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README.txt

                     -- RPilot: Rob's PILOT Version 1.4.2 --
            -- Copyright 1998,2002 Rob Linwood (rcl211@nyu.edu) --
                  -- WWW: http://rpilot.sourceforge.net/ --

Intro::
    RPilot is an interpreter for the PILOT programming language.  PILOT,
    the Programmed Inquiry, Learning, Or Teaching language, was originally
    designed to be used by teachers as an aid in instruction.  PILOT is
    easy to learn, and most people should be able to in a very short amount
    of time.  PILOT was first developed in 1962, and was standardized by
    the IEEE in 1991.  RPilot probably isn't completely standard, but it
    is very close.  It also adds a few extensions not found in standard
    PILOT interpretors, such as rudimentry debugging and the ability to
    call other programs.  RPilot was written in 100% ANSI standard C, and
    should be easily portable to any platform with a standard C compiler.


Programming::
    PILOT programs consist of a series of statements, which are either
    labels or function calls.  PILOT statements all end with a newline, and
    the lines themselves may be no longer than 127 characters long.  PILOT
    is case insensitive when it comes to label and variable names, $name,
    $NaMe, and $NAME all refer to the same variable.  Speaking of variables,
    PILOT has only two different types: string, and numeric.

    Variables::
        String variables consist of a list of characters which can be up to
        127 bytes long.  Numeric variables are equivilent to C's int.  They
        can be any number in the range of -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,648
        (with 32 bit rpilot) or -32,768 to 32,768 (with 16 bit DOS rpilot).
        Variables are referenced by their names, which can be up to 10
        characters in length, and consist of a type designator followed by
        any non-whitespace characters.  When I say "type designator", I mean
        that all string variables have a "$" as their first character, and all
        numerics use "#".  Thus, $count refers to a string, and #count to
        a number.  This leads to another point: a string variable and a
        numeric one can have the same name, so both $count and #count could
        exist at the same time.  They are independent of each other, however.

    PILOT also implements labels, which are used just like in any other
    language, and are declared in the following way:

    *labelname

    This would define a label called "labelname".  All label definitions
    start with an asterisk (the "*"), and follow that with the label name.
    Label names, like variable names, are case insensitive.

    PILOT statements that do not declare labels have the following syntax:

    <command>[conditional] : [arguments]

    <command> is any of RPilot's internal commands, which I will cover
    shortly.  [conditional] is an optional conditional expression which
    determines whether the statement will be executed.  This is different
    from more contemporary languages which use "if" clauses and the like, in
    that the "if" clause is implemented in every function, in a way.
    [arguments] is an optional list of arguments to be passed to the function.
    Some functions require arguments; others don't.

    Commands::
        Commands in RPilot are exactly one character long.  This may seem
        a little wierd, but that's the way things are.  Even if you are a
        PILOT expert, you will find it beneficial to read ALL of the command
        descriptions, to learn the nuances of RPilot.  On to the commands:

        R ::
            The "R" (Remark) command flags the rest of the line as a comment,
            and therefore the interpreter ignores it.  This is a good way to
            add reminders to yourself about what you have typed. Example:

            R: This is a comment

        A ::
            The "A" (Accept) command takes input from the user.  It can
            take the name of a string or numeric variable as an argument, in
            which case it will store the input into the given variable.  If
            no arguments are given, it stores input into the string variable
            "$answer".  Examples:

            R: The next line gets a string from the user and puts it in
             : "$answer"
            A:

            R: This gets a number and stores it in "#group"
            A: #group

            Note that you can only name one variable for each A command

        T ::
            The "T" (Type) command is used to display information.  If any
            arguments are given, it displays the string, substituting
            variables as needed.  With no arguments, it prints a blank line.
            Examples:

            R: The next line prints the contents of the variables "$name",
             : "$rank", and "#serialnum"
            T: Name: $name Rank: $rank Serial Number: #serialnum

            T: Note that instead of using the same command over and over
            T: again, as I have just done, you can skip the command name
            T: and just use the colon, as I have done in a few examples,
             : like this.
             : It saves time, and makes things look nicer.

        J ::
            The "J" (Jump) command is like GOTO in BASIC and other languages.
            It causes the interpreter to jump to the label given to it as
            an argument.  When giving a label name, do not add on the
            initial "*".  Example:

            R: The next line causes a jump to the label "done"
            J: done

        U ::
            The "U" (Use) command is used to implement a sort of primitive
            subroutine.  It causes the interpreter to jump to the given
            label, just like J, but first it pushes to current file offset
            onto a stack.  When the E command is reached, that value is
            popped off and jumped to.  This is like GOSUB in BASIC.
            Example:

            U: sub
            T: Back from the sub!
            J: done

            *sub
            T: Now we're in the sub.
            R: We'll look at the "E" command next
            E:

            *done

        E ::
            The "E" (End) command is used with U to return from subroutines.
            If no subroutines were called, E ends the program.  Example:

            T: The next line ends this program
            E:
            T: This is never executed

            Also note the example for the U command.

