The Professional Touch (Sigma) Review | Acorn User - Everygamegoing

Acorn User

The Professional Touch
By Sigma Technical Press

Published in Acorn User #049

Collection Of Help

The alternative title of 'How to Turn Your Software into a Robust Commercial Product' gives more of a clue to the contents of this useful little paperback, which has 169 pages of sensible suggestions for those who write programs.

The book is a collection of useful tips drawn from magazines and practical experience, put together and classified - and none of the worse for that. As well as text there are some useful Basic techniques which can be inserted in your own writing to produce useful and commonly-used procedures.

In the early chapters, the emphasis is on such basics as producing a good professional menu or a command-driven program which could be used anywhere: this leads naturally to building in protection of data techniques to avoid corrupting programs. After trying a few sample listings I was convinced that they had been well-tested.

More technical and original ideas are in an excellent chapter on business and finance which covers the use of significant figures in accounting programs, password routines, the validation of dates and certain other data, each with a convenient listing.

None of this is original but most of us have had the experience of searching through old programs trying to find a suitable section which can be adapted.

The chapter on filing systems deals with the problems of compatibility between ROM, tape and disc systems, and offers some guidance on the differences between versions.

On compatibility generally, the chapter on different Operating Systems brings together a collection of information that, up until now, I have kept in a loose bundle of photocopied tips collected over the years.

It's useful to have this collection of tips and procedures to draw on without having too many copyright worries, and although it does not offer much to the professionals, it could certainly help people like me to (perhaps) make some money out of our software.

Roger Carus

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