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DOS CONNECTION: System Compliancy


This article discusses System-Manager-compliant software that will run in conjunction with the HP 95LX's built-in applications. Many future articles in this publication will be based on the ideas introduced here.

By Hal Goldstein

One of the nicest features about the HP 95LX is the ability to jump from one built-in application to another. An important feature not documented in the HP 95LX User's Guide is the ability to integrate other software into this built-in environment. Such software must be explicitly written for the HP 95LX in order to do this.

When the freeware, shareware, and commercial software described in The HP Palmtop Paper is said to be "system compliant," it means the software runs "under" the System Manager. This system-compliant software can be run in conjunction with the HP 95LX's built-in software. For example, the registered version of chess described on page 9 is System Manager compliant. That means, once installed, you could pop chess up on top of your Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet. After a few moves you could switch to your phone book and then open MEMO to take some notes. Later in the day, you could resume your chess game where you left off.

Practically, you need to know only two basic things about such system-compliant software. First, the file name of the main, system-compliant program has the extension .EXM rather than .EXE or .COM. Second, you have to tell the System Manager about the new program by creating or appending a file named APNAME.LST within MEMO. (Caution - you can't just rename a .COM or .EXE file to .EXM -- it won't work and can cause disk corruption).

We will be discussing this undocumented capability in detail in subsequent issues of The HP Palmtop Paper. However, to get you started, see Sidebar labeled "Installing System-Manager Compliant Applications." If you have an English version of the HP 95LX, go immediately to the sidebar labeled Installing TigerFox / Hearts & Bones Into System Manager and install these built-in games into the System Manager.

DOS applications not rewritten for the HP 95LX cannot normally be run from the System Manager. Normally, to run such DOS software programs, you must first close all built-in applications and then enter DOS from FILER.

However, contributing editors Ed Keefe and Mark Scardina used the UTIL Forth package described on page 11 to create "System-Executable" menu systems. These menu programs allow you to run DOS programs without closing built-in applications. For example, with PHONE, APPT, and MENU open, you could access COMMO (the communications program reviewed by Mark Scardina on page 24). However, you cannot jump back to a built-in application like PHONE until you quit the DOS communications program.

See the next article for more information.


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