Atari BASIC faster and better by Carl M. Evans

By Carl M. Evans

Atari Basic-Faster and Better

Atari info sequence quantity 1

Carl M. Evans

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0: REM RESET WARM START FLAG X=USR(40960) RESTART BASIC This routine examines the LOMEM and MEMLO pointers, and changes them to a new value. Any program that is LOADed or RUN after it, will ignore the reserved block of addresses. The "trick" to this routine is that BASIC only loads a new MEMLO value from the operating system's LOMEM pointer when a NEW command is used. MEMLO is not updated for a LOAD or a RUN. A curious tidbit is that even SYSTEM RESET does not trigger an update of MEMLO under normal conditions.

4. In loops, replace GOSUBs with in-line code - the additional time savings here is due to the fact that BASIC has to add and remove entries from the run time stack each time it encounters a GOSUB. If you eliminate the GOSUB, you also delete the time BASIC would use to keep track of the subroutine. 5. Replace "*,, and "/" operators with equivalent "+" and "-" operators - the multiply and divide routines in Atari BASIC are very slow compared to the addition and subtraction routines. 6. Put multiple statements on a single program line - this is especially effective with loops since BASIC won't have to fetch the next line to continue the loop.

There are some tremendous advantages to this technique. First, if the code is relocatable, we no longer have to worry about where the routine is stored. The starting address of the routine can easily be found by using the ADR command in BASIC. Second, we can store the string packed routine in an ordinary BASIC disk file, which may contain a whole library of routines, for faster and more convenient loading from BASIC. The screen fill routine can be loaded into the string SFILL$ with the following program commands: 100 DIM SFILL$(34) 110 SFILL$(1)=CHR$(104):SFILL$(2)=CHR$(201) 120 SFILL$(3)=CHR$(l) :SFILL$(4)=CHR$(208) ....

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