Personal Computer News

Dragon 32: Programmer's Reference Guide
By Melbourne House
Dragon 32

Published in Personal Computer News #033

Dragon 32: Programmer's Reference Guide

Aimed at the beginner in Basic and also the expert in machine code, this guide follows a straightforward path through the Dragon's capabilities.

For someone moving up from Basic to machine code, the book is ideal, but expert programmers probably won't need it. The novice is advised to start with the stablemate to the guide Complete Dragon Basic Course, also from Melbourne House. Anyone with time and patience, though, could probably manage just as well with this guide and the machine's manual.

A Basic dictionary is included and mercifully it's far easier to follow than the Dragon manual. Most of the functions in Basic have the time (in seconds) that the machine takes to perform the task - useful for comparisons.

It's the type of book you can read through initially, then refer to individual points when the need arises - a good index and excellent contents pages make this easy.

Several short Basic programs are listed - for genuine demonstration purposes rather than space-filling - including a program to convert input speech or music into digital format. A good-quality cassette recorder and tapes are needed to get the best results from this program.

The speech program is listed both in Basic and m/code, which is encouraging. A short six-function monitor (i.e. a program for loading m/code directly) is in the book for those without one. This is designed only as a 'taster' to machine code, so don't expect too much from it.

Ten appendices cover the basic keywords up to the 6809 chip's instruction set.

The book is value for money. It contains plenty of tips on programming and ideas on how to advance. It would, however, have been easier to use if it was ring-bound.