File Manager 22.2 Getting Started Manual

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Chapter 5: Inquire

End users can look at Fileman data by using the various reports supplied by the package developers for the particular package that they are using. As a super-user, you have other ways of retrieving and reviewing Fileman data.

Inquire to File Entries Option

The most basic of these options is called Inquire to File Entries. You can use this option when you know the name of the file you want to look at, and you know specifically which records you want to see.

To use this option, type INQUIRE TO FILE ENTRIES (or just INQ) at your menu prompt (if you just type INQ, Fileman will fill in the rest of the option name, as shown below). Fileman responds by asking you what file. For our examples, we’ll use an imaginary file called COMPOSER.

Select OPTION: INQquire to File Entries <Enter>

OUTPUT FROM WHAT FILE: COMPOSER// <Enter>
Select COMPOSER NAME:

Now that you have the file, Fileman asks which specific records you want to look at. We need to respond with (in this case) the specific names of the composers we want to see.

This is Fileman’s simplest type of database query, because it only shows you what you specifically ask for. Using this option, we could not (for example) ask Fileman to display all composers born before 1800. That’s a more advanced type of query we’ll learn about in the next chapter. For now, we can just request, and see, specific records in this file. So, let’s start requesting.

Select OPTION: INQ <Enter>

OUTPUT FROM WHAT FILE: COMPOSER// <Enter>
Select COMPOSER NAME: MOZART <Enter>

When we type the name of our first composer, Fileman finds the record and echoes back the full name, plus any additional identifiers the record may have.

Select COMPOSER NAME: MOZART, WOLFGANG AMADEUS
Another one: HAYDN, JOSEPH
Another one: BACH <Enter>
  1 BACH, CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL
  2 BACH, JOHANN CHRISTIAN
  3 BACH, JOHANN SEBASTIAN
Choose 1-3: 3 BACH, JOHANN SEBASTIAN
Another one: <Enter>

After we select the first record, Fileman prompts us for “another one.” If we type in HAYDN, and press the return key, Fileman responds with the full name. As with select prompts elsewhere in VISTA, if there is more than one record that matches what we type in, Fileman asks us to choose one record from a list. In this example, typing BACH yielded a list of three possible Bachs. When we choose number 3, Fileman fills in the full name.

We could go on picking composers as long as we needed to. If we chose more than four composers, Fileman would ask us if we wanted to save our entries in a template. We’ll learn more about templates in general in Chapter 6, and revisit the idea of Inquire templates in Chapter 8.

When we’re done choosing our composers, we press the return key without entering information. This signals to Fileman that we’re done picking records, and we’re ready to move on to the next steps.

Standard Captioned Output? Yes// <Enter>
Include COMPUTED fields: (N/Y/R/B) No// <Enter>
Display audit trail? No// <Enter>

What are we being asked here? The first question is asking whether we want to accept Fileman’s default format for displaying our composers. In standard captioned output, all fields that contain data are displayed on your computer in a format determined by Fileman. If you answer “No” to this question, you can choose which fields to show, how to arrange them, and whether to display them on your screen or print them on a printer. For now, though, we’re just going to accept the default.

Next, Fileman asks if we want to include computed fields. There are several options here, which we will discuss later, but for now we’ll just accept the default answer of “No.”

Depending on the security settings of the file, Fileman may ask you if you want to display an audit trail. This feature is useful for security and patient-privacy officers in your facility, but it’s not all that useful for a standard super-user. If you see this prompt (and you probably won’t), you can accept the default answer of “No.”

Fileman then displays the results of our inquiry, which look like this:

NAME: BACH, JOHANN SEBASTIAN   BIRTHDATE: MARCH 31, 1685
BIRTHPLACE: EISENACH ERA: BAROQUE  
DIED: JULY 28, 1750    
     
NAME: HAYDN, JOSEPH   BIRTHDATE: MARCH 31, 1732
BIRTHPLACE: ROHRAU DIED: MAY 31, 1809  
     
NAME: MOZART, WOLFGANG AMADEUS   BIRTHDATE: JANUARY 27, 1756
BIRTHPLACE: SALZBURG ERA: CLASSICAL  
DIED: DECEMBER 5, 1791    

Notice that in the record for Joseph Haydn, there is no entry for the ERA field. Fileman simply skips this field and moves on to the next.

In Chapter 7, we’ll learn more about Inquire to File Entries, and how we can customize the output. For now, though, let’s leave inquiry for the time being and move on to printing and displaying reports.

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