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- - - - Your Q&A5 Data Base is now even better - - - -
In 1995 the Q&A5 for DOS came on the market, which amongst all previous versions was the closest to the ideal data base ever required by many users worldwide. At this time, operating system developments changed from 16bits to 32bits, spelling an end to further support by its makers. Some Q&A users started user groups supporting themselves. There are speed fixes and Y2K fixes which kept it working on faster PCs, far beyond the year 2000 and of course, for many years to come.

New IT people today may find this "outdated stuff", simply because we do not realise that the whole operating system is running the latest programs glorified with GUI's (graphical users interfaces), but in the background they do the same calculations with the same processor and memory.

There are a few good things we know from this programmable Data Base; In a properly set up environment, it has a reliable data handling, an extremely flexible and effective reporting system that surpasses many, integrated word processor with merge, data posting to its own data files, excellent data import and export handling and many more. (thousands of Q&A's are still running and is one of the console based systems that stays put.)

WHY PEOPLE ARE STILL USING Q&A, is mainly based on the CONSOLE MODE, which in general has less garble, no unwanted graphical signs, fast apportionate menus and the ability to be keystroke operated for professional data use. The only competition is that of terminal consoles on big professional data systems.

Nowadays we encounter new changes, due to the latest operating systems and network requirements, new cheaper printers, motherboards and new screen drivers not supporting DOS graphics modes. Often Q&A becomes difficult to fit to new machinery. BUT THAT IS NO PROBLEM WITH RGE-SYS

Yes, the new range of 2000/XP/VIS/W7 operating systems fully supports Q&A by their virtual machines in a 16 bit subsystem, and RGE-SYS can now help with one or more of the following:

PREVIEW TEXT REPORTS OR LETTERS ON THE SCREEN
(RESOLVED BY USING RGE-SYS)

PRINT TO THE WINDOWS DEFAULT PRINTER
(RESOLVED BY USING RGE-SYS)

SHELL TO WINDOWS PROGRAMS
(RESOLVED BY USING RGE-SYS)

VIEW BITMAP COLOR PICTURES
(RESOLVED BY USING RGE-SYS)

PLAY WAVE AUDIO FILES
(RESOLVED BY USING RGE-SYS)

SPEAK USING THE COMPUTER VOICE
(RESOLVED BY USING RGE-SYS)


RGE-SYS is a 32bit application that supports Q&A5 for DOS on the new family of operating systems, 2000/XP/VIS/W7.

- - - - A NEW APPROACH AND GETTING YOUR NETWORK IN ORDER FOR USING Q&A - - - -
Rumours are being spread from some installations using Q&A, where set up of the networks may not be correct. Improper network setups and programming usage can cause data problems.
The Q&A5 DOS Data Base runs under the 16 bit subsystem which is part and parcel of 2000/XP/VIS, and we know that the 16 bit subsystem is given special previlages by the 32/64 bit operating system to handle older programs perfectly well, but in a Q&A network we also need a DOS-friendly Set Up. For best results, use Q&A 5 for DOS and execute with QA.COM

NETWORK SPEED
All network cards of PC's using Q&A on the network must be able to handle the network speed as set by the network switcher and server. (ie 100 mbps for all users) Network cards with different speeds can cause hick-ups. Never Ever may the server PC have a network card that is a lower speed than the network switcher speed.

SETTING UP THE SERVER
Installers sometimes uses the wizard to set up a small office network, but that is not all that has to be done on a windows server PC, because that does not provide full file sharing to the 16bit subsystem. In order to assign public rights for DOS on a windows server PC, one also has to right click on the main Q&A folder (or drive) on the server PC, and declare sharing on the network for that folder and all sub folders in Q&A. Note that shared files can be deleted by vandalist users, but a regular backup can minimise the risk. (without sharing the Q&A folder, your system may be slow with serious errors)
Linux servers with a public intranet are usually working very well serving the Q&A on a network.

SET UP ON EACH USER PC
The same network drive must be captured on each users PC. (ie S: for server) Q&A is then set up to use that drive. If Q&A is used on a single PC, the file and temp folders can also be allowed to be shared to help against clashes with anti virus scans.

Q&A DATA FILE SET UP AND PROGRAMMING CAUTIONS
Then there are the approaches in Q&A programming which increases functionality and streamlining of data flow. Very important for Q&A, is that under SECURE A FILE, you must DECLARE SHARING MODE to ALLOW (and not automatic) on all Q&A files used on a network !
Believe it or not, the Search/Update option using F10 and F9 may be a bad idea for a network or a lot of users. The other option is to make more use of xlookup and xpost with built in error redo. (meaning that users only touches the data and does not lay on a record, opening up a vast and powerfull same-record many user concept. ie In sales points and stock control, all only touching the stock files at the same time)

Important, the fields of a file which are designed to receive posts, these fields MUST stay formatted as TEXT and not as dates or numbers, even if such are posted to them. This is due to a posting bug.

