[ Go to Stephen's Entry Page ]
[ TI99/4a Articles index |   TI Book front page | TI Resources Page    |  PC99 Programs    |   TI*MES 13    |   TI*MES 11 ]
contact - please use subject="pc99 page" to avoid spam trap!

Jump to:
c99 - displaying characters on screen    ||   c99 - Books to help with    ||   c99 - Review
Editor Assembler Module Menu: LIST quirk
Extended Basic: Using PRESCAN with FOR...NEXT ||   Even faster SIN calculation
Pilot 99 - displaying characters on screen
TI Forth: Using Arrays    ||   Copying disks
TI Logo - Heart procedure
TI USCD Pascal- note re SYSTEM.LIBRARY    ||   TI USCD Pascal- Disc copying
Visiting Myarc

TI*MES Issue 12, Spring 1986

This web page contains text from the UK Magazine for TI99/4a owners, TI*MES, issue 12 from Spring 1986. Published by Clive Scally. It is of use to users of the TI-99/4a emulators and of historic interest regarding home computer use in the UK in 1986.
This issue has caused me problems with OCR and much of the text is retyped.

The magazine included news of the next meeting of UK owners to be held on 3rd May from 10am to 5pm at Centenary House, Leeds.
There was an advert for the Prestel service Micronet 800, which was available to UK TI owners either using local numbers - requiring a 1200/75 baud modem, a program from the User Group, 32k ram and a disk drive, or could be accessed at 300 baud using the TE2 module and a London telephone number. Quarterly subscription was GBP 16.50 and it supported mailboxes (for mail between subscribers). The service was closed in 1991 and subscribers moved to Compuserve (subsequently AOL).

From Clive Scally Another three months have passed and still lots of things happening. In this issue we bring you lots of new developments. Our TI99/4a will not lie down. There is a new language known as C99, new hardware which will explore the potential even more.

The TI USERS SHOW to be held in LEEDS (thanks to Phillip Marsden for finding a venue), will be a good example of the new developments taking place. We hope you will make an effort to come and see what is new on the TI99/4a front. Unlike the previous Shows the emphasis will be on individuals who have something to show and talk to you about our TI99/4a. Of course the auctions, swaps, demos and dealers will be there to tempt us with the exciting new add ons and software.

Our cover introduces you to another exciting development for TI99/4a users here in Britain. A colourful graphical and live network which you can intercommunicate directly with thousands of home computer users using your TI99/4a, fancy talking to a beeb or an apple perhaps an apricot, no I would rather keep to making contact with TI Users, but there's nothing to stop the TI99 letting all those others know we are here alive and well. Thanks to MICRONET 800 for the generous offer they are making to us TI Users. I hope you take up the offer and join us on the network.

TI*MES is certainly now well and truly part of the electronic mail boom. By the way, if you have a Modem and have taken up the offer of joining Micronet, you can contact me on our mailbox number 973503968. I also wish to pay tribute to Neville Bosworth, Alan Davey and Peter Walker who have put in a lot of work to explore the potential of Modems and networks, many thanks indeed.

Finally just to prove that our TI99/4a lives on and on, New Day company are producing an exclusive 99er magazine on TAPE or Disk called 4 Front. With all this happening the TI will never Die!!

Happy 99ing Clive Scally

Howard writes again....yawn!
A Visit with Myarc Note: This is an honest report by Howard of a trip he made across the big pond. Some of the technical details referred to did not - in the end - happen.

Frankie may well have gone to Hollywood, but yours truly went to New Jersey. It's certainly not as picturesque, the view as the aircraft landed was like something from a propaganda film about how American industry can work. Miles and miles of industrial complexes. Dirty, but a tribute to the way the United States has managed to keep heavy industry going, whilst ours is in tatters. Mind you, the view wasn't really uppermost in my mind. What was really bugging me was that I was on board an aircraft built by McDonnell-Douglas! Not only that, but in order to get back to Washington that evening, I'd have to use one again. I sweated pounds off!

