Steve Carter on Software Development

Software Development weblog. Mostly about my THoTH Music Learning Software.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

SUBMIT through the years

One of the first things I wanted to do with a computer was to track my writing submissions. I was submitting poems to literary magazines and articles to music magazines. DataStar, which came bundled with WordStar, was a pretty good flat-file database, for the time (this was about 1984). I quickly realized, however, that I needed to track one piece to many magazines and many pieces to one magazine.

I wrote a BASIC program that served my purposes. I used DataStar to manage the tables, and the BASIC program to manage the relations and to massage the data in preparation for MailMerge. That was the first version of SUBMIT. Over the years I rewrote in various versions of Pascal, and eventually Delphi. Today it is written in Delphi 5 and uses a MySQL database. I don't like MySQL, so my next step will be to port it to Interbase. I've been a long-time fan of Interbase.

At one point SUBMIT was written in Turbo Pascal (TP) 5.5. Object-oriented programming was pretty new at the time, and porting to Turbo Pascal was an interesting challenge. Turbo Pascal gradually evolved to Borland Pascal 7 (BP7) and SUBMIT evolved along with it. BP7 had a sample application called TVForms. It combined a data file with a form for viewing the file. I wrote a TP utility to pump the data out of DataStar and into my own modified version of TVForms. Because of the power of the Pascal language, I was able to simulate a relational database in TVForms. Screenshots.

About two years ago I wanted to learn more about Perl, and I thought of trying to get the data out of the TVForms version of SUBMIT and into a relational database, and writing a Delphi application around it.
That was an interesting learning experience. ... more to follow...


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