Rediware Software's

CD Storage Index Utility

© copyright 2001 Rediware Software and Services

     If you are an avid computer user and have a CD read and write drive, you probably end up collecting a lot of software, as well as using your CDs to back up software that has been installed on your computer system. One CD is fine, but after that it becomes a bit difficult to keep track of, or even find that software item you are looking for. This CD Storage Index Utility (CDStore) attempts to remedy the situation. CDStore lets you keep track of all your files on CD, has comprehensive search features, and even lets you comment any or all files for future reference.
     CDStore can be used to store and index files from any drive. Therefore, you can index files from your A drive up to your Z drive. A CD read and write drive is not necessary to use this utility. 


Running CDStore

     CDStore has been tested on Windows 98 only. It should run on Windows 95 without any problems, since the Windows support files are included in this package.  

     CDStore was written with a resolution of 800 x 600. If your system is set to a smaller resolution, you will not be able to view the entire screen.

     This help file was written with the intent of being run with Microsoft Internet Explorer. It operates successfully with IE 5.0 or higher.  Other internet browsers should display this file properly also. However, some may not be able to handle the interactive properties of this page. All of this file will still be displayed even if your browser does not support these properties. When help is clicked in CDStore, your default browser will load this file.


Using CDStore

    CDStore is simple enough to use. Below is a screenshot that depicts the working application's interface. CDStore is divided into sections, each having (as close as possible) a similiar purpose. Below is a screenshot of CDStore. The sections in the application are numbered below from one to six. If your browser is capable, click the number itself to automatically jump to that section on this page. Click anywhere on the screenshot (where your cursor turns into a hand) to locate information about that particular item.

jump to description of section onejump to description of section twojump to description of section threejump to description of section fourump to description of section fivejump to description of section fixthe displayed listingread-only displayed-listing detailsget a new listing from this driveupdate a previously saved listingsave a new or updated listingremove (or delete) a currently stored index listingget a previously stored index listingget helpquit the applicationadding and editing commentssearching indexes for a folder, a file, or a commenttell CDStore you are finished helping with an updateextra information during an updateextra information during an update

   Section One: Navagation
     The area on the left of the application is a listing similiar to Windows Explorer or My Computer, except all folders and files are in the same window. Clicking on any plus sign (+) will expand the listing to reveal the files that particular folder contains. Clicking on a minus (-) sign will collapse the folder.

     Clicking on a particular item will reveal the particulars of the file (in section two) and any comments (if you have entered any) (in section four).

     Clicking on any item will 'select' that item. You can then press any letter on the keyboard, and if a visible item begins with that letter, it will automatically be selected. Selecting an item allows you to see the particulars, or read comments for that file or folder, or enter comments.

     The arrow keys can also be used to expand and select items in the list. One item must be selected (blue) before the arrow keys can be used. After an item is selected, you may also press any letter on the keyboard. If an item is visible that begins with that letter, that item will then be selected.

     Doubleclicking on any item that IS NOT a folder (must be a file) will read that file and insert the contents into the comments box. The ORIGINAL FILE MUST be in the location which the path specifies, which is where the file was originally loaded. The text is NOT saved in the index and therefore the actual file must be read. If the file does not exist in that path, you will be notified that the file cannot be read. Files that are larger than a specific size will not be read. This is to prevent the applicatiuon from bogging down should you decide to doubleclick on a file such as a .cab file or .exe file that is not actually readable text. Note that most files (except .txt files) contain non-readable characters that are used for formatting. In an effort to make these files more readable (.wri, .doc, etc) the non-readable ascii characters will be removed. You will notice that .txt files are reproduced as they are stored, but any files having internal formatting (such as .wri or .doc) will appear corrupted. This is because the parent program is needed to interpret these files correctly. However, you will still be able to view most, if not all of the text. You may toggle back and forth between viewing the comments and actually reading the file by singleclicking or doubleclicking. You may cut, edit, copy and paste from the 'read file' to the 'comments' text using standard Windows cut, copy, and paste proceedures.
     A progress bar (contained in section 4) has been added so that you can view the progress of files as they are read and purged of non-printable characters. (go back to the screenshot)

Section Two: Information
     Section two is a read only section. Any selection (in section one) will display the root, path name, parent (the folder or root the file or folder is in), children (if the selection is a folder, children is the number of items contained in it), siblings (the number of files or folders that are in the same folder as itself), and # selected (how many items down from the top the selected item is).
     The root (at the top) is displayed whenever a media device is read.
     Make use of this area in what ever way you wish. (go back to the screenshot)

Section Three: The Control Buttons
     Section three contains the majority of the buttons needed to control CDStore. I will discuss a typical session using CDStore, discussing the buttons as I proceed.
     When CDStore is first run, you will be notified that a new index file has been created. This index file keeps track of everything you have indexed with CDStore. At this time, this index file will be empty.

