The Micro User

Bel Base
By Bel
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in The Micro User 3.02

Runabout Database

Compared with the expensive Rolls Royce BBC data bases, Bel Base is no more than a family run-about.

But then there's a difference between paying almost a third of the price of your machine for one piece of software, and a mere £18 for the disc version of Bel Base, which may well do all you want it to. The £49 will buy the ROM version, and if you can envisage a good use for a database on cassette, it will cost you £16.

As an automated card index, the package should satisfy basic home or club requirements.

Creation of a file, addition and deletion of data or whole records, and simple searching and retrieval can all be carried but relatively smoothly. Sort speed is about average for a program in this price bracket.

Bel Base does lack some features which many users are rightly beginning to expect as the norm. There's little scope for tailoring, no and/or operators, no file restructure option, no date field and sorting is on one key only.

On the other hand, some touches are quite unusual. A neat macro substitution allows automatic entry of repeated data. A global editing - search and replace - function is handy, though it has obvious dangers for the slaphappy user.

Mailshot - which comes with Bel Base but can also be bought separately - is not as impressive as its name suggests. It is little more than a label-generator, but it has a certain flexibility lacking in the report capabilities of some other databases for the BBC.

A companion program - Bel Graph (£17) - will produce bar graphs and pie charts from raw data in a Bel Base file. But that's as far as integration goes - there is no option in Bel Base for creating a spool file, let alone a direct link to a word processor.

The documentation is comprehensive, though the Jabberwocky flavour is a bit strong for the uninitiated and its level of literacy would certainly not have satisfied Lewis Carroll!

Bel Base is simple, and the disc-base version is cheap. On these grounds alone it's worth considering. But it's unlikely to toll the death knell for its competitors, even those in its price range.

Katherine Cranford

Other BBC B/B+/Master 128 Game Reviews By Katherine Cranford

  • Chemical Collisions Front Cover
    Chemical Collisions
  • Micro-Phile Front Cover
  • Lift Front Cover