|Publisher:||Loadstar (Softdisk Inc.)|
If you happened to have a subscription to Loadstar back in the day, you had quite the library of entertaining and useful software at your disposal. Here is another fine example of how the mild mannered Commodore 64 could go from the games room to the home office in a blink of the eye.
File Cabinet is a very easy to use flat file database, developed by D.J.B. Shipley and published in Loadstar issue #25. It's very similar to MasterFile II, which was published in Loadstar 128, but with a few less features. However, the functionality that File Cabinet provides is still comparable to other database applications for the C64, making it very useful for recording and sorting lists of data of all sorts.
File Cabinet uses the floppy disk for storage and allows you to store up to 200 records per database file (what the program refers to as “file cabinets”) and a maximum of 30 file cabinets per floppy disk. If you require more databases, you can easily swap floppy disks on the fly for more storage space.
The software is divided into two applications: the data entry and editing part and the disk management and sorting part. You use the disk management app to initialize new floppy disks (for use), configure your printout report formatting, sorting records in a file cabinet, copying file cabinets to multiple disks, and deleting (aka “kill”) unwanted file cabinet files. The data entry app handles the adding and editing of records, search inquiries and printing reports.
In order to start recording records in your new file cabinets, you first need to prepare the floppy disk to accept new files. You do this with the disk management tool. You can either “initialize” a new floppy disk, which formats the disk and starts anew, or you can do a low level format, which preserves any non File Cabinet files that may be on the floppy disk.
Once you've initialized your floppy disk, you can go ahead and create new file cabinets. Give the new database a name, then specify how many fields you require for the database (having a maximum of up to nine fields). The next step is to name the fields and then start entering your record data.
File Cabinet offers something a little different than other databases I've seen for the C64; you can set up a file cabinet with a Variable field. What this means is that, lets say you wanted to set up a database to catalog your record album collection, but do so in such a way that groups your albums by their artist. You would create a file cabinet with only one field, and when you assign the name of the field, you flag it with the *, like this
*ARTIST. Then, when you enter your record data, you would start with the name of the artist and then, on the next ten lines, you would list the albums in your collection. Unfortunately, you can only have one variable record per file cabinet and nothing else, so it's somewhat limited in it's functionality, but it is a unique feature that I haven't seen in other C64 database programs.
Apart from the Variable functionality, File Cabinet is your typical flat file database. You can search records by typing in the data next to the field you are looking for, and then cycle through the records with those that match your criteria being displayed first. Editing works the same way, first you enter the field data you are looking for, then edit the fields that need changing.
When printing, you can have the program include field names and comma separators, or turn them off. But, apart from that, the report is standard and will print all the records in the database.
Yet another nice little app. found in the Loadstar archives.