Contents of the READ.ME file
POPLIST.COM is special purpose TSR designed for use on LANs in large
organizations. The TSR gives virtually instant access to a centralized
phone list or locator list with small overhead (about 2K RAM and no disk
space) at each workstation. This may seem to be a minor convenience, but
it can be used as a 'selling' point for a LAN that is relatively new to
Usually an organization will already have in place a mechanism to collect
phone/locator data, e.g., a mainframe database. The data may be published
periodically within the organization. But typically this will not occur
often enough to reflect current data. If you can acquire the data at
more frequent intervals, you can can provide your LAN users faster access
to the data and access to more current data with the TSR.
Here at DOE, a 5000-entry phone directory is published twice a year. In
our department, we have a 70-station Novell LAN with two servers and will
be expanding to about 350 stations and 4 servers within 6 months.
We are able to get a text file version of the data every month or so.
With a simple FoxPro conversion program, the data is massaged into the
format required by the TSR (sorted by name and blocked in 50-byte records,
without CrLfs). The converted data (and TSR) is posted on the LAN and the
TSR is installed in each workstation's RAM as part of the login process.
The TSR source code is included here should you wish to modify, e.g.,
the display record size. Also included is a sample FoxPro program, its
input data PHONE.DAT, and its output result PHONE.TXT, which is the
sample data for the TSR.
Note that the benefits of the TSR are best realized as both the size
of the data file and number of serviced users increase. The file size
should be large enough so that alternate means of access (e.g., paper copy
or typical text file browsing) are inefficient in comparison. The base
of serviced users should be large enough to justify the administrative
efforts that are required (acquiring, massaging, and posting data). A
LAN considerably simplifies administration, since the TSR and data file
need only be placed on one or more centralized servers.
Performance is virtually independent of the data file size (64K records
maximum). The TSR is designed to minimize search time while keeping RAM
cost small. These factors were emphasized during development, since RAM
cram is significant on our LAN and since the initial LAN speed was very
slow (1 megabit/sec line speed). The job was roughly equivalent to making
a standalone application run well on an ancient 4.77 MHz PC with 256K RAM
and 100 ms disk access, with users accustomed to 286/386 performance.
Syntax for TSR install: POPLIST filename [/title]
Syntax for TSR removal: POPLIST /R
The filename should be a complete specification. The title is optional
and may show column headers. Otherwise the filename is used. Removal of
the TSR will only succeed if the TSR still owns all its hooked interrupts.
MARK/RELEASE may be used instead for removal.
The TSR hot key is Alt-Minus. TSR exit is either by Esc (passing no key
along) or by Alt-Minus (passing that key combination along).
The F1 key homes the display and toggles colors (this costs only a few
bytes of code).
Up/down movement is by typical control keys, but the easiest way to
locate data is just to start typing. A binary search drives the display
toward the desired entry as you type. A pointer blinks next to an entry
as soon as you've typed enough to uniquely locate it.
As noted above, the data file should be blocked in 50-byte records (no
CrLfs) and sorted on upper case (actual case may be mixed). The sample
data format is last name/first name/phone/route symbol/room.
The sample data file also contains frills like column separator lines and
initial left-null-padded help text records (which need not be sorted).
The display format is entirely up to you, within the constaints mentioned.
FoxPro is simple and adequate for formatting even large data files.
I can't claim that the TSR is 100% well-behaved. I am not sure that any
such creature really exists. But you have the source code to inspect and
modify as you see fit. The TSR has been a popular feature on our LAN for
about 6 months now, without adverse side effect.
CRH/02 Mar 91