Thursday, June 7, 2007

Applesoft BASIC

So settling down to programming on the Apple II+, we had several books to help me with the process. Of course there was the standard green covered Applesoft book, and Mr. Alessi also has another book but I can't remember the title. I tried to find a shot of the book cover on Google but no luck.

Before we started writing inventory management software I tried my hand at creating some graphics. The Apple II had hi-res graphics (for that day), and Applesoft had high level commands for drawing so you didn't need to POKE and PEEK as much as in other BASICs. We had only a green phosphor monitor without color, but this was appropriate for business software development.

When editing a program in Applesoft BASIC, you could type some escape sequences to move the cursor around. If you moved the cursor up to the start of a line on the screen you could then reenter the line by moving the cursor to the right, and you could substitute some characters to change the line of code. This was crude compared to the way you did things on a VIC-20 where you just moved the cursor to the line you wanted to edit, changed just what was needed and hit Return.

Also, I had never written software before that used a floppy disk. This was another thing that I needed to become comfortable with. Our Apple II had 3 floppy drives, each was 143K. We also had a 16K card and a Z80 Softcard so the machine could run CP/M, but this was something we rarely did.


Anonymous said...

I still remember Apple II!

In my first year and as a postdoc in Milano University, I had (1985) an Apple II computer driving a mass spectrometer in my lab. It was really incredible, with just one 160K floppy drive, and some extra ADC and DAC cards to generate and read all signals from RF unit of the quadrupole. Then, around 12-13 years ago, I fitted a serial card inside, did some modification in the software and all data were transferred to a 8086-based Amstrad PC.
The instrument worked until a couple of years ago, when I had to fit a new electronics inside.

It seems unbelievable, Apple II worked for almost 20 years!!

Yours Carlo

Carl Gundel said...

That's cool. Was the computer you were using an Apple II, an Apple II+, or an Apple IIe (or a c or gs)?

Anonymous said...

It was actually, if I remember correctly, an Apple II Europlus, but I had a colleague using the same instrument (it was a VG Apple Spectralab) with an Apple IIe.

If you are interested in, I may send you a copy of an article appeared (in English) on the Italian journal "Annali di Chimica, showing some chemical data obtained with the Instrument.

Thanks for reminding me an old piece of my scientific history!
Yours Carlo