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STORE - A SIMPLE TEXT ORIENTED DATA BASE HANDLER
By Jacob Palme, Swedish National Defense Research Institute.
STORE is a simple data base handler written in SIMULA.
STORE is primarily used through two procedures, PUTMESSAGE
and GETMESSAGE. PUTMESSAGE stores a message under a key in
the data base, GETMESSAGE retrieves a message for a given
key from the data base. Both message and key can be
variable length text strings. Any structuring of key and
message into fields is up to the user, not done by the STORE
The strings are stored in a direct access file on secondary
storage. The system uses a combination of hashing and
binary trees to find the place of a message in the data
base. Hashing to get high efficiency, binary trees to allow
unlimited growth of the data base.
The system is designed with the goal of being easy to use
for a programmer and having as few restrictions as possible.
PUTTING AND GETTING MESSAGES
You store a message into the data base by calling the
BOOLEAN PROCEDURE PUTMESSAGE(KEY, MESSAGE);
TEXT KEY, MESSAGE;
KEY and MESSAGE should both be TEXT variables of arbitrary
contents and length. The length of KEY should however not
be larger than 400.
The value of PUTMESSAGE will be TRUE if the message could be
stored in the data base, FALSE if this was not possible
because of a too long key or because there already was a
message in the data base under the same key.
If you want to overwrite a previous message with the same
key in the data base, you should set the switch REMOVE to
TRUE. If REMOVE is TRUE, PUTMESSAGE will overwrite previous
messages with the same key, if REMOVE is FALSE, PUTMESSAGE
will not overwrite previous messages and will return FALSE
if a message with the same key was already in the data base.
To get a message back from the data base, you use the
TEXT PROCEDURE GETMESSAGE(KEY);
This procedure will look for a message stored under the
given key in the data base. If no such message can be
STORE - A SIMPLE TEXT ORIENTED DATA BASE HANDLER Page 2
found, the value NOTEXT is returned.
CONVERTING KEYS TO UPPER CASE
If you want a key to refer to the same message regardless of
upper or lower case characters in the key, then you should
apply the TEXT PROCEDURE UPCASE(KEY);
to the key. This procedure changes all lower case
characters in the key to upper case. So if you put a
message under a key "GooD" you can later get the same
message through the key "GOOD" or "good".
PRODUCING A DIRECTORY OF A FILE
The STORE package has a built-in procedure for producing a
directory of a file, that is for listing all the keys in the
The procedure is
Where KEYPROCESSOR is a procedure supplied by you with two
parameters KEY and LOCATION. Example:
The procedure KEYPROCESSOR will be called once for each KEY
in the data base. LOCATION is the number of the block in
the file where the MESSAGE for that KEY ends.
PUTTING STORE INTO YOUR APPLICATION PROGRAM
In the outermost block of your main program write:
EXTERNAL CLASS STORE;
Also put the same statement in front of any separately
compiled modules which are to be able to use the facilities
Where you need a STORE in your data base you write the
MYSTORE:- NEW STORE(VIRTUALSIZE, INITIALSTORESIZE);
VIRTUALSIZE is the size of the storage area in which lines
STORE - A SIMPLE TEXT ORIENTED DATA BASE HANDLER Page 3
from the data base are kept in core. A large virtualsize
will thus reduce the number of disk reads but increase core
usage. For most applications, VIRTUALSIZE=0 is best.
However, if you call GETMESSAGE to do long searches in the
data base, a higher value may be good. Try for yourself.
INITIALSTORESIZE is the size of the area on disk into which
the key is initially hashed. If this area is full, further
messages are stored in binary trees. A large
INITIALSTORESIZE will thus give a larger disk file in the
beginning, but will reduce disk accesses and CPU-time. In a
test case, CPU time had increased 20% and disk accesses 30%
when the actual store was allowed to grow to four times the
INITIALSTORESIZE, as compared with starting from the
beginning with a four times larger INITIALSTORESIZE.
A simple rule is to choose INITIALSTORESIZE as about half
the total size into which you expect your data base to grow.
Once a data base has been started, the INITIALSTORESIZE
cannot be changed. A new value of INITIALSTORESIZE is
ignored by the STORE program for old data bases.
Both VIRTUALSIZE and INITIALSTORESIZE are measured in disk
blocks, that is 128 36-bit words or 640 ASCII-7-bit
Before you can use the data base, you must call the
where FILENAME is a text of 1-6 letters or digits. No
extension, STORE will add the extension ".DAF".
