Contents of the ICF188.DOC file
Indexed Card Filer
By M. Arnow
First things first: ICF188.EXE is NOT a Public Domain Program.
It is Shareware, that means that if you find this program useful
please remit $25.00 to:
P.O. Box 3136
Merchandise Mart Station
In return for your $25 you will recieve the latest version of ICF,
documentation, and the C source listings.
You may freely distribute this program, but this document and ALL files
contained in ICF188.ARC MUST accompany it .
ICF was written in the "C" language and compiled with the Borland
Turbo C compiler (ver. 1.5) (tm).
The program is self explanatory, it is designed to be a Card Filer
that is Indexed.
Before doing anything, be sure that the CONFIG.SYS file contains
FILES=20. The program may abort if you don't have the latter statement
DOS COMMAND LINE ENTRY: ICF188 or ICF188/M for monochrome.
Or ICF188/M MYFILE.ICF for monochrome display of myfile in ICF.
To get a feel of the program, copy the contents of this ARCed file
into a new directory named ICF. Now type ICF188. You will be prompted
for a file name. Either type SAMPLE or hit the return key and select
SAMPLE from the directory listing. At this point take notice of the
command prompts at the screen bottom. Each time it says F1=Help it
means that pressing F1 will bring up a help screen. Please refer to
these screens often until you get familiar with ICF.
Page through the file and notice how name files are alphabetized.
You should enter the editor by typing "E" and alter the contents of one
of the cards. The editor uses a modified form of WordStar(tm) commands
(all the editor functions are listed on the help screen).
Leave the editor by pressing Esc. By the way, all command and
functions can be quickly exited by pressing Esc. Now try searching for
a string. Either press "S" or F5 and enter the character string you
want to locate. At this point it is advisable to look at the help
screen to learn what options are available in the search. A search may
be repeated by pressing Control-L which is identical to the
WordStar(tm) function. The tagging option tags the card that contains
the search string. The use of tags is convenient for outputting
(exporting) data to three different file formats or to a printer.
Since this document is meant to serve only as a brief introduction
to ICF, I will let you continue on your own in examining its features.
Don't worry, the ICF functions are simple to use and help is only a
finger tip away.
Finally, you can create your own template for ICF "cards". Press F3
and enter the name of the new card file. You will be asked if you wish to
create a new card, answer yes. You will now be asked if you want name
alphabetization, subject alphabetization, or etc. Press F1 for a brief
description of each option. For demonstration puposes, it is suggested that
you choose either "N" or "S". At this point you can fill out the template for
the new card. Line dividers be be inserted or removed by using F3 and F4
respectively. Please note that the divider lines cannot be adjacent to each
other or the top and bottom borders (refer to the help screen).
When you are satisfied with the template format you can save it by
pressing F2 or you can discard it by pressing Esc.
You may now enter data by going into the editor or import the
data from an ASCII file or another ICF file.
To import ASCII data from lets say Q & A (tm) or Rbase (tm), the data
has to be exported into a file with a fixed ASCII field format. ICF imports
ASCII data by putting each line in the file into a line in an index
card. Since a fixed field format places each record onto a single
line, this would lead to index cards having only one line. A solution
to this problem is to convert each field into a separate line. A
utility called CONVERT.EXE is included which will convert a fixed field
format file into a file suitable for import into ICF. CONVERT has the
option of putting the first 2 or 3 fields onto the first line. This is
useful if the database file has the first, middle and last names placed
in separate fields. By combining the latter fields the whole name will
be the first line in an index card. CONVERT requires that you supply
the number fields in a record and the number of characters in each of
the fields. The ICF import function requires that you supply the
number of lines in a record. So if you converted a file with 5 fields
per record and combined the first 2 fields in one line, the number of
lines per record is 4.
The following is an example of how to import a file from Rbase:
First create a template. When the program is executed, you will
be prompted for a file name Ignore this prompt for the time being.
Press F1 for Help or the ESC key and then F3 to create an ICF file.
Enter the name of the file you wish to create. An example would be
You will be prompted for file type, choose "N" or "S". Now edit the file
format (press F1 for help). When finished press F2 to save this template.
At this point you should copy the template to another file name with the output
function F5. The copy may be necessary because an error in importing data
will destroy the file template.
Errors generally occur if the wrong number of records per line is supplied.
This can put a blank in the first line of a card.
No card can be saved with out an entry on the first line.
Ok now to the importation of data. Go into Rbase, as an example,
select the data base, export it in ASCII fixed field. At this point
take note of the field structure.
First name uses 16 character spaces (example)
Last name uses 20 character spaces (example)
Jot down the number of spaces for each field and how many fields
your going to export. Lets say 7 fields. Export the file with the
name PEOPLE.TXT or some name you like, to your ICF directory, where
CONVERT.EXE and ICF188.EXE reside. Run CONVERT.EXE. You will be
prompted for a input file name, in this case PEOPLE.TXT. Then a prompt
for the output file name, how about PEOPLE (convert will supply the
.PRN extension). That is followed by "How many fields" we said 7 earlier.
Now your asked if you want to combine any of the first 3 fields. Lets
stop for a minute and say yes. If you had a First name field and a Last
name field, you can put them together on one line in ICF by answering
yes and following the prompt in this portion of the CONVERT.EXE
program. Just continue on and enter the field structure spaces as
prompted. The program will stop after 7 fields.
You now have a PRN file that is formatted for ICF. Return to ICF
and when prompted for file name, press enter to get a directory of ICF
files. There should appear PEOPLE and any other .ICF files in that
directory. Select the PEOPLE file with the cursor keys, give it a
"return" and the screen will change to the selected template.
Now press F1 for HELP or F4 to import the converted file, in this
case PEOPLE.PRN. When you are prompted for the number of lines, which
equals fields, be careful, if you started out with 7 fields but
combined 2 of them in the CONVERT.EXE program, your response should be 6. You
will now be asked if you wish to re-order the lines coming from the input
Press "N", because we're assuming the lines are already properly ordered. At
this point the program will do it's thing. It will take a couple of minutes
if you've done everything the way these instructions stated.
Card 1 of the imported data should now be displayed on the screen.
Other Stuff: Creating a ICF card file for Sonka's Metro BBS list.
Here are the files that would be needed:
BBS.C is the source code for BBS.EXE, that filters the data of the
BBS.EXE is the compiled version of BBS.C that actually does
Run it and look at the output file. The file types and baud rates
are expanded from the symbols in the list.
The BBS List is available on this BBS. It is a list of Bulletin
Boards in the metro Chicago area. And is called BBSDIR???.ARC. It is
used solely as an example of the capabilities of ICF.EXE to import an
ASCII file and convert it to an ICF file and be used by the program.
The file used from BBSDIR???.ARC is MBBSDIR.TXT when constructing
the data for BBS.ICF.
Keep in mind that YOU must create your own filter program for
whatever other ASCII data you decide to import to a given ICF file.
And YOU must create the ICF file and format.