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October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page i


Table of Contents
-----------------

Introduction 1

How to Display RPSORT Built-in Syntax Screens 1

Syntax Conventions 1

How To Exit Quickly From RPSORT 2
Quick Exit From RPSORT When Output Goes To The Standard Output 2

General Description of How RPSORT Does A Sort 3

Summary Of RPSORT Syntax 4

Details Of RPSORT Syntax 5

Options For Specifying Input And Output Files 5
Using RPSORT As A Filter 5
Specifying Input And Output Files Directly 5

Specifying Lines Or Fixed Length Records 6
Lines Are The Default 6
/Fnnnn - Specifying Fixed Length Records 6

Detailed Description Of Sort Key Types Supported By RPSORT 7
Sort Keys That Are Character Strings 7
Default Case Insensitive Character Strings 7
ASCII (Case Sensitive) Character Strings 7
C Language Style Character Strings 7
Turbo Pascal Style Character Strings 8
Sort Keys That Are Binary Numbers 8
Signed Binary Integers 8
Unsigned Binary Integers 9
BASICA And GWBASIC Floating Point Numbers 9
Turbo Pascal Real Numbers 9
Math Co-Processor Floating Point Numbers 10

Defining The Desired Sort Sequence To RPSORT 11
Standard Defaults For Sort Keys 11
Switches Which Set Defaults For Sort Keys 11
/A - Sort all Text Keys in ASCII (Case Sensitive) Sequence 11
/C - Make All Text Keys Be C Language Strings 11
/P - Make All Text Keys Be Turbo Pascal Strings 11
/R - Sort All Keys In Reverse (Descending Order) 11



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page ii


Table of Contents (continued)
-----------------------------

Defining Sort Keys 12
Sort Key Definition Syntax 12
Col - The Start Column For A Key 12
Len - The Length Of A Key 12
R - Sorting The Key In Reverse (Descending) Order 12
A - Sorting The Key In ASCII (case insensitive) Order 12
C - Specifying A C Language Type String 12
P - Specifying A Turbo Pascal Type String 12
I - Specifying A Signed Binary Integer 13
U - Specifying An Unsigned Binary Integer 13
F - Specifying A Math Co-processor Type Floating Point Number 13
M - Specifying A BASIC Interpretor Type Floating Point Number 13
T - Specifying A Turbo Pascal Type Real Number 13
List Of Various Compiler And Interpreter Numeric Data Types 14

Miscellaneous Switches 15
/Q - Suppressing Copyright And Completion Messages 15
/Eerrfile - Directing Error Messages To A File 15
/B - Ignoring Control Breaks Entered From The Keyboard 15
/D - Delete Records Whose Sortkeys Duplicate Previous Record 15
/N - Delete Null Lines 16
/Td - Designate Drive To Be Used For Temporary Files. 16
/Z - Ignore Ctrl-Z In Text File. Use Entire Physical File. 16

Efficiency Considerations 17
Do ASCII Sort If Text Keys Are All Upper Case Or All Lower Case 17
How Memory Size Affects RPSORT Speed And Need For Temp Disk Space 18
Using CHKDSK Or MEM To Determine Free Memory 18
Sorts Requiring No Merge Phase And No Temporary Files 19
Sorts Requiring One Merge Phase And One Temporary File 20
Sorts Requiring Two Or More Merge Phases And Two Temporary Files 21
Deciding What Drives To Put Temporary And Output Files On 21
Buffers Command In Your Config.Sys 22
Using Disk Cache Programs 22

Special Situations 23
Sorting Files That Contain Tabs 23
Writing The Output To The File That Contained The Input 24

Two Incompatibilities With The DOS SORT 24

Error Messages 25
Error Numbers And Return Codes 25
Syntax Error Messages 26-30
DOS Version Before 2.0 Message 31
Insufficient Memory Messages 31
Line Or String Too Long Messages 31
Input/Output Error Messages 32-33
Never Should Happen Error Messages 33



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 1


Introduction

RPSORT is a sort utility that greatly improves upon the features and the
performance of the sort utility distributed with Microsoft DOS. First,
RPSORT does everything that the DOS SORT does. Virtually any command
that works with DOS SORT works with RPSORT and produces the same result.

But RPSORT does much more. It can sort very large files and supports
multiple sort keys. It is extremely fast. I do not know of another sort
utility that can outspeed it.

RPSORT sorts text files. These consist of lines each ended by CRLF (i.e.
a carriage return and line feed). RPSORT also sort files of fixed length
records such as those produced by many BASIC, Pascal and C programs.

RPSORT supports numerous sort key types including regular text keys, C
language strings, Turbo Pascal strings, signed and unsigned binary
integers of any length and several types of binary floating point numbers.

RPSORT can delete null lines (consisting only of a CRLF). It can also
delete records/lines whose sort keys duplicate those in a previous
record/line.

A summary of RPSORT syntax appears on page 4 of this document.
A comprehensive list of RPSORT examples can be found in the file
EXAMPLES.DOC.


How to Display RPSORT Built-in Syntax Screens

Enter the RPSORT command with no parameters, to see RPSORT's built-in
syntax screens. Use the Page Down and Page Up keys to negotiate the
screens. Press the Esc key when you are finished viewing the syntax
screens.


Syntax Conventions

. Items in square brackets ([]) are optional. Type the information inside
the brackets but not the brackets themselves.

. An item followed by an ellipsis (...) may be repeated several times.

. Capital letters (A thru Z) and special characters (/ and ? and +) should
be entered as they appear in the syntax except that you may enter lower
case letters in place of the capital letters.

. Words spelled out in lower case letters describe an item you are to enter.
For example, where you see the word "inputfile" in the syntax, enter the
path (if necessary) and the name of an input file. File names and other
and other parameters may be entered in lower or upper case as you choose.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 2


How To Exit Quickly From RPSORT

RPSORT is very fast and can sort files containing hundreds of kilobytes
and thousands of records in just a few seconds (I am assuming a 286 CPU
and a hard disk). However, if you are sorting a really large file (say
20 megabytes) then the execution time could be a some number of minutes.
If you start such a sort and then realize that you specified the wrong
sort key(s), you can terminate the sort immediately as follows:

. Enter a Ctrl-Break (i.e. hold down the Ctrl key press the Break key).

. Within a very few seconds, RPSORT will respond with the message:

Do you wish to quit RPSORT? Press Esc to quit, any other key to
continue.

. If you do indeed wish to terminate the sort press the Esc key. RPSORT
will clean up properly by deleting any temporary files as well as any
partial output file and then it will terminate.

. If you decide you don't want to terminate the sort after all, press any
key but the Esc key and the sort will continue.

After terminating the sort, as above, you can then re-enter the RPSORT
command with the correct parameters.

There might be other reasons to terminate the sort. Perhaps you need the
computer for some other purpose and can't wait for the sort to finish.
In such cases, be aware that any work done by RPSORT will be lost. If
you do the sort later on you will have to start it from the beginning.

If you want RPSORT to ignore any control break, use the /B switch. See
"Miscellaneous Switches" on page 15.


Quick Exit From RPSORT When Output Goes To The Standard Output

If RPSORT is writing its output to the standard output, as in:

RPSORT outputfile

then the termination proceeds a little differently:

. As above you enter Ctrl-Break.

