TermExec; smart terminal communcations for Apple. (evaluation) Steve Arrants.
Your friend has written a TRSQ0 program that you want to adapt for the Apple. It is quite long--more than 300 lines. So you spend a Saturday afternoon painstakingly entering the whole program by hand, editing as you enter.
Your favorite science fiction author (a bit of a recluse) will be on CompuServe answering questions and chatting with other users. You would like to get a copy of his remarks and edit our stray comments and extraneous dialog.
With Term Exec from Exec Software Inc., both of those tasks can be accomplished quickly and easily. TermExec is a communications program designed to turn your Apple and a modem into an intelligent terminal. It requires a 48K Apple 22 + or IIe, a single disk drive, and any of a number of popular modems. With TermExec you can talk to another Apple, another computer, or a time-sharing service such as The Source, CompuServe, or Delphi. Documentation
The documentation is provided in a three-ring binder. It is 110 pages long and consists of an introduction that explains the features of TermExec; a tutorial; and expanded sections on macro commands, setting up profiles, using the editor, and other commands.
The manual is written for the first time user and may seem elementary in some spots for communications veterans. By the time you have bought the modem, serial card and software, you should know what baud rate is. However, given the choice between too little and too much documentation, I always choose the latter. An index is missing, but it should be available in a newly rewritten manual with the next update.
TermExec is not copy-protected, and Exec Software recommends making backups. The programs are listable and can be modified by the user. Using TermExec
After booting your back-up disk, the screen displays "... Thanks. For HELP, type ESC-?" and the action prompt TX[is not >]. TermExec is not menu-driven. You simply enter any TermExec or DOS command for action. Entering a question mark followed by RETURN produces a list of all the commands with a short explanation of each. For more extensive help, enter a command followed by a question mark. For example, LIST? would display: LIST (APPLE FILE NAME) LIST PROMPTING YOU FOR FURTHER INFORMATION BEFORE IT CAN PROCESS YOUR COMMAND.
TermExec performs self-initialization on booting. It will search through the Apple to determine where the modem and printer are located, whether you are using an Apple II+ or IIe, if an 80-colomun card is present, and if the shift-key modification has been made. You can call up the local profile to change any information if you have two printers connected.
Dialing up a remote computer is very easy. Enter TERMINAL and the number at the next prompt. This version of TermExec supports auto-dialing only with a Hayes Smartmodem. You must dial manually if you use other equipment.
Once connected to the remote host, you can save, send, list, or issue any DOS command by hitting ESC-!. This puts you back in the command mode without disconnecting your Apple from the host. Concurrent printing is available by entering ESC-#. File Handling
TermExec works only with Apple text files. This may seem like a limitation but you can use a conversion program to change a text file to binary. Applesoft, or Integer. Actually, working solely with text files makes sense. After receiving a file you will need to do some editing. EXECing the file will place it into memory where it can be saved as a binary, Applesoft, or Integer file. You can also convert a file to text for transmission.
To transmit a file to a remote host enter ESC-b SEND file name. The file is loaded from disk and sent to the host. Enter a RETURN to get back into the terminal mode.
Some hosts require a special transmission protocol called XMODEM or Christianson Protocol. This provides a mechanism for file-to-file transfer between two Apples or between an Apple and a remote host with built-in error checking to assure that line noise is not introduced into the file. XMODEM protocol is used primarily by CP/M bulletin boards.
In the time that I have used TermExec I have not lost a single file due to the software. It has always performed as expected. The Editor
The weakest link in TermExec is the built-in editor. It is adequate for simple editing in a pinch, but I prefer to use AppleWriter for more complex editing.
The editor works as stated in the documentation, but the command structure is confusing. Better documentation would definitely help with this section. I expected to find a help section similar to that in the main program. The only help you will find is the manual. Extra Features
Among the most useful features of TermExec are macros. You can have one or a string of characters represent other commands. If you use a timesharing system such as CompuServe, macros can simplify sign-on and speed up access to the different areas of the system. Macros may be saved as special files that can be loaded at any time.
Exec Software provides a feature that other terminal software publishers do not. If you are having trouble with the package, need help with a special macro, or want to suggest additional features, they provide a BBS for users and the public. You can exchange information with other users, trade equipment, learn about new macros, and even download special programs that enhance TermExec.
Purchasers of TermExec also receive free membership in Delphi, a timesharing service. Conclusion
With the exception of its editor, TermExec is a well designed communications package that offers more features and versatility than some other packages. Its ease of use, friendliness, and the support offered by Exec Software make it an outstanding value.
Products: TermExuc (computer program)