|★ APPLICATIONS ★ DISQUE ★ FILE'N FIND|8000PLUS) ★|
|File'n Find||Applications Disque|
File'n find describes itself as a ‘filing program' and specifically states that it is not a database. What this means is that it is intended to be a simple electronic filing cabinet. You type information in to it and can recall it later on. The endearingly home-drawn picture of a filing cabinet on the cover of the manual confirms this.
Essentially this program is aimed at home users who want to catalogue their book or record collection or perhaps the secretary of a club who wants to keep a membership list on computer. And no. This isn't another 8000 Plus mipsrint- File'nfind really does cost £9.95, So what do you get for your money and can a program costing this much really be useful?
Despite its avowed pedigree of ‘not being a database' Filenfind uses all the traditional database terminology. That is to say everything you want to store on a certain subject is stored in a ‘file'. Each file is composed of 'records' and each record is composed of 'fields'. For example in the case of an address book the whole book would be the file, an individual person's details would be a record, and the person's name, street, town, county, postcode and phone number would each be separate fields.
Suck it and see
The best way to learn File'n find is to run it and experiment with the menus and the example files that come on the reverse side of the disc.
Before you can use your data you have to type it in. So the first thing you will want to do is pick the ‘Create Database' option. You are then asked to pick a name for the database and define the layout it will have. A set of terse questions ask you how many fields you want and then for each one asks for a short name, a longer description and the length. You can correct typing mistakes ac this stage but once you confirm your choice the only way to alter a file definition is to delete that file from the disc (using CP/M's ERA command) and redefine it.
Once the layout is defined, you can start adding the data. At the end of each record you are not asked whether you want to amend the data you just gave, to correct typing errors. If anything is wrong you have to go back to the main menu, choose the 'Find' command, locate the mistyped record and edit it.
With all your membership lists or books safely on the system the Find and List options will be your main weapons. You have to specify the name of the file you are working with every time, which is annoying if you only have one. There is no concept of your ‘current' file.
With Find, you can look for any field in a record. The search process is surprisingly fast but you can only look for complete fields. If someone's name is Cholmondeley-Farquharson you must type the whole name - not just ‘Choi'*
The List option just takes a file and lists it out to the screen or printer. You can ignore certain fields so you could get a list of just the titles or just the authors in a catalogue. Every item is prefixed on the list by its field name, which you usually don't want to know.
Finally, you can list all the records with a field of a certain value - a particular author for example. This is hidden under the menu option ‘List data by record key'. Obvious really.
Given a little programming skill this kind of filing system is very simple to produce with the PCW s standard tools, which is reflected in the rock-bottom price being asked for the program. With just a little more care at the design stage. File'n find could have been superb value for money. As it is, although it is fast in operation, it is just not quite friendly enough for the kind of simple application it is intended for. It is remarkably cheap - but as ever, yer gets what yer pays for.