    Get a New List:  The first thing you will want to do is to get a listing of the folders and files from your CD drive, or other media source. Click the scroll control labeled 'drive' up or down to indicate the drive letter you wish to list. When this drive letter is correct, click the 'get new listing' button. If you have media in that drive, CDStore will read the media and list it's contents in the viewing field (1).
          You may click through the contents just as you would with Windows Explorer or My Computer. You may also browse through the contents as previously discussed in section one.
     Any item in the list (including the root, or drive letter) can be clicked, and comments can then be added as discussed below in section 4.
     Note: At this time CDStore will NOT create a listing of hard drives. If you attempt to list a hard drive, CDStore will notify you that that operation is not allowed. Hard drives cannot be listed now because there is a bug in Microsoft's Treeview Control that returns the 'count' of the list as an integer, where it should be a long integer. This causes the maximum items in the list to be 32,767 items. Many hard drives will exceed that number (of files and folders) and therefore will generate an error. If Microsoft provides a patch for this known bug, I will be able to allow CDStore to list hard drives as well.

     After you have added (at your discretion) any comments to the folders and files, you can click the 'save' button. This does not save the edited listing to your media, but to a file on your drive where CDStore is installed. You now have a record and index of this media. You will then notice that the information in the box under the drive letter box contains the number 1 and beside that, a box containing the volume (or label, or name) of the media you just saved.

     Get an Existing Index List: The controls labeled 'avail' work similiar to the controls (labeled 'drive'). After you have saved one or more sets of indexed files, you can retrieve this information at any time. Any time you run CDStore, these controls will let you scroll through the names of all the media you have saved. Scroll to the one you wish to load, and click the 'get existing listing' button. (You do not need the original media to read from anymore. All the information is now in this listing.) The listing will then be displayed just as it looked when you loaded it for the first time. All the features for browsing through the listing are the same.

     Remove an Index List: If you decide that you want to remove a particular index permanantly, load it with 'get existing listing' and click the 'remove displayed' button. This action will remove permanantly the index currently displayed. If you use 'remove' on a new listing that has never been saved, 'remove' will just clear the displays.

     Update an Existing Index List: The 'update' button has some pretty neat coding behind it. Use 'update' when you have already stored an index of a particular piece of media, but then have added or subtracted from that piece of media. Suppose you are adding folders and files to a read and write CD. You have already commented those folders and/or files, and have saved the indexing of it with CDStore. You then add files to the CD, and remove a few. If you were to re-index it using ' get new listing' and then save it using 'save', you would loose all your comments! Not a good thing! Instead, 'update' it! First, put in the media you wish to update. Click 'get new listing'. The media is now displayed. If the volume name of the media is the same as one ofthe volume names in 'avail', you will be able to update. If you know it exists, (you can scroll through 'avail' to make sure) click 'update'. You do not have to have the volume name displayed in 'avail' to update. CDStore will find it if it exists. CDStore will then proceed to find all your previous comments, and using a few different stratagys, place thise comments into the proper places in the new listing displayed. (Remember, the listing displayed is a new listing from your media, not a previously stored index.)
      If CDStore has trouble finding where a comment goes, you will be asked for help. This will happen most often when the number of files or folders have been changed and the order of the files and folders are different, or if some files or folders have been renamed. CDStore does not take the "obviously logical" step of reiternating through the entire listing to find a file with the same name. This is not done because it is extremely common for several files to have the same name under different folders. Therefore CDStore would not be able to be sure which file the comment belongs to. I thought it would be much better to have the user (you!) help out CDStore in these situations, rather than apply your comments to the wrong file!
     You will help CDStore find the file by browsing through the listing to find the file that the displayed comments belong to. Below the displayed comments (section 4) will appear a box telling you the original name of the file, it's previous order number, and it's parent's (folder's) previous order. You can the use this information as a starting point to find the file in the lsiting. Note that each file of folder you click in the displayed listing will have a 'selection #' (which is it's numerical order number) displayed in section 1, so you do not have to count folders and files.
     When you have found the file that thecomment belongs to, click the 'keep comments' button (in section 4).
     Letting CDStore Know When You Are Finished Helping With an Update: IMPORTANT! You may or may not wish to click 'save comments' to a particular file or folder. Regardless, CDStore has temporarly halted many complex routines to ask for your interactive help. CDStore needs to know when you are finished helping so that it can resume these routines where it left off. If CDStore asks for your help, you can help using the methods above, or decide that you do not wish to save the "temporarly lost" comments. In fact, you may have deleted that file from the media source! When you are finished helping, YOU MUST click the check box at the bottom right or your screen labeled 'user update finished'. If you attempt to load new media, existing media, or quit, you will surely get unexpected results.
     Saving a Finished Update: When all updating is complete, click the 'save' button to save the newly updated index to the CDStore database. Any changed index listing IS NOT autoamtically saved when it is changed. You MUST click 'save' to make it a permanant record.
     Besides all the interaction discussed, there are a few more tidbits of information available to you during an update. See section six for a description of these fields. Except for the 'user update finished' field, they are all read only.

     The last two buttons require substantually less information to describe! (go back to the screenshot)
     Help and Quit Buttons: The 'help' button gets you to this help file, and the 'quit' button ends the application neatly. (as if I had to tell you!)

