1.3 Beyond Toolkit

The structure provided by toolkit is convenient for the first time user, but you do not have to use toolkit in order to develop applications. Everything that toolkit does can be done by typing commands at the keyboard.

The description above gives an idea of the commands that are used to create and run an application. The rest of the chapters in this manual describe in detail the function of each of the major C/Base programs.

You can explore further what toolkit actually does by investigating the files \cbase\bin\toolkit and \cbase\lib\cbase\menu\toolkit. These files contain all the toolkit menus and commands that were briefly described above. By studying these files, which are nothing more than command files, you can understand some of the command that are used by toolkit.

If you develop a new application without using the toolkit command, we suggest that you still use the directories def, data, scr, and rpt.

Over time, we have found that using these directories is a convenient way to organize all the files necessary for one application. Of course, this is only a suggestion. Some very large applications may require a different directory organization to keep everything straight.

In previous releases, text reports were kept in the rpt directory, and the visual reports were kept in the rptdef directory. Additionally, toolkit could only deal with visual reports. Now, the report catalog identifies the type of report (visual or text) so the rptedit program can choose whether to manipulate the report as a visual report or a text report, and toolkit can place all report types within the rpt directory.

Chapter 9, Report Writer Programming Guide and Chapter 10, Report Writer Programming Reference detail the rules and conventions for creating text reports.

The report catalog can also keep track of a compiled report. Both visual reports and text reports can be precompiled to provide faster execution of the report. If a reportfile is not precompiled, it must be compiled each time the report is run. You can set a flag in the reportfile catalog to precompile the report whenever it has been modified as follows:

c:\> rptadmin -P yes lfile

Note: Client/Server report processing ignores the precompiled flag, compiling the report every time the report is to be performed.

Other than the suggestions above, you need not follow any of the conventions that are set forth in toolkit. For example, in toolkit, there is one RMS definition file for each of the RMSfiles. Chapter 4, Creating RMSfiles shows that this one to one correspondence is not mandatory. Several RMSfiles can be created from one RMS definition file. Toolkit follows this somewhat arbitrary convention to free the novice user from unnecessary detail.

Other conventions used by toolkit, such as creating only one menu for an application, are just that, conventions. For the most part, they were chosen to make the development of smaller applications quite simple. The chapters that follow show that many C/Base programs have more generality than what is used from within toolkit. Also, there are many other commands listed in the Chapter 12, C/Base Commands which are not used from within toolkit.