Before stopping the execution of your program, you must call
the procedure CLOSE. If you leave your program by CTRL-C or
by a system crash, you may lose information newly stored
into the data base. You can ensure against this by calling
CLOSE before each interaction with the terminal user and
calling OPEN again when you need to use STORE. But this
will double the CPU time and cost of your run in cases where
you only make one single call to PUTMESSAGE or GETMESSAGE
between each OPEN and CLOSE.
The length of the KEY must not exceed 400. The total size
of one data base should not be larger than 9999 disk blocks.
There is no program yet available to reorganize a data base.
Reorganisation will however in many applications never be
needed, since the program automatically frees storage when
messages are removed.
STORE - A SIMPLE TEXT ORIENTED DATA BASE HANDLER Page 4
The parameter texts key and message may contain any ASCII
characters. (In release 1C of DECsystem-10 SIMULA, certain
device control characters are not allowed, but this has been
remedied in release 2.)
EXAMPLE OF USE
This very simple example only illustrates how to use the
procedures in the package in the simplest case:
EXTERNAL CLASS STORE;
REF (STORE) MYSTORE;
TEXT KEY, MESSAGE;
PROCEDURE KEYPROCESSOR(KEY, LOCATION);
MYSTORE:- NEW STORE(0,8);
COMMENT WILL PRINT "MESSAGETEXT";
MYSTORE.DIRECT(KEYPROCESSOR); COMMENT WILL PRINT
MYSTORE.REMOVE:= TRUE; COMMENT TO ALLOW CHANGING MESSAGES
FOR THE SAME KEY;
MYSTORE.PUTMESSAGE(KEY,MESSAGE); COMMENT THE NEW MESSAGE
REPLACES THE OLD;
The delivery of the STORE system consists of the following
STORE.SIM Source program of the CLASS store
STOREU.SIM Source program of a demonstration example using
STOREU.SAV Executable core image of demonstration example
STORE.RNO The text you are reading now in RUNOFF format
STORE.HLP The text you are reading now in reading format
The demonstration program STOREU also uses the SAFEIO
STORE - A SIMPLE TEXT ORIENTED DATA BASE HANDLER Page 5
package for terminal interaction.
At the QZ data center in Stockholm, you will find the files
on the DEC-tape H39I04.
INTERNAL STRUCTURE OF THE DIRECT ACCESS FILE
The following sections are not necessary to use the STORE
package, only if you want to know how it works internally or
if you need to modify the program.
The data base consists of disk blocks. Each disk block is
128 words or 640 characters. The last two of these
characters are always <CR><LF> to mark the end of the disk
The messages are stored in the data base in STORE UNITS.
Each STORE UNIT consists of
5 characters = s = length of store unit as a decimal number
3 characters = k = length of key as a decimal unit
k characters = text of key
s-k-8 characters = text of message
The disk block for a STORE UNIT is chosen in the following
> Compute a hash number from the text in the KEY. See program
for hashing algoritm.
> The number of the first disk block to look at is computed as
(((hash number) modulo INITIALSTORESIZE)+1). At the same
time the hash number is divided by INITIALSTORESIZE and the
> If that disk block is too full(while putting) or does not
contain the message(while getting) then the next disk block
is taken from a binary tree started at the first disk block.
The first four characters of each disk block contains a
pointer to the left continuation of the tree, and the next
four characters a pointer to the right continuation. Both
as decimal integers. Left is chosen if the remainder of the
hash number is even, right if the remainder is odd. After
this, the remainder is again divided by 2 and the remainder
of this kept for going further down the tree.
When the total length of a STORE UNIT is larger than the
storage part of a disk block(630 characters) then the first
part of the STORE UNIT is put into one disk block, the
continuation into later disk blocks. Each succesive STORE
UNIT has as its length the remainder of the total STORE
UNIT. For example, for a message which has a total STORE
UNIT of 1500 characters and the key "KEYVALUE", the first
disk block will contain
" 1500 8KEYVALUE... first 614 characters of message..."
and the second disk block will contain
STORE - A SIMPLE TEXT ORIENTED DATA BASE HANDLER Page 6
" 886 8KEYVALUE... the next 614 characters of message..."
and the third and last disk block will contain
" 272 8KEYVALUE... the last 256 characters of message..."
Further information about the internal organisation of the
program is given by comments in the text of the program