I was met at the airport by Pat, Lou Phillips charming and competent assistant and driven to Basking Ridge, about 3/4 of an hours journey from Newark airport Amongst others hanging around in Basking Ridge are A.T. & T. who are to the U.S.A. what British Telecom ought to be here. Very big and very efficient. I mention this 'cos there's a fair amount of brainpower at A.T. & T, which can't be used officially by Myarc, but since over lunch in a local restaurant. just about everyone else in the building was a company man, ideas can be swapped and expounded on.

After lunch, I was given the tour by Lou. He works from home, but that's not the same as saying I work from home. (You might as well claim Her Majesty the Queen works from home!). Nor is it to say that Myarc are a one man band. A great deal of work is undertaken by freelancers. This makes for an efficient way of getting work done. A freelance doesn't get anything if the job isn't done. Properly. Two upstairs bedrooms are devoted to Lou's and Pats offices. It was in Lou's that I noticed the first item of interest. A TI-99/8. It had its cover off, but was working. The amusing thing about it is that the title screen is identical to the TI99/4A. Only when you jump to the start menu do you realise that this is a very different beast. In view of the delays in getting the new computer ready for sale, I can't help but think that it might have been an idea to produce the 99/8. Since the new computer will itself be based the 99/8. it would have given good grounding. Tell us about the new computer !

Onto the R&D centre. Lou's basement. This is very spacious. about 2000 sq feet and is better equipped than some professional workshops I've been in here. There, I was treated to a demonstration of the Level II Extended Basic. Now this can only be used by 128k/512k card owners, but its relevance shouldn't be overlooked. This is because the ExBas that Myarc have developed is going to be the language used on the new computer. Very impressive it was too. All the newer trendy commands that have become par for the course in Basic are there. CIRCLE, PLOT, DRAW. FILL etc. Also included is a MARGIN command. What this does is allow one program to be running in the main screen while another can be dragged into a corner for temporary work. It gives results similar to windows. Something else was explained to me, although I didn't appreciate the full significance. It is possible to retain variables after a program has been quit. This means that a second program can continue working on the data produced by the first. There are lots of other features in the language, the two most impressive being related. These are compactness. Because of the new commands, formerly very long programs can be compacted considerably. The other is the result of the first. Without so much work to chew through, there is a marked increase in speed. Remember this is only on the TI99/4A. When these commands are implemented on the new computer, it will be very fast even in Basic.

What else do Myarc have under development? Why don't you tell us about the new computer? Well one product is a hard disc control card. Hard Drives are what put Myarcs name on the map. They even were subcontracters to TI who sold them in South America, under the TI badge. Apart from experience, this also meant that Myarc had to work to high quality standards. Nothing with the TI badge is made badly. Quality inspectors from Texas would periodically inspect Myarcs work to ensure it came up to their own standards. The hard discard under development is Myarcs third attempt at this topic. First came the original hard drive. A bulky box containing drive and all the controllers. Then came the second phase. A hard disc personality card, which in turn connected to a WDS controller card, with that in turn going to an off the shelf hard drive.

Now comes stage 3. Build the personality card and the WDS card into one unit to go in the Peripheral box. This now means that a standard IBM hard drive can now be attached. The idea isn't only a saving in space, it brings the cost down to GBP 350. for the card instead of the GBP 500 required for the previous two. Still. it is expensive. and there's a hard drive to be bought yet.

Tell us about the new computer. Of more interest to U.K. users is an 80 column card being developed. Now Foundation (who are now bankrupt) did make a 80 column card. but theirs didn't have any software. This one will have a TI-Writer built in, working in 80 columns. Although of less interest to U.K. users. there will also be a patch in the cards software for Multiplan.

Incidentally. Myarc also have under development a new computer. The case that as featured on the cover of the last TI*MES was just that. A case. Very well made, but quite empty. It will be what holds the new machine though. The keyboard is a pleasure to use. All the keys are just where they should be, and the feel is very positive. The technical spec is much as in the last TI*MES so I won't dwell on that. The computer has the following ports though. A bus to connect to the outside (and presumably use TI and Myarc peripheral systems). A joystick socket, sockets for RGB and composite video (no modulator is planned). power in. cassette port and cartridge port.
At last we'll have a machine with its own printer ports. Both RS232 and Parallel are on board. I was though mildly annoyed to discover that disc control interface will be by an external cartridge. This will plug in the back and have a bus to take it to a standard disc drive. Of a great deal more interest is the other big socket at the back of the machine. This will take an MSDOS cartridge and will enable the machine to use most IBM software. That should take care of any problems with lack of software! It looks to be a very capable machine. and provided it gets to the market place. will be a success.

