Contents of the VTL.DOC file
Video Tape Library
Paul E. Castle II
A Dream Castle production
Dream Castle - Where Your Dreams Are Our Realities
VTL is a menu driven, video tape tracking system. It is written in
Turbo C v2.0 and uses Mike Smedley's extended C library CXL v5.0. VTL
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 VTL. I DO ask that you
register your use of VTL. 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 VTL and direct questions, comments,
complaints, suggestions, and requests through any of the following
Dream Castle BBS - (619) 436-2617 - Home of VTL - Sysop Paul Castle
Paul E. Castle II
155 Rosebay Dr. #6
Encinitas, Ca. 92024
Syntax: VTL [-switches]
-b = BIOS screen writing
-c = CGA snow elimination
-h = Display VTL syntax
-m = Monochrome attributes forced
-p = Path to VTL files
-x = Exploding windows active
At start-up, VTL can be configured through the use of command line
If you wish to run VTL from a remote terminal, the "-b" switch
will force VTL to use BIOS calls for I/O. Without the "-b" switch, VTL
performs direct screen writes.
The "-c" switch can be used if you experience "snow" during VTL
direct memory I/O. This switch activates VTL snow removal.
VTL defaults to color output. You can force VTL to use monochrome
attributes by using the "-m" switch.
Using the "-x" switch starts VTL with exploding windows active.
Once inside VTL, you can toggle exploding windows OFF and ON using the
VTL can be run from any directory. However, if VTL is run from a
directory other than the one that holds its files, you must use the "-p"
switch or the environment variable "VTL" to indicate the path to the
VTL files. If you prefer to use the environment variable rather than
the "-p" switch, simply use the DOS SET command to set VTL equal to the
path to your files. For example:
Switches can be run togeather (ie: VTL -mbx) or used singly
(ie: VTL -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.
First Time Users:
The first time you use VTL it will create ten files, the master
file and the nine index files. These files will be created in the
directory indicated by the "-p" switch, the VTL environment variable,
or the current directory if the "-p" switch and environment variable
are not used. All of these files are necessary to VTL operation. The
VTL.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 VTL.
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 VTL. Using the
[Esc] key to exit VTL does NOT cause a problem. VTL 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 VTL from anywhere.
When [Alt-X] is used, you will be asked to confirm that you wish to exit
VTL. 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
VTL 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 VTL 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 VTL
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 VTL session is ended. This can
produce a strange result. For example, say you added PSYCHO with John
Wayne as the star. You realize your mistake, enter the UPDATE function
to make the correction, and change John Wayne to Anthony Perkins. Now,
during the same session, you search for all films with Anthony Perkins
in them. The result is that PSYCHO will not be one of the records
selected. This is because the index file still has John Wayne as the
star of PSYCHO! Only after you exit VTL 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 VTL 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 VTL 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. VTL has nine different index (or
search, fields including two that allow up to three entries each. These
fields are: Tape ID, Film Title, Film Class, Film Rating, Director,
Writer, Producer, Male Star (three entries), and Female Star (three
entries). Once search has been selected, you are presented with a
search criteria selection screen. You may enter one or more of these
fields and the 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 throught 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 nine different index fields to sort on.
These fields are:
Tape ID, Film Title, Male Star, Female Star, Director, Writer,
Producer, Film Class, and Film Rating.
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. Two warnings: First, the printer
option is rather crude. It takes a Llloooonnnnnnnggggggggg (long) time
to print the list. During that time, 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.
RECREATE INDEX FILES:
The recreate feature is used to recreate the VTL 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
VTL. You can perform any DOS functions and then return to VTL by typing
"EXIT" at the DOS prompt.
VTL VERSION INFO:
The VTL version feature allows you see information concerning this
version of VTL. It will tell you the version number and the software
and hardware used to create this release.
Selecting QUIT will exit VTL. 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.
VTL Master Record Fields:
There is no valadition of VTL fields. Whatever you desire to
enter will be accepted. Four of the fields (START, END, TIME, and YEAR)
are numeric only. All others are alphanumeric. The internal VTL HELP
has a screen for each field and includes an example of the type of
entry the field was designed for.
VTL 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.