Palm Database Keys



Where better to have an electronic identification key than in your palm? Nowhere! I’m working, with a group of friends, on a Delta-Intkey-style application that will read Delta files, and run under PalmOS on your Palm-Pilot. However, it will be a while till it’s (finally) done, and, until then, I have a pretty good work-around:
  • Take any Delta file for the region you are interested in.
  • Edit the ‘chars’ file, condensing the character names to be less than 20 characters, with words separated by underscores, and removing all notes. Edit the ‘items’ file, to remove all notes.
  • Run it through a simple parsing program I wrote in AWK (dlt2csv.awk), to create a flat comma-delimited (.CSV) file.
  • Use jconv (many thanks to the folks at JFile, and especially to Andreas Mock for the Linux port) to convert the .csv file to a JFile Pro .pdb file for your Palm, and upload that (using pilot-link).
  • Use the 5 filter keys in JFile Pro to slim down the potential taxa. I chose JFile Pro, because it had the most filter keys. Sadly, there seems not to exist a database program for PalmOS that has a ‘recursive’ filter, which slims down a set of records character-by-character, indefinitely.

As an example, I have converted Jim Jarvie’s Trees-of-Borneo Delta key into .pdb files. JFile will only take 50 fields, so I’ve broken the dataset into three files:

In addition, you’ll need the ‘chars‘ file, so that you can see the potential character states that can be entered in the filter (a dedicated PalmKey app will have drop down menus to fulfill this need). Drop this into the Memo Pad on your pilot. The full flat-file for the whole dataset is also available.

Finally, head off to Borneo and try it out! Let Jim or I know how it goes.

Last revised: $Date: 2005/01/03 07:55:47 $