an indexing and record keeping utility by Chris Davis


Issue 19

Jan/Feb 86

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Over the last couple of years I have built up a considerable collection of magazines, books and technical data for the ATARI computers and it had become quite difficult to locate a particular piece of information. I badly needed a filing or indexing program and as I could not afford a commercial 'database' type program, I looked around in the magazines for a suitable program. ANALOG had a couple but they did not do what I wanted, so I set about writing MAGFILE. Whilst it is specifically set up for computer information from magazines, there is no reason why the section headings could not be changed to allow the program to function for other record keeping purposes.


After a brief initialisation and a title screen, a menu of 22 categories is displayed. These have been chosen after a great deal of trial and error but of course they may be changed if desired. The idea is to choose one from the left column and one from the right, thereby forming a unique 2 word category/file reference. There are a maximum of 121 combinations but some will never be used. The choices will be highlighted and any incorrect keypresses are error trapped. A second menu will now appear giving 5 options and again your choice will be highlighted.

The functions on this Menu are as follows:

OPEN NEW FILE - This is the first choice for every new selection. It will write a file to disk with a filename extender being formed by the letter and number of your chosen two word category. This file can be updated at any time by using -

APPEND CURRENT FILE - All new records are stored using this function. When selected, you will be asked the following:

TITLE?   Type up to 14 characters and press RETURN.
MEDIA? Type the first letter of one of the 5 options shown and press RETURN 
LOCATION? Type up to 10 characters and press RETURN
DETAILS? Type up to 10 characters and press RETURN

Your entries will then be displayed as a record and you can accept it for filing or refuse it if there is a mistake. You can then make more entries or return to the category menu.

ERASE OLD FILE - This is pretty drastic as it will cause the loss of all records in the selected file. Use with caution!

LIST CONTENTS OF FILE - This will display all the 40 byte records in a file, one after the other, on a filing card. When a card is full, a keypress will display the next one. The top line will show the file no., the filename and the card no.

DELETE RECORD - This allows you to remove any number of records from a file. Records will be displayed one at a time and may be retained or deleted as desired.

If you select the wrong category the ESC key may be used to start over again.

The white line across the middle of the screen is for messages and commands. All likely errors have been trapped and should ensure no loss of records or halting of the program. Keep the volume on your TV or monitor turned up when using this program as the resultant noise can prove helpful.


As already mentioned there are 22 categories to choose from. The bottom one in each column is designated as a 'wildcard'. Either one can be used with another category to make up a file. Both can be used together if desired! When selected, your disk drive will search for the file. If found, the alternative category will replace the word 'WILDCARD' in the menu. If not found, you will be prompted to input your new category. Your typing will print in inverse which is correct. Press RETURN after typing and the new entry will appear in the menu. The program now continues as before.

The only way to stop the program is with the SYSTEM RESET key, however DO NOT PRESS IT DURING DISK I/O as this could result in the complete loss of a file.

I have tested MAGFILE on DOS 2.0 / 2.5 and DOS 3.0 and it seems happy. There are 3 machine language routines included none of which are unusual, so there should be no problems on any machine. The routines are used in lines 1550 which is the 'rainbow' routine used in the opening title, line 1560 which is a VBI used to force inverse video and capitals on or off as necessary and line 1570 which is a DLI used to change the colour of the top line of the filing card.

I may consider adding search and sort routines at a later date if there is a need. Any comments or other suggestions for improvements would be welcome via PAGE 6.

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