Section Four: Adding or Editing Comments to Files and Folders

     Section four has been mentioned above fairly often, but I will add to it here. This is the comments section. You may add or edit comments for any file or folder in the listing, including the root item. Select (click on) any item in the displayed listing. If a comment exists, it will be displayed here. You may edit the comment, or if none exists, type one in. The new or edited comment will not be attached to the clicked item until you click the 'keep comments' button. The comments section will then be disabled, leting you know that the comments have been attached. To reactivate the comments section, you must click on another (or the same) item in the listing. The barely visible black box below the comments entry box is used during 'update', and will display information about the original file or folder a particular comment was attached to when CDStore needs help finding a matchup.
     Note: If you enter linefeeds, carriage returns, or any other non-standard characters into the comments box, they will be converted to a series of spaces. Any commas will be converted to semicolons. The purpose of this is that standard filing systems use these characters as field delimiters, and therefore the information stored will not be what was intended. When reading these files back, the information will be corrupted. Rather than write a conversion/deconversion routine to accomodate this common problem, I have decided to simply replace these characters before saving. The end result is that retrieved comments may not be in the exact format as you entered them. (go back to the screenshot)

Section Five: Searching Through Your Information

     Section five contains the search features of CDStore. You may search for any string, and CDStore will find any occurance of that string. First, type in the string you wish to search for in the empty box under the 'search string' label. Upper or lower case does not matter. Then decide whether you wish to search only the collection displayed, or all the indexes you have prevoiusly saved. Do this by selecting (clicking) either the button labeled 'search displayed' or the button labeled 'search stored'. Finally, decide if you wish your search to include the comments you have previously added to the items. Click the checkbox labeled 'include comments' if you want the comments searched also.

     Now click the 'search' button. CDStore will locate the first instance of a find. The entire index containing the item found will be displayed (if you are searching stored items, it will load it automatically), and the listing will be expanded (if necessary) to reveal the item. The found item will be automatically selected. If this is the item you are searching for, you can then do what you wish. If it is not the item you were looking for, click the checkbox labeled 'search more' and click the 'search' button again. CDStore will continue to search where it left off, displaying each item as it is found.
     If you wish to find ANY comments, regardless of what it contains, first load the stored index of the listing you want to search. Then click the 'find comment' button. The first item in the listing with a comment will be selected and the comment will be displayed. To find additional comments for other items, click the checkbox labeled 'find more' and click the 'find comment' button again. CDStore will continue to search where it left off, displaying each comment as it is found. The 'find comment' option ONLY searches the displayed index listing. It does not search all stored indexes (as 'search' does).
     NOTE: When searching for strings or comments, begin the search with the 'search more' or 'find more' checkbox unchecked. To continue a search in progress, check the 'search more' or 'find more' checkbox. If this box is not checked, CDStore will continue to find the first item only for each search.  (go back to the screenshot)

Section Six: Update Status Information

     Section six is mainly a read only section. The exception is the checkbox labeled 'user update finished', which must be clicked if CDStore needs help in locating where a particular comment belongs while updating. The rest of the section provides information about the original files (not the new listing displayed) during an update. This information includes the number of folders and files originally contained in the original listing, and the volume of that listing. Use this information to help you locate an item in a listing during an update. The boxes labeled 'success', 'fail' and 'total' will list the numbers of successful comment updates, as well as failures, and the total. Note that the number listed in 'fail' does not mean that a comment (or comments) were not updated. This isthe number that CDStore could not find on it's own. If you have succesfully helped CDStore to locate a particular file, CDStore will still list it as 'fail'. The number in 'fail' will equal the number of times CDStore had to ask you for help. (go back to the screenshot)


UNINSTALLING CDSTORE:

    To uninstall CDStore, got to your control panel and use the Add/Remove utility. Select CDStore for removal. You will get a notice that some components could not be removed. This is because the CDStore application creates files as it runs your index listing files). After uninstalling, simply navagate to the location where CDStore was installed (default is C:\Program Files\CDStore and will be there unless you changed the installation location when installing) and delete the folder CDStore including all of it's contents. MAKE SURE you have uninstalled CDStore FIRST!


ADDITIONAL NOTES:

     Rediware Software and the author make no guarantees that CDStore will suit your needs or expectations. Rediware Software and the author are not responsible for any system incompatibilities or file or system corruption due to the installing, usage, or uninstalling of CDStore. CDStore has been tested on Windows 98 without incident, and none is expected. However this disclaimer must be in place should a software conflict arise. Note that the installation software and dynamic link libraries are written by Microsoft and are independent of CDStore. I welcome email on any glitches or bugs that you may encounter. When reporting any bugs, please attempt to recreate the glitch in a step by step fashion so that you can relay to me the exact steps that caused the problem. When installing CDStore, the installation software will detect if you have older versions of dll files and ask you if you wish to install the updated versions. It is recommended that you do so. The versions contained in CDStore are the latest available at the time of release and are official Microsoft-released libraries.    


CREDITS and RIGHTS:

     CDStore is a Rediware Software and Services release, and Rediware Software and the author retain all rights to the CDStore application and coding. Do not redistribute this software without specific prior consent of Rediware Software. To do so violates the author's rights.

      © Rediware Software and Services, released 2001


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