The Last Book of GW-Basic

The Last Book of GW-Basic


Joseph Sixpack

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What is offered here is a series of GW-BASIC programs that 
are minimalist in size and features, but still offer a very 
basic functionality.  There are a couple of methods offered 
to write letters, do minimalist spreadsheets, "databases" or 
actually how to handle lists, some financial functions, some 
simple K.I.S.S. accounting methods, the usual checkbook, and 
other whatnot.

As these UNPROFESSIONAL programs developed at home over the 
years, i noticed that they began to fulfill a basic system 
workable for home use.  And indeed, that is just what 
happened.  Currently, being an average joseph_sixpack, i can 
do almost everything i need to do with a computer with just 
the:  (trumpets please)

               "Four Files of the Apocalypse"

Which amount to three system files from DOS 6.22 plus the 
latest version (3.23) of GW-BASIC from DOS 4.01 which listed
below are:

         file name         size in bytes

     1.  COMMAND.COM       54,645
     2.  IO.SYS.           40,774
     3.  MSDOS.SYS         38,138
     4.  GW-BASIC.EXE      80,608
     Total System Size:   214,165

That's it.  That is the whole computer software system.
A grand total of a little over 200k.  It will fit on 1/6 to 
1/7th of a floppy.

Now, i ask you, who needs 50,000,000 bytes of code to write,    
"Dear Mom, how are you?, I am fine."?

When, for the most part, for the rest of us, just 24 bytes 
of GW-BASIC code will do the job fine, plus the letter or 
memo or RFQ data to send that letter, memo, or rfq, to the 
printer.  24 bytes verses 50,000,000 bytes... ?
Is something wrong here?  

ahem... Now the applications for GW-BASIC are another 
                     You said small...

i have a total of over a million bytes of gw-basic programs
in hundreds of gw-basic programs and other baloney on my 
hard drive for the interpreter.  Plus, a few other tiny 
assembly programs written by others.  But the basics are 
well under a meg and even less if zipped.  it's true that 
my system tends to suffer from middle aged spread and get 
fatter as it gets older.

