I forgot how difficult it was to develop code on a line based editor. Often the port of call here was to print out and use a pen or pencil to scribble, and note things. It gives that bigger overview you sometimes need when developing.
As I didn’t have a printer I could connect up to the Electron, I decided to investigate how I could extract a listing directly from the 3.5″ floppy disk (a 3D save icon to our younger readers!).
One of the tenets I tend to live by is never throw anything away, especially in regards to electronics. This has proved more than useful over the years with my Retro Computer collection and luckily would come to the rescue now.
I needed a PC with a built in floppy drive, running an old version of Windows (XP), and some old software I had collected over the years.
Software item one is OmniFlop. There is a version of this that installs a driver to directly access the Floppy drive. This is why the drive needs to be built in and not an external USB type.
Note: There may be newer versions of OmniFlop about, I’m not even sure where I got mine from as it was a long time ago, but I keep it because it works!
OmniFlop is very easy to use and in no time I had a .adf file with a dump of my disk.
Next stage was to extract the file(s) from the disk, I tried various software I had around for BBC / Electron disk dumps, but the one that worked for me was a command line program called BBCIM.
Using this utility I was able to extract the tokenised save file, however I needed to de-tokenise in order to print it. I considered writing my own to extract the text (at least for the assembly code) after looking at a hexdump of the binary file. However I stumbled upon a Python script that Matt Godbolt had already developed:
BBC BASIC V Format
The downside of this script was the line numbers are lost, however for the purposes of viewing the assembly code this didn’t matter to me.
Now I really need to get moving to get this code working, as we are nearly half way through the Retrochallenge!