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XII =1 CHAPTER 12 INPUT AND OUTPUT {CM, RC) ‘DEPLORING LARGE COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY We have already studied two of the input and output primitives used in TRAC languas are two other primitives in the TRAC T-64 language (CM and RC} which are ‘These are print string PS and read string AS, There also concerned with the input and output process. It is unfortunate that this group of four input and output primitives is seriously hindered in their operation by certain inept features of design of many large computers and of their operating systens. These problems are discussed in sone detail in Appendix 5. ‘The problen, for the computers that are affected, is that the computers are incapable of producing all of the nice features and capabilities which are contained in TRAC languege for the control of input and output. The problen will undoubtedly cause sone distress and confusion for readers who must work with such computers, For the tixe being, such veadors will have to te content with not using these capabilities, However, cheer up! The big computers yapidly becone obsolete and are changed every few years, and so we can hope that before long they will be constructed in @ fashion which will be much more hospitable to the requirements of TRAC language. The Kind of trouble which arises affects only the four input ant output primitives, and doéa net affect the other primitives in TRAC put pr: , Copyright (@) 1972 Rockford Research, Inc. All rights reserved, ‘neta character" MIT -2 meta® language. The trouble cecurs when input strings pass in through the computer to the TRAC processor, and also when strings come out to be printed at the typewriter, Certain characters, like the fotmet characters, nay te added or deleted, What is worse, fron tha standpoint ef control, is that a redundant enter character may be required in addition to the TRAC language meta character, Fortunately, with small computers and minicomputers, these problens are minizal, or don"t ocour at all. META CHARACTER ‘The reader has probably wondered about the remarkable character, the ‘apostropht which 1s used to terminate input for the read string prinitive. Why Was this character chosen? Alternatively, we might ask, why can't ve change the neta character and use sone other character for the neta character? The answer is that we can change the neta character, and we can do At very easily. ‘This character was named the ‘nets character because 1t has a ‘neta’ vole. The word "meta" cones fron the Greek, and hae the neaning of "with" or "after", In dts use with the input string, this character is called the ‘neta character", It 1s outside of, and follows, the actual input string which we desire to get into the processor. With read string input, the neta character is renoved from the string before the string t= deposited in the workspace. As ve have seen, the neta character has no special significance in the scanning operation, or in the internal operation ef any of the prinitives, Indeed, if the meta character can be gotten inte the processor by some means, it is then treated as any ordinary character by all the prinitives, "change neta’ XID -3 ‘enter charact CHANGING THE META CHARACTER (cM) The ‘change meta’ primitive is used for changing the meta character. Its mnenonic is CM. It is used like this: #(oM, *aBC)* meta changed to: * Upon the execution of the primitive CM, the meta character is changed to the first character of the second neutral string argument. In this case, the second neutral string argument of the primitive is the string ‘*KBC , so the meta character is changed by this expression to the sterisk. If there are no characters in the second argument in the noutral string for the GM primitive, the meta character is not changed. Some other examples of the use of the change meta primitive ere the following: Command os Meta To: #(CM, ABC)" A #(cH,)! no change (cm, CRLF) no change #( ct, (GF) a ‘This last example makes the meta character identical te the conventional fixed-assignnent user signal or ‘enter character usually employed in most large computer operating systems and their connected Keyboards of whatever kind, With this meta character, the single character OR will pass the preceding string through the large computer operating system, and it will also terminate the read in operation of the read string primitive. ‘Termination of the read string primitive input causes execution to resume in the TRAC processor, Thus the string ‘taken in up te thia point will be scanned and executed.