Overview of the MarxMenu System

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MarxMenu is not just another fill-in-the-blank menu system. It is a menu programming language and job control language. It gives you total freedom to do whatever you want, but total freedom has a price. You will need to know and understand how to use a text editor. This isn't difficult if you are familiar with using a word processor. And you will need to have a basic understanding of DOS and how batch files work.

With a text editor you can create a menu file which is a text file with an MNU extension. Or, you can copy and then modify the text file QUICK.MNU which displays the menus you see when MarxMenu is executed. This text file contains a set of instructions for MarxMenu to follow. MarxMenu will then read your menu file and run the instructions.

 A menu file might look as follows:

DrawBox 31 5 18 4 UseArrows Writeln ' W - WordStar' Write ' L - Lotus'



The above example is a fully working MarxMenu program. Just because MarxMenu has over 850 commands doesn't mean you have to use them all. The reason there are so many commands is that people keep calling and asking if we can add such and such. Most of the time we do. That's why the manual gets behind sometimes.

The instructions must be from the vocabulary of words that MarxMenu understands. These words make up the command list included in this manual. They must be used precisely as the instructions in this manual tell you to use them. This process is called programming.

I know that for many of you the word programming is a scary word. Put your fears at ease, MarxMenu is one of the easiest programming languages there is. It is a little harder than writing batch files and a lot easier than Basic. It requires a working knowledge of DOS and an understanding of writing batch files as explained in your DOS manual.

The point that we want to make is, do not let the fear of learning and the fear of programming prevent you from learning to write your own menus. If you have never touched a computer before and are sitting down with your first PC, read the manuals first. Become familiar with the MS-DOS operating system. Learn how to write batch files, make subdirectories, copy files, format floppies, etc. If you don't understand something, ask a friend. All of us had to learn sometime, and there is no such thing as a stupid question.

After you have mastered some of the basic concepts of the operating system, then learn MarxEdit. This is the text editor included with your MarxMenu program. Use it to write your own batch files. Then attempt to write your own menus by modifying the sample menus (files with a MNU extension) which come with MarxMenu. Print these menus and study them, referring to this manual or MarxHelp for help on command definitions. You do not have to completely understand them to start making changes. Programming is a trial and error process.

A computer, like a musical instrument, is only as good as the player. The more you learn about it the more you'll find it can do. In fact, a computer can help raise your effective IQ as you learn the disciplines of logic and reason. As a hammer is a tool of the hand, enhancing your physical strength, a computer is a tool of the mind, enhancing your mental strength. You will learn that as you develop a relationship with your computer, that you will be able to process information in ways you never dreamed.

MarxMenu is an excellent learning tool. By the time you become proficient with the menu language, you will have learned the fundamental concepts behind the MS-DOS operating system. You will find yourself going back and forth between this manual and the DOS manual that came with your computer. When you master the language, you will have enough computing skills to be a real resource in your office environment. In this day and age, knowing how to "make the damn things work" is a key in moving up the corporate ladder.

If you have sufficient excess income to afford a personal computer, or are in a job that provides you with a workstation, you are smart enough to learn this program. All it requires is that you take the time. You can do it. It is worth your time, and you will make up the time spent in the results you'll get. Good luck and enjoy.

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