Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 88 / SEPTEMBER 1987 / PAGE 62


Create A Calendar

Ervin Bobo

Requirements: Commodore 64, Apple IIseries with a minimum of 64K, and IBM PC and compatibles with a minimum of 256K.

At first glance, a program for creating calendars may seem superfluous; each year, most of us are inundated with calendars from funeral homes and insurance agents (probably to remind us that time is running out)—so much so that it becomes difficult to find enough wall or desk space for them all.

Create a Calendar from Epyx, however, does just what its title implies: It allows you to create a calendar from scratch or from a template, and to populate it with the events you feel are most important. In doing so, you may highlight Aunt Martha's birthday, your next dental appointment, Walpurgis-Nacht (these days found on very few commercial calendars)—anything, in fact, that may assume more than momentary importance.

In using Calendar, you'll first be asked to insert a data disk for initialization. Bear in mind that there will be only one calendar per data disk, which at first may seem wasteful, but that single calendar can be printed in a variety of ways and can be re-edited at any time. If you become upset with George Washington and decide to eliminate his birthday from your party planning calendar, you may do so.

Next, select a title for the calendar. There is no need to get cute about this, since the title is for filing purposes only: It will not appear on the printed result. Then type in the numbers of the year in which you are interested. Unless you are doing research for a novel or a historical treatise, there seems little point to going backward in time, or too far forward, for that matter. But both can be done—you can go back as far as 1753 or as far forward as 9999.

Then choose the template with which you wish to work. There is one for historical dates, another for holidays, still another for Jewish holidays, one for holidays plus, and one blank. In making your choice, you are opting for a template where pertinent dates will be highlighted automatically with text and graphics.

Scheduling Aunt Martha

Once you have filled in this date, you select a month on which to work. Here we get to the meat of the program, where dates can be individually edited. It is in this mode, for example, that you enter and edit text pertaining to Aunt Martha's birthday—or to her impending two-week visit.

Choose a date, and the screen changes to show only that day. The cursor takes position at the vertical middle, and you can enter as many as five lines of text. Each line is necessarily short, but should be enough to call attention to the date and its special events. If it's not, you may also select a graphic from more than eighty on the flip side of the program disk, or from a compatible graphics library such as Epyx's Graphic Scrapbook Collection. The graphic will appear in the upper part of the box.

Should you wish only a monthly calendar, you may stop there. Otherwise, you may fill in important dates for each month of the year. If you deal with recurring events, such as a user's group meeting on the fifteenth of each month, the "repeat this date" option will automatically fill them in for every month.

When the calendar has been created and is ready to be printed, you may include a credit line to let everyone know who was responsible. Prior to printing, you'll make a choice of whether you want a daily calendar, in which one full sheet will hold only two days; a weekly, in which a single week is printed vertically on a full page; an annual, which shows the entire year (with highlighted dates indicated by bold type only); a banner, in which a year is printed horizontally over six pages; or an events list, which extracts all important dates, groups them by month, and prints them as a list. With the exception of the yearly calendar and the events list, all printouts will show the text and graphics you used to highlight dates.

It is primarily in the printing mode that Create a Calendar exhibits its one drawback. Because of the broad nature of the piece, the program is on side A of the disk; graphics, fonts (five of them) and borders (twelve from which to choose) are on side B; and your personally created parameters are on your data disk. This situation necessitates a great deal of disk-swapping, yet there seems no way in which it could have been minimized. The program is tight and organized, and the slight inconvenience results from the complexity of the subject rather than from sloppy work.

Since it is a dedicated program, Create a Calendar offers a greater variety of choices than programs which have simply included calendars as one more option in a printing program. Once you've set up a particular year on a data disk, you may go back to it time and again to print out whichever type of calendar is currently most useful.

Documentation is good, leading you through the creative process one step at a time and providing ample illustrations so you'll know what to expect. Your printer configuration is saved to the master disk so that it need be done only upon the program's first booting, and all fonts used by the program result in text that is clear and easy to read at a glance. Daily, weekly, and monthly calendars use date boxes large enough that you may pencil in any important dates forgotten during the creative process—large enough even for the chilling message that Aunt Martha will arrive early and stay longer.

Create A Calendar
600 Galveston Dr.
Redwood City, CA 94063