VERSION UPDATE by Stefan Posthuma
When I was writing the Editorial for this issue of ST NEWS, I got
inspired. Inspired to write programs. Especially programs that
would improve the looks of ST NEWS. I got inspired (Note 1) and
started programming. My effords have leaded to the following
The New Pageview Mode
The pageview mode of ST NEWS (this is the routine that enables
you to view a document on the screen and page through it) has
gone through a steady evolution throughout the history of
ST NEWS. It all started with 1ST-WORD which is a great
wordprocessor, but the scrolling speed is not so great. This is
because the authors of 1ST-WORD used standard GEM to display the
document, and GEM has not broken any speed-limits lately.
When the 1ST-WORD concept was abandoned, the pageview routine did
not improve in speed. This is because the new pageview mode was
programmed in GfA BASIC. GfA BASIC is a fast BASIC, but the
pageview mode just wasn't fast enough to provide quick paging and
When I felt up to it, I wrote a new pageview mode in machine
code. It took some time and a lot of hacking, but finally I
succeeded and the pageview routine was much, much faster.
But it still wasn't as fast as it could be. I used the TEXTBLT
routine which is part of the line-A routines. This is a compex
routine which can deal with different fonts, styles and screen-
resolutions. This is great, but it slows the routine down. This
is when I decided to write my own TEXTBLT routine. It directly
reads out the font in memory and does things as fast as possible.
This resulted in a very fast routine. Almost as fast as the
TEMPUS editor. But my routine had to deal with different styles
like bold and italics, and it had to decompress the text while
displaying it on the screen.
A program in never finished, and this is why I wrote yet another
Since this issue is sort of special (the first issue by me
instead of Richard...read the editorial and the note from the ex-
editor), I wanted to add something, make an improvement to prove
that I intend to take it seriously. Well, my modesty allows me to
say that the new pageview routine is an improvement. It is faster
(entire text is decompressed before entering pageview mode, font
is converted in special, quick-to-access format and styling is
improved) and looks better. You can operate it entirely by mouse.
It works just like a window, with a scroll bar and scroll arrows.
(In fact, you are looking at it right now).
You can still operate it by keyboard. All the keys that operated
the old pageview routine are still active.
The 'create wordplus file' option has been changed a little. You
used to get a special screen with two options, 'write wp file'
and 'format disk'. These two options are now accessible by a
single keystroke: 'p' to write a wordplus file and 'f' to format
Finally I added yet another option: Dump document to printer.
This is a very rude print-routine which boltly dumps the document
to the printer on the standard port without bothering with things
like textstyles (they are simply ingored). It also doesn't worry
about proper pagelenghts and just sends a $0D/$0A sequence as an
end-of-line marker. If your printer doesn't print correctly
(mine, an ordinary IBM-compatible does, so I assume it's ok) or
if you want neat page layouts and things like bold and underline,
forget it and save the document as WP-file and use WordPlus to
print it out correctly.
I hope you like the new pageview mode, it took me quite a while
to program it!
There is more!
Richard got some complaints from people who said that the color
palette was a little dark. Especially on those Atari-color
monitors where you cannot adjust the brightness of your screen.
This is why I added a 'modify colours' option. When you select
this option from the main-menu or press 'X' in pageview mode, you
will get a little box with some figures and arrows in it. The
figures represent the red-green-blue values in the foreground and
background colors. The arrows allow you to adjust these values.
When you select 'OK' or press return, the colours will be fixed
and the box will disappear. When you select 'CANCEL' or press
escape, the original colors will be restored and the box will
disappear, and 'UNDO' or pressing the undo-key will restore the
original colors without quitting the routine. This is handy when
the two colors are equal and you cannot see anything on the
I also optmized some things like the document-selection and the
screen-restore routines, but that has no effect on the way you
experience ST NEWS.
Well, this about completes the changes to ST NEWS. I think I have
reached the limit where pageview mode is concerned. If you have
any other suggestions how to improve ST NEWS (the 'modify
colours' option is something that resulted from reader-feedback),
do not hesitate to write!
See you somewhere else in this issue,
When I get inspired, my head is full of code, very impatient to
get out. This results in scribbling down streams of thoughts on
little pieces of paper which are neatly tucked away afterwards in
a little compartment of my briefcase. (yes folks, I am one of
these guys that carries a Briefcase around. My parents gave me
one of these for my birthday, and I admit it beats stuffing a
walkman, several tapes containing Great Noise, some sandwiches,
spare batteries for my walkman to prevent LL Cool J from rapping
in slo-mo, tapes containing computer programs; they're about the
size of a video-cassette tape, 'strippenkaarten'; you use these
to pay for your ride in the bus, money; to buy even more
sandwiches and softdrinks, chewing-gum in all sorts of tastes, a
book from Tom Sharpe, a ST magazine and my Little Black Book in
the pockets of my trench-coat. I tended to look like an over-
active shoplifter, and some salespeople in stores I used to visit
while travelling between my office and the office of the client I
had to visit closely observed the bulks under my coat, just
waiting for the alarm to go off when I stepped through the anti-
shoplift gates which every self-respecting shopkeeper has instal-
led to be able to practise his years of karate-training on
innocent clients who just happen to carry something that activa-
tes the alarm.) And when I get home, I eat in a hurry, I empty
the little compartment of my briefcase and sit behind my ST.
After some mental preparation, I start tapping keys and dragging
the mouse around its little mouse-mat. Wonderful things will
happen on the screen and these things have great effects on the
mental well-being of yours truly. Sometimes things go great, I
become happy and pump up the volume of my stereo to great
annoyance of certain people who also live in the house I live in.
But sometimes things do not go so great. Little bombs appear on
the screen or the ST stops executing the program I had so
painstakingly written and refuses to operate until I press the
little reset button. This will result in language coming from my
mouth that cannot be repeated without insulting lots of people.
It will also result in very long nights, the playing of even
heavier records at volume levels that will cause local earth-
quakes and the consuming of large amounts of junk-food like
substances. But eventually, the bombs will stop to appear, the ST
will do what I intended it to so and my happiness will
dramatically increase and I will allow myself to rest my ever-
worried mind and get some sleep.
I think you now by now what it is like to be Inspired.