May 132020

Two in one day! My fourth VAX Professional article was about the callable TPU interface. TPU stands for Text Processing Utility, and it was a language introduced in VAX/VMS V4.2 for writing editors. The EVE editor was written in TPU, and it was easy to extend or modify EVE by writing new TPU routines or modifying the existing routines. My FLIST program was also written in TPU (and C).

In addition to describing the callable interface, I provided a MACRO module that provided a simplified callable TPU interface. The article describes why I did that.

VAX Professional: The Callable TPU Interface

 Posted by at 10:54 am
May 132020

After way too long, I’ve finally posted another of my vintage articles originally published in VAX Professional.

The Extended LOGIN Program details a MACRO program I wrote to perform the functions of my LOGIN.COM. Back when I was working on a VAX 11/785 and a VAX 11/730, some serious performance gains could be achieved by replacing LOGIN.COM with a program, depending on what your LOGIN.COM did. Mine defined dozens of logicals and symbols, set terminal characteristics, and lots more. As noted in the article, the head of Professional Press told me that his login time dropped from 15 seconds to 5 seconds when he replaced his LOGIN.COM with LOGIN.MAR.

You won’t see those kinds of dramatic increases on modern OpenVMS systems, but it’s still a lot faster and more efficient to use a program.


 Posted by at 9:50 am
Jun 072018

From 1986 through 1994, I wrote thirty-six articles for VAX Professional (later Digital Systems Journal), a technical journal for OpenVMS programmers and managers. My first article was published while I was still a student at Western Kentucky University. It was quite a thrill!

During that eight-year period, I wrote a dozen articles about programming in MACRO-32, the VAX assembly language. At one time, that was my preferred programming language. I still do a little MACRO-32 work, but it hasn’t been my “go to” language for many years.

The last seven articles I wrote were co-authored with Ed Heinrich. We had pitched a book idea about OpenVMS Systems Programming to DEC Press, but for various reasons, the book never happened. The project started as a day-long seminar we presented at DECUS Symposia a couple of times. Once the book fell through, we decided to turn our seminar into a series of Digital Systems Journal articles.

I’ve posted the articles here. Though they were written when the Alpha was new, the ideas presented in them are largely still useful techniques for systems programming under OpenVMS.

Writing OpenVMS Privileged Code


 Posted by at 10:07 pm