Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 9, NO. 6 / JUNE 1983 / PAGE 202

Apple Writer on the Franklin Ace. Melvin Fitting.

Apple Writer on the Franklin Ace

Recently a computer called the Franklin Ace 1000 appeared on the market. It is intended to be both hardware and software compatible with the Apple II. It lacks the ability to do color graphics but, on the other hand, it is much better suited to word processing than the Apple. There are several features that contribute to this.

First, the keyboard is essentially that of a standard typewriter, with keys for all the special characters (including brackets and braces) in handy locations. Also there is a numeric keypad. But the best feature of the keyboard, in contrast to that of the Apple II, is that it has a fully functional shift key. Going along with this is the ability to generate both upper- and lower-case characters on the monitor. Lower-case adapters are not necessary.

Apple Writer is a very popular word processor for the Apple II, and it works just as well on the Franklin. But, as written, it makes no use of either the ability to generate lowercase characters, or the shift key, since neither are available on the Apple. Supplied with the Franklin are instructions on how to modify Apple Writer so that it can use both features. But, for reasons to be described in a moment, this is not the best solution to the problem.

Apple Writer was designed to work on a machine that does not generate lower-case characters. Therefore, it displays normal capitals to represent lowercase, and inverse capitals to represent true capitals. Among other things, this means that you cannot embed control characters in an Apple Writer text, since the ASCII codes for them are in use as screen codes for inverse capitals. (See the chart of ASCII Screen Characters on page 15 of the Apple II Reference Manual.)

But there are good reasons for wanting to embed control characters in text--for instance, to send instructions to a printer. Several recent articles discuss this: "Printer Control Codes From Within Apple Writer' by J. Michael Riley, Creative Computing, June 1982, p. 142; and "Underlining for Apple Writer' by John E. Stith, Creative Computing, June 1982, pp. 146-152. It is also useful to have your text stored in standard ASCII if you are going to communicate with other computers.

The modifications to Apple Writer supplied with the Franklin Ace produce a version that makes use of the shift key and displays lowercase characters on the monitor, as promised. But, apparently in order to preserve compatibility with standard Apple software, the files thus created are the same as those created by the original Apple Writer, i. e., not in ASCII, and with control character codes unavailable since they are still used to represent capitals.

In "Lowercase Display for Apple Writer' by John E. Stith, (Creative Computing, February 1981, pp. 124-129), a modification to Apple Writer is presented that allows it to make use of a Dan Paymar lowercase adapter on an Apple. But more than that, if the modification is made, the revised Apple Writer produces standard ASCII files, and thus the codes for control characters are free to be used for other purposes. Indeed, both of the articles mentioned above assume that this modification has already been made to Apple Writer.

Now, as it happens, it is simple to modify Stith's version further so that it will work on the Franklin. In fact, only one change is necessary. When done, you have a version of Apple Writer that will use the shift key feature of the Franklin, and produce standard ASCII files.

All that is necessary is to bypass that part of Stith's routine that converts ASCII codes for capitals to ASCII codes for lowercase unless ESC has been entered first (The Apple Writer solution to the shift key problem on the Apple is to use the ESC key instead).

More precisely, one merely changes line 18D5 to RTS in Stith's routine, given in Figure 1 in his article.

Thus, finally, it comes down to this. To get a version of Stith's Apple Writer suitable for the Franklin Ace 100 do this.



That's all there is to it.

The modified Apple Writer will, of course, create files that are incompatible with the original Apple Writer, and conversely. So I conclude with two simple programs to convert between the two. The programs are written in Basic and are not fast. I have had only very occasional need for them. An assembly language version would be simple to produce if such conversions are needed frequently.

Both programs are used as follows. Make sure the program to convert to a particular version of Apple Writer is on the same disk as that version of Apple Writer (or at least, the TEDITOR for that version). Use Apple Writer to load the file to be converted. Exit Apple Writer and RUN the CONVERT program. When it finishes its work, it will reload Apple Writer, and you can then use it to save the converted file.

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