FORM(I)                      6/15/72                      FORM(I)


     form - form letter generator


     form proto arg ...


     Form generates a form letter from  a  prototype  letter,  an

     associative  memory,  arguments  and  in a special case, the

     current date.

     If  form  is  invoked  with  the  proto  argument   x,   the

     associative  memory is searched for an entry with name x and

     the  contents  filed  under  that  name  are  used  as   the

     prototype.  If the search fails, the message `[x]:' is typed

     on the console and  whatever  text  is  typed  in  from  the

     console,  terminated  by  two  new  lines,  is  used  as the

     prototype.  If the prototype argument is missing, `{letter}'

     is assumed.

     Basically, form is a copy process from the prototype to  the

     output  file.   If  an element of the form [n] (where n is a

     digit from 1 to 9) is  encountered,  the  n-th  argument  is

     inserted  in its place, and that argument is then rescanned.

     If [0] is encountered, the current date is inserted.  If the

     desired  argument  has not been given, a message of the form

     `[n]:' is typed.  The response typed in  then  is  used  for

     that argument.

     If an element of the form [name] or {name}  is  encountered,

     the  name  is looked up in the associative memory.  If it is

     found, the contents of the memory under this  name  replaces

     the  original element (again rescanned).  If the name is not

     found, a message  of  the  form  `[name]:'  is  typed.   The

     response typed in is used for that element.  The response is

     entered in the memory under the name if the name is enclosed

     in  [  ].   The response is not entered in the memory but is

     remembered for the duration of the letter  if  the  name  is

     enclosed in {}.

     In both of the above cases, the  response  is  typed  in  by

     entering  arbitrary  text terminated by two new lines.  Only

     the first of the two new lines is passed with the text.

     If one of the special characters [{]}\ is preceded by  a  \,

     it loses its special character.

     If a  file  named  `forma'  already  exists  in  the  user's

     directory,  `formb'  is used as the output file and so forth

     to `formz'.

     The file `form.m' is created if none exists.  Because form.m

     is  operated  on  by  the  disc allocator, it should only be

     changed by using fed, the form letter editor, or form.


     form.m  associative memory

     form?   output file (read only)


     fed(I), type(I), roff(I)


     An unbalanced ] or } acts as an end of file but  may  add  a

     few strange entries to the associative memory.