Copyright © 1996, 2005 William B. Ackerman

USING THE SDTTY “SESSION” FEATURE

Sdtty has extensive mechanisms for managing your sequences and the files that contain them. Depending on your individual tastes, there are several ways that you might choose to manage things. We will explain a number of different ways of doing things. Hopefully, one of them will be suitable for you.

THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY

The simplest way to use sdtty is without any session file at all. Just start the program with the command sdtty and the level at which you want to call, for example:

     sdtty c1

Every sequence that you write will be written to a “default” file name, which is sequence.C1, or sequence.A2, or whatever the level is. When you write a sequence, sdtty checks to see whether that file exists. If it does not exist, sdtty creates it and then writes the sequence to it. If the file already exists, the new sequence is appended to the end. This way, a session of writing sequences will result in a file containing all of the sequences. If you print that file, the sequences will all be printed, one per page.

This is very simple, but it is inconvenient. When you write another batch of sequences the next day, sdtty continues to append the sequences to that file. When you print the file, you will get all the old sequences as well as the new ones. Sdtty never deletes a file, or removes a sequence from an existing file, so the file sequence.C1 will just keep getting bigger.

A very simple way to deal with this problem is to delete or rename the file immediately after you print it. You might print it by giving the “print current file” command in Sd, or printing it with some other program such as "notepad". Then you can delete or rename it with the Windows Explorer.

Be very careful with this. Don't delete the file until you are sure you have successfully printed it. Once you delete it, it is gone, and only the printed-on-paper copies of the sequences survive. Renaming it is safer. For example, you could rename it to something containing the date. Then all those files will be an archive of everything that you have written.

You may find it more to your liking to set the name of the file in Sd, before it writes the file in the first place. The “change output file” command in Sd lets you do this. As soon as you start Sd, you can issue that command:

     Version Sd 31.62 : db31.62 : ui1.7tty     C1
     Output file is "sequence.C1"               <-- it shows the default name
     Enter startup command> change output file  <-- we desire to change it
     Sequence output file is "sequence.C1".     <-- it tells us the old name
     Enter new file name: 21may95.C1            <-- we give the new one
     Output file changed to "21may95.C1"        <-- it tells us the new name
     Enter startup command> sides start         <-- we're off and running

You can give the “change output file” command at any time, and it will take effect the next time a sequence is written.

As we will see later, we can make Sd choose a file name for us, by giving the name + or *.

At the end of a sequence, Sd always tells you what file it is writing to, and whether it is creating a new file or appending to an old one.

     (waves)--> end this sequence           <-- we want to write the sequence
     Type comment for this sequence, if desired.
     Enter comment:                         <-- it asks for a comment;
                                                        we press <ENTER>
     File does not exist, creating it.      <-- it tells us what it is doing
     
     Sat Mar  9 19:22:26 1996     Sd31.62:db31.62     C1
     
     SIDES wheel thru
     swing thru
     right and left grand  (3/8 promenade)
     
     Sequence written to "21may95.C1".      <-- and what file it wrote to

WARNING!!!!!! Sdtty can't always successfully append new sequences to a file that has been processed by a word processor. If you write a number of sequences, read the file into a word processor (e.g., Microsoft Word), edit them to make them look nicer, and then print them, you must not let Sd write to that file again. Delete the file (saving it first if you wish) before running Sd on that file again. If you use the “change output file” command to make Sd write to a different file each time, you won't have this problem. But if you write to sequence.C1 each time, the following could happen:

You write 10 sequences, creating the file sequence.C1. You read that into Microsoft Word and edit it, perhaps changing fonts, spacing, indentation, and so on. Then you leave Microsoft Word and use Sd to write 10 more sequences. You start Microsoft Word again, intending to edit sequences 11 through 20 of the file. Sequences 11 through 20 will be lost. The problem is that word processors can convert files from Sd into their own internal format, but they can't convert files that are partially in Sd format and partially in their own internal format.

After editing sequences 1 through 10 with Microsoft Word, you must print that file (preferably with the print command in Microsoft Word.) After you print it, delete it before running sdtty again. Sdtty will re-create a fresh file, which Microsoft Word will be able to read.