Which brings me onto my next point. It's very difficult to be too overbearing on your host when you're miles from the airport and no idea as to how to get there. but as politely as I could. I pointed out to Lou that he wasn't exactly the most punctual person in the world. There are times when I've wondered if we use different calendars. The new computer has been promised at three monthly intervals for the past year. It may be ready this summer. but don't count on it. Thats the worst example. but I've been kept waiting for the 128k cards and the disc controllers too.- I will admit that once they're on line. they come with regularity. but this business of announcing a product so far in advance that it seems they're never going to come wins no friends.
Lou had the grace to admit that at times his enthusiasm does make for this kind of situation. but it's not deliberate. When you're in the middle of that kind of problem. the easy way out is to take on extra people to get the job done. but strangers. no matter how technically competent can't just pick up in a creative design and expect to achieve the same goals as the original designer.

More Myarc news and this time a problem. Would all those owners with Myarc RS232 cards please pay attention. At the back of the card. (where the sockets are) is a strip of PCB which can have the tracks grounded giving problems with printout. What's happening is that the spring clips in the box are scraping away the solder resist mask and touching the tracks. If you've experienced this problem. you'll know how frustrating it can be. To correct it (or prevent it better still). wrap the exposed strip of card (where the spring clips touch. with insulating tape. That's all that's required.

Return to top of page

Despite looking promising last time I wrote. I still haven't closed the deal with Thorn-EMI. I hope to have disc copies of the three games available at Leeds for sale.

Gramcrackers Craig Miller is being a busy boy. By the time this is published. I should have a second batch of Gramcrackers. hopefully in time for the next show. I should also have a set of his Newsletters. I mention this because his is the finest around. I asked if I could pay a special price for them with authority to copy. This was agreed. and so I'm now able to pass on a full set of the newsletters at GBP 5 per set. Some of this is news. which by now is not news. But in there also is a whole heap of useful information. Something else being worked on is a disassembler. Now I know that disassemblers have been around for some time. but anything that comes from Mr. Millers stable tends to be a bit different. (i.e. better).

Footnote to the above piece. I have now received and sold the first gramcrackers and will try to obtain more in time for the Leeds show. It appears to be the most impressive item seen since Myarcs Ram-Disc (possibly more so). but even more has QUALITY stamped all over it. As long as the exchange rate holds up. I'm selling it for GBP 175 and at that price. I would consider it excellent value for money.

CLOSE ARTICLE
This column has over the last year or so. changed from being the Howard Greenberg column to the Arcade Hardware column. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly. I just don't discover that much interesting news in terms of learning to do something new or re-discovering the wheel. so in order to pad out what I write to fill the page. I have little choice but to include descriptions of new products and re-evaluate older ones. Secondly. it's what those of you who take the trouble to ask me seem to want!

BYE
HOWARD

Rambles from TI*MES Issue 12, Spring 1986 by Stephen Shaw

TI Logo LOGO

Only ONE heart routine submitted, from Graham...
TO HEART :SIZE
LT 64
REPEAT 24 [FD :SIZE * 2 RT 3]
REPEAT 35 [FD :SIZE RT 5]
RT 180
REPEAT 35 [FD :SIZE RT 5]
REPEAT 24 [FD :SIZE * 2 RT 3]
END

Try HEART 2, 3 or 4.

Return to top of page

TI Forth Nigel wrote to ask about the Forth word CREATE as used in Brodie's book STARTING Forth. Bad news: Brodie is writing about POLYFORTH, an implementation of FORTH-79. Forth-79 does use CREATE. BUT as used by Brodie it is a distinct word peculiar to POLYFORTH.

TI FORTH is an implementation of Fig-Forth. fig-Forth does not contain the word CREATE, but the standard Forth 79 word CREATE... DOES have a direct equivalent in fig-Forth's BUILDS... DOES

The TI Forth word CREATE is peculiar to TI Forth and has no correspondence with the word CREATE in either the Forth 79 standard or the Polyforth word used by Scanlon.

