The background to my presence here

Helpful tips and guides, also new users can ask for help here.
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dilwyn
Mr QL
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Re: The background to my presence here

Postby dilwyn » Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:44 pm

Glad you found my site. I try to cram as much QL stuff in there as I can as the host ISP has been quite generous with the amount of space it uses. As I started to see many QL-related sites closing over the years, I thought it best to gather as much stuff in one place as possible for fear of QL-related software, documentation etc disappearing and never to be seen again.

To help your adventures into SuperBASIC there are things like an online SuperBASIC manual on there - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/ebooks/olqlug/index.htm

If you go down the route of using QPC2, bear in mind that it uses SMSQ/E, the enhanced version of QDOS. It has an enhanced "SuperBASIC" called SBASIC, and you can find manuals for SBASIC in various formats at http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/ebooks/index.html

As each emulator seems to have its own method of loading and saving files, it can be hard to suggest a method of transferring files between platforms. If it's a BASIC program, that's easy, a SuperBASIC or SBASIC program is essentially just a plain text file as far as the QL is concerned and you can save them in Windows etc without too much problem. The bugger is executable programs (those you start with commands such as EXEC or EXEC_W). The QL and most emulators save these with something called an executable file header. Which Windows, Linux, Mac don't understand. So if you save to a Windows drive, for example, Windows "forgets" this file header and when you copy it back to a QL environment, it fails to work, usually stopping with an error such as "bad parameter".

There are articles on my website about using QL Zip and Unzip to make file transfer easier - this is why all the QL programs on my site are zipped. DO NOT unzip them in Windows/Linux/Mac, that'll lose the header and the programs will not transfer properly. Instead, send the zip file to the QL environment and unzip it there. But how do you get Unzip there in the first place - that seems a catch 22 where you would need a copy of unzip to unzip the unzip program in the first place. What I did there was to cheat - convert Unzip to a BASIC program which would recreate the Unzip program. BASIC programs survive the transfer between systems, so by transferring to QL environment, then running it, it recreates a copy of Unzip to get you started. This program can be found as one of those listed under "JOB2BAS" on my archivers page - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/arch/index.html. There are two versions of Unzip - 5.32 seems to work for everyone, some seem to have issues with the 5.40. Zipping files with QL versions of Zip protects the file header of executable programs when transferring.

job2bas.jpg
Job2Bas - Unzip


As these "beginner" questions get asked over and over again it would be really great if someone familiar with all the platforms could write a guide which could be placed online somewhere.

Personally I'm a little distanced from the QL scene at the moment as I just don't get time :( . My favoured platform for QLing is QPC2, although I also have QemuLator. Hardware-wise, I have two QLs and an Aurora card, and hope to get a Q68 later in the year if Derek manages to produce enough to fulfil demand! Our area borders on an area which has just entered lockdown, so if we go into lockdown too, I may just have to stay home and start using my QL systems again over winter!!!

But welcome to the QL scene, I hope your adventures with the QL are successful and enjoyable.


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All things QL - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk
Derek_Stewart
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Location: Runcorn, Cheshire, UK

Re: The background to my presence here

Postby Derek_Stewart » Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:45 am

Hi,

Why not just pay the Q-emulator registration fee and use all the extended facilities available.

I hear people moaning that they can not transfer the contents of a ZIP file into QL environment, just use the Registered Q-emulator feature of mounting the ZIP archive file as a microdrive.

This is one of the best features of Q-Emulator.


Regards,

Derek
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dilwyn
Mr QL
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Re: The background to my presence here

Postby dilwyn » Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:00 am

Derek_Stewart wrote:Hi,

Why not just pay the Q-emulator registration fee and use all the extended facilities available.

I hear people moaning that they can not transfer the contents of a ZIP file into QL environment, just use the Registered Q-emulator feature of mounting the ZIP archive file as a microdrive.

This is one of the best features of Q-Emulator.

Indeed it is, and a feature I often use myself. Has to be a paid, registered copy though. That fantastic feature is unique to a registered QemuLator and I was talking in more general terms as a fairly "universal" transfer method across all emulators, of course.

To use it you simply click on one of the drive slots in a registered copy of QemuLator and in the menu which appears, click on "ZIP/QLPAK Archive" (as shown in the attached picture) and use the file selection menu to choose the zip file.
qemuzip.jpg
Attaching a zip file to QemuLator


Worth emphasising that this Zip attachment facility is one of the many things that doesn't work in an unregistered QemuLator, along with TCP/IP, speed faster than unexpanded QL, large RAM up to 16MB, level 2 filing system, QXL.WIN support, floppy disk images, ram disk built in, mouse support with PE, printer emulation, parallel ports... The version 3 qemulators even have a great sampled sound system as well as the beeper (the version number can be seen either in the startup messages top of the screen, or in "About QemuLator" in the Help menu).

Also, should emphasise that although the zipfile appears as a drive in QemuLator, it is a read-only drive - you can't write back to it. Which can cause minor issues for example when trying to run a game which keeps writing to a high score table or similar. That said, very easy to just copy everything out of the zip file to another writeable medium if that becomes an issue.

In other words, well worth registering it to get the extra features, and I'd guess that the registration payments help persuade its author to keep developing the emulator.

Registration details at http://www.terdina.net/ql/registration.html, I think the Windows version costs US$35 and well worth it.

Although QPC2 is my emulator of choice, QemuLator is often promoted as the best for someone who just wants something as close to a QL as possible for running older QL software. Both are always on my PC.

Just realised that the QemuLator on my PC is not the latest version so I'm off to try to upgrade to v3.3.1 !


