Contents of the FASTFORM.DOC file
Welcome to FastForm! V2.0
FastForm! is a program designed specifically for Turbo
Pascal and C users to make coding easier and faster. I wrote
FastForm! to aid me in the designing of software screens. As
we all know writing screens for programs is a very time
consuming task that should not take very long at all given
the power of the PC. FastForm! relieves the programmer of
this task to allow him to concentrate on the 'guts' of a
If you have any recommendations, complaints, comments,
or complements please feel free to write me at:
712 Knipp Ave.
TOMAS GASPER HOLDS THE COPYRIGHT ISSUED FOR FASTFORM! IN
1989. PLEASE FEEL FREE TO DUPLICATE THIS PROGRAM AND GIVE IT
TO FRIENDS OR PUT ON BBS SERVICES. THIS IS SHAREWARE SOFTWARE
SO YOU CAN DO ANYTHING WITH IT YOU WANT EXCEPT CHANGE THE
PROGRAM AND DISTRIBUTE IT, ALTER THE CREDITS OR COPYRIGHT
NOTICES, OR CHARGE A FEE FOR THE PROGRAM (EXCEPT SHIPPING AND
HANDLING). YOU MAY BECOME A REGISTERED USER OF THIS PROGRAM
BY SENDING A check FOR $30 TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS (MAKE PAYABLE
TO TOMAS GASPER). FOR THIS SMALL FEE YOU WILL RECEIVE THE
LATEST VERSION ON DISK (5.25 OR 3.5). BECAUSE YOU WILL BE
RECEIVING THE PROGRAM FROM ME YOU CAN BE ASSURED OF A ZERO
VIRUS PROGRAM. YOU WILL ALSO RECEIVE UPDATE NOTICES WITH AN
OPPORTUNITY TO UPGRADE FOR NOTHING OR A NOMINAL FEE.
Table of contents
Meet FastForm! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
What to expect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Using the main menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Using function keys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Beginning and editing a file . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Editing features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Printing variables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Entering variables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Saving an editor file . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Loading an editor file . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Saving a box file . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Loading a box file . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Generating the Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Changing the standard settings . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Notes on FastForm! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
FastForm! has a wealth of power that can be accessed
through the beginning user interface (main menu) or the
advanced user interface (function keys). You may ask for
help at any time from FastForm! by pressing [F1].
The standard keys for FastForm are very simple:
[ESC] Back up one menu or exit without saving.
[END] Save the settins and exit.
[TAB] Move forward to different
fields in the same form.
(Used for entries like
the standard settings)
or moving forward to the
next increment of 5 spaces.
[Shift-TAB] Same as above
except for backward
[ENTER] Accept data.
What to expect
FastForm!, as powerful as it may be, cannot be expected
to do everything for you. FastForm! has been designed for use
with Turbo Pascal 4.0 specifically (other Pascals and
versions may work, but we do not guarantee it).
FastForm! is to be expected only to do routine screen
displays and data entry tasks thereby taking the pain staking
task out of programming.
Occasionally you may find that a function you wish to
have added to your generated code should be made. You may and
SHOULD feel free to edit and modify the generated code for
YOU MUST HAVE 'FORM.TPU' ON THE CURRENT DIRECTORY OF TURBO
PASCAL 4.0 IN ORDER FOR THE GENERATED CODE TO WORK.
Using the main menu
The main menu is to be used primarily by beginning users
of FastForm! (advanced users should check the lower half of
this page). The main menu is very simple to operate, simply
move the main selection indicator (The options on the second
line) to the topic you wish to use. Now move the selection
bar (the lightcyan on black bar) to the option you wish to
use. Press [ENTER] to accept this option.
There are a few things that should be mentioned about a
few of the options on the main menu that follow:
ERASING MEMORY-> This is necessary if you want to begin
a new form design by selecting 'Begin' under the main
Some options may tell you that you cannot access them
until another action is taken. In this case, simply do
what you are told to do.
Using function keys
The function keys are faster and easier to use than the
main menu. They do, however, require you to remember a few of
the commands that follow:
Request help from FastForm!
[ALT-F1]-> Generate compiled code
Generate language compatible source code using the
existing editor file.
[F2]-> Change colors
Change the editor colors for typing.
[ALT-F2]-> Change standard settings
Change the standards for FastForm!. These include the
buffer number to be used in code generation, indentation
factor in the generated code, the color to be used as
the default in the editor the next time FastForm! is
started, and the procedure names to be used for the code
[F3]-> Enter ASCII value for a character
Enter the ascii value for a character to be inserted at
the current position in lieu of a keypress.
[ALT-F3]-> Center current line
Center the line at the current Y position.
[SHIFT-F3]-> Center text within box
If test is entered within a box, pressing [Shift-F3]
will center the text between the inner most vertical box
[F4]-> Draw box
Using the default or user changed settings ([ALT-F4]),
the first press will set the first corner of the box.
