DWLOAD

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DriveWire overview

DriveWire is a way to connect your Dragon to a PC. It allows you to transfer files from the PC to your Dragon, or to use the PC as a virtual disk for the Dragon. A server program runs on the PC and services requests from the Dragon. Instead of a PC, a stand-alone DriveWire server like the uDW microserver can be used.

DriveWire on the Dragon uses the printer port. On the Dragon, software is needed that can "talk" to the DriveWire server through the printer port. Operating systems like HDB-DOS and NitrOS-9 have support for DriveWire, and can use the DriveWire server as a full replacement for a normal floppy or hard disk drive.

For Dragon there is also DWLOAD - a small program that can be used to load programs from the DriveWire server without needing a disk operating system. DWLOAD can be embedded in a modified BASIC ROM, replacing the "DLOAD" command.

DWLOAD concept

DWLOAD is designed to be so small that it fits into unused parts of the Dragon BASIC ROM. Nonetheless, it allows you to simply download and run files from the DriveWire server from within BASIC without any resident use of memory. DWLOAD can be enhanced by "DriveWire Executable Extension Blocks" (dweebs) which are small program loaded from the server to provide further DriveWire capabilities on demand. Some examples are "VLOAD" to load files from VDK images residing on the DriveWire server, "LROM" to load a ROM image into high RAM, and "DOS" to boot NitrOS-9 over DriveWire.

DWLOAD can also be used together with HDB-DOS or Dragon DOS. You can for instance load files from the PC (plain files or from inside VDK images) and save them on your Dragon DOS floppy drive. Or load files from your Dragon DOS floppy drive and save them on the PC (currently only BASIC files supported via the "SAVE" dweeb).

Requirements

In addition to your Dragon 32 or Dragon 64 or compatible home computer you will need either

   DriveWire adapter + PC running DriveWire server (DW4) 

or

   uDW microserver 

Of course, on the Dragon you will need DriveWire software. If you have the DWLOAD EPROM you are all set and can load everything (also HDB-DOS or NitrOS-9) via DriveWire. Otherwise, software (including a DWLOAD program) can be loaded from disk or cassette tape to get started.

Using DWLOAD

DWLOAD is a small DriveWire client for BASIC which works without needing a DOS. It loads files as-is from the DriveWire server, that is, not using disk images like HDB-DOS or NitrOS-9 does.

Simply put: Just drop the files in your DriveWire4 server folder, and access them from the Dragon using DWLOAD.

The files can be Dragon DOS binary or BASIC files, or DECB binaries.

The DWLOAD client can be loaded from tape or disk or, most conveniently, embedded into the BASIC ROM, like the DWLOAD EPROM.

If you have the DWLOAD EPROM, use the "DLOAD" command to load files. Examples:

   DLOAD"MYFILE.BAS"

to load and run the file "MYFILE.BAS" from the DriveWire server. To only load the program, use "DLOADN":

   DLOADN"BROKEN.BAS"

Note that the filename ending is not significant, since the DWLOAD deduces the file type from its content.


DWLOAD Extensible Execution Blocks (dweeb)

The DWLOAD client is relatively simple, due to the space constraints in the ROM. The dweeb is a mechanism to dynamically extend the functionality of DWLOAD. The dweeb is loaded from the server like any other program, but accesses the I/O routines of DWLOAD. It also reads its command parameters from the DWLOAD command line.

More information, including a directory of available dweebs, can be found on the Dweebs wiki page.

Links