QLTOOLS
         A Review by Tim Swenson

Getting data to and from the QL and MS-DOS has been fairly easy
for a while.  There are a number of QL programs that will read
and write an MS-DOS disk.  Sometimes it's more convienient to be
able to have MS-DOS write to a QDOS disk.  There are computers
which the QL does not have software that can read them.

A program has been written to solve these problems, QLTOOLS.
QLTOOLS is a Freeware C program designed to be compiled on almost
any platform.  The distribution ZIP file for QLTOOLS comes with
executables for both MS-DOS (NT, OS/2, Win95) and Linux (a
Unix-clone).  QLTOOLS has been compiled on the Amiga, Macintosh,
and different flavors of Unix.  The current version of QLTOOLS is
2.2.

QLTOOLS easily writes files to a QDOS disk.  Reading files from
QDOS is supported but it takes a little more work.  QLTOOLS can
even convert an MS-DOS or Linux disk into a QDOS disk.  QLTOOLS
supports both 720K and High Density (HD) disks.  It does not
support ED disks, which really are not supported in MS-DOS or
Linux.

A major fault of QLTOOLS is its interface.  QLTOOLS is a command
line-only driven program.  To get a directory of a QDOS disk in
drive A: you would enter the following command:

         QLTOOLS A: -D

Once you have a directory, if you want to copy a file from the
hard drive to the QDOS disk you would enter:

         QLTOOLS A: -W FILE.EXT

This weakness is also a strength.  A command line-only interface
allows a program to be automated by a BATCH file or a Unix shell
script.  QLTOOLS was designed from the ground up to be a
Unix/MS-DOS program and it gets a lot of its design from the Unix
world.

As weak as it may be on the interface, QLTOOLS is strong on it's
capabilities.  QLTOOLS can automatically translate the dot of
MS-DOS (FILENAME.EXT) to the underscore of QDOS (filename_ext).
The -T option allows the user to either turn this feature on or
off.  QLTOOLS  can display a disk map and cluster dump for those
really into the nitty gritty of the disks.

QLTOOLS can even take a QDOS executable file from MS-DOS, put it
on a QDOS disk, add information about the files dataspace, and
turn it back into an executable.  When using the -D option to do
a directory, QLTOOLS will show which files are executable and
their dataspace.

Copying a file from QDOS to MS-DOS would not be obvious to the
non-MS-DOS person.  The -N option copies a QDOS file to standard
output (STDOUT).  STDOUT is usually the screen.  Using file
redirection (in either MS-DOS or Unix) you can copy the file to
disk:

         QLTOOLS A: -N FILENAME_TXT > FILENAME.TXT

The > symbol tells MS-DOS to send the output of the QLTOOLS
command to a file instead of the screen.  As convoluted as this
may sound, it's standard Unix practice, and it works.

QLTOOLS comes with the source code so you can port and compile it
on almost any computer system that you want.  Since most people
will use it with MS-DOS, an MS-DOS executable comes with the
distribution.

QLTOOLS was originally written by Giuseppe Zanetti, with
contributions from Valenti Omar (2.01), Richard Zidlicky (2.02),
and Jonathan Hudson (2.1 & 2.2).  It is available from the FTP
server maya.dei.unipd.it or from IQLR.

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