On pages 127 to 130 of FORTH PROGRAMMING by Leo J Scanlon (SAMS ISBN 0 672 22007 5) some ARRAY routines are provided and are worth trying...

First lets define a word, ARRAY:
: ARRAY <BUILDS 2 * ALLOT DOES> SWAP 2 * + ;
And let's use it to create an array called ITEMS with space for 10 numbers (eg 20 bytes total):
10 ARRAY ITEMS
To USE this array:
3500 8 ITEMS ! will store 3500 in element 8 of ITEMS
8 ITEMS @ . will print the contents of the 8th element of ITEMS.
8 ITEMS ? will do the same.

EXTENDED BASIC TIP There are some restrictions on the use of FOR .... NEXT in ExBas, which have little to do with 'good writing'. The normal EX BAS FOR..NEXT does NOT like it too much if you use an extra NEXT or an IF in the same line as your FOR...NEXT loop.
Examples:
Try ENTERing and RUNning:
100 J=1
110 REM
120 FOR J=1 TO 100 :: IF J/10=INT(J/10) THEN 130 :: NEXT J
130 PRINT J :: NEXT J
150 PRINT "DONE"

or

100 J=1
110 REM
120 FOR J=1 TO 100 :: IF J/10<>INT(J/10) THEN NEXT J
ELSE PRINT J :: NEXT J

There is nothing logically wrong with these short listings, they just don't work. Can you see what they are supposed to do?

Can you see how we can make them work, without having to split the FOR...NEXT line up over several program lines?
Simple .... in each example, replace the REM in line 110 with !@P-
[ Shift 1, Shift 2, Shift P, Shift /, no spaces].
Now run again... and it works.
!@P- is the command to turn off prescan (the computer stops checking for errors before running the program). You can (and should) turn it on again as soon as possible for example by adding:
140 !@P+
Thanks to Raoun hartinez and Orange County User Group ROM Newsletter

Return to top of page

Printing from Editor Assembler Module EDITOR ASSEMBLER QUIRK:

I can't find a note of this in previous issues, and a phone call from a frustrated TI owner indicates we need to put it in. TI in Bedford could not help him. Parco could not help him but passed on my phone number... thanks guys!:

Using Editor Assembler module's menu, when you select the LIST option, you may enter a file name, either a printer filename or a disk filename.

If you enter RS232.BA=1200 no problem. However if, like so many of us, you use PIO and just enter PIO a disaster occurs: the module throws a DSR ERROR at you!

The solution is to add a full stop after the PIO so your file name is PIO.

Call it a bug if you will - when the module was released TI did not have a parallel interface and seem to have expected all file names to have a full stop in then - presumably separating the DEVICE name from the modifiers.

TI Forth COPYING FORTH:

TI's DISK MANAGER I module could very happily copy Forth disks, but unfortunately Disk Manager 2 does not: after "copying" with TI Disk Manager 2. you must then use Forth itself to copy Screens 1 to 9. To do this use:

Insert master disk in drive 1
1 BLOCK UPDATE 2 BLOCK UPDATE 3 BLOCK UPDATE 4 BLOCK UPDATE 5 BLOCK UPDATE
Now insert "copied" disk:
FLUSH
Now insert 'master' disk: 6 BLOCK UPDATE 7 BLOCK UPDATE 8 BLOCK UPDATE 9 BLOCK UPDATE
Insert 'copied' disk:
FLUSH.

OR use Forth entirely:
Master disk in Drive 2, blank initialised disk in Drive 1:
0 DISK_LO ! FORTH-COPY
(assumes -COPY has been loaded)

Copying DOUBLE SIDED DOUBLE DENSITY FORTH: Initialise a disk DSDD and copy your Forth system disk as above
(NB: the initial system disk. not one with a BLOAD system on it)
Now change Screen 3:
360 DISK_SIZE !
n DISK_HI ! [n=number of drives you have at 360]
Forth will now recognise your disk as having 360 screens (180 on each side).
FORTH-COPY however will continue to insist your drive only has 90 screens.... to amend FORTH-COPY you need to amend Screens 39,40,0,and 4.
i. Edit Screen 39: Change 90 to 360, where it appears in DTEST and twice in FORTH-COPY.

ii.Edit Screen 40:
Line 3: Change 168 to 5A0
Line 4: Change 944 to 1244
Line 5: Replace line with:
DUP 10 + 2028 SWAP ! DUP 12 + 0202 SWAP ! DUP 14 +
24 0 FILL

Line 10: Change 165 to 59D
Line 13: Change 4016 to C059

Now edit Screen 33. and modify FORMAT-DISK to read:
: FORMAT-DISK 1+ 514 33616 ! 18 SYSTEM ;
All that is left is to modify the header sectors. This is done with a little Forth program. Make sure the "copy" disk is in drive one.