And one last final caveat: Be well informed, and well aware, that these are NOT professional programs. Little error trapping is done for most programs so you gotta know what you are entering. Some programs are error trapped just to show you how to error trap if you are a complete newbie and don't have any documentation. For every program that i managed to stumble through and finally get running mostly correctly, there must be an innumerable number of far better gw-basic programs out there in cyberland that have been better coded by professionals. For example, the "word processor stuff" was done far better from a long gone magazine called "Compute" which actually had a basic loader load in assembly code for a tiny word processor. "Write, Edit and Print" was a program that used gw-basic alone to create a nifty word processor. That program took up a whole book! Professional Accounting programs were written, And so on and on... i don't remember seeing a spreadsheet program done by a professional, but i am sure there are more than a couple out there in cyberspace somewhere. Same is true for databases. What we need to do is to gather them all up legally in one place, with permission from the authors to put them in the public domain to be used by and for the, lonely (not looney) affectionados of minimalist gw-basic. While i think of it, Forth & Turbo Pascal are other good candidates for use by minimalists.
In the Beginning, there was the End The following GW-Basic code is the first part of this e-book called, "The Last Book of GW-Basic" where we create a set of GW-Basic interlinking applications called humorously,
"The Four Files of the Apocalypse" or "GW-BASIC OFFICE v1.00 or GW-BASIC SUITE 1983
The Menuing System The first program up on the screen loaded by GW-BASIC is a circular menuing system from which we can RUN all the other GW-BASIC programs, or to shell to another professional application completely.
Shelling out to other Applications One of the displayed circular menus shells to Lotus 1-2-3 version 2.01 with HAL, dBase III+, Word, Works, Wordstar, Professional Write and a host of other classic applications. Altering the menuing system is very easy to accommodate your favorite programs. as an aside, Computer Shopper had a gw- basic menuing system in its publications around 1987 sometime... hey... that's only decades ago. you do save your computer magazines don't you? :-)
The Main Menu The first however, "mnu-main.bas" gets the most use in that it just calls the rolodex, lister, recipes and other most used programs that are written in GW-BASIC. You can go left or right on the menuing circle by just pressing the F9 or F10 function keys. That will rotate the ring around to the menu that you want. If i remember, i made them different colors so are to help with the mode problems. Of course you can change colors if you want. as an aside, i am partially colorblind so it is your call on my goofy colors.
If you Must Running under Windows, the "Four Files of the Apocalypse" can shell to other windows or DOS applications as well. This is considered an "old fashioned" linking "mode" style menuing system that is held somewhat in disfavor now by the professional menu masters. For me, the mode type user interface issues never surfaced as an operating hindrance as the system is just too simple to develop complexity. Nor did i ever use the system 8 hours a day to develop that type of finger-mind fatigue that always calls up the wrong menu or operation within an application that brought this type of menuing system into disfavor. So it works for me...
The Small File Requirement The menuing system uses very small batch files when necessary or very small GW-Basic programs to assist in returning to the correct menu after the application is closed. Those small files are all collected into one file at the end of the table of contents. so you may have to sort through to find just the ones you need if you want to minimalize the number of files on your system.
On your mark, get set, go... The first small batch file switches to the appropriate drive, then switches to your appropriate directory, in this case, /FFA. (which stands for the "Four Files of the Apocalypse") The batch file then calls GW-BASIC and loads the main menu called MNU-MAIN.BAS. After you are through with the application and have exited GW-BASIC, it calls another batch file called FAMILY.BAT. FAMILY.BAT is simply the opening screen splash for our family system. Family is of course totally optional.
The starting gun The batch file is: @echo off cls Drive letter (a-f) E: cd\ cd ffa gwbasic.exe mnu-main.bas family
Where is the Path? One note on the path requirements of DOS: any called application from an alien directory absent from the path must have the "Set path to: "drive/directory" environmental variable assigned.
