QL - OFFICIAL SECRETS
AT LAST it's here. The QL Technical Guide, by David Karlin and Tony Tebby, took more than a year to escape from the inner sanctum at Sinclair Research but, due to great public demand - and outrage - those guidelines have seen the light of day.
The neat A5 book, complete with hardy ring binder cover, is a pale imitation of the full QDOS specification which is available to software houses if they shout loud enough but it is certainly worth the wait, and worth its weight in gold. Not only does it cover the utilities available through QDOS but it provides blueprints of the memory map, information on system variables and, all the data you need on that nefarious subject, multi-tasking.
Skimming through the 195 pages of text and index gives a good idea of the IQ rating necessary to understand most of the information in the manual. You do not have to be a genius but it does help. The technical manual is not meant for the SuperBASIC programmer. You do need some knowledge of 68000 code and general knowledge of traps and other interrupts. If you have the background the book will give you all you need to know about the internal workings of the QL.
One area that it purposely does not cover, however, is the hardware of the machine. No chip specifications are given and there is not one blueprint hidden within the volume. The authors explain that such design blueprints would be 'giving you a route to build products which rely on non-supported elements in the QL design.' In other words, you might start to use some of those hardware functions within the 68008 which are not supported by the QL.
The book is expensive at £14.95 but there are factors which make it an imperative buy for a machine code programmer. On the QL you should always go through QDOS. Both authors are intimately connected with Sinclair and work on the QDOS operating system. The other reason for purchasing the manual is that it does not hold information back from the reader. If there is something that you need to know about QDOS it is likely to be in the manual.
The QL Technical Guide is a great box of assorted tricks. If you want to perform magic on your QL you should buy it.
Publisher Sinclair Research