In immediate mode type in:
HEX 0 DISK_LO !
: DD 0 BLOCK UPDATE
DUP A + 5A0 SWAP ! DUP C + 1244 SWAP !
DUP 10 + 2028 SWAP ! DUP 12 + 202 SWAP !
38 + C8 FF FILL 1 BLOCK UPDATE
DUP E + 570 SWAP ! DUP 1C + 4D20 SWAP !
DUP 1E + 5205 SWAP ! 20 + F059 SWAP !
FLUSH ; DECIMAL DD

The new header is easily copied either by using FORTH-COPY or by copying Screens 0 and 1 onto future Forth disks.
Jiml Vincent/ 99ers Users Group Association/September 1984


Return to top of page

TI USCD Pascal PASCAL NOTE: Guy Stefan-Romano, 99ers Users Group. Sept 1984:
'FILE DOESN'T EXIST" after adding a UNIT to SYSTEM.LIBRARY:
In most USCD Pascals. the system is not provided with a SYSTEM.LIBRARY. TI placed parts of Pascal that would normally reside on disk/ram into chips on the card. to allow our tiny machine to run Pascal. TI also provided a SYSTEM.LIBRARY to allow use of sound, graphics. speech etc.

Because installation of a new UNIT into a SYSTEM.LIBRARY requires that a file be open while data is manipulated, the existing SYSTEM.LIBRARY data is quite vulnerable. TI added protection.
You need to call a temporary File -say USER.LIB. transfer all UNITS in SYSTEM.LlBRARY to USER.LIB, then add your new UNITS to USER.LIB and IF all goes well, rename the USER.LIB file SYSTEM.LIBRARY

TI were really being quite thoughtful

Even faster Basic SIN FASTER FASTER TI BASIC ....

Please refer to page l6 of TI*MES issue 10:
A faster still BASIC SIN routine is possible:
100 INPUT A
110 PRINT A*(1+A*A*(0.0076
*A*A-0.166))
120 GOTO 100

Now compare the time this routine takes compared to PRINT SIN(A).

As before A should fall between 0 and 1.7

If you transfer this routine to machine code. and use it instead of the inbuilt SIN function, you should see some much faster graphics where SIN is used.

Thanks to John Stocks for this. John points out that mathematically, the two constants in the equation SHOULD be 0.16666 and 0.0084 - but once past A=1.118, the values given above actually give more accurate results.

 

The many languages of the TI99/4a LANGUAGE CORNER

Or... what does it look like?

This issue of RAMBLES has a little Forth, Basic, and Logo, but there are other languages too. Taking a brief look at sample listings may help you decide you would like a closer look, so here goes.

TI99/4a c99 First a look at 'c'. This is a simple listing, which just fills the screen with asterisks, one at a time
/* Malcolm's test program 1 */
#include dsk1.conio

int row,col;
main()
{ while(1)
{ row=0
    putchar(FF);
    while(++row<25)
    { col=6;
      while(++col<35)
      { locate(row,co1);
       putchar(42};
      }
    }
    if(getchar()<1) break;
   }
}
This code is COMPILED by the C99 program into 9900 source code which you can then assemble into your desired format with Editor/Assembler. Naturally, machine code is quite fast

Notice that the variables row and col are DECLARED as INTEGERS before we use them. PUTCHAR places a single character on the screen - FF is predefined in the CONIO file as "clear screen and home cursor to top left".

