ROM Computer Magazine Archive ROM MAGAZINE ISSUE 10 — FEBRUARY/MARCH 1985 / PAGE 13

Enhancements To Basic

Reviewed by Paul Marter

    All you fans of Atari computers know how user friendly Atari BASIC is. But have you ever found that you could use a few more features to help in typing in a program you have written or taken from a magazine? Well, FIRST BYTE has come up with an answer. It is a disk-based machine language program called ENHANCEMENTS TO BASIC. To use this program all you need is a disk drive, DOS 2.OS, at least 48K memory and ATARI BASIC cartridge or the built in BASIC of an 800XL. This utility operates from AUTORUN.SYS file which adds to ATARI BASIC over 20 new direct mode commands as well as eliminates all documented causes of system crashes.
    The instructions which accompany the disk are very informative, telling the user all the details of the functions of ENHANCED BASIC disk. They also tell the user the location in memory of this utility, so you do not store a machine language subroutine over it.
    Some of the features of the ENHANCED BASIC package are as follows:
    1. Error messages have been modified to include an English statement along with the error number to aid in finding out what is wrong with the program or command given.
    2. There is a HELP screen available in FULL Enhancements without TRACE which shows the user the proper format of each command.
    3. The user can use either decimal or hexidecimal arithmetic by typing the command DEC or HEX respectively.
    4. The keyboard can be locked or unlocked by two commands. KEY "xxx" command is the three key sequence to unlock the keyboard. LKB is the command to lock the keyboard to prevent anyone from tampering with your work.
    5. There is a command to set the key repeat delay.
    6. There are commands to set the left and right margins of the screen.
    7. There is a command to eliminate the clicking of the keyboard without turning down the volume of the TV on an 800XL.
    Most of the important commands which are included in this package and a small description are as follows:
A) TRACE Commands (available only in Full Enhancements with TRACE)
i) Immediate mode-displays last contents of TRACE screen.
ii) Program mode-TRACE screen is displayed as trace is done.
i) Immediate mode-cancels TRON and normal screen display reappears.
ii) Program mode-cancels TRON and program graphics or display screen reappears.
c) LNUMB in TRACE mode causes only line numbers to be displayed by trace.
d) LINE in TRACE mode causes entire line to be displayed by trace.
B) NUM x,y - Auto line numbering. Starting at line x and incrementing by y.
C) REN x,y,z - renumbering utility.
x is where REN begins.
y is where REN ends.
z is the increment of line numbers between x and y.
D) DEL x,y - multiple line deletion.
x is the starting line number to be deleted.
y is the last line to be deleted.
E) Disk Commands
a) DOS Commands.
i) DIR x where x specifies drive number.
iii) LOCK "D#:Filename.ext"
iv) UNLOCK "D#:Filename.ext"
v) ERASE "D#:Filename.ext"    (Dos option D)
vi) FORMAT "D#:"
vii) RUNAT# (Dos option M)
b) Deleted File Disk Commands.
i) DDIR directory of deleted disk files.
ii) DRENAME    "D#:OLD,NEW" renames old deleted files.
iii) RESOTRE "D#:Filename.ext" restores a deleted file which has not been written over by new data.
c) DOS gives you DOS 2.OS.
d) SINGLE causes the RENAME and DRENAME commands to affect only the first occurence of filename given in the command.
e) NORMAL cancels the SINGLE command and causes all occurences to be affected by RENAME or DRENAME commands.
F) Protect Function.
i) PROT alters your program in memory so it is unreadable but still wozks when it is RUN.
ii) PROT "D#:Filename.ext" Protects your program then saves it to disk under name given where it is only capable of being RUN and not listed or altered.
G) Variable Commands.
i) LVAR command which lists all variable names of the program currently in memory. This can be used to find unused variables in a program.
ii) SVAR command which searches a basic program for all lines containing a given variable.
iii) CVAR command which can be used to change the name of any variable you like.
H) DUMP command which sends all output that would be diplayed on screen to the printer, giving the user a hard copy of all information found using ENHANCEMENTS TO BASIC.
I) SCREEN command restores output to screen instead of printer.
J) Function Keys.
The user is given the ability to define certain key sequences to have a specific meaning.
eg. [ctrl]4 to be defined to mean LOAD "D:."
This key sequence definition function gives the user up to 14 defined keys.
NOTE: The keys used to define functions are the [ctrl], [shift], and 4-9,0 keys.
NOTE: When using the [shift] [ctrl] sequence with 4 through 9 each "string" can be up to 30 characters and with the zero key it can be up to 62 characters.
NOTE: The function keys using [ctrl] 4-9,0 do not appear to work on my copy of ENHANCEMENTS TO BASIC when in Full Enhancements with TRACE mode.
K) Printer Trace Commands.
i) PTRON-This command enables the user to do a trace in Full Enhancements without TRACE to the printer. Type in PTRON in immediate mode and put a TRON in program mode at start of program then type RUN to do trace.
ii) PTROFF-This command disables the printer trace available in Full Enhancements without TRACE only.
    The following is the list of commands available in Half Enhancement mode: RENAME, REN, DIR, RESTORE, LOCK, NUM, DEL, DDIR, DRENAME, UNLOCK, FORMAT, DUMP, SCREEN, ERASE.
    Now, after reading about all of the great features FIRST BYTE has included in ENHANCEMENTS TO BASIC, you would probably expect a price of between $30.00 and $50.00. But one of the best features of this programming aid is its cost: At only $14.95 U.S. you really cannot find a better deal anywhere.