Syntax HOT_CHP (key$,filename [;cmd$] [,JobName$] [,options])
Location HOTKEY II

The main idea behind the Hotkey System II is that you can have access to any number of QL programs by pressing one simple hotkey in order to access each program, rather than having to use <CTRL><C> to cycle through all of the programs currently stored in the QL’s memory.

The function HOT_CHP will load an executable file with the specified filename into the common heap and make it into an Executable Thing. Now, each time that you press <ALT> plus the specified key$, a new copy of the program will be started up in memory (although the same code is used, meaning that very little memory is used by each additional copy).

As from v2.03 of Hotkey System II, if you use an upper case key$, then you will need to press the upper case character, compare where you use a lower case key$, which will recognise both the upper and lower case character (if the upper case character has not been assigned to another hotkey).

HOT_CHP will support the current program default device if Toolkit II is loaded, otherwise it will use its own default device which can be configured by using the program CONFIG on the file HOT_REXT.

When the program is loaded using this command, HOT_CHP will look to see whether the start of the program contains a Job name, if not, then the program file name is used as the Job name (unless an alternative is stipulated, using the Jobname$ parameter).

As with EXEP, you can pass a command string to the program which will be passed to each copy of the program as and when they are started up. You can also supply a specific Job name for the program and pass various options to the Pointer Interface to tell it how to treat the program. As well as those options supported by EXEP, the following option is also supported:

  • -I This tells the Hotkey System that the program code is ‘impure’ (ie. it modifies its own code). This means that code cannot be shared by every copy of the program - this therefore means that each time that the program is called, a copy of the original code is made from which the program runs. For this reason, you should consider using HOT_LOAD for such programs. The most common programs which fall within this category have been written under BCPL or compiled with Supercharge or Turbo.

If the program is successfully loaded into memory and set up as an executable Thing, HOT_CHP will return 0, otherwise one of the following error codes will be returned:

  • -2 Specified filename is not executable
  • -3 Not enough memory to load the file
  • -7 The specified filename cannot be found
  • -9 The specified hotkey has already been defined, or the file is in use.
  • -12 The specified filename is not supported (bad filename).


Any programs which are to be loaded into the Hotkey System II should be re-entrant so that the same code can be shared by any number of copies of the program, otherwise label them as Impure.


Versions of the Hotkey System pre v2.21 do not allow you to pass a command string.


You should not specify a Job name for impure programs as this may cause problems.


If you do not intend to remove the program in the future, use HOT_RES or HOT_RES1 as these will ensure that the program starts up more quickly. HOT_CHP1, HOT_LOAD, HOT_LOAD1 are similar. The hotkey will not be available until you enable the Hotkey System with HOT_GO.