Contents of the MAL.DOC file
Magazine Article Library
Paul E. Castle II
A Dream Castle production
Dream Castle - Where Your Dreams Are Our Realities
MAL is a menu driven, magazine article tracking system. It is
written in Turbo C v2.0 and uses Mike Smedley's extended C library
CXL v5.0. Mal is user supported software, copyrighted by the author,
and distributed as is with no guaranty of any kind. You use this
software at your own risk. I accept no responsibility for any damages
incurred by its use.
I do not "REQUIRE" a fee for the use of MAL. I DO ask that you
register your use of MAL. This is simply to give me an idea of who
and how many are using the program. If you wish to make a small
contribution when registering, I will gladly accept it.
You can register your use of MAL and direct questions, comments,
complaints, suggestions, and requests through any of the following
Dream Castle BBS - (619) 436-2617 - Home of MAL - Sysop Paul Castle
Paul E. Castle II
155 Rosebay Dr. #6
Encinitas, Ca. 92024
Syntax: MAL [-switches]
-b = BIOS screen writing
-c = CGA snow elimination
-h = Display MAL syntax
-m = Monochrome attributes forced
-p = Path to MAL files
-x = Exploding windows active
At start-up, MAL can be configured through the use of command line
If you wish to run MAL from a remote terminal, the "-b" switch
will force MAL to use BIOS calls for I/O. Without the "-b" switch, MAL
performs direct screen writes.
The "-c" switch can be used if you experience "snow" during MAL
direct memory I/O. This switch activates MAL snow removal.
MAL defaults to color output. You can force MAL to use monochrome
attributes by using the "-m" switch.
Using the "-x" switch starts MAL with exploding windows active.
Once inside MAL, you can toggle exploding windows OFF and ON using the
MAL can be run from any directory. However, if MAL is run from a
directory other than the one that holds its files, you must use the "-p"
switch or the environment variable "MAL" to indicate the path to the
MAL files. If you prefer to use the environment variable rather than
the "-p" switch, simply use the DOS SET command to set MAL equal to the
path to your files. For example:
Switches can be run togeather (ie: MAL -mbx) or used singly
(ie: MAL -m -b -x). Either the "-" or "/" can be used as the "switch
character". If switches are run togeather, the "-p" switch MUST be the
last in the list. Finally, switches may be upper or lower case.
MAL provides full MicroSoft Mouse support. If a mouse is detected,
MAL will initialize the mouse and allow you to use it for menu selection
and cursor placement.
First Time Users:
The first time you use MAL it will create five files, the master
file and the four index files. These files will be created in the
directory indicated by the "-p" switch, the MAL environment variable,
or the current directory if the "-p" switch and environment variable
are not used. All of these files are necessary to MAL operation. The
MAL.HLP file should be placed in the directory you wish the master and
index files to be created in. The help file is not necessary to MAL.
However, online help will not be available without it.
Key Combinations and Function Keys:
Certain key combinations and "F" keys perform specific functions
At any time, you can activate a HELP screen, specific to where you
are at the time, by pressing [F1].
The [Esc] key allows you to exit the screen/function you are
currently in. Pressing [Esc] at the Main Menu will exit MAL. Using the
[Esc] key to exit MAL does NOT cause a problem. MAL will go through its
normal exit routine and all updates and deletes will be applied. You
can, also, use the [Alt-X] key combination to exit MAL from anywhere.
When [Alt-X] is used, you will be asked to confirm that you wish to exit
MAL. If you respond "Y", all updates and deletes will be applied, and
the session will end. If you reply "N", you will be left at the same
point that you pressed [Alt-X].
The [F2] function key is used to complete processing. This is true
in the Search Criteria, Add, Update, and Delete windows. When updating
or deleting records, you will be prompted to confirm the requested
action prior to the record being processed. When selecting search
criteria, [Ctrl-Enter] at any time, or [Enter] while in the last field,
will start the search process.
Pressing the [F6] function key will dump the current screen
contents to the printer. Be sure the printer is on and ready. I have
not installed a critical error handler that will trap this problem.
[F10] can be used to toggle "exploding windows". Exploding windows
are a nice visual effect that can eventually drive you to insanity. One
note: a window will close in the same manner it was opened - no matter
what the toggle at the time.
Finally, the [PgUp] and [PgDn] keys are used to scroll through
multiple screens of information.
Data Entry Edit Keys:
The following is a list of the editting keys available within all
MAL date entry screens.
Arrow keys - cursor movement
Ctrl-LeftArrow - word left
Ctrl-RightArrow - word right
Home - beginning of field
End - end of line/field
Ctrl-Home - beginning of first field
Ctrl-End - end of last field
Tab - next field
Shift-Tab - previous field
Inserting and Deleting
Ins - toggle insert mode
Del - delete character at cursor
BackSpace - delete character left
Ctrl-BackSpace - delete word left
Ctrl-T - delete word right
Ctrl-U - delete to end of field
Ctrl-Y - delete to end of form
Main Menu Selections:
Update Master File:
The UPDATE function allows you to modify the master file. This
includes the initial entry of master file records, deletion of unwanted
or unneeded records, updating of individual master records, and a search
feature that allows you to specify search criteria and then page through
The ADD feature is used to make the initial entry of a master file
record. After selecting ADD, you will be presented with the MAL input
screen. Fill in the data fields and press [F2] to process the screen
and add the record to the master file.
