Reviewed by Phil Cardwell


Issue 32

Mar/Apr 88

Next Article >>

<< Prev Article



XLENT Software

For many years 1029 printer owners have been crying out for a useful utility to use with their 'neglected' peripheral. Support for it now comes from XLENT software, in what they describe as 'THE ULTIMATE UTILITY FOR THE 1029 PRINTER'. 10-Print comes as a double-sided disk, with several fonts and accessory programs and a small, but interesting, manual. The disk itself had a minor 'defect' in the fact that it only has DOS 2.0 and not the more commonly used DOS 2.5.


On loading, 10-Print installs a device, Q:, into the handler address table, and then loads the rest of the program into page 24 of memory. The big downfall of this is that when DOS is called, DUP.SYS automatically overwrites the Q: handler and the only way of getting it back is to re-boot. As 10-Print appears to only occupy 1K of memory, I cannot understand why the author couldn't have bumped up MEMLO a little, to accommodate both DOS and the Q: handler. A solution to this fault can be obtained by using the CUSTOM.BAS program that is on the disk. This gives the user the chance to relocate the program anywhere in memory.


To the user who just wants a hard copy of a program listing, 10-Print operates in exactly the same way as the LIST "P:" command, except that you use Q: instead. The normal printer output using this manner is 60 characters per line, but by using LIST "Q2:" the printer lists in 38 characters per line, as in a default GRAPHICS 0 screen. The devices Q3: and Q4: also exist, these modes print in the same way as Ql: and Q2: except that characters are 8 lines high, so as to reproduce characters as shown on screen, but these modes take two passes to complete each line and so take twice as long to complete the listing. The actual output to the printer deserves a good comment as 10-Print does not use the 1029's built in character set, but the one that the computer is using at the time of printing!

Programs using the Q: handler can be easily written in BASIC, as the handler is compatible with all the usual OPEN, PRINT # and PUT # commands, and P: can also be OPEN on a different channel, enabling the printer's standard font to be mixed with the character set that the computer is currently using. This is a fantastic feature, that will allow you, by simple software control, to print in any style of font that is currently resident in memory.

Spacing and the number of characters per line can be altered by POKEing a memory location, CHRWID and NUMCHS respectively, though Q2: and Q4: will always print 38 characters per line. This gives access to narrower characters and with a special font that fits into 4 columns per character, it will allow 120 characters per line. Although some readability is lost by doing this, it is ideal for applications such as printing a lot of text on labels or for database/ spreadsheet output.


10-Print appears to be a stand alone utility for the 1029, in the way of providing better quality listings, but as it is an AUTORUN.SYS file, how can it be used with a word processor that also auto boots? After a short consultation with the manual, I discovered that if a word processor file is printed to disk, as it would appear on paper with indentations, margins etc., there is a program called FILEPRNT on the disk which allows WP files to be printed. The program does not work properly as it is and requires some 'cosmetic' programming, which the vast majority of users should get round with ease. Once it has been set to the users requirements, FILEPRNT will automatically select different fonts to be printed within the document currently being processed, providing that you have embedded 3 special font selection codes within your text.

Another program on the disk, TYPESET, gives limited compatibility with TYPESETTER files. Limited because it only allows part of a TYPESETTER file to be printed. Advanced programmers should be able to come up with a routine to print the whole file.

By studying the BASIC programs included on the disk, practically anyone can be capable of writing a routine to suit their problem. People who follow this advice will notice that the GRAPHICS 8 screen dump and TYPESET programs, don't even need the Q: handler to be resident in memory!


10-Print, despite the occasional minor 'bug', is a very flexible and powerful utility, which many 1029 owners should have installed before any programming session. It's main value lies in it's capabilities to produce listings that contain control, graphic and inverse characters, but it is extremely useful for enhancing the appearance of any text based output.

It may not be the 'ultimate 1029 utility' but it is possibly the only one that can contend for the title and is well worth considering, if you want to improve the appearance of different forms of textual output on your 1029.