ST Bookshelf

 

Issue 25

Jan/Feb 87

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USING ST BASIC ON THE ATARI ST

Glentop Publishing
7.95

A book aimed at both the newcomer to programming and those unfamiliar to ST BASIC (not Atari BASIC as it states on the cover), this is a neat comprehensive book at a good price. A lot cheaper than most others available.

In this case, cheapness does not mean lack of quality for the 190 pages are packed with solid information, diagrams, example programs and exercises. The book follows the pattern of introducing the reader to the language and then beginning to write programs with each successive chapter introducing more and more complex commands. All the BASIC keywords are covered but rather than just give a brief explanation each is described in circumstances in which it might be used with a small example program included. At the end of each chapter exercises are presented to test your grasp of the concepts in that chapter. The answers are provided at the end, or at least suggested solutions, for, in computer programming, a problem can often be solved by different means. At the end of the book several ready to run programs, of the more serious kind such as conversions and calculating programs, are included for you to use or improve.

It is difficult for someone who already knows how to program in BASIC to judge just how good a particular book is but this one follows the pattern I used several years ago to learn Atari BASIC and which I found particularly successful. The book I used all those years ago cost twice the price and at 7.95 I would not hesitate to recommend this to any newcomer to the Atari

 

THE CONCISE ATARI ST 68000 PROGRAMMER'S REFERENCE GUIDE

Glentop Publishing
15.95

The book that anyone interested in programming the ST has been waiting for, and it is as comprehensive as its title! Written in the U.K. by one of the few lady computerists, Katherine Peel, who has written in-depth articles for one of the major UK magazines, it surpasses anything yet published in the States and is destined to become a standard reference.

Much of the information is distilled from the ST Developers Kit but it has been expanded and enhanced and presented in a much more readable form. It is not a book for beginners but anyone who can write, or even dabble, in C or Assembly should have a copy as an essential reference. It begins with a general description of the ST hardware and includes pin diagrams of all the expansion ports and interfaces together with information on all of the processors and internal controllers. An overview of TOS comes next with full details of graphics, sound, GEMDOS and the various interfaces such as the keyboard and floppy disk interfaces. GEM BIOS calls, Extended BIOS calls, BDOS calls, VDI functions, Input functions, Inquire functions, all and a lot more are documented. It is impossible in a review to state just how much information there is.

Ten appendices provide all the reference material you might need whilst another gives recommendations, compatibility and comparisons of the various ASSEMBLERS available. The book is rounded off with sample programs documented for several Assemblers.

If you had an 8-bit Atari, then this could be considered the equivalent of the famous Technical Users Notes. It is surely essential to anyone who does not have access to the Developers Notes but who seriously wants to program the ST. I don't know how many pages there are (they are numbered in sections) but it is about an inch thick and worth every penny of the price.

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