Slyfoot (slyfoot) wrote in oldware,

DOS Database Fun

I spent the afternoon rebuilding my facts database, which for now is just the Webster's Encyclopedia 2000 in .DBF format. It was rough going because I could not figure out if it was even possible to import large quote and comma separated fields into a .DBF memo field using dBASE IV for DOS (if anyone knows, please tell me!) Fortunately PC-File, the grandaddy of all shareware programs, came to the rescue. PC-File choked a few times importing approximately 43,000 records but it eventually worked after doing a few fixes with PCFIX. After that, I loaded up the database with the old Clipper DBU.EXE utility and checked it manually. Some records were too long and ended up spilling over into their own records so I had to delete them then re-pack the database. DBU is a very nice utility for viewing and maintaining dBASE files. In fact I prefer using it to dBASE for quick tasks. It's really amazing that such small utility can open up and browse a 34 megabyte database, but it does with no problem. Plus you can even view, search, and enter memo fields with it!

Why would I want to import an entire encyclopedia into a dBASE file? Well most encyclopedias that you buy commercially do not allow you to add more entries to them. You get a fixed number of entries, and that's it. But the Webster's World Encyclopedia 2000 stored the main Encyclopedia in a plain text file, with a bit of RTF-like formatting for bold, italic, underline, etc. Once I removed the formatting it was relatively simple to convert the text into quote-and-comma delimited format. Now I have a wiki-like facts file that I can append or insert data into. It makes me happy to have my own personal Knowledge Base that can be used in DOS!
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