That said, this book is more a advanced and fuller treatment of WordStar
than the foregoing. For most users, it will not be relevant, but if you are
trying to do something really tricky, then I think this is the book for you. I
would not suggest that you set any great store by his treatment of CP/M. He
deals with CP/M in three chapters at the end of the book, discussing the
syntax of the commands, the use of the intrinsic commands and of the supplied
transient commands. It is very much an introduction – aimed, I imagine at the
person who wishes to use WordStar, and doesn’t want to do much more on the
computer than that.
So there they are: Ettlin if you have never used a text editor before, Lee if
you have and want to get really tricky with WordStar.
If you are one of the many contemplating the plunge into CP/M, then you might
do worse than invest in “CP/M and the Personal Computer” by Dwyer and
Critchfield, published Addison Wesley.
This 490 page quarto book is an easy to read introduction to CP/M, both
to the intricacies of CP/M itself and to many of the major programs which run
on it. It gives a readable introduction to CP/M, ultimately getting deeply
involved, writing on assembly language programming for interfacing with CP/M,
and discussing the CP/M supplied transients in detail. It goes further,
surveying some Word processing programs, a data base management system (dBASE
II), an accounting package (Peachtree), and spreadsheets. Its survey of these
might be sufficient justification for you to purchase it, although I stress
that the surveys are not (and do not purport to be) encyclopediac. They
consist of a general introduction to the area, and a more detailed
discussion/example of the use of one of the typical programs of the area.
There is an interesting discussion on MBASIC and BASCOM, and another on
C, which might whet your appetite to go further down that road. I for one
intend to stick to Pascal! The section on Assembly language suffers from 8080
mnemonics, but is advanced enough to deal with adding customised I/O drivers
to the BIOS. See it, particularly if you are not yet into CP/M – it might be
just what you need.
Another book on the same lines is CP/M – The Software Bus by Clarke,
Eaton and Powys-Lybbe, published Sigma Technical Press (dist. John Wiley).
This book is written by three long time members of the UK CP/M User
Group. That is good and bad. Good in that they are well acquainted with CP/M
and its intricacies, bad in that they often overlook, through utter
familiarity, little matters which would prove awkward for the tyro. It surveys
CP/M, comparing and contrasting versions 1.3 up to 3.0 and CP/M 86, dealing
also with MP/M. It gives a good discussion of the usual CP/M transients, well
illustrated with examples, but occasionally omitting a little nugget of
information which I’m sure they knew, and which can be a lifesaver. For
example, a SUBMIT file can have parameters $1....$9. Undocumented, but working
nevertheless, is $0, which refers to the name of the SUBMITted file itself.
This can save a lot of trouble, and I’m surprised that these authors did not
draw our attention to it.
Well described are the different assemblers, both from Digital Research
and other sources, including the various User Group contributions. The high
level languages get a good treatment, CBASIC, MBASIC and BASCOM, Pascal MT,
CIS COBOL and FORTRAN all being covered in survey. More space is given to the
more popular of these, so MBASIC and BASCOM are fairly fully covered.
Similarly, the various editors/Word processors, including ED. I have been
asked “if ED is so bad, why does every book on CP/M treat on it in detail?”.