Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vault OS 16-Bit DOS : Python Included!!!

So I was getting around to the extendability/utility functions for Vault-OS (Text mode DOS), in particular a jobs processor of some kind more advanced than batch files that would permit users to script and run their own programs. I was tinkering with a 40 line program from QBASIC that permitted users to execute their own little BASICA scripts. Needless to say, I didn't see much usefulness in that so I ditched it and had a look in my archives over the past ten years. I needed something very small and very open ended. At first I didn't see anything but little VB-DOS scripting code that required many hours of work to make it suitable to do anything.

Guess what I found? Source code from PythonDX back in 1997 I saved to a floppy disk. A full working version of Python 1.52 in real mode 16 bits which I had compiled to a binary way back when, around 500K!!!!!!!! No, I can hardly believe it myself. That is one useful puppy to have on your RAM disk when you are on a tiny, limited embedded device. The link above shows you the libraries that were compiled in!!! It's huge!! It is practically a mini-OS in itself!

Yes, you could probably write your own Vault-OS with this single 500K executable and some good scripts. So you can probably imagine that's some extremely powerful scripting facility out of the box. I will allow people to edit and save a python script through the front end, stick it into a DBase3 database and execute it as their own custom functionality from the main screen!! Yowza! Imagine the possibilities even on a tiny little 2 MB embedded 386DX PC like the one I bought last week off EBay for $2.50 plus P&H!!!

I will likely include a few useful snippets in the distribution to get people started but adding whatever functionality you may feel is useful will be up to you in this version. I really like the notion of adding all this configurable power so users can tailor it for their needs and setup, whatever that may be.

P.S. Think this is lightweight fluff? Here's a guy who was writing controller IO software with this program, including the GUI and data logger!!!

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