Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 90 / NOVEMBER 1987 / PAGE 10

Missing Keys On The 800XL?

I have an Atari 800XL computer, and I cannot find two of the keys you use in your listings: { and }. Because of these two missing keys, I cannot type in any of your programs.

Geoffrey Wyatt

Computer programs frequently include graphics characters and other symbols that cannot be clearly represented in the printed listing. To avoid ambiguity, COMPUTE! has established a set of conventions for listing these special characters. The characters you mentioned, { and } (called braces), are used to indicate a variety of control codes and instructions. For example, single characters inside braces in Atari listings indicate that the character within the braces should be typed with the CONTROL key held down. The braces themselves are not typed. (Indeed, we deliberately chose a character that could not be typed.) Thus, when you see {,} in an Atari listing, you should hold down the CONTROL key and type a comma. This produces a heart-shaped graphics character. The braces are also used to provide other typing instructions. For example, {6 SPACES} means that you should press the space bar six times.

A complete explanation of our listing conventions may be found in the article "COMPUTE!'s Guide to Typing In Programs," which is included in each issue of the magazine.