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All things QL - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk
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dilwyn
Mr QL
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Re: The background to my presence here

Postby dilwyn » Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:34 am

Small warning for those who run into the same problem as I did with the QemuLator update.

Windows 10 refuses to let you install it! Warns it could harm your computer!

Of course you can override that in Windows and proceed with the installation anyway. You need to uninstall the emulator first, then run the new installer. It seems to remember your registration code and configuration, so you don't have to find the code and re-enter it or the drive assignments.

Some time since I last updated the emulator and I'd clearly forgotten about this. Anyway, successfully updated (eventually!)
Last edited by dilwyn on Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Corrected a typo.


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All things QL - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk
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Sparrowhawk
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Re: The background to my presence here

Postby Sparrowhawk » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:03 pm

tofro wrote:There's syntax-highlighting files for VIM and Notepad++


Ahah. Notepad++ That's what I was thinking of. Thanks.

Hmmm... maybe I'll look into creating a VSCode one then, if it's not too hard.


a.k.a. Jean-Yves !
Derek_Stewart
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Location: Runcorn, Cheshire, UK

Re: The background to my presence here

Postby Derek_Stewart » Tue Oct 13, 2020 7:00 pm

Sparrowhawk wrote:
tofro wrote:There's syntax-highlighting files for VIM and Notepad++


Ahah. Notepad++ That's what I was thinking of. Thanks.

Hmmm... maybe I'll look into creating a VSCode one then, if it's not too hard.

Hi

How do you run the programme written with VS,Notepad++, VIM, DAZ, Persil...


Regards,

Derek
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bwinkel67
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Re: The background to my presence here

Postby bwinkel67 » Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:35 pm

I've found qlayt.exe (the updated version you can get with QL2K that supports 64 bit architectures) works pretty well with MDV files (extracting info from them and building them) for use with vDrive. I also find that I've been successful using qlayt.exe to add the data part to an executable that you might get from a zip file and getting it to run form a Windows directory in QLAY2 and QL2K with no problem (the qlayt.exe creates a qlay.dir file that either emulator uses). I haven't tried the qlayt.exe/QLAY2/QL2K combo on Windows 10 but I'm guessing it ought to work. I do use 64bit machine so at least it works fine in that.

http://www.jadiam.org/QL/REDIST/QL2K-x64-b101.zip


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tofro
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Re: The background to my presence here

Postby tofro » Tue Oct 13, 2020 8:53 pm

Derek_Stewart wrote:
Sparrowhawk wrote:
tofro wrote:There's syntax-highlighting files for VIM and Notepad++


Ahah. Notepad++ That's what I was thinking of. Thanks.

Hmmm... maybe I'll look into creating a VSCode one then, if it's not too hard.

Hi

How do you run the programme written with VS,Notepad++, VIM, DAZ, Persil...


I'm simply developing my programs with VS Code on the Mac in a dos_ drive, then tab over to QPC2 and type "ex make".


ʎɐqǝ ɯoɹɟ ǝq oʇ ƃuᴉoƃ ʇou sᴉ pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ʇxǝu ʎɯ 'ɹɐǝp ɥO
Derek_Stewart
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Posts: 2426
Joined: Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Runcorn, Cheshire, UK

Re: The background to my presence here

Postby Derek_Stewart » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:42 am

Hi,

tofro wrote:I'm simply developing my programs with VS Code on the Mac in a dos_ drive, then tab over to QPC2 and type "ex make".


Can you use make to run S*BASIC?


Regards,

Derek
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TMD2003
Over Heated PSU
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Re: The background to my presence here

Postby TMD2003 » Thu Oct 15, 2020 7:54 pm

Evening, all - the rebuild of my Sinclair website is taking rather longer than expected (that it's been mostly untouched since about 2008 should have raised a few alarms...), so I've barely looked into anything QL-related these last few days. However, when it's in a state that I can get it posted properly, the beginnings of the QL Type-Ins page will already be there. I might have to think of a few workarounds to make the screenshots appear as the "correct" size, but it shouldn't take too long. Most of the lengthy bits and pieces are done and dusted.

dilwyn wrote:Glad you found my site. I try to cram as much QL stuff in there as I can as the host ISP has been quite generous with the amount of space it uses. As I started to see many QL-related sites closing over the years, I thought it best to gather as much stuff in one place as possible for fear of QL-related software, documentation etc disappearing and never to be seen again.
To help your adventures into SuperBASIC there are things like an online SuperBASIC manual on there - http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/ebooks/olqlug/index.htm

Unsurprisingly, this is what I've been using so far - I tried the PDF that had been made from an OCR scan of the original manual and it was pretty much illegible, but your HTML pages are telling me what I need to know.

I've already got a good idea of what my first QL project will be - there's a Spectrum FA Cup simulator in the pages of ZX Computing that I typed in and modified, back in the day, with a 42-character print routine to allow longer team names. The thought occurred, when I was listing all the modifications I'd made, that a QL port would be ideal - there aren't any UDGs, and leaving CSIZE and multi-colour mode well alone should allow 80 characters on each line, so even Wolverhampton Wanderers could have their entire name on screen all at once. I might even be able to simulate the 1980s-style videprinter if I'm ambitious...

And soon enough, I will see what QPC2 is like. Then I'll have a look at the zip/unzip programs - they look like they're going to be useful. I suppose another project to take on would be to get the QLAY-spec .MDVs into .ZIP and QLPAK formats. Good job there aren't all that many of them and the raw text files I made sure to save (via QLAY's save win3_filename) should work... I say, hopefully.

More introductory waffle when I get there...


Spectribution: Dr. Jim's Sinclair computing pages.
Features my own programs, modified type-ins, RZXs, character sets & UDGs, and QL type-ins... so far!

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