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Product: TCPIP Express

 Written By Stephen J. Carden


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Since everyone who logs on to my BBS seems to be asking me all the time what the new version of TCPIP Express is going to be like, I thought I'd throw together a little overview of the new system.    

  First, let's talk about the upgrade.   This upgrade is to the *BBS Express Professional* of the BBS only, and is being called 'TCPIP Express'.  This version is designed to function on the internet and Multiplexer. While this version is designed for the internet and multiplexer they are required for function.

 YOU MUST HAVE A MULTIPLEXER to use this system. This version is targeted at the serious, big-system Internet SysOp.  Also, this upgrade will ONLY run on SpartaDOS 3.2x or greater or RealDos.   TDLINE must be installed. This means that the R-Time 8 is fully supported (along with SpartaDOS's or RealDos 'internal' software clock if you don't have an R-Time 8 cartridge.).  

  What do I mean by 'big-system'?  Well, the MOST important thing with TCPIP Express is that you have a RamDisk, since every command (and I mean *EVERY* command -- even ASCII/ATASCII toggle!) is an 'external command', and must be loaded from a disk.  Without a RamDisk or a Hard Disk to load these commands from, the BBS is going to be painfully slow (you might be able to survive with a US Doubler'ed 1050 in high speed or Sio2pc).  With a RamDisk or Hard Disk, all commands load almost instantaneously.  Now, don't get me wrong -- you don't HAVE to have a large RamDisk or a Hard Disk to run TCPIP Express, but it is highly recommended because of slow floppy disk access times. Since this is an Internet version a Sio2pc with AtariMax APE software is very useful. I have written commands for RealDos that can transfer file(s) from the Atari to anywhere on the Host PC. With AtariWin800 Emulator with the SIO2PC you can transfer files from the PC to the Atari very easy. You also need a Linksys Router and a R Handler that is Internet Ready. The SIO2PC can use your host pc as an internet bridge. The Lantronix Serial to Ethernet server is what I use. This puts my Atari 8-bit on the internet without the need of a host PC.  

  TCPIP Express is written in 100% machine language.  The main 'shell' of the BBS sits in memory from $2d00 - $7000.  This shell contains common routines that are accessed a lot by the external, chained programs (such as the routines to display strings to the modem, get input from the modem, view text files, etc).  Also, there are system vectors that you machine-language-programming sysops can use to access these shell commands to easily and quickly write your own commands! TcpIp Express can also run BBS Express Professional command files but BBS Express Professional can not run commands that were written for TcpIp Express.  

  All of the 'external commands' (such as the message base processor, the call-for-sysop command, the browse downloads command, etc) are loaded into memory at $7000 when they are needed.   The beauty in this type of a system is that we are now no longer limited by the machine's memory space.  Each external command can be up to 16K in length (larger than just about any DOS you'll ever run!).  

Another nice feature of the 'modularized layout' is that if there happens to be a bug in one of the external commands, only THAT command has to be changed.  This sure makes it convenient for putting updated or modified commands in the download section of the support BBS.  

  OK, enough of this garbage, you say?  You want to know what it CAN DO!?!? Well, here's a list of the currently in and proposed functions.  Don't hold me to all of these; like I said, some are currently in, and others in this list are pure blue-sky and may not be out in the INITIAL release.   But, then again, they can easily be written later as modules, put on the support BBS, and be downloaded by you.  You would then just add the letter of the command to invoke the new module to your 'command table definition', and you now have a new command!  


               'Which message bases can this user READ'

               'Which message bases can this user POST on'

               'Which message bases can this user Edit on'

               'Which message bases can this user Delete on'

               'Which message bases can this user PRINT'

                'Which file areas can this user access'

               'Which Commands this user Execute'



    Incredibly easy to set up a user to have full sysop levels on one message base, but absolutely NO power on any other.  Great for assigning co-sysops to different areas of  your BBS.



                DIR                          -   disk directory

                ERASE                    -   erase file(s)

              DEL                          -   erase file(s)

                CHAT                      -   turn chat mode on/off

                CREDIR                  -   create a subdirectory

                DELDIR                  -   delete a subdirectory

                CWD                       -   change working directory

                MD                          -   create a subdirectory

                RD                           -   delete a subdirectory

                CD                           -   change working directory

                LOCK                     -   lock a diskette

                UNLOCK               -   unlock a diskette

                PROTECT               -   protect a file

                UNPROTECT         -   unprotect a file

                CHKDSK                -   display disk statistics (free space, etc)

                TYPE                       -   view a text file

                ?DIR                        -   display current default subdirectory

                UPLOADS              -   browse/validate new upload files

                COPY                     -   copy file(s)

                RENAME                -   rename file(s)

                REN                        -   rename file(s)

                TIME                       -   set time

                DATE                      -   set date



The following available from the 'Waiting for Call' screen:



    My New DosShell can also run batch file(s) from the command prompt or defined command. ANSI Graphic Screens can be created by using The Draw. There are probably tons more things that I can't remember right now.  I'm really excited about this version of the BBS because it is EXPANDABLE. Probably the best comparison I can think of is SpartaDos; almost every command there is external.  If you want a new command, you just put a new .COM file on your disk, right?  Well, that's basically it with TCPIP Express too. You put the new .CMD file on the drive, change your Command Table Definition to say something like 'key 'Z' will invoke the command file ADVENTUR.CMD', and that's all there is to it (there can be up to 35 different commands invoked from the main Command: prompt).


   Also, since there is no PROMPT.OBJ file in TCPIP Express, most of the source code for the external BBS commands will provided on the disk (in MAC/65 format).  Should be no problem for you (or someone you know) to customize prompts to your liking.


   Have you got some other ideas you'd like to see included?  Well, logon to or 8889 or email and leave a message and I'll be sure to put them on the 'wish-list'.


  On a closing note I'd like to say 'thanks' to all of you who have supported both me and K-Products in the past by purchasing our BBS program. You have helped us prove that there is STILL some money to be made on the 8 bit Atari if you put out good products at fair prices.

                                Take care,

                                    Stephen J. Carden



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