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David Schmidt edited this page 2020-08-01 19:30:01 -04:00


Davex is a command shell for ProDOS and SOS, Apple II and Apple /// operating systems. These operating systems have no way to accept commands from you directly, so some sort of command interpreter is required. Davex includes a large number of "housekeeping" commands for managing your disks, directories, and files.

Davex is also a starting place for using other ProDOS programs. When you run another program from Davex (just by typing its name), you will normally be returned automatically to Davex when you Quit the other program.

Note: This page is not a ProDOS tutorial. Please refer to reference manuals or other introductory ProDOS texts for explanations of ProDOS basics like volume, file, pathname, directory, prefix, and filetype.

Hardware Requirements

Any Apple II or compatible system that can run ProDOS and display lower case can run Davex. Davex will be much more convenient for you if you have at least one of the following: 80 column capability, a hard drive, a large RAM drive, two 5.25 inch drives, or at least one 3.5 inch drive.

Optional Hardware

Davex supports the Echo II and SlotBuster II speech synthesizers, using the TEXTALKER or SCAT software that you should already have if you own one of these boards. To use TEXTALKER, just put a copy of PT.OBJ in the same directory as Davex. PT.OBJ is part of the Textalker software which has been licensed from Street Electronics Corporation, the designers of the Echo, for distribution with Davex.

For the SlotBuster, ProSCAT must already be installed in memory; Davex will recognize it but will not install it. (Note to SlotBuster users: Use ProSCAT 1.3 or higher. Reviewing the screen will not work in 80 columns with ProSCAT versions less than 1.3.)

Files Needed for Davex

When you install Davex on a hard disk or RAM disk, you should create a subdirectory for Davex. The name of the subdirectory doesn't matter, but "DAVEX" is the obvious choice. From within Davex, this directory's name can always be abbreviated as "%".

Davex itself is a SYS file in the % directory and is usually called DAVEX, although the name does not matter to Davex. %CONFIG is a BIN file; it stores configuration options like printer slot, your scan list, and a file type table. %HELP is a directory containing help files for individual commands. If you are short on disk space, you may want to leave %HELP off of your work disk. If you do, the "help" command will report "directory not found" when you ask for help on a specific command. (You can also put the help directory on another disk; use the 'config' command to tell Davex the pathname of your help directory.)

No other files are required in the % directory. Typically there will be external commands (BIN files or $2E files) and other programs (SYS files) there. If you are using any aliases, there will be a TXT file called "aliases" in your % directory (see help alias). If you are using the Echo speech synthesizer, there should also be a copy of PT.OBJ in the % directory.

Recommended Hard Drive Setup

Copy the entire % directory onto your hard drive. Then, if you want your system to boot up directly into Davex, use the sysalias command (see help sysalias) to create a one-block SYS program, with a name ending in .SYSTEM, in your top-level directory.

For example:

copy % /hard1/davex
sysalias /hard1/davex/davex /hard1/davex.system

(If there are other .SYSTEM files earlier in the directory than davex.system, copy the first one to another disk, delete it, create davex.system using the sysalias command, and finally copy the .SYSTEM file back onto the disk. This way, davex.system will be the first program ProDOS sees when it looks for a program to run.)

Once you have Davex installed, you will probably want to use the "scan" command to tell Davex what directories to search when looking for programs to run. You may also want to (1) edit the %aliases file and (2) use the config command to set miscellaneous options.

RAM Disks

If your RAM disk is backed up by a battery, the instructions for hard disks apply to you. Just install it once, and you're all set.

To set up a disk that will copy Davex to the RAM disk and execute it there, first you need to understand the "copy" and "exec" commands. If there is an %autoexec file, it will be executed automatically when you boot Davex. A typical %autoexec file contains something like this:

copy %=:sys /ram/davex
copy %=:bin /ram/davex
copy %aliases /ram/davex
copy %help /ram/davex/help

The first line copies all SYS files from the % directory to the RAM disk, and the second line copies BIN files. The third line copies the help directory (if you have a small RAM disk, you may not want to copy the help). The last line simply runs the copy of Davex from the RAM disk.

(Note that it would be simpler to just "copy % /ram/davex". But this is a problem because the %autoexec file will be in use, causing the copy to fail.)

Once you are running the copy of Davex from the RAM disk, your % directory is /ram/davex.

A different approach to moving Davex to a RAMdisk would use the "vrestore" command to copy an complete image of your RAMdisk from a file. See help vrestore for more information.

Apple IIgs Users

You will need to delete or rename the START file in your SYSTEM directory. This forces the ProDOS loader to scan your root directory for a startup application instead of running START. You may want to rename START to FINDER and type

scan -a /your.boot.disk/system

so that you can run FINDER (in the SYSTEM directory) just by typing its name.