The Origin Of RPDMS

Ron Penrod Data Management System

This data file system was originally developed for an Ohio Scientific C3 computer utilizing a 6502 microprocessor running OS65U operating system at the blazing speed of 2 megahertz and total memory of 48K - 24K for the system and 24K for user applications. The big challenge in those days was to keep the code efficient, compact and sized to run in the space available, fast enough to keep the operator awake. Born in the late 1970's it was easily converted to IBM ROM Basic or Microsoft's GW Basic after the birth of the PC. Microsoft was the source of OSI's Basic and it had even been rumored that Bill G. had personally done some of it himself. That goes way back!

RPDMS file system had many features not commonly seen until much later in PC programs:

It had an on-screen, WYSIWG method for file creation.

Instruction queue, later called macro by Lotus and others, could be auto-loaded while you performed a task the first time and thereafter mentioning its name and location replayed your keystrokes.

Entering printer escape codes into a set up record resulted in an initialization string preceding each print job.

More importantly, it was multi-user capable through software-implemented record and file locking. Many people could edit without overwriting each other's data.

It utilized an ISAM, indexed key system for rapidly accessing large files. One could use sequential key files allowing a file to be in one order yet printed or accessed in a different order. One could have as many keys as desired.

Multiple editing screens can be defined allowing each user to have his own view of the field data showing only his particular interests.

Field types are definable and are checked at data entry. Zero filling, date, justification, and other features are present.

The file format used is very efficient with minimal overhead for including the field definition info. I have used RPDMS file format to write literally hundreds of custom programs over the years using the library of routines developed for this file system.

Provision is made for a variety of turnkey copying, merging and posting operations Last but not least, one can import and export DIF, PRN, and TXT format files allowing powerful interaction with other DOS and Windows applications.

There are probably some other features I've overlooked, so try it for yourself.

Oh yes, it was Y2K compliant from the start! I remembered the days of struggling with Julian dates and a system where the days in the year were numbered with the year only allocated one digit. I recall thinking the first time I encountered that system that the inventor must have been really old and figured not to be around in the next decade when everyone had to deal with it - the Y0.01K system. I didn't want my future users to think badly of me so I fixed it from the start. Check it out by running the program and at the menu just hit 'Enter Key' to accept the default 'A' option. Hit the 'e' to execute a queue file (macro) and type in 'date' (macro name) and hit 'Enter' again when asked for its location. Again - Enter ; e ; date ; Enter. Input a date like 090304 or 09031904 into both fields and see what happens. Pretty clever, huh.

These are DOS programs and there isn't an easy way to get them to run from here, so you need to click the link below to get to a browser explorer screen, and then double click the file named 0RunMeFirst....

Once you are done, and the RPDMS system window is closed, click the browser back arrow to get back here again.

Unfortunately, these programs need to write status and other parameters to the disk preventing complete evaluation from a CD. They have been modified and limited in functionality for evaluation purposes. To keep entire system small enough to fit the limited floppy disk size in those days, several functions were performed by a single module via instructions written to a small disk file. Since this can't be done on a CD, some things don't work. Some Error 75, Path/File Access errors may occur once in a while since file locks can't be written either. Ignore them and follow the instructions to proceed. You can be assured these errors do not occur in the real programs that are very robust through planned QC testing during coding and use over the years. Several databases have been included for your use. Songs is the default file name and includes many titles from my music book collection. Namadtel is my personal contact list from a long time ago.

The above instructions are for the CD version. In order to get the RPDMS system to run you will have to select all files and download/copy them to the same folder first. Then go to that folder and execute 0RunMeFirst.

Unfortunately it is no longer safe to allow anonymous access to my server folders. You may download and save a zipped copy that you can unzip and run with your own system or if you prefer, a self extracting archive file is provided that will auto extract the necessary files when run. Either way, once extracted, go to the folder where you saved the files and execute 0RunMeFirst.

Self extracting archive version

Zip file version