A great data-base program can be found in a Nutshell


A long time ago, I reviewed a data-base program called Nutshell, distributed at the time by Leading Edge Computers. I adored Nutshell then, and, after years of using it, I adore it now. That's because the program has two attributes that are rare to find together: simplicity and power.

Nutshell has been reconstituted into Nutshell Plus II ($395).

File and data-base managers are those programs that make and store lists -- names and addresses, for instance, or clients and their interests, or invoices and what is owed, or book titles and their authors. When people first buy a computer, list-keeping is often one notion they have for their machine.

Nutshell Plus II offers several features for making list-keeping fast and accessible.

First, you need to make individual records. A record is all the information you want to keep about a person or thing. For example, if you are making a list (data base) that matches your Rolodex, each record would contain at minimum each person's name, address and home and work telephone numbers.

Each line of information in that record is called a field. A field might be the person's last name or his or her first name or the home telephone number. How a program lets you create records and fields is important, and with Nutshell Plus II, designing a record is as simple as typing.

After you've designed and created a record layout, and you've typed information into records, you want to be able to search and retrieve data easily. With Nutshell Plus II, you give a command and type the pattern you want to match in a blank record.

Form letters and label making are a breeze, too. In addition, you can copy information from other file formats, such as dBASE, DIF, FileMaker for the Mac and ASCII, and you can compile statistics, such as a count of the clients in each sales region or the dollar value of orders owed to you by all clients.

In short, to create, view, modify, remove, sort, print, tabulate, reshape, import or export information in Nutshell is so brilliantly uncomplicated that I wish all programs were made with such thought and care.

To update from a previous version (any version) is $159.

(Iris Software Products, P.O. Box 57, Stoughton, Mass. 02072; [617] 341-1990. For your local dealer and dealer inquiries contact Howard Claussen at [206] 392-9601.)

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