The second press at the diagonal corner will draw the
box. A line may be drawn by pressing [F4] for the second
time at either the same vertical or horizontal position.
[ALT-F4]-> Draw box options
[F5]-> Delete line
The line at the current Y position will be erased and
the remainder lines will be moved up one and a blank
line will be placed at position 24.
[F6]-> Insert line
A blank line will be inserted at the current Y position
and the remainder will be pushed down. Y POSITION 24
WILL BE ERASED.
[F7]-> Save current screen
The current editor screen will be saved using a user
supplied filename that may be any DOS legal filename
[F8]-> Save box data
The current box settings and custom boxes will be saved
using a user supplied filename using any legal DOS
[F9]-> Go to variable input routine
See 'Entering variables'.
[ALT-F9]-> Set X & Y for variable input routine. See
[F10]-> Go to variable output routine
See 'Entering variables'.
[ALT-F10]-> Set X & Y for variable output routine. See
See 'Printing variables'.
[ESC]-> Return to main menu
[CNTRL-LEFT]-> Move back word by word
[CNTRL-RIGHT]-> Move forward word by word
[HOME]-> Move to 1 x 1 on the screen
Beginning and editing a file
Beginning a file should be selected from the main menu
when you wish to begin creating a new screen. The editor's
memory must be cleared first. This can be verified by
checking the file status box on the main menu.
Editing a file is done by selecting edit from the main
menu. Now the data that is in the editor's screen memory will
be seen on the screen.
Once selected, you will have a blank editor screen if
you are beginning a file or the current data that is in the
editor's screen memory. Follow the directions for the editor.
Let's say that you just started up FastForm! and you are
now in the editor ready to begin a new file.
The first thing you should do is set the color that you
wish to use for the text and the screen. If you have a blank
screen or do not mind destroying the data you have on the
screen, you can just insert lines from Y position 1 until the
entire screen is covered with your desired colors.
I suggest that you now set up all of your boxes that you
may want to use. See 'All about boxes' for more information.
Now type all of your data and messages on the screen.
You may make any changes using standard word processor
movement commands. You may change colors or delete text or
lines using the commands available in the help screen for the
editor or in 'Using the function keys'.
Now insert all of the variable input or printing
commands using the instruction in the appropriate sections of
(OPTIONAL) You should now save your work by using the
main menu or pressing [F7] and be ready to supply a DOS
Now that you have completed your creation, the
appropriate Turbo Pascal code may be generated by pressing
[ALT-F1]. Note: Be sure that you include 'FORM' in your
'USES' statements (information available in your Turbo
Printing variables is an option that is used to print
dynamic values to the screen. The appropriate code will be
generated for this task when you produce the code by pressing
[ALT-F1]. You must be sure that the proper variable
declarations and value assignments are done before
compilation of your program.
The first step is to jot down the locations on the
screen (e.g. 34 x 4) where you wish the values to be printed.
Now press [F10] and you will now see a different screen
with the valuable output data that may or may not have been
Position the cursor at a blank variable name blank and
enter the name of the variable that you want to be printed on
the screen and press [TAB].
Now select the type of variable that you named in the
previous column and press [TAB].
Select the foreground color that you wish the value to
be printed to appear in and press [TAB]. Now do the same for
Enter the X position that you jotted down from the
editor that the value to be printed will start at and press
[TAB]. Now do the same for the Y position.
You may now enter as many other variables as you want as
long as the total to be printed does not exceed 20. When you
are done entering variable names, you may press [END] to
insert the appropriate symbols in your screen. Note: These
values will NOT appear on the screen when the generated code
is compiled and must not be changed in any way. If you wish
to delete the old symbols but not insert any new ones, press
Starting with version 1.1, a new feature has been added
that eliminates the need for entering the X and Y
coordinates. This is done by placing a '@>' at every place on
the screen you wish to have a variable printed. Now press
[ALT-F10]. The X and Y coordinates have been entered at the
next availiable variable name blank. You must still enter the
variable names, types, and colors.
Entering variables is done so that the user of the
program you are writing may input data into your program
using the supplied variable names.
Read the docs regarding Printing variables and follow
them except that you will access the Input screen by pressing
[F9] and you will be entering the variable names of the
variables that the input is to be placed into, [ALT-F9] is
used for the pre-entering of X & Y coordinates, and '@<' is
the pre-entering symbol instead of '@>'. Note: The Printing
screens and the Input screen look similar except for
the OUTPUT and INPUT words that appear at the bottom of the
screen in the respective Printing/Input screens.
All about boxes
All about boxes is a section that is general the
powerful tool that FastForm! features to make coding easier.
