SXB

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SXB (Super Extended Basic) by J and KH SOFTWARE

Do not confuse with the module from Triton called Triton Super Extended BASIC - this article refers to a disk based commercial program to extend the facilities of any Extended BASIC.

Media: DISK and Manual. Requires disk system and 32k and Extended BASIC.

SXB is a collection of 100 utilities in machine code, which you can call up in your own Extended Basic programs using CALL LlNK("NAME",INPUT/OUTPUT LIST)

Designed purpose

The main use of SXB (and the one which makes it worth the price tag) is to build your own data base program: if you wish, a Personal Record Keeping Program which does what the module doesn't, faster, and uses the 24k area of the 32k ~ ram. You can design a general purpose data base or a specialised one, the choice is yours.

Tools provided

The manual is divided into various sections, the first of course dealing with setting up the DATABASE: the actual data is held in a single string array, and various utilities are provided for handling the data in the array. The array is filled in the normal manner, by inputting data, formatting it to fixed length fields (utility provided) and concatenating each "page" of data into one element of the array.

There is a pretty fast sort utility which knocks spots off the PRK module (not difficult!) and utilities to insert, delete, and replace individual items. The general purpose "update" is also available. A utility is provided to build lots of specialised data bases from one general base... all very quickly.

To assist you, there are STRING ARRAY ROUTINES, including encryption routines, and the facility to view on screen the contents of a string array: even after a BREAKpoint. The facility is provided to change characters, eg all dashes to spaces, all lower case A's to upper case A's and so on.

There is a group of STRING ROUTINES, very useful in setting up the fixed length fields, or encoding strings of spaces or zeros. There is a more powerful SEG$, and a utility to translate ASCII characters to their HEX values ("A"="4l").

If memory space is short, there are INTEGER routines which allow you to pack four integers where normally the TI stores one number. This is useful for data packing, but does NOT give the speed increase associated with integer work. Those CALL LlNKs take some time after all!

VDP Routines

Possibly of greatest interest are the VDP routines which are applicable to most ExBas programs. These include windowing commands, the ability to read the screen text 256 characters at a time (a giant ACCEPT AT), various display utilities. You can define (and get to store) up to 3l characters in one fell swoop for really fast game startups. Change colours VERY QUICKLY. And there is a nice true lower case available.

Incidentally, once SXB has been loaded, all these routines are available for any subsequent program you load, OR can be used in direct command mode, so you can type in a program with true lower case on screen.

Copy Protection

The SXB disk is heavily fortified with copy protection devices!

SXBrief

You also received, after registering your purchase, the first six issues of SXBrief (total 24 pages) which mainly gives a disk database program which is not only useful but shows how SXB works. I did not mention above, but there is 256 bytes free for extensions, which are loaded by short and simple ExBas subprograms using CALL LOADs). Although only one can be resident, it takes very little time to load by using for instance CALL MYROUTINE etc.

SXBrief gives some extensions. There are extra display and data handling routines. My favourite routine in this set is a screen dump utility... yes, another screen dump, and not entirely in machine code, but still pretty fast.

Thats not all .... you were also entitled, as a purchaser, to subscribe to further issues of SXBrief, at a cost (to the UK) of US$15 for 12 issues. Examples of what is in issues 7 on: double size bit image screen dump and extra display and data handling routines. The routines are short, but if you wished you could also buy a disk (US$15) which contains the routines in the first 15 issues of SXBrief, in CALL LOAD format (MERGE files), in Source code, and in Object code.

The Cyc

The SXB disks and manuals are available on the Cyc DVD available from CaDD Electronics (link: http://www.cadd99.com). Although in PC99 format the disk can be converted to MESS format with TI-Dir. The Cyc is supplied with emulators for Windows and DOS pc99w and pc99 . The Cyc easily has enough unique data to make it worthwhile even if you plan to use MESS rather than the dos based PC99 or Windows based pc99w. The pc99w suite dvd costs less than the original cost of SXB.