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WP Bond, from Professional Systems Development - A review by Michael Ruane - Phoenix Solutions.


WP Bond is a third party product that allows AREV (versions 2.0 and above) to bond to Word Perfect. WP Bond allows one to export AREV data into Word Perfect documents, labels, letters, etc. WP Bond also allows the user to print screen captures and dictionary listings into Word Perfect format. A product of this type allows users to get away from AREV's Merge process and use a true word processor to format their output.

This review does not mean to be an exhaustive investigation into every possible nuance of WP Bond. It intends only to give a general overview of the product.


WP Bond gives users and developers the ability to bond with Word Perfect and take advantage of Wordperfect's ability to format and dress up text. With the problems inherent in the AREV's merge Processor, and its general slowing down in recent releases, WP Bond is a very viable alternative.

WP Bond comes with a set of developer subroutines that allow developers to generate letters, merge documents, read Word Perfect documents into AREV format, and write information into a Word Perfect document. These are extremely useful, allowing a developer to create merged documents dynamically from R\Basic.

If the documentation were more clear, this would be a very desirable product for anyone who does much merging within AREV and is familiar with Word Perfect. As it stands now, with new documentation promised, WP Bond is more confusing than helpful. But I did discover after muddling through the system that I could create impressive documents fairly easily with WP Bond.

What does WP Bond Do?

WP Bond provides a seamless link between an AREV application and Wordperfect 5.0 and above documents. It reads the Word Perfect documents, such as letters or labels, modifies and/or changes them with data specified by the user, and updates the documents accordingly.

WP Bond allows the user to capture AREV screen images in Word Perfect format through a utility called the WP Screen Grabber. It also allows the user to print dictionary listings to Word Perfect files. These are both extremely valuable if one uses Word Perfect to document their AREV systems. And, as mentioned above, WP Bond supplies a number of callable subroutines that allow the creation and merging of Word Perfect documents dynamically.

How does WP Bond do it?

For the most part, it appears that WP Bond reads directly from the Word Perfect header information, and then inserts the AREV based information into the document in the appropriate fields. Basically, one creates a primary document (such as a form letter or mailing label) in Word Perfect. From the documentation supplied it appears that these operations are performed through a series of C programs and SQL commands.

Instead of naming the fields to be filled in with logical names, one must use field numbers. A process is then created in AREV that associates the AREV field names with the Word Perfect field numbers. When this process is run, based upon selection criteria that the user specifies, the WP Bond creates Word Perfect documents which can then be printed out using Word Perfect. WP Bond also makes use of SQL calls, as in the Dictionary Listing to WP. The screen grabber routine, defined as a macro, does the equivalent of a print screen to a Word Perfect document.

How well does WP Bond do it?

Quite well, actually. The installation process is simple enough, consisting of logging into AREV, inserting a disk in drive A: and running an installation program. This takes about 25 minutes, and then logs you out of AREV without telling you it is going to do it!

Once you have logged back into AREV and attached the newly created WP volume, you can invoke the WP Bond main menu. The menu presents you with such choices as Quick Start, Produce a Merged Document, View WP Document, and Set-up, among others.

The set-up option allows you to define the location of your Word Perfect files, the location of your output files, and the location of Word Perfect. Quick Start, the option I chose right off, allows you to specify where the primary (Word Perfect) document is, where the data is within the AREV system, and where the new Word Perfect documents should be written.

Other options allow you to shell out to Word Perfect, or view existing Word Perfect documents. This latter option displays the document exactly as it appears when viewed from Word Perfect, although the text attributes such as bold, underline, italics, etc. are not displayed. According to the documentation, this will be addressed in a future release of WP Bond.

Bugs/Restrictions Worth Mentioning

The documentation provided with WP Bond is confusing at best. The manual is a mix of cryptic descriptions and full blown examples. The sample examples are very helpful, but applicable to a particular case only. I had trouble printing out multivalued fields in my Word Perfect document. The process that defines the bond to a Word Perfect document has a code and command available for every field within the document; perhaps these can address that particular problem, but I was not completely successful.

All in all I would say that the product is worth it to those who use both AREV and Word Perfect together. It's a pleasure to create a document using a real word processor rather than the Makemerge window. Just the availability of a good spell checker is almost worth the price. When the new documentation is available, I'm sure the product will be much easier to use.

At $475 US WP Bond may be a bit pricey for the average AREV user. Surprisingly, a 5 user Lan pack is approximately $400 US. (Quotes reflect December 1991 prices.)

WP Bond is available from Professional Systems Development at PO Box 688, Drummoyne, NSW 2047, Australia. Phone number 61 2 564 2677, Facsimile 61 2 564 2121.

Phoenix Solutions are located in the US and can be contacted on 908 654 0771

(Volume 3, Issue 9, Pages 11,12)
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