Why the QL ?

A place to discuss general QL issues.
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dilwyn
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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby dilwyn » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:05 pm

NormanDunbar wrote:Took me years to get my head around the Pointer Environment. I loathed it when it first arrived. But, I got there in the end. (I think!)
Cheers,
Norm.

Yes, same here.


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby Dave » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:36 pm

NormanDunbar wrote:Took me years to get my head around the Pointer Environment. I loathed it when it first arrived. But, I got there in the end. (I think!)


I never got there. It's awful. I never had anyone there to introduce it to me, and after enough defeats and counter-intuitives you just set to having a state of mind about it.

I never got over that, much to my own regret.


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby pjw » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:10 pm

Dave wrote:
NormanDunbar wrote:Took me years to get my head around the Pointer Environment. I loathed it when it first arrived. But, I got there in the end. (I think!)


I never got there. It's awful. I never had anyone there to introduce it to me, and after enough defeats and counter-intuitives you just set to having a state of mind about it.

I never got over that, much to my own regret.

Thats what EasyPtr is for ;)


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby NormanDunbar » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:26 pm

True. But, it wasn't intuitive. So I persevered, took notes, and wrote a couple if articles on EasyPtr 3, for Quanta,


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby 1024MAK » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:26 am

Why, because I’m nuts...!
Timeline...
1982-1983 watched various TV programmes that featured ‘home computers’. Wanted one :mrgreen:
1983 Christmas - Got a ZX Spectrum 48k :D
1984-1989 ish - upgraded the Spectrum and continued to use it. Was interested in the QL, but the magazine reviews were not good and I was not impressed with the keyboard. Also I don’t like the ZX Spectrum+ keyboard.
1989 bought an Atari 520STFM :D
Bought a PC...
Many years pass by...
Work colleague asked if I was interested in a Acorn BBC B and/or a Acorn BBC Master 128. Said yes to both!
While searching for information on how to configure the settings for the Master, discovered some of the web sites about various 8/16/32 bit computers...
This got me back into 8/16/32 bit computers...
So I had to actually get a QL to have a play myself (along with various other computers...)
I don’t use it everyday, but then, I don’t use any of my 8/16/32 bit computers every day. I just dip in and out as my fancy suits me.
Sometimes play games. Sometimes tinker with the hardware. Sometimes write a program in SuperBASIC/BASIC, or tinker with assembly code.

It’s a fun hobby to distract from real life.

Mark


QL, Falcon, Atari 520STFM, Atari 1040STE, more PC's than I care to count and an assortment of 8 bit micros (Sinclair and Acorn)(nearly forgot the Psion's)
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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby dilwyn » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:20 am

Thats what EasyPtr is for ;)[/quote]
I suspect Dave meant as a user, rather than programming. Certainly my own introduction to PE was painful - I remember thinking how genuinely awful documentation for beginners was at the time.

Then Norman sent me his PE Idiot's Guide (or whatever it was called at the time) and I gradually got converted to a PE user. It proved quite popular and I lost count of the number of copies I had to send out to DJC customers at the time, showing there was a need for it.

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/ptr/peig/pe.html

Anyway, sorry, somewhat off-topic now.


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby Andrew » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:59 am

dilwyn wrote: I remember thinking how genuinely awful documentation for beginners was at the time.

Is it better now ??
I spent 6 hours trying to write a simple "Hello world" app (and understand what was doing) using PE and failed miserably.
For comparison, I was able to write a simple windows 3.1 app in 30 minutes after I received the development kit (first 20 minutes were for reading the documentation)


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby dilwyn » Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:57 am

Andrew wrote:
dilwyn wrote: I remember thinking how genuinely awful documentation for beginners was at the time.

Is it better now ??
I spent 6 hours trying to write a simple "Hello world" app (and understand what was doing) using PE and failed miserably.
For comparison, I was able to write a simple windows 3.1 app in 30 minutes after I received the development kit (first 20 minutes were for reading the documentation)

Well, I was referring to becoming a user rather than programming of course. I would agree that Easyptr, QPTR etc are not the easiest to learn from scratch.

