INMC 80 News


February–April 1981, Issue 3

Page 10 of 55

What’s Wrong With It?

It was interesting to read the reviews of the Henry’s Basic Toolkit in the INMC80 issue 2. Being the Author of the package it was nice to get some feedback, even if not totally complimentary!

The program arose out of some work I did on modifying several Pet Basic programs to run on a Nascom 2. It was while I was doing this that I felt the need for

(a) an intelligent renumber program, and

(b) a cross-reference listing.

Both were originally written as stand-alone programs. It then seemed appropriate to put both together, toss in a few other items, and link the lot into Basic somehow.

It was at this stage I decided to take a RAM based approach. By making the program self-relocating it solved the problems of where to locate the program, and where to locate its workspace. (Use C80 or D00 etc and somebody is bound to have a special routine sitting there!). Also RAM is cheap – now around 20.00 per 16K (EPROM around 64.00 per 16K) – and re-usable when not running Basic.

In response to Mr. James Weatherson-Roberts comments:–

As explained above my requirements were

  1. Renumber and
  2. Cross-reference.

The rest came later as add-ons. I could have continued adding features, (one suggestion I received was for an on-screen editor that would cope with Basic lines over 48 characters long), but I had to draw the line somewhere, otherwise the program could have ended up larger than the Basic interpreter itself!

The one comment in the comparative review that worried me was the one that the documentation was “lousy”. In fact it was that comment that prompted this letter. I do not claim to be a great writer, but I would expect that most people would at least describe the documentation as “adequate”. It describes clearly and concisely all the commands available and how to use them. I admit there is no blow-by-blow account of how each command executes, but I believe that to be beyond the scope of a manual. A well commented source listing would be a step towards doing this, but has been omitted in this case to keep the cost of the package down.

Perhaps INMC80 readers would like to write in and comment on this? I don’t promise to reply (perhaps an INMC dogsbody might? – I hope that you are not talking about ME – ED.), but hopefully INMC80 could publish the result.

The questions are:–

  1. What are your views on current documentation of Nascom Hardware/​Software (be as specific as you like)?
  2. What more would you like to see? Worked examples? Source listings?
  3. What premium would you be prepared to pay for this? (Remember source listings are long – The Basic Toolkit is 31 pages, Nas-Dis is 41 pages – this increases production costs and distribution costs).

David Parkinson, Ipswich

Letters to the Ed.

We are more than happy to publish any letter written to the INMC80 committee that is of general interest to the readers. If the letter contains a query then we will try and answer it within the pages of the newsletter. We regret, however, that we just cannot cope with personal replies to queries and so, if it is important to you, we suggest that you try Nascom (joke!) or your friendly local distributor.

The Committee.

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