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Back to the QL

If you have come back to the QL or you are new to the QL then there are a few things you should be aware of that are different to how most modern computers work. First of all switching on the QL had a predefined process to go through and the some of QL's emulators reproduce this. The start up screen takes less than ten seconds even with maximum memory





Before long you will see the image shown to the right of this text. At this point the QL computer is waiting for the user to press on of two keys, F1 or F2 depending on whether you have your computer connected to a TV or QL specific Monitor (If emulated this actually doesn't matter)





Later versions and modified versions of the QL operating system resulted in 'Minerva' for example and the opening screen for that is shown here. With a similar set of choices, the user can press F1 through to F4 and seconds later if not pressed then this decision is taken for you





Which ever version you have, once either of the optional Function Keys have been pressed, the screen display is cleared and refreshed with the operating system QDOS (or later SMS, SMSQ, SMSQ/e) waiting in the background, the SuperBasic interpreter is ready for your commands with a flashing cursor and a display with the three default windows 





The layout of the screen depends on which function key is pressed and in the case of TV mode, not all windows will be immediately visible,

Window #0 the window for input at the bottom of the screen (black)
Window #1 the window for output (red) on the screen
Window #2 the window for listing SuperBasic programs (white)

 



You are now in the realms of the SuperBasic interpreter, the flashing cursor is showing you that you have access to a powerful command structure and a wealth of commands. Simply by typing DIR MDV1_ for example and pressing the 'Return' key would be interpreted by SuperBasic and make necessary use of the operating system to display on screen 1 the files on microdrive 1





The QL's input and output hardware consists of serial ports, RS232 ports, joystick ports, display sockets and a ROM port all at the back of the QL case. At either end of the QL case are connectors, the R.H.S has one for adding additional Microdrives, whilst the L.H.S holds the biggest connector on the QL for further expansion such as memory. Some (but not all) of the connections to hardware in the QL is realised in the emulators by using the computer's actual hardware equivalent  





The QL keyboard was one of its unique features, the feel of the keys (initially) was quite an experience. Other features (amongst a plethora of others really) included file-name restrictions and conventions, which  limited to a total of 35 characters and everything (including directories) were separated by the underscore. So a file called 'fred_doc' in a directory called 'Docs' on the second floppy disk drive would be viewed by typing "VIEW FLP2_DOCS_FRED_DOC" (18 characters)





The QL and its emulators when editing SuperBasic would not have gone very far without the inclusion of Toolkit II, which provided amongst other things a part way decent line editor, a massive improvement on the default one, most would say that Toolkit II was essential, and the last screen shot to the right shows the editor in action, if you have Toolkit II installed you just need to type ED and hit Return or ED (line number) and hit return

 
 
Finally, just to give you a flavour on what happens through the start up sequence, the presentation shows some of the screen actions that are displayed. Please enjoy exploring the rest of this website.




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The standard start-up display
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The improved Minerva ROM start up
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What you get once F1/F2 is pressed
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A directory listing in TV mode
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A emulator start up screen with Toolkit II (an absolute must) 
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Editing in Monitor mode
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Some QL Book Covers

Typical start-up screens
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