Boxes are just what you think they are, single or double
lines that you have doubtless struggled through writing for
You can do just about anything with them ranging from a
simple border around a screen to changing the color of a
block of the screen.
If you just want to draw simple single line boxes,
follow the directions in the Main Menu or Function keys
section of this manual for Beginning boxes and [F4]
TO CHANGE THE TYPE OF BOX TO BE DRAWN:
Press [Alt-F4] from the editor and press [ENTER]. Using
the arrow keys and [ENTER] select the type of box that you
wish to have drown using the Begin box command or [F4]. Now
press [ESC] or [Up arrow] and [ENTER] to return to your
TO CHANGE THE COLOR OF THE FILL OF THE BOX TO BE DRAWN:
Press [Alt-F4] from the editor and press [Down arrow]
and [ENTER]. Select the color you wish to have the interior
of your box painted (To change the color of the border,
change the current color of the editor using the Change
colors command or [F2]) using the arrow keys and press
[ENTER] to select. Now press [ESC] to return to your
TO MAKE A CUSTOM BOX
Press [Alt-F4] from the editor and press the [Down
arrow] key twice and press [ENTER]. You will now be at the
default box (1 if this is your first time using this
You may change this box by using the [down arrow] and
[Up arrow] keys to move to different sections of the box
listed to the left. You may change an aspect of the box by
moving to the aspect you want to change and entering the new
ASCII value of the character that you wish to become the new
You may move to different boxes by pressing the [Pg Up]
and [Pg Dn] keys. Press [END] or [Pg Dn] at the last box to
make a new box. A warning will flash on the screen signaling
you as to what you are about to do. You may now enter the
ASCII value of the character that is do become the
appropriate aspect of the new box.
Deleting a box is done by pressing [ALT-DEL] and then
[DEL] at the warning to delete the box.
When you are done editing boxes, press [ESC]. You now
must enter or change the name of the box the is shown the in
box editing window. You will have to change box names
beginning with box #1. Press [ENTER] to accept and move on to
the next one.
To use a newly changed or made box, read 'CHANGING THE
TYPE OF BOX TO BE DRAWN'.
Saving an editor file
Saving an editor file means that you will be saving the
current screen, and variable printing/input data to disk.
Press [F7] or select 'Save an editor file' from the main
menu and enter any legal DOS syntax for filenames.
Loading an editor file
Loading an editor file means that you will be doing the
opposite of saving an editor file.
Press [Alt-F7] or 'Load an editor file' from the main
menu and select any of the options or filenames that are
listed in the loading window. You may scroll throughout the
window by pressing the arrow keys and [ENTER] to select and
load the filename highlighted.
Saving a box file
Saving a box file means that you will be saving the
edited or created boxes. This is not necessary unless you
made changes to existing boxes or you made new ones.
Press [F8] or 'Save a box file' from the main menu and
enter any legal DOS syntax filename.
Loading a box file
Loading a box file is the opposite of saving a box file.
Press [Shift-F8] or 'Load a box file' from the main menu
and selecting the filename or option of your choice by
pressing the arrow keys to scroll and [ENTER] to accept.
Generating the Code
This is the REAL command of FastForm! and the most
critical. It will transfer the data on the screen into
compatible code of the language you selected in either the
Advanced Options or the standard settings.
Press [ALT-F1] and enter any legal DOS syntax filename
to save the generated code under. Note: It is advisable to
enter the filename with '.PAS' or code and '.C' for C code.
Changing the standard settings
If you wish to change the indentation factor (used in
code generation), buffer number (used in code generation),
write procedure name (used in code generation), edit
procedure name (used in code generation), standard foreground
color (of the editor screen on startup), standard background
color (of the editor screen on startup), or language of code
to be produced, press [ALT-F2] from the editor screen and
enter the write and edit procedure names, select the standard
colors, and enter the indentation factor and buffer number.
You may move to different categories by press [TAB] and
[Shift-TAB] to move forward and backward respectivly. Press
[END] to save the settings or [ESC] to exit without saving.
Notes on FastForm!
For Pascal users:
MONOCHROME USERS may use any of the color commands in writing
their screens. They will not be able to see the colors on the
screen, but if the generated code is run on a system with a
color monitor, the colors will be visible.
YOU MUST HAVE THE FILE 'FORM' LISTED IN YOUR 'USES'
STATEMENT IN YOUR PROGRAM OR UNIT FOR THE GENERATED CODE TO
For C users:
Monochrome is NOT suppported in the C version of FORM. This
is primarily due to the fact that it would have required
additional code, memory requirments, and time. Since the
monochrome standard is not even supported by major
manufacturors, I have decided to phase out support for
monochrome. Options that presently work with monochrome
always will, but new options and modifications of older ones
will not support monochrome.
FORM.C should be included in your project files before using
any generated code or any of the features that are listed in
the FORM.* docs.