The xpost mathematical functions like add, sub, mul and div should be avoided. An xpost field can be used where each has a lookup, a mathematical line if required, a standard xpost line and an error redo statement. These fields may not be read only and can be located at the end of a form, where the last function is an exit and save.

Use recover database first, if you want to manually search and update or report on a file which is normally updated from an external file, to avoid data corruption. It is not recommended to use a file for manual searches, merges or reports if it is normally updated by xposts by other Q&A files. Data corruption not repaired by the Q&A recover, before a manual search, merge or report is done, can become permanently damaged. Always backup files frequently, make a copy before using the recover preceedure.

If you design a file, ensure that your records are numbered automatically sequencially as they are added. MAKE ALL FIELDS IN YOUR PROGRAM SPEEDY FIELDS ! (EVEN THE ONES NOT REQUIRED, AS IT MAY PREVENT FILE CORRUPTION DURING POSTING, SEARCHING AND REPORTING. SINCE THAT IS LIMITED TO 115, DISCRETION SHOULD BE USED.) When a Q&A database is damaged beyond repair, it may be possible to recover most data using the record number field you previously designed it with.
In such event, one copies the design only or design a new simular file, then write a statement in the first field of the new database that will xlookup sequencially using the number field and get all data from all the fields of the damaged file, record after record and add it one after the other in the new database using the @save function.

Your own discretion is however advised in all cases, but if this could help you let me know or tell me about some problems you encounter.


- - - - A PEEK AT Q&A RUNNING WITH RGE-SYS - - - -
below are screen shots of the RGE-SYS, writing messages on the console bar with its bitmap picture display.

There is no extra operation to get it done, RGE-SYS if set up correctly, simply continues with the job and let you know in the console bar, about what is happening. As Q&A runs in a console, the RGE-SYS simply starts the Q&A in the emty console it has created, when it is executed. By that your Q&A has the look of a new application without any inconvenience.

The RGE-SYS is not complicated when installed with Q&A for DOS. You do not even realise that it is there, except when you eventually print to a file in the RGE-SYS root directory, it will start do the printing, viewing, speaking or executing your commands from a print to file command in Q&A. When Q&A is programmed with custom menus and macros, it is even better.

RGE-SYS Version2 has an ESMTP bulk mailer that will send emails internationally, to any address via your own service provider, using data printed to a file from a letter merge in Q&A, picking up the email address in each page and send the text therein. (as the data content were changed by the merge for each recipient)


HOW TO INSTRUCT THE RGE-SYS USING Q&A PROGRAMMING

IF YOU NEED TO VIEW A TEXT REPORT OR LETTER MERGE:

Above, RGE-SYS invoking explorer to show you a preview of your report or text document, when instructed by a print to file function in Q&A.

The preview function does not require Q&A to use its DOS-Graphics mode to preview, as many LCD screen drivers will not support that kind of graphics modes anymore. RGE-SYS simply looks for a view.del file in the RGE-SYS directory, which were saved by a Q&A print to file function, process it to html and send it to explorer to display in a sepperate window, deleting the view.del and be ready for another function from Q&A.

It does not interfere with Q&A operations at all, it simply looks for files printed by Q&A for the sole purpose. Hundreds of pages could be printed to file and you will be able to scroll through it all with explorer, very easy and within a few seconds.

These illustrations shows how to print to file for the RGE-SYS to see your instructions:

Above settings are used to VIEW. If you need to activate other RGE-SYS instructions, you will change the VIEW.DEL to the wanted instruction file name.

IF YOU NEED TO OUTPUT A COMPUTER VOICE; the following SPEAK.DEL instruction in your Q&A programming will announce "Wellcome to Q&A, today is weekday.." when adding, using your default voice. (XP usually has ms-Sam and Vista has ms-Anna installed).

if @add then @msg(@shell("echo Wellcome to Q and A, today 
is "+@dow$(@date)+" >c:\RGE-SYS\speak.del "));
In Q&A a complex shell command is limited in process and this is about the maximum when used in this way. Other simpler usages are possible.


IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISPLAY A BITMAP PICTURE; the PICTURE.DEL instruction is used in this way:

if @len(#3)>0 then @msg(@shell("echo s:\qa5\bitmaps\"+#3+".bmp >c:\RGE-SYS\picture.del "));
RGE-SYS will go on the network drive S: and in the QA5\BITMAPS directory look for the bitmap file named in the Q&A form field #3, and display that with the correct aspect ratio on youir screen. (until another one is invoked or the window is closed)

Please visit for frequent updates to follow.
www.rge.com / i n f o @ r g e . c c
updated: 2011-10-21