Masterfile 464 (Amsoft) Review | Home Computing Weekly - Everygamegoing

Home Computing Weekly

Masterfile 464
By Amsoft
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Home Computing Weekly #106

Masterfile 464 is a very clever piece of work. It consists of a tiny BASIC loader which precedes 10K of machine code and both are easily transferred to disc. When loaded, it allows you to wield immense power without having to understand a thing about computer programming. In effect, your 464 becomes an enormous filing system capable of handling anything you care to enter.

It could be names, addresses and phone numbers, a catalogue of parts, their locations, costs and suppliers' names and addresses, or your record collection. It might be sales information, product details, or a selection of recipes, together with suggested wines! In other words, anything which constitutes a sophisticated list of items.

Using a series of on-screen menus, you are taken gently through the stages of setting the system up. Before this, you should have worked out the structure you need, for example, each record of a name and address file will need a separate field for name, street number and name, area name, post town, post code. It's important to do this because later you will be able to sort you list by each of these fields.

Masterfile II

Having set up this structure, you must then decide how you want it displayed or printed. You would probably want the above example in the form of a straightforward on-screen list, and also as address labels for your printer. If however, your list was more demanding, for example, details of products sold to the people on your list, you can then set up a series of "child" files, giving these details separately.

When all the information is entered, the power of the system is further revealed. You can now sort the data based on any of its attributes; either alphabetically or numerically, in ascending or descending order. You can select records by attribute, for example all the people in Staffordshire on your list, who have bought products A and B, in the twinkling of an eye.

The particular beauty of the system is its flexibility. If you want to add new criteria to existing files it is easily done. You don't have to start again. If you think of a new use for the program, then all you need to do is load it and configure a new series of files. The possibilities seem endless.

Masterfile II

There are limitations, however. The whole file is held in RAM, thus the use of disc drive memory is not possible. This limits your address file to about 600 records. Similarly, you can only have two related generations of records, so you must design your structure to take this into account. Whilst the accompanying example files and manual are good, and very detailed, it would have been helpful to have step-by-step instructions in the manual showing how different file structures can be achieved. You'll need to study carefully.

By home computer standards, this isn't a cheap package. It is worth it? Undoubtedly yes!

If time is money, and you want to use your Amstrad with an easily interrogated database, Masterfile 464 is the package for you.


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