|★ LITTÉRATURE ★ ENGLISH ★ USING DATABASES ON THE AMSTRAD PCW8256/8512 ★|
|Using Databases on the Amstrad PCW8256/8512||Littérature English|
Most people's first choice of software for their PCW (after word processing) is a database. There are a bewildering number of different programs out there, and you often can't decide from a brief review in a magazine whether one is any better than the rest.
Using Databases is the kind of book there just aren't enough of. It starts off with an introduction to what databases do in general, but the bulk of the book is an in-depth survey of six PCW databases which names names, points out drawbacks, and goes through examples. Far too many new publications think they can get away with regurgitating the first few chapters of the LocoScript manual, and end with a summary of CP/M and BASIC. It is a refreshing contrast to see this thorough and balanced book.
The six databases covered are Matchbox (Quest), Cardbox (Caxton), At Last I (Rational Solutions), Retrieve (Sagesoft), Cambase (Camsoft) and Condor (Caxton). Between them, one of these six is likely to be suitable for any specific purpose you want. The inclusion of Matchbox is slightly puzzling, and inevitably there have been a couple of important new databases released since
the book was written such as Campbell's Masterfile 8000 and an updated version of At Last.
Each chapter of the book is a mini-manual for the database it covers. This means it is not very inspiring general reading, but with a little effort you can see whether you will be able to work the particular database fully before you take the plunge and buy it.
The text is packed with diagrams and screen shots showing what you see at each stage of the operation. If you buy one of the six databases it is quite likely that you will never need to open the manual, but will work from Stephen Morris' book the whole time. It really shows the virtue of technical writing produced by a competent author properly illustrated and printed - most product manuals are just the opposite.
If there is a flaw in Using Databases, it is that it is too specific to the particular packages. If you aren't interested in one of the six named programs, there is nothing there for you. It could do with an overview chapter at the end picking a few sample applications and suggesting which is the best of the packages for the purpose.
If you are about to buy a database, buy this book - it could save you from an expensive mistake.