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A Review of BONDtrv by Bruce S. Gray


"BONDtrv is an AREV Bond to the Novell Btrieve filing system". That's one short sentence that puts Arev into the big league and for many, could be more important than SQL. For those who don't know, Btrieve is Novell's proprietary Client-Server filing system. It's used by many custom applications and has direct programming interfaces for COBOL, C, most of the BASICs and PASCAL. Btrieve also has it's own BTREE indexing system. We'll be reviewing Icicle Software's BONDtrv Version 1.0.

Icicle Software's Pat McNertheney (of BOND123 fame), has done his usual superb job in bringing this bond to fruition. Once installed you can use all of AREV's features, including multi-values, on existing Btrieve files, create new Btrieve files from within AREV and use Btrieve's EXTREMELY fast indexing system. In order to install BONDtrv you must have AREV 2.0 or higher and Btrieve 5.0 single user, VAP or NLM.


At $495.00, it's somewhat high priced,but for those who need to bond to that custom banking or accounting application, it's worth three times the price.


The product comes in the all too familiar cardboard sleeve, it is however tastefully decorated. Inside one finds the bond disk, manual and warrantee card. With the product only available direct from Icicle Software, is a warrantee card really needed?


For those used to AREV's variable length records, the struggle of dealing with Btrieve's fixed length records becomes a burden. The manual does a good job of leading you through these pitfalls. BONDtrv comes with it's own tutorial and it is a MUST to read. The biggest problem you'll have is with Btrieve's fixed length records and indexing system. It might be helpful to have Novell's Btrieve Manual handy.


The installation routine was straightforward and is started with the standard AREV 2.x install routine used for all upgrades. After being queried if I wanted to install the tutorial (Yes, Yes, Yes) the bond installed with no further user input.


The tutorial (a Real Estate Database) comes with its own dummy data files and is used to teach each of the many many features of the bond. I know, real programmers don't read the docs but all I can say is "You'd better read these".

One of the many features of BONDtrv is the ability to define a Btrieve file two different ways. The first is to define the entire file using the length of the btrieve field to calculate the field offsets (actually the bond does this for you). The other way is to enter the offset and field length for only those fields wanted. This allows you to create different 'views' into the same file and is EXTREMELY fast for long records. The bond doesn't have to start from the beginning of the record each time it wants to locate a field.

Another wow!! is the fast Btrieve Indexes. Yes (say it quietly now) AREV is slow. When you see the speed of the Btrieve index hit returns, maybe we'll all start asking RTI for improvements, OH WELL!! BONDtrv will create and update native Btrieve indexes. It will also create and maintain AREV indexes on the same file. And for you network types out there, record locking protocol is handled for both the AREV and Btrieve side.

Down Side

Try as I might, I just can't fault this product. Well, maybe the documentation could cover a bit more native btrieve subject matter. But, I couldn't get the darn thing to hiccup. With all the help (F1) screens, all the option (F2) screens, it's hard to see how a novice user can go wrong. With portable Netware picking up steam and being ported to everywhere, this timely product will create more opportunities for us all.

Mr Gray is an independent Advanced Revelation consultant, working for Gray & Associates of 790 Long Hill Road, Middletown, CT 06457

(Volume 2, Issue 8, Page 6)
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