Run your binary programs automatically
by ED and JEFF SCHNEIDERThere are a number of utility programs available which allow a user to boot a disk and RUN a program chosen from the disk directory. Such utility programs are written using AUTORUN.SYS files. They read the disk directory, display the appropriate program names, and allow the user to select a specific program. Use of these utilities has been generally restricted to rograms written in BASIC. The utility program presented here now allows you to RUN binary programs automatically.
Atari, for example, markets numerous programs through the Atari Program Exchange (APX) which are written in machine language. To RUN these or other machine language programs requires the user to call up the Disk Operating System (DOS) and select the "L" (BINARY LOAD) option. The user must then enter the desired program name (usually an abbreviation which cannot be remembered or deciphered) and press [RETURN]. The program then executes. With BINARY AUTOLOAD there is an easier way!
When you boot a disk which has this utility residing on it, you are presented with a menu which lists only those programs you desire to be displayed and only one key must be pressed to run your selected program. BINARY AUTOLOAD also conserves disk storage space because you may now put as many as twenty-six machine language programs and/or routines on a single disk. For those of you who have many machine language utilities, this program will be helpful.
We use this program to store several games on one disk. In the past, we stored our machine language games on individual disks and named each "AUTORUN.SYS" so that we could boot them automatically. Now we simply fill the disk with games and select from the menu after booting. This utility uses only seven sectors of diskette space.
To insure that the menu displays only the programs you desire, you must add the extender .OBJ to the filenames you wish to display on boot-up. If, for example, you use a renumbering utility, you may call it RENUMBER but rename it RENUMBER.OBJ so it will be recognized and displayed in the menu. If there are any programs you do not wish displayed in the menu, simply do not add the OBJ extender. OBJ was selected as an extender because it is routinely used to indicate assembled source code and you may already have a number of such files on your disks. The OBJ extender is not displayed with the program name in the menu; only the first eight characters are displayed.
Enter the source code of BINARY AUTOLOAD using your Assembler-Editor cartridge then assemble the program, saving both the source code and the object code to your disk. After saving the program, enter DOS and LOAD the object code using the "L" (BINARY LOAD) command. Now, using the "K" (BINARY SAVE) command, re-save the object code using the following format:
D:AUTORUN.SYS,3800,3B0F,,3800You will now have a working AUTORUN.SYS file on your disk! To use the BINARY AUTOLOAD program, simply copy the AUTORUN.SYS file to any disk. When the disk is booted, the utility will search for programs or files with an OBJ extender and display them by name and allow you to choose from among them.
Ed and Jeff Schneider are a father and son team who have been writing ATARI software since l979. Ed has been in electronics and computers for twenty years, and Jeff is taking a degree in computer science.