|Publisher:||Loadstar (Softdisk Inc.)|
Free Base is an open form database, for the C128, written by Dick Heckert and published in Issue #23 of Loadstar128, back in 1994. The way this database works is, you are basically given a virtual filing cabinet with fifteen drawers. Within those drawers, you are allowed to create up to fifty file folders that can hold up to fifty pages of data in each folder. Your mileage will vary, depending on what disk drive you have and how you format your floppy disks.
The interface for Free Base is divided into three sections. To the left, you are presented with the tool set that you can use to manage your database. This menu is also acts as an index list of the drawers, folders and files that are contained in the database, where you select the documents you wish to work on.
To the right is the main editing window, where you maintain the data contained in your individual database files (a.k.a. pages). And at the bottom right is a status window that the database uses to communicate important information back to the user.
Within the Free Base pages, you can record any sort of data that you can think of, like a list of things or even a written document. Once the data has been recorded, it is then possible to search and sort these records when the need arises. You can also print each of the files, either by individual pages or a complete file 'folder.' So, if you are using it for, say, a blog entry database (like what I'm thinking of doing), you can print out the entire file with one command when you're ready to publish.
Of course, the major drawback with using Free Base this way is that it's not a true word processor. You have to do without some of the conveniences that usually come with a fully functional word processing application.
Searching the database is straight forward, you just type in the word or phrase you wish to find, then tell Free Base whether you want to search the entire file cabinet or just a single drawer. The thing to remember is that, the search engine is case sensitive. So, searching the phrase Free Base is different from free base. Also, the search engine looks for the specific character strings you enter and ignores spaces. A search for base will return a hit when it finds it within another word, like database.
So, what advantages does Free Base bring to your C128? Well, it performs quite well as a personal journal or diary, if you do that sort of thing. You could label your data 'drawers' by month and have a file folder inside for each day. Or, if you like to jot down bits of information for future reference (like instructions on how to do a certain task), then Free Base would be a useful tool in this application.
The advantage to using Free Base is its open structure and ease of use. You don't need to bother yourself with defining data fields, like you do with other databases, to record searchable data. You just have to come up with a way you'd like to group your information and then just start typing. You can actually think of it as a very early version of a Wiki database for your C128!
Composed on my C128 with Free Base