The update feature is used to make changes to existing master file
records. After selecting UPDATE, you will be presented with the MAL
search criteria screen. Enter on or more of the key values, press [F2],
and the master file will be searched for matching entries. If matching
entries are found, you will then be given a screen, like the one used to
ADD records, with the data from the matching master records displayed.
You can page through these records, make changes, and use the [F2] key
to update the record. Changes to the master record are applied
immediately. If an index field is modified, the associated index file
record will not be updated until the MAL session is ended. This can
produce a strange result. For example, say you enter an article with
Stephen King as author. You realize the author should be Robert Bloch.
You enter the UPDATE function to make the correction, change Stephen
King to Robert Bloch, and process. Now, during the same session, you
search for all articles written by Robert Bloch. The result is that
the updated record is missing. This is because the index file still
indicates that Stephen King is the author of the article! Only after
you exit MAL or rebuild the index files (another Main Menu selection)
will the correct relationship be created. In other words: Update index
fields with care!.
The delete feature is used to remove master file records. After
selecting DELETE, you will be presented with the MAL search criteria
screen. Enter one or more of the key values, press [F2], and the
master file will be searched for matching entries. If matching entries
are found, you will then be given a screen, like the one used to add
records, with data from the matching master records displayed. You can
page through these records, locate the one(s) you wish to delete, and
press the [F2] key to delete the record. Unlike the Update feature,
which updates immediately, deleted records are not removed until the end
of the current MAL session. At that time, the deleted records are
physically removed and the index files updated. If you delete a record,
then decide you made a mistake, simply select UPDATE, retrieve the
mistakenly deleted record, and use [F2] to process. This will reset the
delete flag and "re-add" the record.
Just like the Main Menu selection. See description that follows.
SEARCH MASTER FILE:
The search feature is used to locate master file records that match
the search criteria you specify. MAL has four different index (or
search, fields including two that allow multiple entries. These fields
are: Title, Author (two entries), Publication or Magazine (both terms
are used), and Keywords (nine entries). Once search has been selected,
you are presented with asearch criteria selection screen. You may enter
one or more of these fields and then press [F2] to process. The master
file is searched for matching records and the data is displayed on a
screen like the data entry screen. You may then page through the
entries using the [PgUp] and [PgDn] keys.
LIST MASTER FILE:
The list function is used to list the master file records in sorted
order. You can chose one of the four different index fields to sort on.
These fields are:
Title, Author, Publication or Magazine, and Keywords.
The sorted list can then be viewed on the screen or sent to the printer.
Selecting the SCREEN option will allow you to view the master file
records individually (yes, the screen is the same as the ADD screen) and
scroll through the records using the [PgUp] and [PgDn] keys. Only
records that contain an entry for the selected sort field will be
displayed. If the field is blank, the record will be skipped.
The PRINTER option works the same as the SCREEN option only the
output is directed to your printer. Use the PRINTER SELECTION function
to select your printer type. Currently, the only supported printers
are EPSON compatiable, HP compatiable, and GENERIC for all others. If
you have an EPSON or HP compatiable printer, using the PRINTER SELECTION
to indicate this will speed up the printing greatly!
Two warnings: First, the printer option takes a fair amount of time to
complete (a HUGE amount if you are using the GENERIC printer type).
During the time it takes to print your Master file, your PC is tied up.
Keep this in mind when you make this selection. Second, make sure your
printer is on and ready. I do not have a critical error handler
installed and do not trap this error.
I am willing to add support for other printers on request. What I
need from you is the escape code sequence for turning BOLD print on and
RECREATE INDEX FILES:
The recreate feature is used to recreate the MAL index files in the
case of disaster. Accidents do tend to happen. And, there may come a
time that one or more of the index files may be lost or damaged. If
this ever occurs, selecting this option will rebuild the index files.
The OS shell feature allows you to drop to DOS while still in
MAL. You can perform any DOS functions and then return to MAL by typing
"EXIT" at the DOS prompt.
MAL VERSION INFO:
The MAL version feature allows you see information concerning this
version of MAL. It will tell you the version number and the software
and hardware used to create this release.
This function allows you to select your printer type and helps to
speed up the PRINT option of the LIST MASTER FILE selection. MAL
currently supports EPSON compatiable printers, plus a GENERIC type for
all others. Other printers may be added as time and need dictate.
Selecting QUIT will exit MAL. At this time, all records with
the delete flag set will be removed and the index files will be updated
to reflect key field updates and to remove deleted entries.
MAL Master Record Fields:
There is no valadition of MAL fields. Whatever you desire to
enter will be accepted. One field (page number) is numeric only. All
others are alphanumeric. The internal MAL HELP has a screen for each
field and includes an example of the type of entry the field was
MAL is very simple to use. Help is always available by pressing
[F1]. Just start it up and off you go. I think you will find it an
easy package to use and love.