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Thread: System /36 Basic

  1. #1
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    Default System /36 Basic

    One of my first programming experiences was doing some work on my employer's /36 system, using the interpreted BASIC. This version of the language seemed a fairly interesting version, I was very influenced by the INPUT FIELD system, I went on to implement similar processes using both BASIC and Clipper on PCs.

    When I left that job, I kept a copy of the S/36 BASIC manual, and printouts of a lot of my system (connected with the processing of Town Planning and Building Control applications). I keep looking at it all with fond memories.

    The main system was supposed to be focused on RPG II, I did try to make sense of that language, incl buying a book about it, but needed more access to the system than I ever had. Looked like an interesting system - I think I once saw mention of a RPG emulator for a PC??

    Of course, the BIG problem now is that the desktop PC I'm now sat in front of has just about more of everything than the /36 had. More RAM, more HD storage, more CPU speed, etc?? Not so multi-tasking, but that doesn't really bother little old me. I'm still essentially a DOS person!!

    Anyone else had a 'taste' of such a system?

    Geoff, Guisborough, England

  2. #2
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    I wish! Back in my IBM mid-range system days, the system administrator had no interest in those "experimental" languages. It was RPG or nuttin'. (Real Programmers use coding forms, dammit!)

    How pleasant it would have been to run BASIC on a System/3x machine.

    <*> Jim

  3. #3
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    Hello Jim,

    I suppose I was lucky?

    I was working as an Admin Officer for the Planning Dept, and our Council had just bought the /36 system, so the IT dept was brand new. Our dept had made a plea for some IT facilities, but we then found that the /36 system had nothing for us, and the new IT manager was aware of this. I took the trouble to sweet-talk him, and we discussed the sort of 'noddy' little progs he'd done using BASIC. I was doing data-base type programming on my hope computer (then just a CP/M machine), but my position in the Planning Dept was such that if we were to get any system written, I would be involved anyway.

    I'm sure he was thinking about his 'empire', and was all in favour of getting extra users. I persuaded him that I knew what I was talking about. He agreed to support me doing something. I then got my Dept on board, on the basis that I would write the first module in my own time, get it working, the IT dept would provide the first terminal, and if it went OK, then we'd go from there, if not, then OK.

    I got the first module (initial data entry for all incoming new applications) up and running. The girl who was responsible for that bit of the process thought it was wonderful. Everyone else soon thought it was wonderful as well. Everyone quickly realised that the quickest/easiest way to find about new applications was to check the computer terminal. Soon other people were demanding - 'when can I/we get access to this?' and 'when will it do xxx as well?'. IT manager was happy, he was on the road to installing more terminals, we became a significant user of his system. I got the OK to do more modules, as each one was added (each building from the previous one(s)) then the demand for more increased.

    Geoff

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffB17 View Post
    I got the OK to do more modules, as each one was added (each building from the previous one(s)) then the demand for more increased.

    Geoff
    Geoff: and then . . .

  5. #5
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    And then ....

    Well, honest, I did type more, but when I came to Post the system seems to have logged me out, and when I re-logged in etc and tried to recover the text the above is all that had saved.

    If you're interested in the rest...

    Geoff

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffB17 View Post
    And then ....

    Well, honest, I did type more, but when I came to Post the system seems to have logged me out, and when I re-logged in etc and tried to recover the text the above is all that had saved.

    If you're interested in the rest...



    Geoff
    Good story so far.

  7. #7
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    By popular demand??

    Well, the system eventually comprised 6 or so substantial modules, various growing databases, numerous smaller 'utility' programs, and I think 4 terminals, with plans for more.

    But then, I left the job!

    A friend from school-days was now running his own software company, mainly small business systems, and he called out of the blue and offered me a job. His offer was reasonably attractive, so I took it.

    My system managed without me for a while, but the Council in the meantime took the decision to upgrade the computer to /38, and this system had commercial systems for Planning Dept functions, so they were OK. My work had undoubtedly proved that the department wanted and could make good use of such a system, and I assume gave them a chunk of leverage in getting their new system.

    I did hear comments though that it was some time before the 'commercial system' was as useful as my system had been, or were they just being friendly??

    I meanwhile spent the next 15 years being a 'professional' programmer, mainly dBase/Clipper/C, and then continued as self-employed.

    Oh, I've still got all my prog printouts.

    Thanks for the interest.

    Geoff

  8. #8
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    Not to do with the Basic, but connected with my efforts, the IT manager bought a commercial package for creating small database applications. Supposedly 'relational'? From a source in the US, creating RPG II code?

    Can't remember what it was called, but I'd like to find out and check up on it.

    I was quite fascinated by it, the system did NOT use a record based file, but the individual fields were stored in a set of I think 3 datafiles, depending on the size of the field (small in one, medium in a second, larger in the third). A 'record' was then just the links to the indiv fields records, wherever they might be. I sort of understood the idea, and I could see situations where this structure could be useful, but I was far from sure about it overall.

    If I could trace the system, I'd like to check further into it. I think it was a fairly small package, I think specifically for the /36?

    Anyone got any clues??

    Geoff

  9. #9
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    Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeoffB17 View Post
    ... I kept a copy of the S/36 BASIC manual, and printouts of a lot of my system (connected with the processing of Town Planning and Building Control applications).
    Would you be able to scan this manual please? and what form are the printouts?

    thanks.

  10. #10
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    Jun 2016
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    Guisborough, England
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    Sorry, I'm not really in a position to scan the manual. It's quite substantial, well over 100 pages, and printed on a very dark coloured paper which will make the process rather fiddly? I have an Epson printer with scan facilities, so something is not impossible, just not really practical? At the present time.

    As for the printouts, they are all on 132 col listing paper, so if I was scanning them I'd need to fold each sheet, and be sure that nothing was lost at the fold.

    If there's anything specific you're interested in.......

    Thanks.

    Geoff

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