Ground floor, everybody out! As you can see, after the mnu-main program is exited, the batch file exits and transfers control to another batch file, "family". And we might as well dispose of that now, here is "family.bat" for your alteration: Oops! ummm... i notice that i use Batch Enhancer from the Norton Utilities 4.5 in addition to a standard ascii file. if you don't have the old DOS program (BE) sitting around anywhere, don't fret, this is just icing on the cake and you don't need the opening splash. You might find the old program or something similar using a google search or checking on e-Bay.
Splash! Here is the system splash starter file. The file, menu-fam.doc is printed to the screen and then over that is the Batch enhancer from Norton put to work. @echo off cls c: cd\ type c:\dus\menu-fam.doc rem "be" is the norton batch enhancer program. be window 2 20 4 59 explode shadow be rowcol 3 28 "The ******* Family Menu" bri yellow be window 15 20 20 59 explode shadow be rowcol 16 25 "Please type your 3 initials" bri yellow be rowcol 17 25 "or letters for your application" bri yellow be rowcol 18 25 "and then press the enter key" bri yellow be rowcol 22 1 hmmmm... maybe i should just delete the above paragraph entirely. oh well...
Here is a copy of MENU-MAIN.BAS Oops! well, the high order ascii characters have to be (well they don't have to replaced, it just looks prettier) replaced with the line drawing characters using either a search and replace function or an old copy of either wordstar or professional write or any other editor that will do the job. when i uploaded the menus into an HTML file, the box drawing characters from the file got translated... sigh... sorry. First we reopen and clear the screen, turn off the keys, create a month array, select a color, any color, and finally clear the screen 0 VIEW PRINT:KEY OFF:DIM M$(12):COLOR 11,4:CLS 'by fhb rev.d 9/17/98 (don't forget to include the above line zero (0) in the menuing code below...) assign some values to hour (HR) and Date$ (D$) and AMPM$ 1 HR=VAL(LEFT$(TIME$,2)):D$=DATE$ 2 IF HR>11 THEN AMPM$=" pm" ELSE AMPM$=" am" 3 IF HR>12 THEN HR=HR-12 4 IF HR=0 THEN HR=12 here we assign months to the m$() array. i know, i know, i left m$(0) blank. for alignment purposes, all the string values in the array are the same length accomplished with leading blanks. Makes it easier. 5 M$(1)=" January":M$( 2)=" February":M$( 3)=" March":M$( 4)=" April" 6 M$(5)=" May":M$( 6)=" June":M$( 7)=" July":M$( 8)=" August" 7 M$(9)="September":M$(10)=" October":M$(11)=" November":M$(12)=" December" print a centered title Note: you can do the (80 - len(title))/divide by two b.s. but who needs it for our simple stuff. 8 PRINT TAB(20)"Welcome to the Four Files of the Apocalypse" convert the hour number back to a string value and print it print the main menu heading and all the month and year stuff. DON'T forget the little apostrophe's (oops, semicolons!) at the end there.. very important :-) 9 PRINT STR$(HR);":";MID$(TIME$,4,2);AMPM$;TAB(35)"MAIN MENU"; 10 PRINT TAB(62) M$(VAL(MID$(D$,1,2)));" ";MID$(D$,4,2);", ";RIGHT$(D$,4) move the cursor to line 21 row 1 11 LOCATE 21,1 next four lines print the boxes and what goes in them. not strictly necessary but looks better. DON'T FORGET THE APOSTROPHES er... SEMI-COLONS at the end of the lines! 12 PRINT"┌──────┐┌──────┐┌──────┐┌──────┐┌──────┐┌──────┐┌──────┐┌──────┐┌──────┐┌──────┐"; 13 PRINT"│ HELP ││SSaver││ RCP ││ ROLO ││ CB ││ Works││ exit ││LISTER││prior ││ next │"; 14 PRINT"└──────┘└──────┘└──────┘└──────┘└──────┘└──────┘└──────┘└──────┘└──────┘└──────┘"; 15 PRINT" F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 F7 F8 F9 F10"; create a scrollable window, put some color in it, clear that screen. 16 VIEW PRINT 3 TO 20:COLOR 11,1:CLS Reassign the function keys to do different things 17 KEY 1, CHR$(27) + "RUN" +CHR$(34)+ "HELP-FFA"+CHR$(13) 18 KEY 2, CHR$(27) + "RUN" +CHR$(34)+ "SSAVER" +CHR$(13) 19 KEY 3, CHR$(27) + "RUN" +CHR$(34)+ "MNU-RCP" +CHR$(13) 20 KEY 4, CHR$(27) + "RUN" +CHR$(34)+ "ROLO" +CHR$(13) 21 KEY 5, CHR$(27) + "RUN" +CHR$(34)+ "CB" +CHR$(13) 22 KEY 6, CHR$(27) + "RUN" +CHR$(34)+ "2WORKS" +CHR$(13) 23 KEY 7, CHR$(27) + "RUN" +CHR$(34)+ "EXIT" +CHR$(13) 24 KEY 8, CHR$(27) + "RUN" +CHR$(34)+ "LISTER" +CHR$(13) 25 KEY 9, CHR$(27) + "RUN" +CHR$(34)+ "MNU-APPS"+CHR$(13) 26 KEY 10,CHR$(27) + "RUN" +CHR$(34)+ "MNU-LETR"+CHR$(13):'NEW the last line below is an embedded 'save' command that is commented out so you don't have to remember or misremember what file you are working on. after making your edits just delete the leftmost line number until the apostrophe is gone and save the file by pressing enter. 27 ' SAVE"MNU-MAIN.BAS",A that's it. Most other programs in the "last book of gw-basic" follow the same format more or less. some have extensive embedded commands depending on the length of the file and the number of subroutines. it is a handy feature of the gw-basic interpreter. makes the program a lot easier to debug or edit later when you don't even remember writing the program in the first place. :-( what's this?
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