In this section we'll discuss the known Apple /// data comm
programs. We'll tell you each programs strengths and weaknesses. If
possible, we'll tell you how to get each program, and we'll list one
or more CompuServe folk who know enough about the program to maybe be
able to answer your questions.
3.1 Access ///
Access /// was the first of the
Apple /// data communications programs. It began life as an "other
vendor supplied" Special Delivery Software product in 1981. Apple was
not long in taking Access /// to its own bosom. August 1982's Version
1.1 was a purely Apple product. The next (and last) version was 3.2x
-- the Access /// Interpreter -- in 1984.
Access /// 1.0 came in versions that
could be invoked from the BASIC or the Pascal interpreters. Release
1.1 was similar, and it had major problems depending on what version
of Pascal you were running. The BASIC version was OK. Release 3.2x
obviates the interpreter problem by being an interpreter in its own
right. It doesn't run under any language system, so it launches like
a rabbit and runs quickly.
Access /// has two major features.
Its emulation of a DEC VT-100 terminal is complete and seamless. Many
mainframe or minicomputer systems permit VT-100 terminals to operate
in "full screen" mode. A data communication program's terminal
emulation can be important. Depending on the host computer, generic
terminals can be limited to "line mode" communications or can be
forbidden access. If you need VT-100 emulation, Access /// is the
only Apple /// data communications program that will serve.
Access ///'s other major feature is
its "scripting" capability (3.2x only). You can write a script that
will automatically dial your modem and log on to your favorite host
service. And more. Access ///'s script language is powerful. You can
script an entire session if you always do the same things.
Access ///'s major problem is that
its documentation has not been completely in a single source since
its original incarnation. The "SDS" version (1.0) came with a spiral
bound manual. Apple's 1.1 version did not come with a new manual,
just an "Apple Tech Notes" (750.990 dated August 25, 1982) addendum
detailing the enhancements from version 1.0. The interpreter came
with another addendum, this one on disk and dealing only with the
"script" feature. Even having all the manuals does not guarantee
success. Data comm programs traditionally have the worst conceivable
user documentation. No, we don't know why. You will probably need
help. That's why we have experts on CompuServe.
Access /// supports no error free
file transfer protocol. It can only transfer text (human readable)
data between your Apple /// and another computer. It can not transfer
executable programs or graphics files.