. RPSORT simply terminates the sort within a few seconds without giving
you a chance to change your mind. As above it deletes any temporary
files but it does not delete the output file. It can't delete the
latter because it doesn't know the name of a redirected output file.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 3


General Description of How RPSORT Does A Sort

When you execute RPSORT you specify in the command line:

. The source of the input data (one or more files) and the destination
for the sorted output (either a file or the screen).

. Whether the input is lines terminated by CRLF or fixed length records.

. Optionally, you define one or more sort key. These indicate:

. The location of the key in the line or record.
. The length of the key.
. The type of key. Any of several string or numeric types.

If there are no sort key definitions, RPSORT assumes a default
character string key consisting of the entire line or record.

The sort process involves the following:

. RPSORT compares two records/lines, at a time, to determine which comes
first and swaps them, if necessary, to put them in the right sequence.
The comparisons continue until the entire input has been sequenced.

. RPSORT uses the quicksort algorithm (invented by C. A. R. Hoare in
1962) to determine which records/lines to compare. This algorithm is
very good at doing the sort with the minimum number of comparisons.

. In comparing two records/lines, RPSORT compares the sort keys in the
same sequence as their appearance in the command line until it finds an
unequal compare or runs out of sort keys.

. If all the sort keys are equal for two records, RPSORT breaks the tie
by comparing the locations of the two records in the input. This
maintains any inherent order in the file (i.e. if two or more records
have identical sort keys then their order among themselves in the
sorted output will be the same as it was in the input).

. For files consisting of lines, some of the lines may be:

. Too short to contain any part of a given sort key. Then, the sort
key is taken to be a null string and sorts lower than anything else.

. Or too short to contain the whole sort key. Then, the key comparison
is done for the length of the shorter key. If the keys are equal for
that length, the shorter key sorts low.

. If the input file(s) are small enough to fit in the available memory
space the sort is done in one pass in memory.

. If the input is too big to fit into memory, it is read in chunks and
each chunk is sorted and written to a temp file. Then RPSORT uses one
or more merge phases to combine the chunks into the sorted output file.

. RPSORT displays the elapsed time for the sort at the end.


October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 4

Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Summary Of RPSORT Syntax

Input is one or more filespecs (including path if required) separated by
plus signs. Output is a single filespec. Input filespec(s) must precede
output filespec. Input file(s) are sorted together into the single output
file. Wildcard characters are allowed in input filespecs and all files
with matching names will be included. For example:

RPSORT IPFILE*.DAT+C:\MYDIR\IP??FILE.DAT OPFILE.DAT

RPSORT can also be used as a filter. For example:

RPSORT OPFILE

By default, RPSORT assumes a text file with the entire line as a case
insensitive sort key. This can be changed by some of the parameters below.

/Q suppresses copyright and success messages. Must be first parameter.
/Eerrfile specifies file to which error messages will go instead of the
screen. Should precede any parameter except /Q.
/? or ? displays built-in syntax screens.
/A does an ASCII sort. Case sensitive (lower case not equal upper case).
/B tells RPSORT to ignore any control break entered from the keyboard.
/C specifies C language style text keys (terminated by a binary zero).
/D deletes any record whose sortkeys duplicate those in a previous record.
/Fnnnn says that the input consists of fixed length records of nnnn bytes.
/N deletes any null lines (those consisting only of a CRLF sequence).
/P specifies Pascal style text keys (first byte is length of string).
/R specifies a reverse (descending order) sort.
/Td designates drive to be used for temp files instead of default drive.
/Z tells RPSORT to ignore Ctrl-Z in text file and use the entire file.
The /R switch applies to all sort keys. The /A, /C and /P switches apply to
all text sort keys. They can't be over-ridden for an individual sort key.

A sort key definition starts with /+ and may include the following
attributes. No spaces are allowed between the attributes:

col is starting column of this key. Col 1 is the first col in the record.
:len is the length of this key.
A does an ASCII (case sensitive) sort for the key.
C sorts this key as C language text key (terminated by a binary zero).
F sorts this key as a 80x87 floating point number. Len is 4, 8 or 10.
I sorts this key as a signed binary integer. This may be any length.
M sorts this key as a BASICA floating point number. Len is 4 or 8.
P sorts this key as Pascal text key (first byte is length of string).
R does a reverse (descending) sort for this key.
T sorts this key as a Turbo Pascal type "real" number. Len must be 6.
U sorts this key as an unsigned binary integer. This may be any length.
Attributes F, I, M, P, T and U are only allowed for fixed length records.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 5


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]

Details Of RPSORT Syntax

There are three types of parameters:

. Those that specify files (i.e inputfile and outputfile).
. Switches which consist of a slash and a letter plus possibly a file
name, number or drive letter (e.g /Q, /Eerrfile, /Fnnnn, Td).
. Sort key definitions each of which defines a single sort key.

The parameters can be entered in any sequence except that:

. The inputfile(s) must always precede the outputfile.
. The /Q switch (see /Q - Suppressing Copyright And Completion Messages)
must precede any other parameter.
. The /Eerrfile switch (see /Eerrfile - Directing Error Messages To A
File) should precede everything but /Q.

Options For Specifying Input And Output Files

Using RPSORT As A Filter

RPSORT can be used as a filter which reads the standard input and
writes to the standard output. For example:

RPSORT opfile

The standard output need not be redirected and can go to the screen.
The standard input must be redirected to a file or piped from the
output of another program. RPSORT will not accept an input file
directly from the keyboard. If you take the input from the standard
input then the output MUST go to the standard output.

Specifying Input And Output Files Directly

You can specify the input and output files directly. Input is one or
more files separated by plus signs but output must be a single file.
The filespecs may include a path. All input files are combined and
sorted together into the single output file. Wildcard characters are
allowed in input filespecs and all files with matching names are
included. For example:

RPSORT IPFILE*.DAT+C:\MYDIR\IP??FILE.DAT OPFILE.DAT

If the path and filename for the output filespec are the same as that
for an existing file, the latter will be replaced by the output from
RPSORT. If this is what you want, fine but if you don't want to lose
the existing file then use a different name for the output.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 6


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]


Specifying Lines Or Fixed Length Records

Lines Are The Default

By default, the file is assumed to consist of lines. A line is a
sequence of characters terminated by CRLF. RPSORT also accepts the
LFCR sequence as a line terminator. The lines may vary in length
from null lines up to a maximum length of 32750. RPSORT will reject
a file that contains a line longer than this.

If the last record in an input file does not terminate with CRLF or
LFCR, RPSORT will append these two characters and display a message
informing you of its action.

If the input is two or more files, RPSORT will, if necessary, append
a CRLF to terminate the last line in each of the files. RPSORT never
assumes that a line starting in one file continues in the next.

Only character string sort keys are allowed in a file of lines.
Binary numeric sort keys are not allowed.


/Fnnnn - Specifying Fixed Length Records

A file of fixed length records contains records all of the same
length. The /Fnnnn switch tells RPSORT that the records are fixed
length and the value you enter for nnnn specifies the length. For
example, /F65 tells RPSORT that the file consists of 65 byte records.

