From: Mark VanDine [76264,3275]
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 1990 15:57
Subject: Information for CIS

Hello all:

Recently, the Agenda 2.0 development team pulled together some suggestions concerning how to optimize performance of the program, and some tips for setting it up to run under Windows 3.0 or Desqview. I thought I'd pass on some of this info, which I found very useful. Please don't take it as a last word on the Windows and Desqview gurus may have some additional insights to share.

Performance hints:


The most important suggestion is to use expanded memory (EMS) whenever possible. If there is any extra (>640K) memory in the machine, this is the very best assist to Agenda's performance. If the extra memory is extended, Agenda can't use it. Using the extended memory for RAM disks and/or disk caches can help somewhat but less so than additional EMS memory.

After added EMS memory, a disk cache is superior to a RAM disk.

If the machine is limited to 640K, free up as much memory for Agenda as possible (remove TSRs, network drivers, terminal emulators, etc.) whenever feasible.

To investigate your memory configuration, look at the memory usage box (F10 Utilities Customize, highlight "Memory usage", press F3). If EMS is available, you will see non-zero numbers in the second and/or third lines ("Expanded memory available for data/program is ..."). If both of these lines are zero, then for some reason Agenda is NOT seeing any EMS. It is not configured properly, or something else has used it all up. The actual numbers here are not all that important, just whether they are non-zero.

Make sure that the setting in the fourth line ("Maximum expanded memory for data:") is not set to zero. 8192K is the default. If this is set to zero, Agenda will not try to use EMS for data (it still will try to use EMS for program).

The first line in memory usage ("Dos memory available...") is an indication of how much 640K memory is left for Agenda data. About 160K is the most you can ever see here (with a very slimmed down DOS and no other drivers); the minimum is around 20K. The higher this number, the better.

Note that available memory does NOT affect the maximum size of file that Agenda can use (this is unlike 1-2-3). If there is enough memory to run Agenda at all, it can read in any size file. Available memory only affects performance: the more memory there is, the faster Agenda will run, particularly with larger files.


For any given memory configuation, there are also considerations for an individual file that affect performance. Some tips:

If possible:

  1. Keep the filters simple, i.e. fewer categories. If you have need for a complicated filter, instead make a category with a complicated condition, then filter on just the category.
  2. In sort settings, sort "on leaving a section" or "on demand".
  3. Try to avoid filters and/or sorting on those very long views.

Of course the worst offender here is MAIN (it has all categories as descendants). To construct a view of all items, use the trick described in the paragraph above, or just use F10 Utility Show Every.

Windows 3.0:

Agenda 2.0 runs as a "non-Windows application" under Windows 3. It will run in any of the three modes of Windows 3 (real, standard, or 386 enhanced). If running on a 386 machine, run Windows in 386 enhanced mode if possible, since that will allow Agenda to access EMS memory, which is very helpful to its performance.

Windows makes up ".PIF" files for non-Windows applications which can be edited with the "PIF editor". These establish settings for how the application will be run under Windows. There are two sets of settings, one for 386 enhanced mode, the other for real or standard modes.

In general, the default settings for the PIF files are very close to the optimum for Agenda. The defaults do not need to be changed for standard mode.

In 386 mode, on the "advanced" page, under "Display Options - Video Memory", instead of the default of "High Graphics", select "Text". This choice will minimize the memory requirement.

The other setting in 386 mode, also on the "advanced" page, are the Priority settings. To increase Agenda's performance when other applications are present, increase the Foreground Priority number from its default of 100 to something like 5000. This allows a tiny bit of time for other applications to execute in the background, but reserves the great majority of cycles to Agenda while it is the foreground application. This setting won't affect Agenda's performance when it is the only application running.


Here are some suggested configuration settings for Agenda 2.0

These are good for most situations, but users should be sensitive to any special circumstances affecting their own PC. Settings not included below are either user preferences or not relevant to Agenda 2.0

Memory size - 450
Writes text directly to screen - N
Displays graphics information - N
Virtualize text/graphics - T
Uses serial ports - N
Requires floppy - N

System memory - 0
Maximum Program Memory Size - 640
Maximum Expanded Memory Size - blank
Text pages - 1
Graphics pages - 0
Initial mode - blank

Close on exit - Y
Allow close window command - Y
Uses math coprocessor - Y
Share CPU when foreground - Y
Can be swapped out - Y
Uses its own colors - Y
Runs in background - blank
Keyboard conflict - 0
Protection level - 0