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Summary of the new features of Q&A 5.0 for DOS

Version 5.0 boasts a number of new features requested by users world-wide including an XPOST facility to write data to and set up relations between external Q&A databases. It also supports a number of new programming functions that improve the user interface of Q&A applications.

NEW PROGRAMMING COMMANDS

Q&A 5.0 for DOS give users greater control and flexibility in programming databases with an additional 20 programming commands. These new commands can be used to:

bulletEnhance the user interface—Users can add Message boxes, Picklists, Yes/No dialog boxes and sounds. Colour can be added to backgrounds text and fields, and field text can be controlled programmatically
bulletExchange information between databases—Q&A 5.0 lets users modify fields in other databases with many new Lookup commands.

The new programming capabilities cover context, text, user, and lookup functions:

CONTEXT FUNCTIONS:

@MODIFIED Indicates if changes have been made to the current record.

TEXT FUNCTIONS

@INSERT Loads a Q&A or ASCII text file into a database field.

USER FUNCTIONS

@PLAY Used to generate acoustic signals on the PC's internal speaker.

@COLOR Temporarily changes the text and background colours of a field.

@MSGBOX Displays a three-string message.

@ASKUSER Displays a three-string message and asks user for a response.

@SAVE Saves the current record and moves on to the next record.

@EXIT Saves changes in the current record and exits the data entry function.

@FEDIT Starts the field editor for the current field.

@SHELL Starts a file that runs under DOS or an internal DOS command.

@MACRO Runs a macro.

REM Comments on the Q&A program for documentation purposes.

LOOKUP FUNCTIONS

USERSELECT Displays a selection list of character strings; assigns the selected entry to a target field.

@USERSELECT Displays a selection list of character strings and returns the selected entry.

XUSERSELECT Displays a selection list of the contents of a field in an external database; assigns the selected entry to a target field.

XUSERSELECTR Displays a selection list of the contents of a field in an external database, allowing a specified value range. If an entry is selected, the contents of the external data field is assigned to a target field.

@XUSERSELECT Displays a selection list of the contents of a field in an external database, returning the selected entry or a blank string.

@XUSERSELECTR Displays a selection list of the contents of a field in an external database, allowing a specified value range. Returns the selected entry or a blank string.

XPOST Allows a value to be entered in a field in a record in an external database. The value can be linked with the current value of the target field using the operations ADD, SUB, MUL, or DIV.

XPOSTR Allows a value to be entered in a field in a record in an external database. If no records contain the key word, the statement edits the record containing the nearest key word. The value can be linked with the current value of the target field using the operations ADD, SUB, MUL, or DIV.

 

OTHER NEW FEATURES

The Clipboard and Calculator

Q&A's new Clipboard makes it easy to transfer text between the database, word processor and calculator. Users can also copy and paste information between the fields in the database. With the Calculator, users can perform manual calculations and paste numbers to and from the database.

The Start Menu

The new Start Menu makes it easy to launch Q&A and start from where the user left off in the last session. This is useful if the user regularly works in the same database or wants to continue working on the last-opened document.

Colour

The new colour support in Q&A 5.0 for DOS gives users greater flexibility in designing the look of their databases. Colour can be applied to each field in the form as well as to background text and field labels. There are many opportunities for using colour effectively. For example, the consistent use of colour can define functional blocks on standard company forms.

Launching External Programs

Users can now launch other programs from within Q&A including other applications or DOS commands such as TYPE or DIR. In previous versions of Q&A, users could not call external programs from outside the Main menu, nor could they call normal DOS commands or features. Now, in addition to the Main Menu, external programs are available from within the database and the word processor. It also supports DOS commands and special parameters for transferring information between Q&A and the command line.

Using images with Q&A 5.0

Q&A 5.0 supports a new field type: Bitmap. This allows you to store graphic images in a database.

Keyword Software & Consultancy would like to point out that the new facility to store images in a QA5 database is not sophisticated.  A Windows database such as Q&A for Windows is more suitable for storing graphics

Help for visually impaired users

Q&A 5.0 for DOS has a start-up mode especially for vision-impaired users. If required, all screens including on-line help can carry a flashing cursor for driving single-line Braille output.

Rows in cross-tab reports increased

In Q&A 4.0, cross-tabs with a maximum size of 100 rows and 100 columns could be created. In Q&A 5.0, this maximum setting has been increased to 500 rows with 100 columns each, depending on the amount of memory available.

Header and footer programming

In Q&A 5.0, you can now incorporate programming commands into the three-line headers and footers that are printed, for example, with columnar reports and cross-tab reports.

You can also access derived columns in columnar reports. When you define a report, you can define up to 16 derived columns. You can incorporate the data from these columns in headers and footers.

Interoperability with Q&A for windows

Q&A 5.0 for DOS includes an update for Q&A for Windows. The update will modify Q&A for Windows so that it can access the databases updated or created by Q&A 5.0 for DOS.

New keystroke combinations

Q&A now supports the keystrokes Ctrl-PgUp and Ctrl-PgDn in columnar and cross-tab report displays to enable you to move to the beginning or end of the report.

This information is supplied by Symantec Corporation. Keyword Software cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of this information or for the performance of any of the features described.

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