Fixed length records need not end with a CRLF but if they do, those
two bytes must be included in the length given by the /Fnnnn switch.

The maximum length you may specify is 32750. RPSORT would reject
/F32751.

If the last record in the input is shorter than the length given in
the /Fnnnn switch (i.e. the file length is not an exact multiple of
nnnn), RPSORT ignores the last record and does not include it in the
sorted output. RPSORT displays a message to inform you of its action.

If the input consists of two or more files, RPSORT will skip last
short records from each of the input files. RPSORT never assumes
that a record starting in one file continues in the next.

All key types supported by RPSORT are allowed in a file of fixed
length records.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 7


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]


Detailed Description Of Sort Key Types Supported By RPSORT

Sort Keys That Are Character Strings

Default Case Insensitive Character Strings

This is the only sequence supported by the DOS SORT. The digits 0
through 9 come before the letters. Lower case letters sort equal
to upper case letters. Foreign letters, punctuation and currency
symbols sort equal to their American English equivalents.

ASCII (Case Sensitive) Character Strings

The sequence is according to the ASCII value assigned to each
character. This puts the digits 0 through 9 before any letters and
puts all of the upper case letters before any of the lower case
letters. Foreign letters, punctuation and currency symbols sort
higher than any of the above.

The ASCII value for each character is the code used internally by
the computer to represent that character. An ASCII sort is the
fastest possible sort because it requires no pre-processing of the
characters.

You can specify this type of sort key by using either the /A switch
(see page 11) or the A attribute (see page 12).

C Language Style Character Strings

C language strings are allocated some maximum length in your C
program. This should be the length in the sort key definition.

For example, if you define "char mystr[8]" in your C program then
the compiler allocates 8 bytes and therefore the length specified
to RPSORT should also be 8.

The actual character string, however, may be shorter. C language
strings are terminated by a binary zero if they do not fill the
allocated space. Therefore, RPSORT takes the length of a C style
string to be the lesser of:

. The length attribute (or if absent the default length).
. The length up to but not including the first binary zero.

You can specify this type of sort key by using either the /C switch
(see page 11) or the C attribute (see page 12).



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 8


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]


Detailed Description Of Sort Key Types Supported By RPSORT (continued)
Sort Keys That Are Character Strings (continued)

Turbo Pascal Style Character Strings

Turbo Pascal strings are allocated some maximum length in your
Pascal program. This should be the length given in the sort key
definition.

For example, if you define string[8] in your Pascal program then
the compiler allocates 9 bytes to the string and therefore the
length specified to RPSORT should also be 9.

The first byte in a Pascal string is a length byte. This contains
a binary number which is the actual length of the string. The
remaining bytes allow enough room for the longest possible string.

The length must be between 2 and 256 inclusive. These limits
correspond to string[1] and string[255] respectively.

If RPSORT finds a length byte value, in the file, that is too large
(i.e. greater than or equal to the specified length) it aborts.
This would only occur if the sort key was incorrectly defined.

You can specify this type of sort key by using either the /P switch
(see page 11) or the P attribute (see page 12). This type of sort
key is only allowed for fixed length records.


Sort Keys That Are Binary Numbers

Signed Binary Integers

A signed binary integer is a two's complement binary integer that
is stored low byte first, high byte last.

This is the natural way for an 80X86 CPU to store binary integers.
As far as I know, all language compilers and interpreters for IBM
PCs and clones store them this way.

RPSORT allows signed binary integer sort keys to be any length from
1 up to the length of the record.

You can specify this type of sort key by using the I attribute (see
page 13). This type of sort key is only allowed for fixed length
records.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 9


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]


Detailed Description Of Sort Key Types Supported By RPSORT (continued)
Sort Keys That Are Binary Numbers (continued)

Unsigned Binary Integers

Unsigned binary integers, just like signed binary integers, are
stored low byte first, high byte last.

RPSORT allows unsigned binary integer sort keys to be any length
from 1 up to the length of the record.

You can specify this type of sort key by using the U attribute (see
page 13). This type of sort key is only allowed for fixed length
records.

BASICA And GWBASIC Floating Point Numbers

RPSORT supports binary floating point numbers as defined by the
BASIC interpreter (prior to MS-DOS v5.0) and older versions of
Microsoft QuickBASIC (prior to QB v4.0). The lengths that RPSORT
will accept for these numbers are:

Length = 4 for single precision numbers.
Length = 8 for double precision numbers.

You can specify this type of sort key by using the M attribute (see
page 13) and one of the lengths listed above. This type of sort
key is only allowed for fixed length records.

Turbo Pascal Real Numbers

RPSORT supports Turbo Pascal numbers of type "real". The length
need not be specified and is always 6.

You can specify this type of sort key by using the T attribute (see
page 13). This type of sort key is only allowed for fixed length
records.

This was the "real" type in the original version of Turbo Pascal
and is still supported in version 6.0. To see how to sort the new
80x87 formats in Turbo Pascal (single, double, extended and comp)
refer to the table on page 14. Also see the next section on "Math
Co-Processor Floating Point Numbers".



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 10


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]


Detailed Description Of Sort Key Types Supported By RPSORT (continued)
Sort Keys That Are Binary Numbers (continued)

Math Co-Processor Floating Point Numbers

RPSORT supports three types of math co-processor (i.e. 80x87)
floating point numbers. The table below gives the lengths and
names assigned to them by Intel and by three popular compilers.

Length Intel QuickBasic Turbo Pascal Turbo C
------ ---------- ---------- ------------ -------
4 short real single single float
8 long real double double double
10 temp real N/A extended long double

You can specify this type of sort key by using the F attribute (see
page 13) and one of the lengths listed above. This type of sort
key is only allowed for fixed length records.

RPSORT does not require a math co-processor to sort numbers of this
type and does not use the 80x87 even if it is present.

Zero values returned by an 80x87 are marked as either a +0 or a -0.
Some zero values arise from underflow. This occurs if a result is
too small (i.e. has too negative an exponent) for the given numeric
format (short real, long real or temp real). The 80x87 returns a
zero result but keeps the sign of the small number.

RPSORT sorts minus zeros as less than plus zeros. I could call
this a deliberate feature in that it reflects as best as possible
the true sequence of very small results but actually it's a natural
consequence of the way I do the sort.

A result can be too large for the given numeric format. This is
called overflow. Most compilers generate an error and do not store
store a result but an 80x87 can return special values denoting
plus and minus infinity. RPSORT sorts plus infinity higher than
any other value and minus infinity as lower than any other value.

The 80x87 also generates special values for error conditions (e.g.
taking the square root of a negative number). Any compiler would
generate an error rather than store such values. Still, RPSORT
must do something if it finds them. I sort them the same as plus
or minus infinity depending on their sign.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 11


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]


Defining The Desired Sort Sequence To RPSORT

Standard Defaults For Sort Keys

The following defaults are used by RPSORT unless you specify other
defaults (see "Switches Which Set Defaults For Sort Keys") or specify
different attributes in the sort key definition for a sort key (see
"Defining Sort Keys").

. The sort key consists of the entire record/line.

. The sort key is a character string to be sorted per the same case
insensitive sequence used by the DOS SORT. Digits 0 through 9
precede the letters. Lower case letters sort equal to upper case.
Foreign letters, punctuation and currency symbols sort equal to
their American English equivalents.