Maybe a better name for Easyptr might have been Slightly-Less-Difficult-PTR (but it doesn't quite roll off the tongue in the same way...) :twisted:

The Easyptr manual is somewhat lacking in specific examples and tutorials. I say that with caution as all the info is there, but it's already a fairly large manual without adding such things.

Norman to the rescue again with his Easyptr Tutorial, written before GD2 became a reality, so doesn't cover the GD2 aspects. I didn't master Easyptr until I read this many years ago.
http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/docs/easyptr/index.html


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby Sparrowhawk » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:01 pm

Why the QL? Because it's there... ;)

Joking aside, I was a bit of a Sinclair and Acorn fan back in the day. BBC at school, and at home I had a Spectrum 16K, upgraded that to 48K, an interface 1 (?) and microdrive, then got a Spectrum+ (and a Sinclair TV, which I have since lost). Seeing the QL adverts in the magazines, I desperately wanted one, but could not afford it. By the time I had some cash to spend, the QL had faded from the scene and I had other things to think about - exams, girls, and, err. Well that's pretty much it.

However, I kept wanting that black rectangle and eventually bought a QL World at the newsagents. It had an offer for a QL at a very cut down price, I can't recall now - £99 perhaps. I decided to jump in and suddenly I had a computer on which I could do "real" coding (sorry ZX Basic). I learnt SuperBASIC and that was a revelation, dabbled in C1 Pascal and basically was in programming heaven with this machine. I wrote some games and utilities, including a text adventure published by CGH Services, and now, decades later, as a result of hours upon hours spent coding on the QL, I am writing code for a living.

The BBC Micro, Spectrum and QL are for me the ones that hold the fondest memories. No wonder then that I now have a Q68, reconditioned Spectrum with enhanced graphics and SD card interfaces, and a reconditioned BBC Micro with SD card interface (I also bought BBC Basic for Windows a while back). Not that I get to play with them much alas, but they always bring a smile to my face when I do use them.


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Re: Why the QL ?

Postby NormanDunbar » Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:48 pm

Hi Andrew,

Andrew wrote:Is it better now ??
I spent 6 hours trying to write a simple "Hello world" app (and understand what was doing) using PE and failed miserably.
For comparison, I was able to write a simple windows 3.1 app in 30 minutes after I received the development kit (first 20 minutes were for reading the documentation)


Depends what you mean by "better". EasyPTR makes designing Menus, as they are called, much easier than doing it by hand. Version 4 is available for free from Marcels fine web site. (https://www.kilgus.net/smsqe/easyptr/)

Also, are you programming in SuperBASIC? C68? Assembler? They all have their toolkits these days. George Gwilt has written EasyPEasy (http://gwiltprogs.info/page2.htm) which takes a lot of the stress out of writing PE programs in assembler. In my freely available Assembly Language Book, there are a couple of chapters on using it. Grab a copy at https://github.com/NormanDunbar/QLAssem ... k/releases if you want a quick peek. (Part 7, page 285 onwards.)

George has also written TurboPTR, which enables SuperBASIC PE programs to be written and compiled with the Turbo compiler - which he is also the maintainer of. (Did I mention that George has a brain bigger than the size of a planet? Well, he has!)

The QPTR Toolkit, by Tony Tebby has been around a while, and was really the first way to get going writing SuperBASIC and assembly programs under the PE. But like much of Tony's documentation, the documentation was bloody dire. (Other opinions are available, of course, but they are wrong!) ;)

For C68 PE programming, EasyPTR has a library or two that you can link to, and use EasyPTR designed menus in your programs. I might have one or two on my hard drive, somewhere, maybe. However, I seem to remember struggling a wee bit to get them to work.

Apologies to anyone reading, who has written any thing to make programming the PE easier than "bloody difficult" and which I have not mentioned.


HTH

Cheers,
Norm.


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