|★ APPLICATIONS ★ COMPTA, BOURSE, BUDGET ★ SPRASH|8000PLUS) ★|
|Sprash||Applications Compta, Bourse, Budget|
The first thing to say is don't buy SPRASH if you are in a hurry. It is written in the old faithful Jetsam BASIC which is really quite a fast, efficient method of file handling. What seems to slow things down is an almost pedantic error trapping process.
For instance it is quite a complicated program which means that not everything can be loaded into the working space of the PCW at the same time. So when you need to use a new section it takes a moment or two to load in from memory.
Nothing unusual in this. But after having to wait (rather than before) you find a message saying “Is this the section that you want. Press Y". When you choose to go back to the main menu a message comes up saying “To return to menu press space bar." These are not major problems but at first you spend half your life waiting for it to do something only to discover that it is waiting for you to press Y or the space bar. Time and again you find yourself answering a question that isn't strictly necessary.
Strangely enough it can also slow things down by being too helpful. You can easily amend any entry - a laudable facility. And it does it by the proper accounting method of entering a adjustment rather than just correcting the figure, which should please the purists.
But whereas with many other programs, when you want to make an alteration, you are shown the entry in question on the screen and can use the cursor keys to edit it. SPRASH offers you a menu with 13 choices offering you every conceivable choice. A Date? A Unit of Quantity? A Sales or Purchase type? It could take a minute to read though the list and another one to decide which option you want. If you want to change two parts of the entry you have to go through this process twice. When you have actually found the entry you want to make you have to enter your correction without having the original entry shown on screen for reference.
Again when you are entering sales it forces you to go on and enter purchases in the same way. If you wanted to enter your sales every day and only bought once a month or even once a week you could find yourself getting tired.
On the other hand many small businesses with low stock levels blunder on with a manual stock system or without a stock system at all rather than spend the money on a sophisticated program. SPRASH would be an improvement over a manual system and at £10 is hardly going to break the bank.
It is basic and therefore quite simple to learn. Setting stock levels, and entering sales or purchases is simple if slow and returns are catered for simply by putting a minus sign before the number of items. You have to give a reference code to each item so make them easy to remember or print out a list to keep by you.
You set a re-order level for each item and if when you enter sales the stock level falls below that, the program warns you immediately and you can print out a statement to the effect that this product needs to be re-ordered.
SPRASH can take a total of 1450 entries on one disc and the number of entries still available is displayed when you start the program. When this is full the method involved in setting up a new data disc is pretty basic involving using PIP and erasing data files, which could worry any CP/M-phobics.
It does give a full choice of lists which can be displayed on screen or printed out and of course keeps tracks of all sorts of totals that would prove invaluable for impressing your bank manager.
The documentation is the usual photocopied leaflet that most low-cost products have - well there isn't much money available from £10 to pay for a glossy manual, and as long as the information is there the physical production style shouldn't matter.
The writer has made an attempt to keep clear of programming jargon in writing although there are still one or two words that could do with explaining. For instance there might conceivably be some ignorant users who don't know that TPA stands for Transient Program Area and means that 61k of the computer that is available for running a program.
Another matter of concern is the ease with which you seem to be able to jump out of the program, merely by pressing the wrong key - for instance the [STOP] key. Not only does mean that you could lose any information you were working on (although you can restart after a mistaken [STOP] by typing CONT) but there is the risk of a problem called ‘inconsistent files' which might lose you some data.
Overall though. SPRASH is a fair package for the money and if nothing else will allow you to work out what facilities are most important to you if you buy a costlier system later on.