. The sort will be in ascending (low to high) sequence.


Switches Which Set Defaults For Sort Keys

These switches change some of the defaults for sort keys. They can't
be over-ridden by individual sort key definitions. Use them only if
you want all your sort keys to have the same attributes. The /C and
/P switches may be of particular interest to computer programmers.

The /A, /C and /P switches apply to all character string sort keys
(i.e. they apply to any sort key that is not defined as being a
binary numeric type). /C and /P are mutually exclusive but either
may be used in conjunction with /A.

/A makes the ASCII (case sensitive) sequence the default. Digits 0
through 9 precede the letters and all upper case letters precede
any lower case letters. The sequence is per the ASCII code for
each character.

/C says that all string keys are C language character strings. See
page 7 for a description of C style strings.

/P says that all string keys are Turbo Pascal type strings. See
page 8 for a description of Pascal style strings. The /P switch
is only allowed for fixed length records.

/R specifies a reverse sort. The sort will be in descending (high
to low) sequence. /R applies to all the sort keys you define.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 12


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]


Defining Sort Keys

Sort Key Definition Syntax

If no sort key definitions are given, RPSORT assumes a single
default sort key (see "Standard Defaults For Sort Keys" and
"Switches Which Set Defaults For Sort Keys").

You may specify as many sort key definitions as you like provided
that they fit within the command line (maximum of 127 bytes). Sort
key definitions consist of a /+ followed by a list of attributes
with no spaces between them. You may, however, use spaces to
separate one sort key definition from another or from a switch.

All attributes are optional. A sort key definition may be just /+,
which gets you the same default sort key as when no sort key
definitions are specified. The following describes each of the
attributes:

col is the starting column for the key. This must be at least 1
but no more than 32750. For fixed length records, the maximum
is the largest column such that there is enough room in the
remainder of the record to hold the minimum legitimate key
length for the given key type.

:len is the length for this key (e.g. a seven byte key would be
indicated by :7). The legitimate values for len depend on the
type of the sort key.

R specifies a reverse sort for this key. The sequence will be
in descending (high to low) sequence.

The next three attributes are used for character string keys. C
and P are mutually exclusive but either may be used with A. C and
P may be of interest to computer programmers.

A does an ASCII (case sensitive) sort for the key. The digits 0
through 9 precede the letters and all upper case letters
precede any of the lower case letters.

C says that this key is a C language character string. See page
7 for a description of C style strings.

P says that this key is a Turbo Pascal character string. See
page 8 for a description of Pascal style character strings.
The P attribute is only allowed for fixed length records.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 13


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]


Defining Sort Keys (continued)
Sort Key Definition Syntax (continued)

The next five attributes define binary numeric type keys which are
only allowed for fixed length records. They are mutually exclusive.
These attributes may be of interest to computer programmers.

The table on page 14 lists some programming language compilers and
interpreters and indicates the appropriate type and length
attributes to be used for each of their binary numeric data types.

I sorts this key as a signed binary integer. These may be any
length. See page 8 for additional details.

U sorts this key as an unsigned binary integer. These may be
any length. See page 9 for additional details.

F sorts this key as a binary floating point number of the type
produced by a math co-processor (i.e. an 80x87). RPSORT
supports three precisions for 80x87 floating point numbers.
The table below gives the lengths for each precision and the
names assigned to them by Intel and three popular compilers.

Length Intel QuickBasic Turbo Pascal Turbo C
------ ---------- ---------- ------------ -------
4 short real single single float
8 long real double double double
10 temp real N/A extended long double

RPSORT does not require a math co-processor to sort numbers of
this type and does not use the 80x87 even if it is present.

See page 10 for additional details concerning math
co-processor floating point numbers.

M sorts this key as a binary floating point number as defined by
the BASIC interpreter (prior to MS-DOS v5.0) and older
versions of Microsoft QuickBASIC (prior to QB v4.0). The len
attribute can be 4 or 8.

Use len = 4 for single precision numbers.
Use len = 8 for double precision numbers.

T sorts this key as a Turbo Pascal number of type "real". The
len parameter need not be specified and is 6 by default. See
page 9 for additional details.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 14


The following table lists the type and length attributes for the binary
numeric types available in a few programming language compilers and
interpreters.

If you are using a compiler that is not in this table, you should review
the previous pages along with the programmers guide for your compiler to
see if any of the binary numeric types supported by RPSORT match those
available with your compiler.

Compiler Or Interpreter Number Type Type Attribute Length Attribute
----------------------- ----------- -------------- ----------------
Microsoft QuickBASIC Integer I 2
v4.0 and later & Long I 4
Microsoft QBASIC Single F 4
Double F 8

Microsoft QuickBASIC Integer I 2
v3.0, 8087 Single F 4
Double F 8

IBM BASICA & Integer I 2
Microsoft GWBASIC & Single M 4
Microsoft QuickBASIC Double M 8
v1.0, v2.0 and v3.0 non-8087

Turbo Pascal Shortint I 1
v4.0 and later Integer I 2
Longint I 4
Byte U 1
Word U 2
Real T 6
Single F 4
Double F 8
Extended F 10
Comp I 8

Turbo Pascal Integer I 2
v3.0 8087 Byte U 1
Real F 8

Turbo Pascal Integer I 2
v1.0, v2.0 and v3.0 non-8087 Byte U 1
Real T 6

Borland/Turbo C signed char I 1
unsigned int U 2
short int I 2
int I 2
unsigned long U 4
long I 4
float F 4
double F 8
long double F 10



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 15


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]


Miscellaneous Switches

/Q - Suppressing Copyright And Completion Messages.

The /Q switch, if it is the first parameter, suppresses display of:

. The Copyright message when the sort starts.
. The "Sort successfully completed." message after successful sort.

Error messages, if any, will still be displayed.

/Eerrfile - Directing Error Messages To A File.

This switch directs error and successful completion messages to the
file designated by errfile instead of the screen. For example:

/Ec:\mydir\myerrors

Specify /Enul to send error messages to the DOS NUL file which means
nowhere. Only the /Q switch, if any, should precede the /E switch.

/B - Ignoring Control Breaks Entered From The Keyboard.

Tells RPSORT to ignore Ctrl-Break from the keyboard. This would be
useful if you setup a batch file which includes RPSORT and you don't
want the users of the batch file to be able to interrupt RPSORT.

/D - Delete Records Whose Sortkeys Duplicate Those In A Previous Record

Tells RPSORT to delete any records/lines whose sort keys duplicate
those in a previous one. This deletes records/lines even if they
are not identical to a previous one since all that is required is
that the sort keys be the same.

To only delete identical records/lines, tack on /+a as the last sort
key. This produces an equal compare only for identical
records/lines. For example:

RPSORT /D /+1:2

deletes any lines whose first two bytes equal those on a previous
line, while

RPSORT /D /+1:2 /+a

deletes only lines that are identical to a previous line.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 16


Usage: RPSORT [/Q] [/Eerrfile] [/]? [inputfile[+inputfile]]
[outputfile] [/A] [/B] [/C] [/D] [/Fnnnn] [/N] [/P]
[/R] [/Td] [/Z] [sort key defin. . .]

