Table of Contents
Previous Go to Robert Ramey Software Development Home Page next

1. Conventions Used in This Manual

In order to make this manual as easy to understand as possible, a consistent syntax for describing commands has been adopted. This is described as follows.

<parameter name> text enclosed in <> is a name of the parameter which is used in subsequent descriptions of the text of the manual. Words or characters not enclosed in <> are themselves. For example, the following model would indicate that "psort -i" might be an acceptable command while "qsort -i" would definitely would not.

psort <command parameters>

[<optional parameter>] parameters enclosed in [ ] are permitted but not required.

<previous specification>... the previous specification may be repeated as many times as might be appropriate.

{<alternative-1> | <alternative-2> | ...} one of the parameters enclosed within th { } must be selected. Distinct alternatives are separated by the | character.

<range> a range is used to specify ranges of fields, displacements within a field or collating values. The common syntax is <start>[-[<end>]]. <start> indicates a single value. <start>- indicates a range beginning at <start> to a large number. For example, -c 2- would be used to specify all character positions from 2 to the end of the field or record. <start>-<end> indicates a range of numbers. -f 2-4 could be used to specify fields in positions 2 through 4. The start and end number can be in any of the following formats: simple decimal numbers, numbers starting with 0 are taken to be octal, numbers starting with 0x are taken to be hexadecimal and characters within apostrophes are converted to there ascii value. Hence -k ' ' 'a'-'z' and -k 0x20 'a'-122 are equivalent. Between apostrophes the symbols \t, \n, and \r can be used for tab, newline and carriage return respectively.

This syntax may be nested to accommodate combinations of optional, repeatable, and alternative parameters;

[-b] [-f <range> ...] [-c <range> ...] would indicate that any of the following commands would be acceptable. -b -f 0-2 -c 3-2

Some command line processors such as the MKS Korn shell and other Unix like shells will treat apostrophes and/or quotes as quoting characters and strip them off the command line arguments. These command line processors may treat characters such as ',",$,(,),{,},#,etc. as special characters that must be escaped or quoted if they are to be passed as program arguments. The examples used in this manual do not include and quotes or escape characters so that the text may be more readable. Don't forget to include appropriate quotes and/or escapes in your own command lines.

In this manual, any reference to psort applies to all the psort programs for all platforms. That is psort, psort2, and psort3 for DOS, psortos2 for OS/2, psortw for Windows 3.1, psortnt and psortwnt for Windows/NT and Windows/95, and psort.cof for SCO Unix and psort.hpn for HPUX.