T
Table View 1-8,7-2 Temporary file 11-24 Ternary Operator 2-30, 2-34 Text Copying lines 10-8 Deleting 10-7 Editing 10-5 Entering 10-4 Index
Formatting 10-9 Loading 10-13 New file 10-4 Paragraphs 10-4 Printing 10-14 Saving 10-14 Undo 10-7 Word wrap 10-4 Text Editor 10-1 Help 10-5 Text fields Changing 2-47 Setting the case 2-8 Text format 3-3 Text rulers 10-10 Time Fields 2-15 Changing 2-49 Time Format 7-13 Tutorials Entering and editing data 4-10 Setting Up a New File 3-1 The Process Menu Options 6-1 Using the filter 1-25 Type style 10-12 U
UL 11-7 Update 5-1 V
Validation Help messages 2-19 Validation formula 2-17,3-7 Validation Formulas Entering data 4-4 Version (Aroiga only) 8-2 Views 7-2 Form 1-8, 1-14,7-2 Record 1-8,7-3 Table 1-8, 7-2 w
Windows Database 10-1 Text 10-1 
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