Sort key defin syntax: /+ [col] [:len] [A] [C] [F] [I] [M] [P] [R] [T] [U]


Miscellaneous Switches (continued)

/N - Delete Null Lines

This switch deletes all null lines (i.e. lines consisting only of a
CRLF). Lines that are all spaces and thus look like null lines when

you list them will not be deleted. This switch is not allowed for
fixed length records for which it would be meaningless.


/Td - Designate Drive To Be Used For Temporary Files.

Given enough memory, RPSORT loads the entire input into memory,
sorts it and writes the sorted data to the output file. In such
cases, RPSORT does not need to create any temporary files.

If the input is larger than the available memory, RPSORT reads the
file a chunk at a time, sorts each chunk and writes the sorted
chunks to a temporary file. RPSORT then does one or more merge
phases to combine the chunks into a single sorted output file.

RPSORT normally puts temporary files on the default drive. The /T
switch lets you to specify an alternate drive. For example:

/TC

puts the temporary file(s) on your C drive. See the section on
"Efficiency Considerations" for more details.


/Z - Ignore Ctrl-Z In Text File. Use Entire Physical File.

RPSORT (just like MS-DOS) treats Ctrl-Z as the end of a text file.
This is usually the correct thing to do since Ctrl-Z, if present,
normally follows the last byte of actual data.

Sometimes, however, one or more Ctrl-Zs occur in the middle of a
text file. Files downloaded from bulletin boards may contain
garbage characters (such as Ctrl-Z) due to a noisy line. If you
sort such a file, the sorted output is shorter than the original
file because RPSORT uses only part of the input.

The /Z switch tells RPSORT to ignore Ctrl-Zs and to use the entire
input. RPSORT deletes any Ctrl-Zs except for one at the end of the
file. /Z is not applicable to fixed length records where Ctrl-Z has
no special meaning and is just taken as another data byte.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 17


Efficiency Considerations

Do ASCII Sort If Text Keys Are All Upper Case Or All Lower Case

An ASCII sort puts text keys in order according to the ASCII code
assigned each of the characters. This is the fastest possible sort
because RPSORT can sequence records by directly comparing the sort keys
without having to pre-process them in any way.

If a file contains both upper and lower case letters and you want all
the keys starting with a lower case "a" to be together with the keys
starting with an upper case "A" and so on, then you can't do an ASCII
sort and must do a case insensitive sort.

However, if your file contains only upper case letters (or if it
contains only lower case letters) then an ASCII sort will acheive the
the same result as a case insensitive sort but will be faster. You
specify an ASCII sort either by using the A attribute in each sort key:

RPSORT /+1:5A /+12:7A INPUT.DAT OUTPUT.DAT

or by using the /A switch:

RPSORT /A /+1:5 /+12:7 INPUT.DAT OUTPUT.DAT

If your files contain foreign letters, punctuation or currency symbols
and you want these to sort the same as their American English
equivalents then you must do a case insensitive sort.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 18


Efficiency Considerations (continued)

How Memory Size Affects RPSORT Speed And Need For Temp Disk Space

The amount of memory (I mean conventional memory not Expanded or
Extended memory) affects RPSORT's speed in the following ways:

. If memory is big enough or conversely the file is small enough to do
the sort in memory, in one pass, then the sort will be optimally fast.

. Otherwise the input must be sorted a chunk at a time with the chunks
being written to a temp file. Then one or more merge phases will be
required to combine the chunks. If memory is very small and many
merge phases are required, RPSORT would slow down dramatically.

The following pages contain a lot of nitty gritty detail about the
conditions which force RPSORT to use temp disk space and how much temp
disk space it might need. You can ignore these details if your
situation meets either of the following conditions:

. No temp files are needed if the free memory (see "Using CHKDSK Or MEM
To Determine Free Memory" below) equals the input size plus twice the
line/record count plus 70,000. A 10,000 line 400,000 byte file
requires 400,000 plus (2 * 10,000) plus 70,000 or a total of 490,000
bytes of free memory to sort the input without using temp disk space.

. If the drive assigned to hold temp files (either the default drive or
the drive specified in the /T switch) has twice as much space as the
size of the input file, this will always be sufficient.


Using CHKDSK Or MEM To Determine Free Memory

To determine the amount of free memory in your system, use the CHKDSK
command which gives you a display something like:

362496 bytes total disk space
53248 bytes in 2 hidden files
303104 bytes in 36 user files
6144 bytes available on disk

655360 bytes total memory
581168 bytes free

The free memory is on the last line (581168 in this example). If you
own MS-DOS 5.0 you can use the MEM command and get something like:

655360 bytes total conventional memory
655360 bytes available to MS-DOS
564288 largest executable program size

Here the free memory appears on the "largest executable program size"
line (564288 in this case).



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 19


Efficiency Considerations (continued)
How Memory Size Affects RPSORT Speed And Need For Temp Disk Space (cont.)

Sorts Requiring No Merge Phase And No Temporary Files

If possible, RPSORT will do a sort in a single pass without requiring
any temporary files. Use the following steps to determine whether a
given file can be sorted in a single pass:

. First determine the amount of free memory (called FREEMEM below).
See "Using CHKDSK Or MEM To Determine Free Memory" above.

. Then the memory space required, by RPSORT, for the input equals:

File Size + Twice The Number Of Records/Lines In The File

This sum is called FILESPACE below. For example, if the file size
were 453,868 bytes and it consisted of 8,323 lines then FILESPACE
would equal 453,868 + 8,323 + 8,323 or 470,514 bytes.

. RPSORT also requires some memory for itself and for buffers and
tables. This depends on the size of FREEMEM:

. If FREEMEM exceeds 170,000 bytes RPSORT reserves 70,000 bytes.
In this case, a file can be sorted in one pass if:

FILESPACE is less than FREEMEM - 70,000

. If FREEMEM is less than 170,000 bytes then RPSORT reserves 18,000
bytes plus one-third of the remainder of FREEMEM for itself.
This means that a file can be sorted in a single pass if:

2 * (FREEMEM - 18,000)
FILESPACE is less than ----------------------
3

. If FREEMEM is less than approximately 30,000 bytes, then RPSORT
will be unable to do the sort at all.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 20


Efficiency Considerations (continued)
How Memory Size Affects RPSORT Speed And Need For Temp Disk Space (cont.)

Sorts Requiring One Merge Phase And One Temporary File

When a single pass sort is not possible, RPSORT breaks up the file
into "chunks" and sorts each chunk separately. Then it merges these
chunks to produce the sorted output. Use the following steps to
check whether a file can be sorted with a single merge phase using
only a single temporary file the same size as the input file:

. Compute FREEMEM and FILESPACE as described in the previous section.