USING THE SESSION FILE

For more sophisticated file management, you can use the “session file”. This is the file sd.ini. Normally, no such file exists when sdtty is shipped, so the session feature is turned off. You can turn it on by issuing the command "initialize session file" and then exiting and restarting the program. The file sd.ini is now ready to go. Sdtty will now use it to enable the session feature.

What if, after reading the rest of this memo and trying out the session feature, you decide that you don't want it? Simple. Just delete the file:

     del sd.ini

and sdtty will go back to the old way of doing things.

Assuming that you have created sd.ini, you can try the session feature. What will be set up is just a demonstration. After you learn how to use it, you can change the configuration to suit your own style of usage.

Start sdtty. You don't need to specify a level. That is, just type:

     sdtty

You should see this:

     Do you want to use one of the following sessions?
     
       0     (no session)
       1  sequence.C3          C3           12      NACC, June 1995
       2  sequence.C4          C4           31      NACC, June 1995
       3  workshop             C1           75      My wednesday group
       4  a2stuff              A2            9      NESRDC/1995
       5  a1stuff              A1            2      Lake Shore Farm Weekend
       6     (create a new session)
     
     Enter the number of the desired session:

There are five sessions shown in the demonstration, numbered 1 through 5. Type the number of the desired session, and press <ENTER>.

Incidentally, any time you want to use sdtty without the session feature, you can type 0 and press <ENTER> at this point, or just press <ENTER>. Sdtty will act as though the session file had not existed, and will operate the old-fashioned way. The session file will still be left intact, so it can be used the next time. Of course, if you decline the session feature, you need to give the level.

The sample session file presumes that there are 5 groups, or dances, or festivals, or workshops, or whatever, that we are writing material for. One of them is our Wednesday C1 workshop. Choose that one by typing 3 and pressing <ENTER>.

     Enter the number of the desired session:  3
     Sd: reading database.............................................done
     
     Version Sd 31.62 : db31.62 : ui1.7tty     C1
     Output file is "workshop"              <-- it tells us the output file
     
     Enter startup command> heads start     <-- we're off and running

When we specified session 3, sdtty got 4 pieces of information out of the session file:

So we are now running with the Wednesday C1 workshop session, about to write sequence number 75. Let's write a short opening “biggie” sequence, like heads wheel fan thru, pass the ocean, relay the shadow, extend, right and left grand. When we type “end this sequence”, sdtty prompts us for a comment, in the usual way. This is an optional comment that is specific to the sequence. It will be printed on the card after the title. It is intended for things like “hard”, or “awkward for side women”, or whatever might be useful to know when calling the card. Let's type the comment “opening biggie”:

     (waves)--> end this sequence
     Type comment for this sequence, if desired.
     Enter comment: opening biggie
     File does not exist, creating it.
     
     Sat Mar  9 20:06:54 1996     Sd31.62:db31.62     C1
                  My wednesday group   #75       opening biggie
     
     HEADS wheel fan thru
     pass the ocean
     relay the shadow
     extend
     right and left grand  (3/4 promenade)
     
     Sequence #75 written to "workshop".
     Enter startup command>

Sdtty displays the entire sequence in the usual way. Note that both the session title “My wednesday group” and the individual comment “opening biggie” appear on the card, along with the sequence number. Sdtty also tells us the usual things, such as the fact that the file did not exist and hence was created, and that the file name was workshop.

When we write the next sequence, its number will be 76, and it will be appended to the workshop file.

After writing 10 sequences, they will be numbered 75 through 84. We can then exit from sdtty, print the file workshop, and then delete it. Or we could just leave it around. The next time we start sdtty with session 3, it will continue appending sequences to the same file, and will start numbering with 85. It always keeps track of the sequence number for each session.

CHANGING THE OUTPUT FILE NAME

The “change output file” command still works when the session feature is used, with one difference – the new output file name will be remembered permanently. The next time sdtty is started, it will continue to use the new file name. If your file management style involves changing names daily, you could give the “change output file” command during the first session each day. (But we will presently discuss a way of making sdtty do that for you automatically.)

