80-Bus News


November–December 1983, Volume 2, Issue 6

Page 40 of 67

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?”.

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