THE QL Pascal Development Kit is a package of which Metacomco can be justly proud. Not only does it conform closely to the ISO-standard so dearly beloved by the business community and schools but also it provides facilities not commonly available on microcomputers.
Until recently software companies would not approach the standard. The reasons given were that
any such compiler would need to be based on a mini-computer and that microcomputers just did not have enough memory to accomodate a full implementation.
Metacomco has proved them wrong. Its package contains a ROM on which is included part of the operating system firmware, two microdrive cartridges which contain the runtime editor and compiler, and an excellent and comprehensive Reference Guide.
The ROM is effectively a dongle - software protection - device which must be in the ROM slot if the compiler is to run correctly. On power-up its effects are felt straight away when a 'welcome' message is displayed. The firmware can be checked, to see if it is in working order, by typing ROM. If 'BAD ROM' is displayed you may have to send the package back to Metacomco.
The Runtime Editor is the same as that which is used in the Metacomco Assembler, BCPL and Lisp packages. It is a full-screen ASCII file editor which can be used separately, if required, for any Basic or machine code listing. The program uses 20K RAM and needs a further 8K for workspace.
The one-pass compiler allows the production of a source listing file or a code file. If neither option is chosen the program simply checks the syntax of the source which you have created using the editor.
As well as implementing the ISO standard the compiler will allow the addition of a series of ISO extensions.
Those include procedures to allow internal files to access named files, a command which produces a similar effect to that of TRAP in 68000 machine code and a set of routines to deal with QL graphics.
An INCLUDE extension can also be called allowing a user program to call other files or programs. In that way a library of commonly used routines could be built up and used by your programs.
Although the package is not intended for complete beginners the manual accompanying it gives enough information about Pascal for anyone who has knowledge of a high level language, such as Basic, to get started. The package provides a complete Pascal environment and is the most comprehensive and comprehensible on the market.
The price may seem extortionate but similar packages on other micros and minis can cost ten or twenty times as much. The Metacomco package should make other manufacturers sit back and think.
|Publisher Metacomco Price £89.95|