The double plus sign acts to increment the variable while locate merely locates the cursor. C99 is based on the 40 column screen
c99 is available on my download page

Return to top of page

Pilot 99 PILOT 99 takes the following format
IT:
R: Clear 32 col screen. Cursor to top left
LP: 24
R: LOOP 24 times
TH: :42:
R: Type and Hang
EL:
R: end loop
E:

( the END statement E: is essential!)
All we have done is fill a screen with asterisks!
PILOT 99 commands have one or two letters followed by a colon. which is sometimes followed by statement data. The Pilot word may also have a modifier.
Full instructions are supplied with Pilot99
Pilot 99 disk for emulator - loads with Editor Assembler Option 3.
TI USCD Pascal PASCAL is a rare fish, but here is what it looks like.

This program will backup any disk using sector I/O; both 1 and multiple drives and single/double sided. Written in UCSD Pascal for the TI 99/4A.

{$L PRINTER: }
program fastback;

buffer:array[1..5120] of integer;
inunit,outunit:integer;
blkbase,blklimit:integer;
ch:string[9];
procedure getfrom;
begin
inunit:=0;
while (inunit,.4) and (inunit,.<>5)
and (inunit<>9) do
begin
write('Enter Source Drive # (4,5,9) '?');
readln(inunit)
end;
blkbase:=0;
while (blkbase<>180) and
(blkbase <> 360) do
begin
write('# blocks to copy (180/360) ?')
readln(blkbase)
end;
blklimit:=(blkbase div 10) - 1;
end;
procedure getto;
begin
outunit:=0;
while (outunit<>4) and
(outunit<>5) and (outunit<>9) do
begin
write('Enter Copy Drive # (4,5,9) ?');
readln(outunit)
end
end;
beqin
writeln('FASTBACK [V1,0]');
qetfrom;
getto;
writeln('insert disks--<cr> to start');
readln(ch);
for blkbase:=0 to blklimit do
begin
if inunit=outunit then
beqin
write( ' Insert MASTER disk--press
<cr> when ready');
readln(ch)
end;
unitread(inunit,buffer,5120,blkbase*10);
if inunit=outunit then
begin
write('Insert COPY disk--Press
<cr> when ready');
readln(ch)
end;
unitwrite(outunit,buffer,5120,blkbase*10)
end;
write1('Copy Complete.')
end.

Taken from a US Bulletin Board

C99

Return to top of page

LEARNING C C99REL1 does not have a C tuition guide with it, you need to buy a book on C!

Although C99 is only a subset of a subset of C, books on sale cover the whole C language - not to worry. all the bits we have are covered, and the rest nay be added later!

I found two types of tuition guide to C - one type assumed you had knowledge of a UNIX operating system- not a lot of good to us!

The other type worked by comparison to BASIC programs

I found a book in the January sales at one third cover price:
PROGRAMMING IN C FOR THE MICROCOMPUTER USER by Robert J Traister. Published by Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-729641-X. 190 pages.

As this may not now be readily available. a similar book can be found in: C PROGRAMMING GUIDE by Jack Purdue, published by Que ISBN 0-88022-022-8. 250 pages.

Both books unfortunately start with PRINT and FOR...NEXT, not currently available with C99REL1. C99 does support PUTS and PUTCHAR. as well as WHILE. The main difference between PUTS and PRINTF is that PRINTF permits formatting commands whereas PUTS does not.

Samples:
puts("\nEntry was a diqit")
printf("\nEntry was a digit")
have the same effect!

The Que book advises that printf generates more code than puts, and puts is to be preferred if the special provisions of printf are not required.
A complex use of printf would be
printf("x=%d and y=%d", 5, 8)
which could not easily be done using puts

If you can get hold of at least the book by Jack Purdham. then together with the documentation supplied with C99, you should be able to write possibly your first 'machine code' program.

C99 - A Review by Stan Dixon: Clint Pulley of Ontario. Canada has implemented Small-C for the TI99. lt has been released on the Freeware principle and is the best set of programs I have come across on the list!

c99 release 4 is available on my download page I am certainly going to write to Clint and even going to enclose a money order.

As I obtained it the programs and tiles are contained on two single sided disks. They all fit with a bit of spare space onto a double sided disc. The original release fitted on a single sided disc but Clint decided to issue some source files and one or two other programs and utilities also. In order to write C99 programs you need an Editor, either the one supplied in the E/A package or TIW. If you use TIW you must save the file by using the Print option and naming a disc file as destination. (This avoids the problems caused by the format information included. when you save TIW files in the usual way.).

