8 Miscellaneous

The global variable forms-version holds the version information of the Forms mode software.

It is very convenient to use symbolic names for the fields in a record. The function forms-enumerate provides an elegant means to define a series of variables whose values are consecutive integers. The function returns the highest number used, so it can be used to set forms-number-of-fields also. For example:

(setq forms-number-of-fields
       '(field1 field2 field3 …)))

This sets field1 to 1, field2 to 2, and so on.

Care has been taken to keep the Forms mode variables buffer-local, so it is possible to visit multiple files in Forms mode simultaneously, even if they have different properties.

If you have visited the control file in normal fashion with find-file or a like command, you can switch to Forms mode with the command M-x forms-mode. If you put ‘-*- forms -*-’ in the first line of the control file, then visiting it enables Forms mode automatically. But this makes it hard to edit the control file itself, so you’d better think twice before using this.

The default format for the data file, using "\t" to separate fields and "\^k" to separate lines within a field, matches the file format of some popular database programs, e.g., FileMaker. So forms-mode can decrease the need to use proprietary software.