CHANGING THE TITLE

The “change title” command may be used to change the title for a session:

     (facing lines)--> change title
     Current title is "My wednesday group".
     Enter new title: My thursday group
     Header comment changed to "My thursday group"

The new title will be remembered permanently. Sdtty remembers the output file name and the title from one session to the next by rewriting them into the file sd.ini. It keeps track of sequence numbers the same way.

You can't change the level of an existing session – you must create a new session. You also can't change the sequence number. You must create a new session, which will start with sequence number 1.

CREATING A NEW SESSION

Now that you know how to use the session feature, you can create your own. Suppose that you are writing material for a Monday C2 group. Start sdtty with the level c2:

     sdtty c2
     Do you want to use one of the following sessions?
     
       0     (no session)
       1  sequence.C3          C3           12      NACC, June 1995
       2  sequence.C4          C4           31      NACC, June 1995
       3  workshop             C1           75      My wednesday group
       4  a2stuff              A2            9      NESRDC/1995
       5  a1stuff              A1            2      Lake Shore Farm Weekend
       6     (create a new session)
     
     Enter the number of the desired session:

Type the number that is indicated for creating a new session. In this case, 6:

     Enter the number of the desired session:  6
     Sd: reading database.............................................done
     
     Version Sd 31.62 : db31.62 : ui1.7tty     C2
     Output file is "sequence.C2"
     Enter new title:

It will create the new session, which will henceforth be session number 6. The level will be C2, and the sequence numbers will start at 1. The output file will initially be the default sequence.C2, though you can change that. Sdtty doesn't yet know what title to use, so it prompts you for it:

     Enter new title: Monday group
     Enter startup command>                      <-- we're off and running

If we want to use a special filename, like monday.C2, we can use the “change output file” command at this point:

     Enter startup command> change output file
     Sequence output file is "sequence.C2".
     Enter new file name: monday.C2
     Output file changed to "monday.C2"

We then write a sequence, ending with “end this sequence” in the usual way:

     (left waves)--> end this sequence
     Type comment for this sequence, if desired.
     Enter comment: biggie
     File does not exist, creating it.
     
     Sat Mar  9 20:33:37 1996     Sd31.62:db31.62     C2
                  Monday group   #1       biggie
     
     SIDES star thru
     double pass thru
     stack the line
     mix
     left allemande  (at home)
     
     Sequence #1 written to "monday.C2".
     Enter startup command>

The session is now established, with its title, level, output file, and numbering. If we exit sdtty at this point and restart it, we will see:

     Do you want to use one of the following sessions?
     
       0     (no session)
       1  sequence.C3          C3           12      NACC, June 1995
       2  sequence.C4          C4           31      NACC, June 1995
       3  workshop             C1           75      My wednesday group
       4  a2stuff              A2            9      NESRDC/1995
       5  a1stuff              A1            2      Lake Shore Farm Weekend
       6  monday.C2            C2            2      Monday group
       7     (create a new session)
     
     Enter the number of the desired session:

By typing 6, we will continue with this session. It will start with sequence number 2.

DELETING A SESSION

There are two reasons we might want to delete a session:

For example, we have now learned how to create and use sessions. The demonstration file is no longer needed. We want to delete sessions 1 through 5, and just use the one we have created for our Monday C2 group.

Sdtty will delete a line from the session file sd.ini if you type the negative of that session's number. We want to get rid of session 5, the “Lake Shore Farm Weekend” session that came as part of the demonstration. Type -5:

     sdtty
     Do you want to use one of the following sessions?
     
       0     (no session)
       1  sequence.C3          C3           12      NACC, June 1995
       2  sequence.C4          C4           31      NACC, June 1995
       3  workshop             C1           75      My wednesday group
       4  a2stuff              A2            9      NESRDC/1995
       5  a1stuff              A1            2      Lake Shore Farm Weekend
       6  monday.C2            C2            2      Monday group
       7     (create a new session)
     
     Enter the number of the desired session:  -5

Sdtty will immediately exit. It will not let you write any sequences. Do not be alarmed. Just start it again to delete the next one. You will see that the old session 5 is gone, and our new C2 session has been renumbered. Delete session 4:

     sdtty
     Do you want to use one of the following sessions?
     
