ST BASIC DISK I/O by Richard Karsmakers
In spite of the fact that I rather tend to use GfA Basic, I
understand that there still are people that use the standard ST
Basic (it's quite difficult not to vomit when writing down this
word, but alas). That's why I this time decided to write
something that explains random access file control using ST
Basic. The average GfA Basic freak will undoubtedly be able to
convert it to their favourite language...
This article is based upon an article that appeared in "Antic,
the Atari resource" of May 1986. The program supplied in the
"PROGRAM" folder is just the program supplied with that article!
To start, you need to know the difference between the two
different types of files - random and sequential. A typical
example of a sequential device is a tape recorder; to read or
write at the end of the tape, you need to wind the tape until is
has reached the point where you want it. This is a very time-
consuming business. This is also the case by so-called sequential
files on disk. Data (e.g. strings or other variables) is written
after each other, so you need to read in all data preceding let's
say the 666th item (that happens to be the item you want to read)
to reach that 666th item. Time consuming as well!
The second type of files is called a random file. This allows you
to skip unnecessary (e.g. 0-665th) items, thus enabling you to
reach the right item much faster.
Old times (back in the spring of 1986) revived when I typed in
the program, and supplied it with enough remarks so that I don't
have to make this article much longer (it must have been about
Summer 1986 when I had worked with ST Basic for the last time -
pure sentiment and nostalgia!). It does not explain all
possibilities of random file access on the ST, but it should
offer you a reasonable entrance into the world of data
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.