In business with RISC OS
Business software for RISC OS users
If you'd like to run a business using RISC OS computers, you'll need to find software to help run the business. In the first of a two-part piece, David Bradforth identifies a number of potential candidates.
It doesn't matter which computer you're using within a business, you'll always need certain types of software to ensure that you're able to cope with your day to day needs. Whether it's sending letters, receiving emails, producing product, or what have you, we're lucky in that many users are still finding ways to make RISC OS meet the majority of their business needs and hence keep a commercial market open for such products.
In this article, I'm going to identify a selection of programs that we currently have, then expand it to cover those that would be a nice addition to the RISC OS platform (in one form or other). The aim is simply to provide a roundup of essential business applications; if I've missed anything I do apologise, but then the aim of this piece will have been met - you're looking out for yourself.
Whichever form of business you're in, you'll need to complete accounts otherwise there's certain people who will pretty much take what they believe they're owed.
For RISC OS users, there are two choices. Enterprise and Prophet.
Industrial Logic presents Enterprise Accounts. Note the URL for the website - it won't work otherwise.
Enterprise, originally released by ACP in 1995 and currently available through Industrial Logic, is a suite of utilities that compliment each other with the aim of making the management of your business accounts as trouble free as possible.
It features integrated Sales, Purchase and Nominal Ledgers; prints reports, invoices, mailing labels and even goes so far as to provide Stock Control and Payroll facilities albeit only in a Professional edition (and so not supplied in the standard version).
We've not seen the program ourselves, but would welcome comment on it from users - anything useful will make its way into the next issue of RISC World. At £150 or £200, the features of the program may go some way towards justifying the cost but it's a lot of money to spend on a program that's not seen active development for some years. Further details are available at http://users.argonet.co.uk/users/RMcCann/index.html.
Accountz.com - evolving into the PC market but still supporting RISC OS
Prophet Professional 3+, on the other hand, has seen development and is actively supported by its author despite the company having moved on to produce PC and Mac software (which is obviously worth a little more money to them at the end of the day).
Legendary for the clarity of its documentation, Prophet is the no-nonsense way to complete accounts on a RISC OS computer without having to worry about complications due to technology; and we'd recommend its purchase in seconds. Visit www.accountz.com, for further information.
For comprehensive payroll, HardCash exists but we cannot at present find the website (which used to be hosted on ArgoNet). Are any RISC World readers aware of the current state of play with this product? If so, let us know so we can pass the detail on to others!
Rather an essential requirement for anyone. If you're in business, you'll be writing letters, proposal and pretty much anything that requires formal communication or contracts signing will require the input of a word processor at one point or other. So how do you deal with the task of opening Word documents within RISC OS?
Icon Technology: publishers of EasiWriter and TechWriter
Look no further than EasiWriter or TechWriter. Published by Icon Technology, these programs benefited from the publishers' contract to produced an NC word processor that opened Word files and gained the functionality themselves.
They're not perfect by any means, and while some people swear by them I personally find EasiWriter a pain to use at times but there's no doubt that these are your best options for opening foreign files within the RISC OS environment.
Further details are available at www.icontechnology.net.
If you've got numbers to crunch, then you'll need a spreadsheet with which to crunch them. For a long time, Eureka from Logotron was favoured as it supported the direct import and export of Excel files. Okay, it was Excel 4 and the program isn't available anymore but it was starting to show signs of being a true crowd pleaser of a spreadsheet.
The situation today is much less straightforward. Schema II is currently under an extensive program of development, with the aim of adding direct file support for Excel files without the need to use the HTML converter. This will make things easier for those files that didn't co-operate properly with the HTML export and in a business sense simplicity is pretty much key. Visit www.apdl.co.uk for further details.
The Abacus Training website. Find a price... bet you can't...
As supplied with the Iyonix PC, Fireworkz Pro is still available. Since being taken on by Gerald Fitton, FireWorkz has continued to evolve and today offers a very good spreadsheet and word processor all in one. Unfortunately, the database portion was a variant of DataPower and I understand it has since been withdrawn. For further details, but unfortunately not a price, visit www.abacusline.demon.co.uk.
Finally, ViewXLS is an essential addition to the RISC OS based business; as it allows you to view Excel spreadsheets. Hopefully this can one day be incorporated into another spreadsheet with the effect that we can both save and edit Excel files in their current form. We shall see.
We'll conclude next time with a look at software for email and the Internet, and databases. If there's a demand for us to do so, we'll also take a look at recommended hardware to help you get the most of a RISC OS based business, whether it be scanners, memory upgrades or anything else.
If you've got any comments or points to make, please email me - firstname.lastname@example.org.