. Then compute the number of chunks (called #CHUNKS below) as
follows and round up to the next higher integer:

. If FREEMEM exceeds 170,000 bytes then:

FILESPACE
#CHUNKS = ----------------
FREEMEM - 70,000

. If FREEMEM is less than 170,000 then:

3 * FILESPACE
#CHUNKS = ----------------------
2 * (FREEMEM - 18,000)

. Now compute the maximum number of chunks that RPSORT can merge at
one time (called MAXMERGE below) as follows and round down to the
next lower integer:

. If FREEMEM exceeds 315,000 then:

FREEMEM - 50,000
MAXMERGE = ----------------
16,000

. If FREEMEM exceeds 90,000 but is less than 315,000 then:

MAXMERGE = 16

. If FREEMEM is less than 90,000 then:

8 * (FREEMEM - 18,000)
MAXMERGE = ----------------------
36,000

. If #CHUNKS is less than or equal to MAXMERGE, then RPSORT will do a
single merge phase sort using a single temp file the same size as
the input file.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 21


Efficiency Considerations (continued)
How Memory Size Affects RPSORT Speed And Need For Temp Disk Space (cont.)

Sorts Requiring Two Or More Merge Phases And Two Temporary Files

If necessary, RPSORT will do a multiple merge phase sort. This
requires two temporary files each the size of the input file.

Actually, RPSORT doesn't abruptly go to a full second merge phase if
it can't do the sort in one merge phase. If #CHUNKS is less than
twice MAXMERGE it does a one and a fraction merge phase sort. The
first temp file (TEMP1) will be the same size as the input but the
second (TEMP2) will be smaller as follows:

#CHUNKS - MAXMERGE + 1
Size of TEMP2 = ---------------------- * Size of input file
#CHUNKS


Deciding What Drives To Put Temporary And Output Files On

Reading one file and writing another file concurrently on the same
drive is generally inefficient because it requires that the drive head
assembly constantly move back and forth between the two files. This
can slow things down significantly.

RPSORT always finishes reading the input file before it starts writing
the output file. This means there is no loss of efficiency if the
input and output are on the same drive. Of course there must be enough
room on this drive to hold the output file.

If a sort requires temporary files they are written at the same time as
the input file is read. Similarly, temporary files are read at the
same time as the output file is written. The drive assigned for
temporary files must have enough space to hold the entire input and in
some cases twice that much. Temp files go to the default drive but you
can over-ride this with the /T switch.

If you have a big enough RAM disk, you should consider putting the temp
files there. This could markedly enhance the performance of RPSORT.

If you don't use a RAM disk, you should assign temp files to a drive
other than the ones on which the input and output files reside. This
dictum is not absolute, however, as indicated by the following:

. If you have only one hard drive and both the input and output files
reside there, you are better off putting the temp files on the same
hard drive than on a floppy.

. If you are short of disk space, putting the temp files and the output
file on the same drive could help because the output file might be
able to reuse part of the space allocated to temp files.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 22


Efficiency Considerations (continued)

Buffers Command In Your Config.Sys

MS-DOS allocates disk buffers in memory to support read and write
operations. The buffers are usually 512 bytes each. MS-DOS allocates
10 or 15 buffers depending on whether your system has less or more than
512K of memory. Some applications run faster with a larger number of
buffers. You specify this in your config.sys file. For example:

BUFFERS=30

On my computer (a 10Mhz 286 with a slow hard disk):

. Sorting a modest size file (say up to a megabyte) speeds up little
if at all when I increase the number of buffers.

. Sorting a large file (say a few megabytes), speeds up a very few
percent with BUFFERS=20.

. BUFFERS=30 produces an additional small improvement for very large
files (upwards of ten megabytes).

To fine tune the performance of RPSORT on your system, sort files of
the type and size typical for you and test the effect of various BUFFER
values. In any case, you probably will use the number of buffers that
is optimal for your principal applications not for RPSORT.


Using Disk Cache Programs

Disk cache programs (like SMARTDRV.SYS which is distributed as part of
MS-DOS 5.0 package) set aside an area of memory called the disk cache.
Typically the disk cache is allocated in expanded or extended memory
and may be quite large (i.e. a megabyte or more).

Disk cache programs intercept accesses to disk and retain data from
the disk, in the cache. If the data is required later on, the disk
cache program can provide the data from memory rather than having to go
to the disk drive which would be much slower.

If the retained data is needed often enough then the performance of
your system will improve. Otherwise, your system may slow down due to
the overhead of the disk cache program.

I can't make any definitive statement as to how disk cache programs
might improve or degrade the performance of your system.

If you contemplate using a disk cache program, I suggest that you
perform experiments with caches of different sizes and possibly with
different cache programs. These experiments should include the entire
range of activities you perform on your system.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 23


Special Situations

Sorting Files That Contain Tabs

If the input file contains tabs, they may need to be expanded to the
proper number of spaces to align your sort keys. RPSORT can't sort
such a file correctly because it doesn't expand tabs.

As a convenience, I have included a program called RPTAB. It reads
your file and produces an output file that is the same except that the
tabs have been expanded. The syntax is:

RPTAB input-filespec output-filespec [tabstop...]

The parameters must be given in the order defined above. Listing tab
stops is optional. If you specify none, the default tab stops are at
positions 1, 9, 17, 25, 33... and so on at intervals of eight columns.

If you specify tab stops they must be a sequence of integers each
greater than the preceding one. The first tab stop is always column 1
and need not be given. The interval between the last two explicit tab
stops implies subsequent tab stops at the same interval.

The following command expands tabs to the default tab stops:

RPTAB MYTABS.DAT MYSPACES.DAT

The following command says that tab stops are at positions 1, 6, 15,
27, 39, 51... etc. The interval of 12 between 15 and 27 is propagated
to subsequent tab stops:

RPTAB MYTABS.DAT MYSPACES.DAT 6 15 27

After creating MYSPACES.DAT as in the above examples, you could use
RPSORT to sort it in the usual way.

You can also use RPTAB for the reverse operation. This means to
replace spaces by tabs whenever possible. The syntax is:

RPTAB /T input-filespec output-filespec [tabstop...]

The syntax is identical except for the addition of the /T switch. If
you have a text file with a lot of spaces, RPTAB can reduce its size
while leaving it readable by many text processing utilities.

This package includes the source code for RPTAB in the file RPTAB.PAS.
It is written in Turbo Pascal and compiled with the version 6.0. You
may modify RPTAB in any way you choose. Please! Please! do not
distribute any modified version under my name.

RPTAB.PAS consists of Pascal statements and assembly language
sub-routines. The latter were written using Turbo Pascal's inline
assembler (a very useful addition by Borland).



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 24


Special Situations (continued)

Writing The Output To The File That Contained The Input

Nothing stops you from specifying the same file as both input and
output in a RPSORT command. It is dangerous but it can be beneficial
in some circumstances.

It is possible to do this is because RPSORT never starts writing the
output file until after it has finished reading the input file.
Therefore it will not destroy the input before it has read it.

The danger is that after RPSORT has started writing the output file but
before it has finished, your system may go down due possibly to a power
failure or a software or hardware problem or whatever. In this case
the input would be destroyed and the output would not yet exist. This
would mean the loss of your data unless you had backed up your file or
it could be recreated in some way.

The benefit is realized when you must put the output file on the same
drive as the input file but there is not enough space, on the drive, to
hold both. By using the same file for input as for output you would
re-use the same disk space and thus might be able to do a sort that
otherwise you could not do. Once again, don't do this unless you have
backed up your data or you have some relatively easy way to recover it.

None of the above applies if RPSORT is being used as a filter. In that
case if the output file is the same as the input then the input file
will be destroyed by DOS before RPSORT even starts executing.

