Skip to main content
© Omega (with E altered by Cronos)

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 
manipulation!

Disclaimer
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.