FIX (X) returns the truncated integer part of X. It is equivalent to SGN(X) *
INT(ABS(X)) and does not return the next lower number for a negative value of X,
HEX$(X) returns a string in which the value represents the hexadecimal equivalent
of the decimal (X). OCT$(X) does the same in octal.
INSTR([I,]X$,Y$) looks for the first occurrence of the string Y$ in the string X$
and indicates the position. I is an optional offset in the range 0 – 255.
SPACES (X) returns a string of X spaces; SPC (X) prints X blanks on the terminal.
STRINGS (I,J) returns a string whose length is I and is composed of ASCII code J
(J is in the range 0 to 255 but not all the codes are printable).
Other items of possible use....
The statement (or command) RANDOMIZE allows you to ‘seed’ (or set up) a random
The largest number that MBASIC will allow is 1.70141E38 and the smallest positive
number is 2.9387E-38 .
There is probably no better way of finding out what MBASIC will do than
trying it out on short programs – you will probably find out more this way than
by studying the manual – although the manual is an invaluable source of reference
if you get stuck!
One problem which you may come across is that of portability – not
everybody has MBASIC on disk and most of the commands and statements mentioned in
this article are only found in extended or disk versions. MBASIC is interpreted
on a line by line basis and a program in MBASIC is slower in execution than would
be the case with the same program which has been written and compiled using
Digital Research’s CBASIC which is designed for use with CP/M. MBASIC is usable
on systems with all sorts of DOS and appears to have more functions and
facilities and, unless speed of execution is important, would be preferable if
you were considering the purchase of a disk BASIC.
I would like to thank my colleague, Laurie Hodges for the opportunity to
use the MBASIC facility on his machine; thanks are also due to Microsoft for
producing a manual which provided the inspiration for this article, and to Dave
Hunt for some constructive ‘hacking’.
CAN ANYONE HELP?
The following books are out of print, and Rory O’Farrell would like to hear
from anyone who can help him obtain copies – all reasonable expenses paid!
A.V. Hershey, “Calligraphy for Computers”. NWL Report No. 2101 (Dalgren, Va:
U.S. Naval Weapons Laborarory, Aug 1967) NTIS number AD662398.
Wolcott, N.M. and J. Hilsenrath. A Contribution to Computer Typesetting
Techniques: Tables of Coordinates from Hershey’s Reportory of Occidental Type
Fonts and Graphic Symbols. Washington D.C.: National Bureau of Standards
Special Publication No 424, U.S. Dept of Commerce, U.S. Government Printing