Two Incompatibilities With The DOS SORT

Their are two exceptions to the statement that any command that works
with the DOS SORT will produce the same result with RPSORT:

. RPSORT will not let you type the input file from the keyboard.

. The DOS SORT tacks the CRLF, that ends a line, onto the sort key.
RPSORT doesn't. Thus, RPSORT sorts null lines to the beginning of a
file. The DOS SORT precedes them with any line whose sort key starts
with a character like tab or formfeed whose ASCII value is less than
that for CR.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 25


Error Messages

Error Numbers And Return Codes

Each type of error that RPSORT can detect has been assigned an error
number which appears in the corresponding error message. For example:

ERROR 049: No room on disk to write sorted output file.

When RPSORT terminates, it sets the "errorlevel" return code as follows:

. If the sort was successful, RPSORT sets the return code to zero.

. If one or more syntax errors are discovered, the relevant error
messages are displayed and the sort is terminated. The return code
is set to the error number for the first error detected.

. If an error is discovered while executing the sort (typically some
kind of input, output or insufficient memory error), the appropriate
error message is displayed and the return code is set to the error
number for that error.

The error numbers are broken down into groups as follows:

Error Number Group Range Of Error Numbers
---------------------- ----------------------
Syntax Errors 1 - 34
DOS Version Before 2.0 37
Insufficient Memory 40 - 41
Line/String Too Long Errors 43 - 44
Input/Output Errors 46 - 54

There are also a number of error messages with error numbers in the
range 59 through 74 which should never happen. Any of these could
imply a bug in RPSORT.

If you run RPSORT from a batch file, you can test the return codes
in statements like:

IF ERRORLEVEL 1 GOTO SORTERR

This would catch any return code greater than or equal to one and
thus any error at all. Another example:

IF ERRORLEVEL 40 GOTO EXECERR

This would catch any return code greater than or equal to 40 and
thus any sort execution error.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 26


Error Messages (continued)

Syntax Error Messages

When RPSORT parses the command line it displays messages for any syntax
errors it finds. It always parses the complete command line and
therefore may report several errors. Many error messages display the
bad parameter at the end of the message. For example:

ERROR 019: Only one keylength allowed: "/13:5:7"

In the message listing below, the quoted word "badparm" stands for the
bad parameter that RPSORT is complaining about.

RPSORT never executes the sort if it finds syntax errors but instead
terminates immediately after displaying the last error message.

The list of syntax error messages follows:

ERROR 001: Slash (/) must be followed by a parameter.

A slash was followed by a space. Slash must always be followed by
one of the switch characters or it must start a sort key definition.

ERROR 002: Illegal parameter: "badparm"

This message is displayed when RPSORT finds an illegal parameter but
can't figure out a more specific error to cite. It lists this
message and the bad parameter that it objects to.

ERROR 003: Only one /X switch is allowed.

/X in this message will either be /F, /E or /T. Each of these
switches may only be specified once in an RPSORT command.

ERROR 004: /P and /C are incompatible.

/P and /C are mutually exclusive. /P says that all character string
sort keys are Pascal style strings while /C says that all character
string sort keys are C language style strings. There is no way a
character string can be both of these.

ERROR 005: Record len must be between 1 and 32,750 in: "badparm"

"badparm" is a /Fnnnn switch specifying a record length that is
either zero or greater than 32750. This is not allowed.

ERROR 006: Pascal string key only allowed in fixed len record: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition specifying a Pascal style string
(i.e. including the P attribute). This is only allowed if a /Fnnnn
switch was specified to tell RPSORT that the file consists of fixed
length records.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 27


Error Messages (continued)
Syntax Error Messages (continued)

ERROR 007: /P only allowed for fixed length records.

The /P switch which says that all character string sort keys are
Pascal style sort keys is only allowed if a /Fnnnn switch was
specified to tell RPSORT that the file consists of fixed length
records.

ERROR 008: Binary number key (F,I,M,T or U) only allowed in fixed len
record: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition listing one of the binary number
attributes. These are only allowed if a /Fnnnn switch was specified
to tell RPSORT that the file consists of fixed length records.

ERROR 009: /N switch not allowed for fixed length records.

The /N switch, which says that null lines are to be deleted, is only
allowed for a file consisting of lines. It is not allowed if a
/Fnnnn switch has been specified.

ERROR 010: One and only one temp drive letter may be entered: "badparm"

"badparm" is a /T switch specifying either no drive letters or more
than one. It should list only a single drive to be used for
temporary files (e.g. /TC).

ERROR 011: Non-existent drive: "badparm"

"badparm" is a /T switch specifying a drive letter that does not
exist in your system.

ERROR 012: Invalid character for the drive: "badparm"

"badparm" is a /T switch specifying a non-alphabetic drive. A drive
can only be specified by a letter.

ERROR 013: Start column must be between 1 and 32,750: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition specifying a start column that is
either zero or larger than 32750. This is not allowed.

ERROR 014: Start column must not exceed record len: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition specifying a start column that is
larger than the record length in the /Fnnnn switch. This is not
allowed.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 28


Error Messages (continued)
Syntax Error Messages (continued)

ERROR 015: Only one start column allowed: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition that specifies more than one start
column for the sort key. This is not allowed.

ERROR 016: Error in sort key: "badparm"

"badparm" is an erroneous sort key definition. RPSORT is unable to
cite a more specific error.

ERROR 017: Key len must be between 1 and 32,750: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition specifying a key length that is
either zero or larger than 32750. This is not allowed.

ERROR 018: Key len is too big to fit in record: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition containing a key length that would
cause the key to extend beyond the end of the record as specified by
the /Fnnnn switch.

ERROR 019: Only one key length allowed: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition that specifies more than one key
length for the sort key. This is not allowed.

ERROR 020: Length for 80x87 floating point number must be 4, 8 or
10: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sortkey definition specifying an 80x87 type floating
point number (attribute F). The key length (either explicit or the
implied key length to the end of the record) is not one of the
legitimate values (4, 8 or 10).

ERROR 021: Length for GWBASIC/BASICA floating point number must be 4 or
8: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sortkey definition specifying a GWBASIC/BASICA type
floating point number (attribute M). Its key length (either explicit
or the implied key length to the end of the record) is not one of the
legitimate values (4 or 8).

ERROR 022: Length for Turbo Pascal floating point number must be
6: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sortkey definition specifying a Turbo Pascal type
floating point number (attribute T). It specifies a key length other
than 6 which is the only legitimate value. It is not necessary to
specify a key length for Turbo Pascal floating point numbers because
RPSORT assumes the length 6 by default.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 29


Error Messages (continued)
Syntax Error Messages (continued)

ERROR 023: Length for Pascal strings must be between 2 and 256: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sortkey definition specifying a Turbo Pascal type
string (attribute P). It specifies a key length less than 2 or more
than 256 which are the limits for this type of string and correspond
to string[1] and string[255] respectively.

ERROR 024: Length for Pascal strings must be between 2 and 256.

The /P switch was specified telling RPSORT that all character string
type sort keys were Turbo Pascal style strings but at least one of
the character string sort key definitions gave a key length less than
2 or more than 256. Alternatively, one of them had no explicit key
length but the implied key length to the end of the record was not in
the required range.

