DweeziLabel. (labeling software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Steve Vander Ark
If Dweezil is anything like the program that bears his name, he must be one clever dog. Once again, Dave Ferguson, GEOS programmer extraordinaire and human who lives with Dweezil, has released an intriguing and useful GEOS program with a picture of a dog in a party hat on the label.
DweeziLabel is everything a GEOS user could want in a label program. Well, to be fair, it's everything Ferguson would want in a label program. He'll be the first to admit that the program evolved more as an answer to his specific needs than as a general-purpose label maker. Even so, it includes enough features to function as a minidatabase, a minipublisher, and who knows what else.
In the course of running Quincy Softworks, Ferguson needs to keep track of customers from all over the world and to keep notes on what they've ordered, how much they've paid, and so on. DweeziLabel emerged as his ideal multipurpose low-end business application. You can find it on Dweezil Disk #3, which includes MYgeoDIARY and geoWORDS.
Since Ferguson runs his business exclusively with GEOS products, data from DweeziLabel is compatible with applications such as geoMerge and geoCalc. Text scraps and numeric data can be neatly clipped in formatted chunks to fit those GEOS applications.
An even better example of DweeziLabel's versatility is the way it handles data. The program works with files of up to 50 records, similar to a card file database. These files can be created from within DweeziLabel, geoWrite, or geoFile. Ferguson wanted room in those records for more than just names and addresses. He wanted to keep notes about what products people had ordered and the amount of money they'd paid, so he added several extra data lines for that express purpose, data that the labeler part of the program doesn't print unless you want it to. So far, that's pretty tame stuff, but this is no wimpy Rolodex.
Tucked away in the Text menu is a series of search commands that let you sail through your data with ease. The six possible lines of data could be names and addresses. You could store shoe sizes and a recipe for Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters in there if you wanted, but DweeziLabel restricts you to the number of spaces you can use. In fact, aside from the size limit and the lack of the trivial feature of saving a graphic to a record, DweeziLabel can hold its own with geoFile for usefulness. As I said before, it even creates merge files for geoMerge.
But, hey, what about labels? Yes, DweeziLabel does labels, any kind of labels. It produces any kind of printed output that is 2 inches tall, for that matter, on pages up to a full 11 inches tall. Using a technique called layering in the work window, you can put together combinations of graphics and text to create just about any kind of label you can imagine.
By paging through the database, you can select label text that can be modified however you like. You can use any GEOS font you might have available (on either disk, up to the file selector's limit--no six or seven font maximum here) and any style, including reverse. The work window is conveniently sized to fit Ferguson's premier graphics desk accessories, NewTools and geoStamp (available on other Dweezil Disks). This means you can stamp yourself a border around a label or curve and angle graphics and text to your heart's delight.
All this power doesn't come as easily as it could, however. The documentation provided on disk is extensive but a bit thin in spots. The entire process of layering a graphics label is not particularly intuitive, which is not necessarily bad, but a step-by-step tutorial for this process would save the user some trial and error.
The words scrap and label appear often, sometimes meaning one thing and sometimes another. While these variations are defined in the short glossary, they do get confusing. Maybe since this program has become second nature to Ferguson, he's lost the perspective of a neophyte. The documentation should've been written from the perspective of the user who hasn't a clue about how this program operates--but it wasn't. As a result, this program runs the risk of being tossed aside after a half hour of frustration by casual users who don't care to figure out things on their own.
That would be a shame. DweeziLabel is too powerful an application to be missed by anyone who has some honest-to-goodness work to do with GEOS. The results are worth the extra effort it takes to master the intricacies of the interface. Heck, when used in conjunction with NewTools and geoStamp, DweeziLabel might be, as the ads claim, the "hottest GEOS label program to come along in years!"