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Bill Lange

Atari Pascal Language System Example Programs

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I just checked out your webpage with the example programs. Thank you for posting those examples! I hope that you will continue to add to the list as you come across more Pascal programs. I remember learning UCSD Pascal on an Apple II back in the day -- it is nice to see Pascal programs running on an Atari 8-bit also.

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I have a few books that I want to run through and convert the Pascal programs to the Atari Pascal Language System. Its a fun learning experience. I'll try to get the example code available somewhere.

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I've added some more example programs from the David Fox book, "Pascal Primer". I also added info on setting up an Altirra development environment, using the Atari Program-text Editor to create/edit Pascal source files in 40 columns, and using the XEP80 and AtariWriter 80 create/edit Pascal source files in 80 columns:

 

 

Inside Atari Pascal

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Cool stuff! My first (and really only) exposure to Pascal was using OSS Personal Pascal on my 1040ST back in college. It was a great experience and so much more powerful than the frankly awful ST BASIC Atari released with the machine. I used Pascal to code most of the stuff I needed to write earning my undergraduate engineering degree (at least to the extent we weren't required to code them up in GW-BASIC on the DOS PC's in the computer labs).

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I believe that I found a bug in the Atari Pascal Language System that I'm calling the "READ CHAR" bug. I detail it here. I was able to work around it using "peeks" and "pokes".

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I've been enter Pascal example programs using Altirra with a virtual XEP 80 and Atari Writer80. I've been seeing some goofy issues with Atari Writer 80 such as when you cursor key down past the first screen full of data, the editor jumps to the bottom of the document. Also lines were getting messed up when deleting. I'm not sure if these are issue with AtariWriter80 itself, the virtual XEP80 or because I'm running these under Altirra. I've switched over to Jonathan Halliday's The Last Word program. I'm liking it so far.

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please attach your aw80 etc, and I'll give it a test... I don't remember it happening like that on real hardware.

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Here is a video of the scrolling issue I'm seeing in AtariWriter 80 running in Altirra 3.10 with a virtual XEP80.

 

Right around time stamp 26 seconds, you can see I'm scrolling down paste the first page of the document. When I get to the last line of that first page, AtariWriter80 jumps to the very end of the long document.

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I've been seeing some goofy issues with Atari Writer 80 such as when you cursor key down past the first screen full of data, the editor jumps to the bottom of the document. Also lines were getting messed up when deleting. I'm not sure if these are issue with AtariWriter80 itself, the virtual XEP80 or because I'm running these under Altirra.

 

These sound like the same issues reported in a review of AtariWriter 80 by Matthew Ratcliff in the December 1989 Antic: https://archive.org/details/1989-12-anticmagazine/page/n21

 

"The only noticeable glitch of AtariWriter 80 is that often, while pressing [CONTROL] [DOWN ARROW] to scroll the display down one line at a time, the display jumps to the end of the document, as if [sELECT] were pressed. This is best avoided by employing the [OPTION] [DOWN ARROW] to move down a page at a time, a reliable function.

 

While composing this article, I began deleting some characters with [CONTROL] [DELETE]. Garbage started appearing at the bottom of the display, and soon the lower half of the screen was a mess. However, all my display problems cleared up when I shut off the 1040ST system nearby. I suspect the ST was creating some interference with communications between the 800XL and XEP80.

 

Maybe because I don't do much word processing on the 8-bit any more, it seemed to me that AtariWriter 80 misses keys occasionally. When typing rapidly, a blank space may show up instead of the letter pressed, or letters are missing entirely. The keys on my 800XL are much stiffer than on my PC AT compatible, so the cause could be my lack of regular practice on the 800XL. I also experienced similar problems with Turboword from Micromiser."

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Thanks for posting that. I'm glad its not just my setup having AtariWriter 80 issues. I've moved on to The Last Word. This word processor is working much better for me.

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Posted (edited)

confirmed...

I wonder if this happens on all versions of AtariWriter80 or if it was fixed up in other releases. Beings it was reviewed in a magazine you would hope there was a fixed version or patch... I used the option keys with the arrows... makes you wonder why they decided to change things though. Left overs from the previous version they built on...

Edited by _The Doctor__
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Posted (edited)

There seems to be a bug in the ABS() function.

 

post-188-0-02752100-1552530419_thumb.png

 

post-188-0-53221600-1552530599_thumb.png

 

 

Edited by Bill Lange

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I am guessing this is not a bug, but due to the fact that INTEGER would only be an 8-bit variable. If signed, that means -128 to 127. -151 overflows.

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Posted (edited)

Possibly. I'll have to double check the documentation when I get a chance. I added some more info here.

Edited by Bill Lange
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Hi!

 

There seems to be a bug in the ABS() function.

 

attachicon.gif2019-03-13_22-24-51.png

 

attachicon.gif2019-03-13_22-29-14.png

Well, (-151 AND $7FFF) is exactly 32617, so it seems that whoever programmed the ABS function forgot that the integers are stored as twos complements and not as sign/magnitude. Perhaps the ABS function expected a floating point value?

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Posted (edited)

My own simple ABS2() function works.

 

I tried passing a REAL, but the compiler chocked on that.

 

I also tried a negative number < -127 and still give the wrong answer.

 

post-188-0-72235700-1552594745.png

Edited by Bill Lange

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This is why I hate using compiled languages. Stuff like this can make you crazy debugging: Is it me or is it the compiler ?

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I knew it was going to be buggy going in. :-)

I wanted to kick the tires and try to see why it failed as an official Atari product and as a APX product.

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When I was in high schoool, we got a bunch of Apple ]['s and I took a programming class where we programmed in UCSD Pascal. Does anyone know if that was released for Atari and/or what flavor of Pascal Atari Pascal is?

 

Thank you!

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Steve Boswell created some nice artwork for the header on my Inside ATARI PASCAL blog. He designed a retro-looking ATARI 400/800 "Computing Language" style big box as if Atari Pascal was released in Atari's main line catalog back in the Ferg rather than the APX catalog.

 

Thanks again Steve!

 

Bill

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