It is also necessary to be able to assemble 9900 assembly language source. Obviously the most convenient system is the Editor/Assembler module and its software. However it is possible to run that software using either MM or XB. You need special programs which are also available on the Freeware system.

( ss: At the present time, C99 will only run from the Editor/Assembler module. It is coded very tightly - including routines in scratchpad ram for speed and makes direct access to routines in the Editor Assembler GROM. A version for XB may appear later... keep tuned... ....ss)

The first step in writing a C99 program is to write the C99 source using an Editor and save it. As well as C99 source you can instruct the compiler to include other files and the library functions provided. Then using option 5 of the E/a module you run the c99 compiler. This writes 9900 assembly language source statements to a file of your choice.

[That was not a misprint.. think about that idea ] It can be convenient to let the output go to the screen as you check the program for errors. However the usual destination is a disc file. One option is to include the C99 source in this assembly language file as comments. Having done this and hopefully avoided errors, you now run the assembler against the file you have just produced with the compiler.

The usual assembler options are available although you never need to specify the R option. You can now run your program. First it is necessary to load CSUP, a C99 support file, any other library files that may be needed (perhaps for file handling), and then load your object file. This is with the E/a option 3. The program name is always START in these programs. At this stage we can hope that our program works as expected.

There is a full explanation of how to run the system on the release disc and a brief explanation of how the system was implemented. Two text books are recommended and I would add 'The Small-C Handbook' by James E. Hendryx to the list. The documentation does not try to teach the C language but there are several source files which are well commented and are useful as examples.

There are a number of utilities on the first disk. One tor locating compiler errors is of obvious use in developing programs. There is one undocumented utility. It is called OPT and appears, from comments in the source, to be a code optimiser. That is it reads the output from the compiler and chops out duplicated code. This shortens the files for assembly and could he vital if a large application is being attempted.

I have used it and it worked and the optimised program still ran. Clint has included a disk directory program which works extremely quickly and can be useful within the E/A environment.

Also provided are two files that permit us to save our working programs in program format. This is explained a little obscurely in the manual but I have managed to make that work.

One thing that struck me as peculiar was the fact that for one small program l ended up with three large program format files. However Stephen assures me that there is nothing to worry about. Apparently the program reserves large areas of memory when running, this affects the way the Save utility works.

This useful program means that it should be possible to write C99 programs and save the runnable versions to tape. ( ss. yes you can and it works. And we have a public domain program which enables ExBas to load these cassette files too .... ss).

With the availability of loaders for XB and MM we can see greater prospects of machine programs tor the unexpended machine. The second disk contains a source file tor the directory program on the first disk and the source and object for a TIW loader for the MM module.

Also included are XB and MM,E/A versions of a BREAKTHROUGH game that is well documented and very entertaining.

I certainly enjoyed playing with it though l usually find adventure games are more my style.

To move on to a C99 application which is supplied on the second disk. This is the source and object code for a text formatter.

The program is called RUNOFF and allows the printing of TIW files and other DV80 text files without the need for embedded commands. It works nicely and lets you offset tables within the text in nofill mode.

(ss... RUNOFF has a significant advantage over TIW: the text tile is not stored in console ram, so a text file of 300 sectors may be printed : useful if you have created a mammoth text file by downloading from a bulletin board.

This version of Small-C does not have some of the usual features but it is likely that later revisions will have. I am sure that a positive response to Clint Pulley from some of the people who obtain this program will ensure further development. Stan Dixon.


Return to top of page

Several thousand programs for PC99 can be found on the inexpensive DVD-rom from CaDD Electronics, The Cyc, programs plus huge amounts of documentation, many books and manuals - all legally copied and reformatted in searchable form, - considerable effort. Includes legal copies of all TI modules in PC99 format, including the much sought Tunnels of Doom module. VAT and post office collection charges are payable on delivery in the UK.

Might look costly but a huge amount of work has gone into it- Look at the quality of Cyc content here. Note that Mike only checks his emails every week or so!



Read about addfreestats visitor tracker, the data your browser reveals and how you may control it.

[ TI Book front page   |    TI Resources Page    |   TI Articles    |   PC99 and MESS Programs ]