Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 4, NO. 1 / MAY 1985

lazy loader

Extra-convenient menu program


This utility presents you with a menu of your BASIC programs. One-touch commands permit RUNning of SAVEd programs or ENTERing of LISTled programs. Works on all Atari computers with 24K memory, BASIC and a disk drive.

When you're wallowing in dozens of floppy disks, it's comforting to to immediately determine what programs lie on each disk and run them, without switching between BASIC and a DOS menu.
   What you need is a menu program. "What?", you say, "Another menu program?"
   Ah-but Lazy Loader is different. It allows you to enter LISTed BASIC programs, reads up to four disk drives, and displays up to 51 files with horizontal scrolling.

Type in Listing 1 and check it with TYPO II. SAVE it to a disk under the file name LAZYLOAD.BAS.
   You can RUN the program right now and see all the BASIC files on your disk. Or, you can have the menu automatically boot with the disk by including an AUTORUN .SYS file. (See accompanying article for more information about AUTORUN.SYS files.
   The file names will appear in a column in center screen. If you have more than 17 files, the column will scroll to the left one line at a time as a second column appears.
   Because Lazy Loader is designed to handle BASIC programs, it will not display files with the extenders .SYS, .OBJ, .EXE, or .DAT.
   Each file name is displayed with a letter, from capital A to Z, then lower case a to z.
   To run a program, strike the corresponding letter. When choosing a file with a lower case letter, be sure that you are in lower case mode. This status will be displayed in the upper left corner.
   If you want to see the file names of a different drive, choose the appropriate drive number (1-4).

In addition to RUNning tokenized or SAVEd programs, Lazy Loader ENTERs untokenized, LISTed files. Again, just press the key corresponding to the program you want. You don't need to press [RETURN].
   If an error should occur, its number appears in the upper right corner. Press [RETURN] and the program will continue.
   To read a new disk in the same drive, swap disks and press [RETURN]. To run DOS from drive 1, press [CTRL D].

Frank Walters, a retired Air Force fighter pilot. is a one-and-a-half year veteran of the Atari computer. He has also been a practicing amateur magician for 35 years.

Listing 1   LAZYLOAD.BAS Download

There's not much point to using a menu program like Lazy Loader without an AUTORUN .SYS file- which will AUTOmatically RUN another program when your Atari is turned on. Here are the details of how it works and how to make one for Lazy Loader.
   When you turn on your computer, it automatically goes through an initialization process called "coldstart". This is a byte-by-byte checking procedure that sets various statuses and values in the computer's central processor and other chips.
   This overall process. called "booting" or "booting up" your computer, checks how much RAM is available, what peripherals are attached and turned on, and so on.
   If a disk drive is on when you power up, the computer boots whatever disk is in the drive. If that disk contains the Atari Disk Operating System (DOS), it will be booted into the Atari's memory from drive 1.
   As part of its regular procedures, the DOS program looks for a binary file named AUTORUN.SYS. If AUTORUN.SYS is present, it is loaded into memory and RUN. Otherwise, DOS continues with other operations such as running the DUP.SYS file

The AUTORUN.SYS file must be a machine language program, but we can use a BASIC program which will create an AUTORUN.SYS file. In this issue's Listing Section and on the monthly Antic Disk, you'll find such a program, called ARSMAKER.BAS. (for AUTORUN .SYS MAKER). We found ARSMAKER.BAS in David Mentley's invaluable ABCs of Atari Computers (available from the Antic Catalog) and it is reprinted by permission of the publisher, Datamost.
   Type in Listing 2, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy.
   ARSMAKER.BAS creates an AUTORIJN.SYS file that automatically runs any program of your choice. When you RUN ARSMAKER.BAS, the program will ask you to "Enter filename to auto run." At the ? prompt, type the file name, in this case the name you've given Lazy Loader, followed by a [RETURN]. (Don't type device code D:). You'll need to do this only the first time you RUN ARSMAKER.BAS on a given disk.
   You now have a disk with DOS 2.0S, Lazy Loader, and a file named AUTORUN.SYS. When you boot this disk, the Atari automatically loads the DOS program, which automatically loads the AUTORUN.SYS file, which automatically runs Lazy Loader.
   If you have an Antic Public Domain Disk or a monthly Antic Disk, here's a shortcut. Use DOS to change the name Lazy Loader or any other file to MENU. You can use the AUTORUN.SYS program that's included on each disk, since it will run any program named MENU. -M.C

Listing ARSMAKE.BAS Download