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Of course, this may be all you want--it's enough for engineering problems. But even dry applications can benefit from a little spicing up. Unfortunately, the explanations that accompany the keywords are quite technical, and will be difficult for the beginner to understand. In fact, the manual is called a "technical reference manual," and that is primarily what it is. Here the manual falls down. There are no examples of how the various commands tie together to, say, open a window. Since this sort of information is currently very hard to find, the average user is left without any access to GEM.

Numerous calls to SoftWorks have convinced me they are serious about their support.


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A programmer is available most of the time, and SoftWorks seemed genuinely interested in helping me find out why something wouldn't work. It is very different from any other BASIC I have used, so there is a fairly steep "learning curve" until you begin to think in this new language. It sports a tremendous number of commands, giving the user unprecedented control over the program.

Atari Basic programming (Tutorial 1)

It is also simple to use, provided on cartridge and totally GEM-driven. The desktop includes printer, disk and clipboard icons, as well as icons for each of the up to 10 programs that can be loaded in at once. The drop-down menus are helpfully arranged, and the arrangement of the screen makes it easy to see both the output and listing at the same time. It includes many features found in word processors, such as sophisticated cursor control, case and letter swapping, cut and paste, search and replace and auto-indent.

programming and human factors

There is no syntax checking when you enter a program, so debugging must take place at run-time but Fast ST BASIC's variety of commands help with debugging. It even has a built-in assembler so that assembly language source code can be part of the program listing, and the code will be automatically assembled when you run the program. The scope of built-in commands is impressive. The built-in keywords for moving blocks of bits around the screen are fast and easy to use.

All VDI graphics are available allowing you to put lines and shapes on the screen, set drawing mode and color, and print text using built-in commands rather than using ST BASIC's numbered calls. The latter is probably because of the enormous power of the language. It allows you to do so much that you can get yourself into trouble! There is virtually no support for sound, and only single-byte PEEKs and POKEs are allowed into system memory--the multiple byte operators will crash the machine and cannot be used to work with the more interesting memory locations.

Fast ST BASIC's thick manual has a section on the editor which doesn't cover all the options , some information on variable types, and then the alphabetical listing of all keywords. No mention of strings or arrays is made and file handling is left for an appendix. The explanations of the keywords themselves are pretty good, with sample program illustrations.

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Atari 8-bit family

This makes little sense and I found it confusing. This is an easy one--currently, there is no support. A program such as this one, which is fairly expensive and still has some bugs, needs technical support to make it a success. This is a great language to experiment with. Its implementation is extremely powerful, but is limited by the lack of support, some bugs, and the absence of a run-time package. A big plus for the "power user" is the excellent GEM support and built-in assembler. Included with the package is a run-time version of the language, which you can give out freely so that people who do not own the language can use your applications.

The text editor's features include copy, cut, paste, find, and replace. You may enter commands using short abbreviations, and the editor will print out the commands on the screen in their entirety when you press [Return]. The text editor does not use drop-down menus, but does have commands across the top of the screen that you can click on with the mouse. You can also use keyboard commands. The text editor indents lines automatically when they are within a loop or Procedure, so that you can easily tell where the bounds of the loop are.

It even lets you switch into the high resolution mode where 48 lines of text will fit on one screen. Because of the two screen set-up, you can switch back and forth between your listing and the output whenever you like. You have access to a timer, and to the system time and date; you can define your own functions and procedures with local variables.

Commands for graphics shapes, fills, colors, text and markers are all built into the language. Full mouse control, including coordinates and condition of the mouse buttons, and the ability to set the shape of the mouse pointer are available. You can build and install your own menus, control various aspects of any of four different windows, and detect most important occurrences keyboard input, mouse position, GEM messages and menu selection. There is even support for Alert boxes, although not for Dialog boxes.

The windowing system is a little clumsy, and the GEM support is not as effective as it could be because the documentation doesn't provide enough information. GFA BASIC comes with a thick manual that launches straight into the editor, and then proceeds to document the commands in alphabetical order. I found the book that is missing!

Atari 400 800 XL XE Books

I don't know how I missed that Trying to get uTorrent to just grab the new pieces. I'll leave it running as long as I can once I figure out how to get the new files. I've had it since last night, been seeding ever since, and will continue to do so for awhile. Just wanted to say thanks again for everyone involved with this. That's a lot of work scanning all that. OK - I have it working. I am at I've got this on a VM, so I can leave it running for a few days. My MacPro should be seeding also. I know how you missed it, its because you didn't -- I did.

I have no idea how I did it just lucky I guess -- when copying the pdfs off the dvd I missed that one.

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I cross checked the count against the tombstones and came up with the same number and never looked back. Sorry for the confusion, new torrent coming ASAP. OK, for those atarians who must have it all and have it now I give you you a new torrent HERE. This is a superset of all previous Atari book torrents with not 57, not 95, but whoa momma!

Again, I will be seeding this at full tilt for as long as I can. I wish I could edit the torrent link in the OP, but can't figure out how. Thanks Al, you are the man. Now if you could just change the thread title to 96 instead of 95, all would be right again in the universe. You can edit the thread title--after clicking the "Edit" button, then click "Use Full Editor" and you can then edit the title as necessary. Been seeding for a while now - 50GB up! It looks like they only added 7 pages with the XL at the end and called it a day!

Glad I never bought the updated version, I would have been very disappointed.

Everything I Needed to Know About Programming I Learned from BASIC

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To bring the rest of the Atari computer family in line with the new ST series, the newly Tramiel-controlled Atari redesigned its still-popular 8-bit home computers. It also featured a new case design that matched the stylings of the ST. The STF proved fairly popular in the United States, albeit not as popular as its competitors, and it served as the baseline machine of the ST series for years to come. As the last gasp of the Atari 8-bit computer series, the XE Game system was essentially an Atari 65XE repackaged in a new case with a detachable keyboard so it could be sold in two configurations: as a computer, with the keyboard; and as a lower-cost game console without the keyboard.

Both configurations included the aging game Missile Command built-in, and both played just about every Atari 8-bit computer game cartridge released since Atari intended it to compete with the Nintendo Entertainment System , but no repackaged s home computer could win that battle. Benj Edwards. PCMag reviews products independently , but we may earn affiliate commissions from buying links on this page. Terms of use. Get Our Best Stories! How to Download YouTube Videos. Amazon's Echo Lineup: What's the Difference?