Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Utility; File Creation And Amendment
Standalone Release(s) : 1985: DATA HANDLER, Dialsoft, £9.95
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier : DIALSOFT. No further information.
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00 (Assumed)
Instructions currently unavailable.
Review (Electron User)
The cassette inlays from Dialsoft do not really attempt to sell the product, which is a pity as the cassette inside contains a fairly good filing system program.
Many people would wish to keep records of the card index type, whether for personal use (addresses, recipes, etc) or for semi-personal applications (club membership, software records). Your micro allows you to keep a file with these details, the data then being loaded into another database program, in this case File Handler. The data can be manipulated to produce lists in alphabetical or numerical order, or to search for a particular entry.
The trouble with all tape-based database programs is speed - a large file takes some considerable time to load, whereas a disc system accesses data far more rapidly. Roll on disc drives for the Electron!
This isn't the best program I have ever seen of its type, although there are areas in which it will stand comparison with others. The speed of sorting is acceptable and the screen displays clear and legible. The program, however, lacks something in the area of user-friendliness, using jargon phrases like "file extent" without further explanation.
However one quickly gets used to these phrases, and it is then relatively easy to enter data or interrogate the file. The size of record which can be catered for varies with the number of fields. For instance, 200 records can be entered across four fields, while only 80 may be input if the number of fields is increased to 10. It is also a simple matter to extend a file (if there is room) or to alter data, although the new data has to be saved to tape once again. A sample file is included in the program, although I did not succeed in loading it.
I also found myself wondering why all serious programs have to be presented in black and white. The program is listable, and it is relatively easy to alter screens to allow colour coding of the various pages. Incidentally, the program is completely compatible with the BBC Micro.
Phil Tayler, ELECTRON USER 1.11