Technical support memos


Feburary 6, 1999
Setting up a new TAS project
TAS 4.0, 5.0 and 5.1
Anthony J. Frates (Copyright 1999 Addsum Business Software, Inc.)

This support memo pertains primarily to TAS programmers who work on projects for more than one customer. Not only it is obviously desirable to keep projects for different customers separate and distinct, one also does not want to "pollute" the TAS development system subdirectory (i.e. the directory or folder where TAS Professional is installed, e.g. \TAS51) with source files or dictionary changes which are not a part of the original installation. Programmers who are similarly modifying accounting software written in TAS (Advanced Accounting published by Business Tools or DBA published by DBA Software for example) also need to take care not to contaminate the \ADV51 or \DBAMFG subdirectories containing the standard/unmodified versions not only so that they can represent a springboard for future projects but also for benchmarking and testing.

At the same time there is no reason to completely copy in the entire TAS51, ADV51, DBAMFG, etc. folder into the customer project. This not only results in a waste of hard drive space but also makes it much more difficult to determine exactly what was modified. Further, it means that standard program updates installed into the \ADV51 or \DBAMFG subdirectories will not automatically be available for future work as they otherwise would be. As a general rule, only put what you are changing into the project folder.

One way to set-up a new project is to use the TASDEVSD program that comes with TAS 5.1 and is described on page 1-25 of the TAS 5.1 manual. It is as equally fast and efficient however to follow these steps (and users of TAS 4.0 and 5.0 would need to follow these steps since there is no TASDEVSD in those versions of TAS):

  1. Create your new subdirectory/folder;
  2. If you will be making any file descriptor (FD) changes, copy into the folder created in (1) the F*.B files from which you are basing the modifications from as well as the files CMPDFLT.B and ERRMSG.B (for Windows mode testing - applies to version 5.1 only). If you are beginning a "from scratch" project, you would copy in the F*.B files from your TAS development system subdirectory path; if a DBA or Advanced Accounting project, you would copy the F*.B files from the standard/unmodified installation path that contained those dictionary files. The CMPDFLT.B file should come from the \ADV51 or \DBAMFG subdirectory as appropriate. If you are not going to be making data dictionary changes, then skip this step;
  3. Copy in a TAS50.OVL (TASPRO.OVL if TAS 4.0) from somewhere, preferably with a "blank" default dictionary path;
  4. Make sure that SET TAS50= is set to your TAS development system subdirectory (note that SET TAS50= applies both to versions 5.0 and 5.1 of TAS; for TAS 4.0 use SET TASPRO=; TAS 5.0 will also accept SET TASPRO=). Also make sure that the TAS development system subdirectory is in your PATH (e.g. PATH=C:\TAS51). NOTE: we recommend putting a batch file into your WIN95/98 PC's \WINDOWS\COMMAND subdirectory containing the appropriate commands rather than to place them into your AUTOEXEC.BAT;
  5. Change directories to the new subdirectory (e.g. CD \MYPROJECT) and invoke TAS by typing the appropriate batch file name (for version 4.0 R.BAT was the batch file commonly used to invoke TAS so you would just type R; we recommend using R51.BAT for 5.1 especially if different versions of TAS are installed on the same PC although the default batch file provided is R50.BAT). Go into Set configuration and in the default dictionary path enter in the location of the F*.B files that you will be using, either the current subdirectory or some other directory if you are not changing the F*.B's. Save and exit and then re-start TAS (e.g. R50). NOTE: we recommend avoiding the use of a drive letter in the default dictionary path (or in any TAS location path for that matter). That way you will be able to bring up TAS regardless of how you may be mapped into the drive;
  6. At this point you are ready to make any FD changes. For any new FD's added, you would normally want to specify that the file location was in your project subdirectory (e.g. \MYPROJECT - again, avoid using drive letters in any paths or default dictionary paths). Further, if you will be modifying any existing structures (for example DBA or Advanced Accounting BK* files), copy in a data file that exists that already contains data into your \MYPROJECT subdirectory and change the location file for each/every file that uses that same structure and when the FD changes are complete, restructure the layout. An example in Advanced Accounting, three data files that share the same layout are BKARINV, BKARHINV and BKARRINV - all three data files share the layout BKARINV; if you were going to modify the BKARINV structure, you would copy in all three data files to the \MYPROJECT subdirectory, change the file paths under maintain location file in utilities for these three files to \MYPROJECT and then restructure the files. This gives one test data to work with and again keeps all modified/new files relating to a given project in the customer project subdirectory. It also ensures that unaltered copies of the data files remain for future projects (i.e. avoids contamination of the standard system data files). Existing system files that aren't being changed remain somewhere else, i.e. in the original installation paths. So the only data files that would exist in a project folder would be those data files have relate to changed FD layouts.
  7. In testing the compiled programs for a "from scratch project" you would simply RUN the programs from an invocation of TAS in the same subdirectory as the project. For DBA or Advanced Accounting projects, you would leave the \MYPROJECT folder and start up the DBA or Advanced Accounting program in the normal way (note: DBA programs can/should be compiled directly from TAS loaded in the project subdirectory; Advanced Accounting 5.0 and 5.1 programs normally use functions/UDF's that are contained in a pre-compiled OBJ file and must be compiled from within Advanced Accounting itself; Advanced Accounting 4.0 programs can be compiled directly from TAS). If an Advanced Accounting or DBA project involves a changed FD, you could copy the TAS50.OVL (or TASPRO.OVL for TAS 4.0) to the standard installation subdirectory (this is the one violation of not polluting your standard software installation subdirectory; always keep a copy of TAS50.OVL with a blank dictionary path available to help get out of trouble) BEFORE loading DBA or Advanced Accounting. By doing that, TAS will use the set of dictionary files in the \MYPROJECT subdirectory and it will also use the \MYPROJECT location path for any changed dictionary files. Proceed to use Run TAS program (or Run DBA program in DBA) from within the accounting software programs to run and test your \MYPROJECT RUN programs;
  8. As an alternative to hard coding any #LIB (library) references, put SET TASLIB= into your environment. Since Advanced Accounting 5.0 and 5.1 programs have to be compiled from with Advanced Accounting, you would need to add a SET TASLIB= into your ADV.BAT.

(portions of this tech support memo were originally published on January 10, 1999 in the TAS development system users group)

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