FORM(VI)                     6/15/72                     FORM(VI)

     form - form letter generator

     form proto arg ...

     Form generates a form letter from a prototype letter, an as-
     sociative memory, arguments and in a special case, the  cur-
     rent date.

     If  form  is invoked with the proto argument x, the associa-
     tive 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 con-
     sole  and whatever text is typed in from the console, termi-
     nated 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 arg is inserted
     in its place, and that argument is then rescanned.   If  [0]
     is  encountered,  the  current date is inserted.  If the de-
     sired 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  re-
     sponse  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 en-
     closed in {}.  Brackets and braces may be nested.

     In  both of the above cases, the response is typed in by en-
     tering 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  direc-
     tory,  `formb'  is  used  as the output file and so forth to

     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.

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FORM(VI)                     6/15/72                     FORM(VI)

     form.m    associative memory
     form?     output file (read only)

     fed(VI), roff(I)

     An unbalanced ] or } acts as an end of file but  may  add  a
     few strange entries to the associative memory.

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