ERROR 025: "P" and "C" attributes are incompatible: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition that specifys both the P and C
attributes, thus saying that the sort key is both a Pascal style
string and a C style string. This is not possible.

ERROR 026: C attribute conflicts with /P: "badparm"
or
ERROR 026: P attribute conflicts with /C: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition that specifys the C or P attribute.
This conflicts with the opposite /P or /C switch thus implying that
the sort key is both a C style string and a P style string. This is
not possible.

ERROR 027: Sort key cannot be both a binary number and a
string: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition specifying one of the attributes
(A, C or P) appropriate to a character string key and also one of the
attributes (F, I, M, T, U) appropriate to a binary number key. This
is not allowed.

ERROR 028: Only one binary key type allowed in a sort key: "badparm"

"badparm" is a sort key definition which includes more than one of
the binary number attributes (F, I, M, T, U). A sort key can't be
two different kinds of number.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 30


Error Messages (continued)
Syntax Error Messages (continued)

ERROR 029: Only one list of input files and a single output file may be
given. Found additional file spec: "badparm"

"badparm" is the third filespec or list of filespecs listed in the
command line. The first filespec or list of filespecs separated by
plus signs is taken to be the input. Then there should be a single
filespec for the output. For example:

RPSORT INPUT1.DAT+INPUT2.DAT OUTPUT.DAT

No additional filespec is not allowed.

ERROR 030: Multiple files not allowed in output spec: "badparm"

The first filespec or list of filespecs separated by plus signs is
taken to the input. Subsequently, in the command line, you would
enter the output filespec. This must be a single file.

ERROR 031: Misplaced plus sign in input file list: "badparm"

The list of files you specify for the input must be separated by plus
signs. There must be no spaces around the plus signs and there must
be no plus sign before the first filespec or after the last filespec
in the list.

ERROR 032: Input is redirected from the standard input, output must go
to the standard output. The following file spec is illegal: "badparm"

You redirected the standard input to a file. In this case the
output must also go to the standard output. This can either be to
the screen by default or can be redirected to a file.

ERROR 033: You must specify an input file.

You did not specify an input file either explicitly or by redirecting
the standard input to a file. RPSORT insists that its input come
from a file specified in one of these two ways.

ERROR 034: No name specified for error file: "badparm"

"badparm" is a /E switch that did not include a file name. The /E
switch must include a file name. For example: /ESORTERRS.TXT



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 31


Error Messages (continued)

DOS Version Before 2.0 Message

ERROR 037: RPSORT requires MS DOS version 2.00 or later.

RPSORT uses MS-DOS functions that were added in version 2.0 and
therefore can not run with an earlier version.


Insufficient Memory Messages

ERROR 040: Not enough memory. RPSORT requires 30,000 bytes.

RPSORT can run in very small amounts of memory but there is a limit.

ERROR 041: Not enough memory to hold at least two records/lines at a
time.

If the records or lines in your file are large, you may need more
available memory than the basic 30K RPSORT usually requires. You
need room to hold at least two lines or records at a time plus you
need memory to hold the RPSORT program and a few tables and other
odds and ends. In the extreme case where your lines or records are
32000 bytes each, you might need some 90K of memory to run RPSORT.

Line Or String Too Long Messages

ERROR 043: Line exceeds max length of 32750 bytes.

RPSORT found a line in the file that exceeded the maximum allowed
length of 32750 bytes.

ERROR 044: Found Pascal string whose length byte exceeds specified key
length.

The binary number in the first byte of a Pasal string (the length
byte) must be less than the length attribute specified in the sort
key definition. Otherwise, the string would extend beyond the end
of the key.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 32


Error Messages (continued)

Input/Output Error Messages

ERROR 046: No data in input file(s) so nothing to do.

There was no data in the input file(s). Either the size of the input
file(s) was zero or the first byte of each input file was a Ctrl-Z
thus terminating the input file(s) at the very beginning.

ERROR 047: Input file not found: filename

The input file named by "filename" was not found. Check the spelling
of the name or add a path if appropriate.

ERROR 048: Error reading input file.

Normally you would not see this error message from RPSORT. Usually
if there is an uncorrectable error while reading a disk, DOS will
tell you and then prompt you to specify:

Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail

Typically you would try R for retry a few times to see if it can get
past the error. If not, you would probably enter A for abort and
RPSORT would never know what happened since DOS would terminate it.

If, however, you entered F for fail then DOS would return this info
to RPSORT and RPSORT would display the ERROR 048 message.

If you were to enter I for ignore then DOS would return to RPSORT
with no indication that the read had failed. RPSORT would assume
that data from the file had actually been read into memory. This
data would be garbage but RPSORT would happily sort the garbage and
produce a meaningless output file.

ERROR 049: No room on disk to write sorted output file.

There is not enough space on the drive you assigned for the output
file to hold the latter.

ERROR 050: No room on disk to write temp file.

The drive you assigned for RPSORT temporary files has insufficient
space to hold them.

ERROR 051: Unable to create temp file.

There was an error attempting to create a temporary file. Probably,
the disk you assigned to hold temporary files doesn't have enough
directory entries available in the current directory. RPSORT may
require up to three directory entries for temporary files.



October 10, 1991 RPSORT Reference Page 33


Error Messages (continued)
Input/Output Error Messages (continued)

ERROR 052: Unable to create output file.

There was an error attempting to create the output file. Probably,
the drive and directory you assigned to the output file doesn't have
any directory entries available.

ERROR 053: Unable to create error file: "badparm"

There was an error attempting to create the error message file.
Probably, the drive and directory you assigned to the error file
doesn't have any directory entries available.

ERROR 054: Ran out of space on disk attempting to write error file.
Redirecting error messages to the screen.

There is not enough space on the drive you assigned for the error
message file to hold the latter. RPSORT displays the current and any
subsequent error messages to the screen before terminating.


Never Should Happen Error Messages

At a number of points, in RPSORT, I check for errors resulting from the
use of DOS functions under conditions where in principle no errors
could occur. Any such errors would imply the possibility of a bug in
RPSORT.

If any of these error messages are displayed, please send me a precise
description of the circumstances. This would include the amount of
memory available in your system (the amount reported by CHKDSK or MEM
not the total amount), the size of the file in bytes and the count of
records or lines, whether the file consists of fixed length records or
lines and the kind of sort key(s) you were using.

ERROR 059: Error allocating memory.

An error occurred using memory allocation functions in MS-DOS.

ERROR 060: Unknown error accessing disk.
through
ERROR 074: Unknown error accessing disk.

These messages all have the same text, but the error number would
tell me where in the program the error occurred. All of these have
to do with disk I/O.




  3 Responses to “Category : Word Processors
Archive   : RPSRT102.ZIP
Filename : RPSORT.DOC

  1. Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful archive. I wonder why I found it only now. Long live the BBS file archives!

  2. This is so awesome! 😀 I’d be cool if you could download an entire archive of this at once, though.

  3. But one thing that puzzles me is the “mtswslnkmcjklsdlsbdmMICROSOFT” string. There is an article about it here. It is definitely worth a read: http://www.os2museum.com/wp/mtswslnk/