Contents of the PDOXHELP.DOC file
This version of PDOXHELP is NOT public domain or free software, but
is being distributed as "shareware". The registration fee is $25.00
per copy unless a site license is arranged. Please send your
registration fee to Sierra Systems, P.O. Box 27513, Austin, Texas
Non-registered users of this software are granted a limited license
to make an evaluation copy for trial use on a private,
non-commercial basis, for the express purpose of determining whether
PDOXHELP is suitable for their needs. At the end of this trial
period, you should either register your copy or discontinue using
What does all this really mean? If you regularly use this program -
i.e., once a week or more - then you should pay for your copy. That
way we'll be able to provide you CompuServe support, updates and
stay in business.
A PDOXHELP registration entitles you to use the program on any and
all computers available to you, with the following restriction: If
other people have access to this program or may use it, then you
should purchase a site license. See the following section for
information about site licensing or quantity discounts.
All users are granted a limited license to copy PDOXHELP only for
the trial use of others and subject to the above limitations. This
license does NOT include distribution or copying of this software
1. In connection with any other product or service.
2. For general use within a company or institution.
3. For any consideration or 'disk fee'.
4. Distribution in modified form, i.e., the file containing
this license information MUST be included, along with the
full PDOXHELP documentation and related files.
Operators of electronic bulletin board systems (Sysops) are
encouraged to post PDOXHELP for downloading by their users, as long
as the above conditions are met.
If you are the distributor of a public domain or user-supported
software library, then you may be eligible to distribute copies of
PDOXHELP. You must meet all of the above conditions and acquire
written permission from Sierra Systems before doing so, however.
Please contact us details.
PDOXHELP is copyrighted by Sierra Systems.
PDOXHELP is a non-resident help system for those programming in PAL
and includes some 266 PAL commands and functions. How it is invoked
from your text editor depends on the editor you use. If your editor
does NOT clear the screen before calling a DOS program, PDOXHELP
will look up help for the word at the cursor position. If your
editor clears the screen, you will be presented with an alphabetical
list of PAL commands and functions to choose from. There is a Help
On Help topic so that you should not have to refer back to this file
Most topics are cross-referenced.
The fastest installation is to unarc all files to your Paradox
The files are:
PDOXHELP.EXE - The program which looks up help.
PAL.HLP - The compressed help text file.
PDOXHELP.TXT - Brief description for BBS's.
PDOXHELP.DOC - this file.
Both PDOXHELP.EXE and PAL.HLP must be in the same directory.
(This may change in a future release).
For a quick look at the extensive help provided, simply type
at the DOS command line:
Once loaded, the cursor keys behave normally and you select a topic
by moving the arrow (and page keys) then pressing Enter.
1. An IBM computer and monitor or 100% compatibles.
Tested only with color but should work on
non-color monitors as well. Reported to work on
2. While PDOXHELP can be called from DOS, best use
is gained by writing a macro to call it from
the keyboard. Examples are:
For the QEdit editor (v2.06) via Alt-H
@h macro_begin dos 'PDOXHELP' return return
For American Cybernetics' Multi-Edit (v3.01b):
And then use the Multi-Edit "Install", "Keys"
sequence to call this macro via Alt-H or other
key combination of your choice. (Don't forget
to compile the Multi-Edit macro).
Note that Multi-Edit does not clear the screen
automatically so that typing a part of the
command or function name will permit you to
have help looked up from the cursor position.
Just place the cursor anywhere within the
word and press Alt-H, assuming you set up this
We would appreciate receiving the macros for other editors together
with a note about whether direct screen lookup of keywords up can be
Caveat: you may get error messages written to the screen if
PDOXHELP.EXE cannot find the PAL.HLP file. This will be important to
those whose editors do not clear the screen.
As with all software, there are some things that cannot be changed
in PDOXHELP. Some desirable features could be obtained if users are
willing to give up at least 80K of memory which would permit
PDOXHELP to be a TSR. We made the decision early that TSR's of this
magnitude were not feasible for Paradox users. Here is a partial
list of the limitations, some of which are not related to the TSR
- We cannot force your editor to save the last
screen before DOS is called to execute PDOXHELP
in order to permit "on-screen" lookup.
- There is no way to modify the text of the help file.
This directly relates to the method of cross referencing
topics so that a "merge" approach is not feasible.
If demand for PDOXHELP is so great that we feel it can
justify the cost of moving from "Shareware" to full
commercial status, this might change. But then so
will the price, certainly not less that $100 per
copy. Even then, Peter Norton and others publish
this type of software but you will have to build
your own help text from scratch.
- There is no way to permit the PDOXHELP box to remain
on the screen when you return to your editor. This
is a part of the compromise of not using a TSR
- Borland's Paradox help cannot be incorporated directly
for a number of reasons, including the fact that it's
undocumented. We can and will incorporate text similar
to Paradox's it if there is sufficient demand, but it
will mean a larger arced file to download.
- The screen colors and the location of the help boxes
cannot be changed. We may include the ability to
configure these if the demand is sufficient. This
would add another 50-80K to the arced file, already
Fixes and Enhancements
Since this is version 1 and most of our effort was spent getting the
6000 plus lines of text keyed, there will certainly be errors.
Please tell us and save others the grief. If a topic seems really
strange, our global editing changes may have been at fault. We
realize that this is a long download and have tried to proof the
We will take any material you send us seriously but we have found
that a number of very knowledgeable users have a tendency to be too
brief and use abbreviations. While communications time is not
inexpensive, it has proved to be a false economy to use a style that
is too terse since we usually have to ask for clarification.
The more specific and detailed you can be about errors, the more
useful your comments wll be. For example:
"The following PAL code has a comma missing
under the topic PMT after the first parameter:
Message Pmt(1000 .01, 24) ; displays 47.07
and should read:
Message Pmt(1000, .01, 24) ; displays 47.07"
It will help us if you will distinguish those items which are
clearly our errors and those which are your preferences. We do not
mean to imply that we do not want your ideas, on the contrary, we
hope you will take the time to send them. Because software at this
level of complexity tends to make one loose sight of the forest for
all the trees, your general ideas can be very helpful.
We solicit your suggestions for specific examples of short but
working PAL code that can be included to improve PDOXHELP. We spend
so much time writing Pascal and assembler that we don't have an
opportunity to write lots of PAL code. While common sense dictates
how extensive comments should be, please err on the side of too many
rather than too few.
PDOXHELP may contain up to 20 PAGES of examples for EACH help topic
so your examples don't have to be too terse. This is a good place for
your favorite examples.
It will help us incorporate your examples if you will use the
following format and limit the line length to 63 characters:
!TOPIC 999 ArraySize
Returns the dimension of an array or 0 if the array has not
been declared or argument is illegal.
Returns the number of elements array can store.
; Example 1
Message ArraySize(a) ; displays 1
; Example 2
a = 3 ; redefine a
Message ArraySize(a) ; displays 0 (error)
- Use to determine if a var is an array
Please send your suggestions via EasyPlex to James Cowden at
CompuServe ID 72307,1447.
Our intention is to upload updates to the CompuServe (BORAPP area,
PAL's DL15) about once a month until most of the errors are corrected
and the examples have stabilized. We will also upload corrected
versions to the Austin, TX Paradox BBS.