APPLICATIONSCP/M ★ OXFORD PASCAL (c) Systems Software (Oxford) Ltd ★

Oxford Pascal|Amstrad Action)Applications Cp/m
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This is the cheapest of the packages covered here and also the most beginner-orientated; two facts that may not be unrelated. It comes in two different forms, a standard disk-resident compiler PAS.COM and a memory-resident compiler/editor/trace utility PASCAL.COM. The first of these works in pretty much the usual way - you type in PAS PROGRAM and it compiles the file PROGRAM.PAS into the P-code file PROGRAM.OBJ. You can run this as is with the interpreter RUN.COM, or turn it into a standalone program with LOCATE.COM. So much for PAS.COM. at least for the moment. PASCAL.COM is rather more unusual.

It's a major point in favour of most BASIC systems that the editor and interpreter are memory-resident - that is, you load them into memory at the start of a session and they're both on call there until you've finished programming. (I'm talking here about CP/M BASICs like Mallard and MB ASIC - Locomotive BASIC doesn't even need to be loaded in.) If you write a BASIC program you can run it, find an error, edit it till it's correct and run it again, all within BASIC.COM.
In contrast, with most PASCAL systems you'd have to write your program with the editor, exit to CP/M, run the compiler and* find the errors, exit to CP/M, enter the editor again and so on until you get it right. For beginners this is arduous to say the least - especially if you don't really know what the compiler's having problems with. What Oxford Pascal offers you in the form of PASCAL.COM is the BASIC-like ability to switch between editing, compiling and actually running your program.
It must be pointed out that the system has its drawbacks. The compiler is a cut-down version of PAS.COM, and still needs to access the disk for its error message file. It actually falls through into the system if you've not got that on the disk, but there is a handy utility called RECOVER.COM which lets you salvage any source code in memory.

More seriously, the PASCAL.COM editor is very unfriendly and quite poorly thought out. To edit a line you need to refer to it by number. But unlike BASIC, lines in PASCAL programs aren't given numbers by the programmer: they're automatically numbered as lines 1,2,3 and so on. When you list your source code by the clumsy 'l,$p' command the line numbers aren't shown. You just have to count down till you reach the line you're interested in. This unfriendliness is a real shame. The editor has some quite powerful features, but it's such a hard slog getting to them I'd sooner use WordStar and forget about the memory-resident system altogether.
Turning to PAS.COM reveals other problems. The system as a whole uses a system of colour protection to avoid piracy. If you're using PASCAL.COM you only have to go through this rigmarole once in each session, but PAS.COM insists on checking your credentials every time.

It works like this: you're given a 40x26 grid with numbers up the side and letters along the bottom. In each cell of the grid is a coloured dot. Every time you run the compiler, it asks you for the colours of the dots in each of four cells of the grid. Get one wrong and it unceremoniously dumps you back into the operating system.
The theory is that you can't reproduce the grid on a photocopier, so a pirate copy is unusable. In practice honest users get extremely annoyed at having to waste their time like this, get locked out of the system when they lose their grid or are stranded from the word go thanks to colour-blindness; while pirates get out their felt pens or trot off to the nearest copyshop that has a colour photocopier.

This really puts me right off using the package in a serious way I mean, it's just too much effort to go through all that every time you want to compile something. And some enterprising hacker is bound to work out a poke to get round it...

AA

★ PUBLISHER: Oxford Computer Systems Software
★ YEAR: 1986
★ CONFIG: 64K + CP/M
★ LANGUAGE:
★ PRICE: £24.95
★ AUTHOR(S): ???

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QUE DIT LA LOI FRANÇAISE:

L'alinéa 8 de l'article L122-5 du Code de la propriété intellectuelle explique que « Lorsque l'œuvre a été divulguée, l'auteur ne peut interdire la reproduction d'une œuvre et sa représentation effectuées à des fins de conservation ou destinées à préserver les conditions de sa consultation à des fins de recherche ou détudes privées par des particuliers, dans les locaux de l'établissement et sur des terminaux dédiés par des bibliothèques accessibles au public, par des musées ou par des services d'archives, sous réserve que ceux-ci ne recherchent aucun avantage économique ou commercial ». Pas de problème donc pour nous!

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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.