FSERVE [device_name] (THOR XVI - v6.41 only)
Toolkit II (hardware version only or SMS), THOR XVI
This command creates a small fileserver job named Server which allows other network stations (slaves) to access all devices on the machine where this fileserver is running (this is the Master).
The fileserver only works with the QNET network system, which itself only works reliably if Toolkit II is installed as firmware (ie. on ROM or on EPROM) (or if Toolkit II is installed as part of SMS) on all machines connected to the network.
To access a device on the Master, a prefix has to be added to the device name. This prefix specifies the other machine by its network number (see NET) which may range from 1 to 8. The prefix consists of an n, the number of the remote station and an underscore, ie: n1_ .. n8_.
If an access fails for any reason, the sending machine will not receive an acknowledgement from the receiving one. In such cases, the network driver continues to try to get through for about 20 seconds and then reports ‘Network aborted’ (in #0) if it still cannot communicate with the specified machine.
OPEN#3,n3_scr: PRINT#3,"Bye.": FLUSH#3: CLOSE#3 WDIR n1_flp1_
Be careful with this sort of thing!
All commands which use the SD.EXTOP or SD.FOUNT machine code calls will not work across the network: CHAR_USE for example. This does not necessarily mean that these commands report errors: CHAR_USE, for instance, changes the character set to a strange pattern. FORMAT will also fail over the Network. ED and EDIT also cannot be used to edit a program on a window opened over the Network.
Although windows (scr_ and con_ devices) are normally not buffered, this will be the case if they are opened across the network. This affects just text output, all other operations (BORDER, INK, CLS, WINDOW etc.) are performed on the host QL when issued. The buffer of 256 bytes is located in the sending QL and flushed automatically if full. Otherwise a CLOSE command forces the buffer contents to be sent (the FLUSH command will not work to send the buffer contents). See the Drivers section in the Appendix for further details on Networks.
If a channel was opened by a slave via the network and this QL is later removed from the network - say by unplugging the network lead or by resetting the machine, then the channel is left open. As all such channels are owned by the Server job, they can be flushed and closed by removing and restarting the job:
RJOB Server FSERVE
Take care that all operations being carried out by other stations on the local machine (where the fileserver is to be removed) have finished or have been suspended.
Due to checksum tests, data transmission across the network is practically error free. There is still a very small statistical possibility of transmission errors but really extensive experiments (moving megabytes of data) did not even produce one.
Although a normal file name can be of any length up to a maximum of 41 characters (including the device name), if the file is to be accessed across the network, this is reduced to a maximum of 39 characters (including the network prefix). For example:
OPEN #3,flp1_Quill_letters_Minerva2_update_doc239 OPEN #3,n1_win1_Quill_letters_Minerva2b_updates
will work, whereas the following two commands report ‘Not Found’ without attempting to access the drives:
OPEN #4,flp1_Quill_letters_Minerva2_update_doc2392 OPEN #4,n1_win1_Quill_letters2_Minerva2b_updates
If you OPEN a con_ device over the Network (onto a Master machine’s screen) and try to use INPUT to read a variable entered on that Master, there are problems here in that the delete keys on the Master which is displaying (and editing) the text displayed in the con_ device do not work properly, leaving splodges on the screen. You can use IO_TRAP and QTRAP to call cursor positioning routines on the Master and then print spaces to overwrite the deleted characters, using IO_TRAP or QTRAP to move the cursor back to the correct position and possibly pan the window to get rid of excess characters. This technique was used to good effect in the NetPal program in DIY Toolkit (Vol N).
If you try to use a Toolkit II command such as DIR to direct the output onto a window which has been OPENed over the Network, when it reaches the bottom of a page, the Toolkit II command automatically generates a <CTRL><F5> at the slave machine end which can only be cleared by pressing a key on the slave machine’s keyboard.
THOR XVI NOTE
The THOR XVI version of this command allows you to send, for example, a continuous log of status messages to a file or device, eg. FSERVE scr_512x256a0x0. This is however really only useful for debugging network programs or to analyse network traffic.
Refer to the original documentation of Toolkit II and the Device Drivers Appendix for technical details. SERNET and MIDINET create fileservers for other Networks supported by SMSQ/E and the Atari ST Emulators.