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Changing the behaviour of the RapidFile database software

The behaviour of the Rapifile database software can be modified using command line options and environment variables. Certain operating parameters are stored in a configuration file.
Content revision history:
Article first written: 1st February 2005
Updated: 14th February 2005, 21st September 2007, 2nd September 2010

Command line configuration options

The main RapidFile program contains a limited set of configuration options. These can be accessed by specifiying a command line option when you start the program, as shown below:

RF  custom
These options do the same thing ... use whichever you prefer. This will cause RapidFile to start in its configuration mode.In this mode you can adjust the screen colours, change the currency symbol and so on.
RF   A
Apparently the A stands for “alone” and tells the RapidFile database program to execute without the memo-writer. This will free up a little more RAM if you need it. This option is useful if you have created a file that is too big to use normally; in such a case you can use the RF  A option to create a little more space which might allow you to load the database and then prune it or split it into multiple files.

DOS environment variables

There are various environment variables that RapidFile will search for and attend to.Included are the following:

set VSIZE=n
The VSIZE variable defines the amount of virtual memory that RapidFile will use. The value, n, can be a number between 1 (?) and 16 (?) and has units of megabytes. Thus to tell RapidFile to use the maximum amount of virtual memory you would specify set VSIZE=16. In 1986 it was important to be able to limit the amount of memory that RapidFile used because early computers didn't have much memory. When running on a recent model of computer this parameter should probably just be set to its maximum or, for safety, perhaps a little under its maximum (ie 15 not 16) so that you will always be able to recover a file that has almost reached RapidFile's internal size limits. The size of this parameter also determines the maximum size of database that the program will work with.
set BLANKING=[on | off]
This option is assumed to refer to screen blanking ... some display adapters used on the early personal computers were a little tempermental and gave poor images unless they were spoken to nicely. If in doubt set BLANKING=OFF seems to work perfectly well.
set virtual.tmp=[drive letter:]
This option can be used to tell RapidFile which disk drive should be used to hold its virtual memory.The disk should have sufficient space for a file of the size specified by the VSIZE option mentioned elsewhere. The original advantage of this option was that it allowed the virtual memory could be placed on a RAM disk for fastest performance. Recent computers and disks are so much faster than they were in 1986 that speed is much less of an issue. However on a contemporary system it is more likely that disks and file systems will have write permissions set per user and, in such a case, this parameter could be used to specify a drive to which the current user has write access. A typical use might be set VIRTUAL.TMP=F: to force the virtual memory to be allocated on DOS disk drive F:.Note that the final colon seems to be required.
set keyrepeat=[on | off]
The exact purpose of this option is not presently recalled; it will be looked-up later in the genuine set of RapidFile manuals that I have on my shelf.
set KEYBOARD=[new | old]
Since RapidFile was introduced at a time when the AT type keyboard was replacing the XT type keyboard, this is presumably something to do with those keyboard types.
???Never used, purpose unknown.
set #LINES=
???Never used, purpose unknown.
???Never used, purpose unknown.
???Never used, purpose unknown.


RapidFile was supplied with driver files for various printers that were well known at the time. The filename extension of all the drivers was PR. To use a printer driver all that is necessary is to copy the driver to the rapidfile program directory and then rename it to either 'printer1.drv' or 'printer2.drv', according to whether you want it to be used for the first printer (LPT1) or second printer (LPT2).

When using Windows and printing from a DOS program it is necessary to tell Windows to 'capture' the output from the appropriate pinter port (LPT1, LPT2, ...) The capturing is enabled by modifying the printer properties via the windows control panel.

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