Your Spectrum
Programming: BASIC
ZX Spectrum 48K

Chris Bourne

This is yet another refugee from a computer magazine - an early version of Zip was listed (in the wrong order, mainly) by the troubleshooting goblins at Your Spectrum last year (issues 3-6). Zip is mainly written in BASIC and consequently works more slowly than Mcoder or IS, although it's not as lethargic as the Popular Computing weekly offering. Line numbers above 5000 are used by the compiler and optimiser.

Zip produces faster code than the other compilers, as the benchmark timings show. Like IS and Mcoder it works with whole numbers only - unlike them, it doesn't allow strings or DTA and variable names are restricted.

The documentation is better for the other compilers, consisting of twelve pages of A% (reduced from the A4 originals), with appendices covering benchmark performance, useful subroutines and error messages. There is also a section on customising the compiler program. A demonstration game is recorded after the compiler.

As compilation takes place your program is listed on the screen, and errors are shown in context. Zip is the only compiler which detects all the errors in a program at once - this is just as well, in view of the compilation rate. Zip produces error messages in plain English, whereas the other compilers just stop at the location of the error.


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Eight standard BenchMark programs were used in the comparison; timings for the execution of each benchmark program are given in seconds, with the speedup ratios achieved by each of the compilers printed on a grey background.


BM1: 4.9

BM2: 9.0

BM3: 21.9

BM4: 20.7

BM5: 25.2

BM6: 62.8

BM7: 90.0

BM8: 25.0


BM1: * (0x)

BM2: 0.065 (138x)

BM3: 9.0 (2.4x)

BM4: 4.2 (4.9x)

BM5: 4.2 (6.0x)

BM6: * (0x)

BM7: * (0x)

BM8: * (0x)


BM1: 1.75 (2.8x)

BM2: 2.1 (4.3x)

BM3: 8.7 (2.5x)

BM4: 9.4 (2.2x)

BM5: 9.4 (2.7x)

BM6: 19.7 (3.2x)

BM7: 24.0 (3.8x)

BM8: 22.5 (1.1x)


BM1: 0.058 (84x)

BM2: 0.076 (118x)

BM3: 0.57 (38x)

BM4: 0.98 (21x)

BM5: 0.99 (25x)

BM6: 1.32 (48x)

BM7: * (0x)

BM8: * (0x)


BM1: 0.043 (113x)

BM2: 0.097 (93x)

BM3: 0.62 (35x)

BM4: 0.90 (23x)

BM5: 0.92 (27x)

BM6: 1.17 (54x)

BM7: 1.47 (61x)

BM8: * (0x)

ZIP 1.5

BM1: 0.031 (158x)

BM2: 0.064 (141x)

BM3: 0.194 (113x)

BM4: 0.108 (192x)

BM5: 0.115 (219x)

BM6: 0.29 (235x)

BM7: 0.46 (191x)

BM8: * (0x)