Friday, February 19, 2016

Programming is more than just logic.




Thinking back oh so many years ago when the internet was not universal yet and everyone used dial-up bulletin board systems to communicate with. There was a lot of messaging as there is today. When it came to file transfer, that was another story.

At that time, the only way to download a binary file was to download a file full of hex data. The hex data ascii file was then converted to the binary file. There was no error checking so that if you have line noise and extraneous data  was captured, you usually had to recapture the file. Not fun especially with large files and slow download speeds.

Eventually. There was a file transfer technique known as xmodem that would allow portions (known as packets) of the file to be downloaded and checked for integrity till the full file was downloaded.   But there laid a small problem, My commercial terminal program for the commodore 64 did not support xmodem.  Knew how to program the hardware to get get and send data, so then I went on a research tour to find out what xmodem was and how it worked.

Fortunately, I did finally come across the specifications for the xmodem protocol. Then came the fun part of translating the specifications to computer language my computer used. After some trial and error,  the code worked, with local bulleting board systems. Now no more issues with messed up ascii files for a text download. Only had to download files once.

To make a long story short, research was needed to create software that could solve a specific problem. You either need to know the subject you are programming or know where to get the information so that you can solve a problem. Many a time I will spend as much time researching/translating a project as writing the code itself.

No comments:

Post a Comment