       0     (no session)
       1  sequence.C3          C3              12      NACC, June 1995
       2  sequence.C4          C4              31      NACC, June 1995
       3  workshop             C1              75      My wednesday group
       4  a2stuff              A2               9      NESRDC/1995
       5  monday.C2            C2               2      Monday group
       6     (create a new session)
     
     Enter the number of the desired session:  -4

The next time it is started, the old session 4 will be gone, and it will look like this:

     sdtty
     Do you want to use one of the following sessions?
     
       0     (no session)
       1  sequence.C3          C3              12      NACC, June 1995
       2  sequence.C4          C4              31      NACC, June 1995
       3  workshop             C1              75      My wednesday group
       4  monday.C2            C2               2      Monday group
       5     (create a new session)
     
     Enter the number of the desired session:

You can keep deleting the demonstration sessions until you have only the ones you want.

USING CREATED FILE NAMES

You can let sdtty choose the file name for you, that will be unique for each day. This might be suitable for your style of file management. For example, you might like to print all sequences at the end of the day. Each day's sequences will go into their own file. You don't need to delete or copy any files, and sequences should never get lost.

To do this, use the special file name +. That's right, just a “plus” sign. You can put this in your session file, or you can use it without the session feature, by giving the “change output file” command.

As an example, let's create a session for a C3 weekend:

     sdtty c3
     Do you want to use one of the following sessions?
     
       0     (no session)
       1  monday.C2            C2               2      Monday group
       2     (create a new session)
     
     Enter the number of the desired session:  2 <-- new session
     Sd: reading database.............................................done
     
     Version Sd 31.62 : db31.62 : ui1.7tty     C3
     Output file is "sequence.C3"
     Enter new title: Fall Festival      <-- new title
     Enter startup command> change output file
     Sequence output file is "sequence.C3".
     Enter new file name: +              <-- new file name
     Output file changed to "9mar96.C3"  <-- it tells us the real file name
     Enter startup command> heads start  <-- we're off and running

All our sequences will be written to the file 9mar96.C3 this time around. If we exit the program and restart it, we will see:

     sdtty
     Do you want to use one of the following sessions?
     
       0     (no session)
       1  monday.C2            C2               2      Monday group
       2  +                    C3               2      Fall Festival
       3     (create a new session)
     
     Enter the number of the desired session:  2
     Sd: reading database.............................................done
     
     Version Sd 31.62 : db31.62 : ui1.7tty     C3
     Output file is "9mar96.C3"

Note that the session file shows a file name of +, so that it will always generate a file name based on today's date. When we run sdtty the next day, the file shown in the session file will still be +, and the actual file will be 10mar96.C3. We never need to delete files. Everything will remain on the computer, listed by the day that it was written. We just need to remember to print out each day's file. Listing the directory (or using the Windows file manager) may be useful for keeping track of things.

USING UNIQUE CREATED FILE NAMES

Creating a new file name each day will help you keep track of your files, and should greatly reduce the risk of lost sequences. However, if you use a word processor, there is still a vulnerability. If sdtty is used after Microsoft Word is used on the same day, it will append its sequences to the same file, and, as noted previously, those sequences will be lost.

You can make sure that this will never happen by using the file name * instead of +. That is, just an asterisk. The behavior is the same as + except that SDTTY ALWAYS CREATES A NEW FILE, EVERY TIME IT IS STARTED.

For example, when sdtty is started for the second time on March 9, it will create the file 9mar96a.C3. Note the a after the year. When started, it will see that the file 9mar96.C3 already exists. Since it doesn't know whether that file had been processed by a word processor, it can't trust it, so it creates a new one by adding the letter a after the year. Next time around it will add b, and so on.

This style of use can lead to a large number of files to print, particularly if your style involves multiple writing sessions per day, but it will avoid having files corrupted if sdtty attempts to append to a file that a word processor has processed.