View Full Version : Creation of Tiny Basic, Curiousity

August 9th, 2015, 07:32 PM
Just out of Curiosity, what kind of Set up was used to create tiny basic? The original, the 8080 based Tiny Basic was designed to be used with a standard Teletype interface. Did the creators, use a monitor program? Also, how would

they have gotten the octal or hexadecimal code onto paper tape? Was it possible to just dump it to a paper tape (like you could ascii based), or did they have to write a routine to get the final creation onto tape? It could of also been

crossed compiled. Remote possibly it was keyed in using Switches, though they would have been forever time consuming?

I am just wondering how the Authors got around the Altair's I/O problem to create Tiny Basic?

August 12th, 2015, 05:22 AM
Hi John;

Welcome to the forum..

"" I am just wondering how the Authors got around the Altair's I/O problem to create Tiny Basic? ""
I didn't know Altair had an I/O problem..

I Just Realized, my comments below are wrong, because I was making comments on Tiny C and Not Tiny Basic..
On Tiny Basic, which Tiny Basic are You referring to ??
I have the origional Listing for Tiny Basic that is Listed in Dr. Dobbs Journal, and the Rest of them that are listed there as well..
And possibly most of my comments might apply..
Secondly, Since I have never had or seen the origional Manual for it ( Tiny C), I cannot answer most of Your questions.. I have been looking for it for many years..
But, I have heard that You wrote Your own I/O for it.. This also applies to Tiny Basic as well..
Also, I would assume , but do not know for sure, they would have used Altair edit and assemble programs and them wrote it to Paper Tape.. This applies to Tiny Basic..
And thirdly, I have heard that they wrote it on paper, so maybe it was not on Paper Tape, and only written out in the Manual, and so Paper Tape would not have been needed.. This would apply to Tiny C only..
On Tiny Basic, they wrote it out on Paper, before transferring it to the computer and they used Dr. Suding's cassette interface to save and read their program into the computer, instead of Paper Tape and they do say that their printers were Baudot teletype model 15 and model 19.. Their notes say it is for an Altair 8800 type of machine, with a Suding Cassette interface.. But, they don't say as far as I can tell How they entered the program into the Altair..
All of the above applies to TBX (Tiny Basic eXtended) version of Tiny Basic and none of the other versions of Tiny basic..
So, it would have been up to the purchaser of the manual to get it on tape and read it from tape.. This applies to both..


August 14th, 2015, 06:29 AM
Hi All;

John, I have been looking at the Various Versions of Tiny Basic that are Listed in Dr. Dobbs' Journal, and of the five or six of them that are listed only one of them mentions using Paper Tape and that is Palto Alto Tiny Basic..
As far as I can tell non of them say which Monitor and Edit program they use to enter their programs, but once it is entered they save it either by Cassette or in one case to Paper Tape..
A number of them use a TVT output, which seems to be those that use the Suding Cassette Interface, so that would seem to indicate they would have used the Suding TVT output as well.. Which would have been on the same Board, If it is the Digital Group Board.. But it would not have plugged Directly into the Altair, as the pin structure (busses) is different on each of them.. Or they wirewrapped a Board for the Altair using the Designs of Dr. Suding for both the Cassette and the TVT Output..
Which also suggests at least four possible types of Monitor and Editor programs..
One, would have been what Altair (Mits) offered and would have to be modified to work with the Suding TVT..
Two, the Suding Monitor/Editor which possibly would have had to be modified to work on the Altair..
Three, write their own Monitor/Editor and adapt it to the Hardware that they have..
Four, Adapt what what published in the Various Micro Computer Publications, to their Particular Hardware..
I know this doesn't completely answer Your Question, But People that had any of the Early 8080 machines, used what they had and what they could afford..
As for instance in Denver Tiny Basic, the Author mentions writing His Tiny Basic (Source code) to Cassette and then having another member of the Computer club who had a Printer to Print it out and Send the listing to Dr. Dobbs Journal..

I know when I got my Altair 8800b I had Altair Basic on Cassette and so I would read it in Via Cassette and since I wasn't part of a club, I didn't have the advantage of that association, which would have helped alot back then..
Remember this was before the Internet, and bigger and faster Computers that we now have and so things were done differently back then.. Now I can get things (Programs) that I couldn't get back then.. And DownLoad them from my PC to my Altair, which is not exactly the same as it was back then..


August 14th, 2015, 07:12 AM
Hi All;

John, Also Remember that when the Altair first came out, there was no add on boards and no software..
And so You had companies like like Processor Technology and Cromeco that made Memory Boards and wrote software for the Altair..
Also, whether You used Paper Tape or Cassette Loading Basic or whatever, it was time consuming..
And, so when Byte Magazine put out the information and Schematics for Dr. Sudings Faster Cassette Loading system and His Tv output for a TVT monitor on a glass TV Tube (Television Set) instead of on a Teletype or an Expensive glass Teletype like an ADM-3..
The Suding Cassette was about four times faster than the other cassette systems out at that time..
Paper Tape loaded by Teletype was 110 Baud, Altair Cassette and other Cassette systems 300 Baud, Suding Cassette 1100 Baud and could be pushed to 1300 Baud..
Many people adapted it to their Altairs, too Bad Dr. Suding didn't make his Boards Altair compatible, but He didn't..
And since many people already had an Altair, they probably couldn't afford a Digital Group machine as well.. They did later make a low cost S-100 Disk Controller, but I have heard it didn't work well and didn't sell well either..
Their Single/Double Density Controller for the Digital Group computer was the Best that You could get at that time.. But, of course it wasn't compatible to anything else on the market..