BASIC Turbocharger, Enhancements to BASIC / utilities / commercial

From: Michael Current (aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 01/18/92-12:40:10 PM Z

From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: BASIC Turbocharger, Enhancements to BASIC / utilities / commercial
Date: Sat Jan 18 12:40:10 1992

Reprinted from A.C.E.C. BBS (614)-471-8559

Permission to reprint or excerpt is
granted only if the following lines
appear at the top of the article:



     BASIC TURBOCHARGER is an excellent
book/disk collection of machine language
routines for your BASIC programs -- more
than 160 routines in all.  And the
source code is available on an optional
     These routines load and save
pictures in most of the popular formats,
including compressed MicroIllustrator. 
They support Player/Missile Graphics,
every Atari graphics mode, scrolling
pictures, printer dumps and Display List
Interrupt color changes.  They move
memory, invert, search and compare it,
manipulate bits and, of course, double
PEEKs and double POKEs.
     The number routines convert between
decimal, binary and hexidecimal numbers
and do some fancy array manipulations,
including search, sort and sum.  They
also provide a non-repeating random
number generator -- great for card games
-- and a proper delay timer so you won't
use empty FOR-NEXT loops.
     There are a lot of joystick
routines, which I thought were
unnecessary -- until I tried them.  They
replace several IF-THEN statements and
really speed up a program.  This greatly
improves the "feel" of the joystick.
     BASIC Turbocharger will save you a
lot of code, speed up your programs and
make them more compact.  It also makes
difficult things easy, like putting text
on a graphics screen or invoking the
Atari Rainbow.
     Each routine is a self-contained
string of relocatable code -- there's no
jumping into the BASIC cartridge or the
operating system.  This means the
routines work with almost any BASIC,
including BASIC XL, BASIC XE, MicroSoft
BASIC and TURBO BASIC XL.  The strings
of machine language code are inserted
into your program and called with the
USR statement. Most routines are less
than one line long.
     All routines are listed in the fine
instruction manual. You could just type
them in, but they're machine language
and contain all those inverse graphic
characters which drive us nuts when we
type in the ANTIC listings. 
Fortunately, Alpha Systems includes a
disk containing the routines.
     The routines are contained in 120
short demonstrations, which makes it
easy to learn how to use them, but hard
to include them in your programs. 
First, you LOAD the sample program,
renumber the lines you need and LIST
those lines to a disk file.  Then LOAD
your program and ENTER the file with the
machine language routine.  It's tedious
and cumbersome.
     For my personal use, I created a
disk with the routines LISTed to files. 
The routines are grouped by category,
and each file has less than 100 lines,
so all my programs now start at line
100.  Whenever I need a routine, I ENTER
that file, renumber the lines I need and
delete the rest.  It's much quicker.
     Building that disk was time
consuming, and Alpha Systems should
include one in the package.  It's the
only weak
     point in an overall excellent
     $24.95, 48K disk.  Source code $10
with main package, $15 separately. 
Alpha Systems, 1012 Skyland Drive,
Macedonia, OH 44056.  (216) 467-5665.


comprehensive, self-contained program
containing powerful tools for DOS,
editing and debugging.  The disk comes
with three versions.  While writing a
program, you'll want the FULL 8K
implementation unless the program is
very large, in which case you'll need
the 4K HALF implementation.  For serious
debugging, you'll want the TRACE
     Enhancements to BASIC only works
with Atari BASIC.  In fact, during a
one-time initialization process, it
copies your BASIC into itself and
modifies it.  After initialization, it
loads without using the computer's
BASIC. An interesting side benefit is
that XL and 400/800 owners can
initialize their disk on a friend's XE
and have the bug-free revision C.
     The added features are impressive: 
listing, renaming and cross-referencing
variables;  searching for variables,
statements and strings;  auto-numbering,
renumbering and deleting blocks of
lines;  scrolling forward and backward
in a program listing;  14 macro soft
keys (seven of them programmable);  a
numeric keypad on the keyboard;  and
number entry in decimal or hexidecimal.
     DOS functions provided by
Enhancements to BASIC include directory,
lock, unlock, rename, erase, format and
run at address.  Error messages are in
English instead of cryptic numbers.
     TRACE is a powerful debugging tool,
common to many languages but missing
from Atari BASIC.  It lists each line as
it's executed, making it easy to
pinpoint the offending line and correct
it.  Tracing on an Atari is a special
challenge.  The graphics modes frustrate
any simple listing techniques.  However,
the trace in Enhancements to BASIC lets
you list the whole line or only the line
number, list the lines to the screen or
to a printer, and turn the trace on or
off while the program is running.
     Unfortunately, you can't view the
trace and the program operation
simultaneously (except by tracing to a
printer). Carefully turning the trace on
and off in the program can help, but
it's still hard to see WHAT'S happening
and WHY at the same time.  The trace and
the program should share the same
screen, at least in Graphics 0.
     The only other serious drawback to
Enhancements to BASIC is that the disk
is copy-protected.  I could never use a
language without backups.  Of course, if
your disk does get trashed, you lose
only the enhancements;  you can continue
to program with BASIC.  And you can
still run your programs.
     Finally, programmers should
consider that many of the features of
Enhancements to BASIC are available in
other BASIC dialects.  Some programmers
may prefer to change dialects, rather
than upgrade Atari BASIC.--CHARLES
     $24.95, 48K disk.  Available by
mail only.  Hathaway Electronics, P.O. 
Box 168, Rices Landing, PA 15357.  (412)

 Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp   -->>  go atari8  <<--
   The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG is the Central Atari Information Network
      Internet: / UUCP: ...!umn-cs!ccnfld!currentm
      BITNET: / Cleveland Free-Net: aa700

Return to message index