ZX Computing1st February 1984
Published in ZX Computing #11
Another popular program for the serious user. Vufile is a general purpose filing program produced by Psion and included in the Sinclair software range. It is the sort of program you could use to catalogue your coin or stamp collection, keep a name and address list of friends, or for business, maintain a record for your club or society, or even keep a file record of all your ZX81 software!
The program is logically displayed and easy to use. To begin, you lay out the record using headings, titles and graphics symbols. Anything entered during this record layout mode will be shown on each record on the file. Data is entered into the file from the main command mode. As well as ENTER, the other main commands are ALTER, INFORM, FORWARD, BACK, RESET, ORDER, PRINT, COPY, SELECT, QUIT, LIST and DELETE. Together, they provide a comprehensive file handling capability and can be implemented simply by keying in just the first letter of each command.
On the B side of the cassette is an example of an application for Vufile. The program is called Gazetteer and is a file of records for every country in the world, giving its name, its capital city, the main language and the like. I made use of Gazetteer to get a feel for the manipulative and interrogative power of the main program.
On the command LIST, each successive record in the field is displayed for about one and a half seconds. So I was able to select and view any country in the file almost immediately. By using the FORWARD and BACKWARD commands you can step through the file. RESET sends you to the first record, ORDER defines the particular sequence required and INFORM gives the file status information.
As an indication of the capacity of Vufile, Gazetteer holds records on 152 countries and uses 96% of the space available.
There's only one complaint and that's not about the quality of the program which is very high indeed, but the inconvenience of loading the files from cassette. Few people would be prepared to wait for five minutes or more to load a file just to obtain the address of a friend or colleague. The ZX81 really needs a disc operating system to enable it to be effective for this sort of work. A version of the program is available for the Spectrum and with the Microdrive forms a useful and powerful file handling system.
Nevertheless, Vufile is a very good program and does all that it claims to. It certainly gave me a better understanding of how computers can be used for storing data and the power a computer system can offer.
Vufile costs £7.95 and is produced by Psion, available from Sinclair Research Ltd, Stanhope Road, Camberley, Surrey GU15 3PS