        M ::
            The "M" (Match) command is used to handle user input.  It
            compares a given list of strings to the last string which was
            used to hold input from the A command.  This also is very wierd,
            and it would probably help to check some of the example programs.
            If RPilot finds a match, it sets the variable "#matched" to 1,
            and the variable "#which" to the position of the matched string
            in the argument list.  Example:

            T: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
            A: $icecream

            R: The next line checks to see if "vanilla" or "mint" were
             : entered during the last A command
            M: vanilla mint

            If $icecream = "vanilla" then #which would equal 1.  If the answer
            was "mint", then #which would equal 2.  In either case, #matched
            would be set to 1.  If neither matched what the user typed, then
            #matched would be set to 0, and so would #which

        C ::
            The "C" (Compute) command sets variables.  The argument string
            contains a variable name followed by an equal sign ("="),
            followed by a value to assign tot he variable.  For numerics,
            this is a mathematical expression which can contain one or more
            terms, and variables as well as constants.  See the section on
            math for more info on expressions.  For strings, it is a list
            of strings and variables which will be copied into the given
            variable.  For example:

            R: This causes "#number" to be incremented by 5               
            C: #number  = 5 + #number

            R: This copies the contents of "$firstname" and "$lastname"
             : to the variable "$fullname"
            C: $fullname = $firstname $lastname

        Y ::
            The "Y" (Yes) command works like T, except that it only prints
            if the variable "#matched" equals 1.  This is usually used in
            conjunction with M.  Example:

            A:
            M: Herbert Floyd
            Y: You typed "Herbert" or "Floyd"
            N: You entered some other name.

        N ::
            The "N" (No) command is just the opposite of Y, it only prints
            if "#matched" equals 0.  For an example, see above.

        That's it for the standard PILOT.  Next we take a look at RPilot's
        extensions.

        X ::
            The "X" (eXecute) command runs a line of PILOT code which you
            pass to it.  The argument(s) are either a constant string,
            (ie, "T: Hello!"), or a string variable.  Try the following:

            A:
            X: $answer

            It will wait for you to input a string, and then will try to run
            it.  If you were to type "T: Boo!", that command would take
            place, and "Boo!" would be displayed

        S ::
            The "S" (Shell) command allows you to execute other programs.
            This gives you access to the operating system and all other
            programs on the user's machine.  For example:

            S: dir
            OR
            S: /bin/ls

            will display a list of files, depending on what operating system
            you are running.

	    The return code of the program which you ran is stored in the
	    variable `#retcode'.  If a program runs succesfully, this should
	    be zero.  If not, it usually means that something went wrong.

        D ::
            The "D" (Debug) command is used as a way to quickly and easily
            get a list of all variables and labels.  It takes a string as an
            argument, and checks for two characters.  If it sees an "l" or
            an "L" (case is unimportant), it will dump a list of all labels
            and their offsets.  If it sees a "v"  or a "V", it will do a
            variable dump, listing all variables and their values.  This is
            useful when something goes wrong, and you need to check
            everything at once.  Example:

            D: Lv

            Lists all labels, followed by all variables

        G ::
            The "G" (Generate) command is used to generate random numbers,
            and place them in a variable.  It takes three arguments, first
            a numeric variable, then two numbers.  It randomly creates a
            number between the second and third arguments, and places it
            in the variable specified by the first.  Example:

            G: #rand 23 56

            This generates a number between 23 and 56, and stores it in #rand
 
            This is especially useful when making things that require random
            values, such as games.  (See the example programs for a few games
            that use G)


    Math::
        RPilot supports the following mathematical operators (math ops):

        Standard:
        + :: Adds two things together
        - :: Subtracts one number from another
        * :: Multiplies two numbers
        / :: Divides one number by another

        RPilot Extensions:
        % :: Gets the modulo (remainder after division) of two numbers
        & :: Gets the bitwise AND of two numbers
        | :: Bitwise OR of two numbers
        ^ :: Bitwise XOR of two numbers

        I'm not sure how useful all the bitwise operators are, but they
        were easy enough to add, so why not?  RPilot works all expressions
        from left to right, and currently ignores operator precedence. 


    Conditionals::
        RPilot statements can contain "conditional expressions" (condexs),
        which are evaluated and checked to see if they are true.  If so,
        the rest of the statement is run.  They are placed after the command,
        such as in this example:

        J(#answer > 45): menu1

        In this case, the condex is "(#answer > 45)"  The J (Jump) will only
        take place if the value of "#answer" is more than 45.  If not, RPilot
        goes on to the next line.  RPilot understands the following
        "relational operators" (relat ops):

        =  :: True if two numbers are equal
        <  :: True if the first number is less than the second
        >  :: True if the first is greater than the second
        <> :: True if the two numbers are not equal
        <= :: True if the first is less than or equal to the second
        >= :: True if the first is greater than or equal to the second

        Of course, you are free to use all the math ops in a condex, such as:

        T(#score + 10 >= 50): You made it by at least 10 points!

        Note, however, that you can have only one relational operator per 
	condex.

        In addition to standard condexs, there are also two other methods
        of testing a condition, Y and N.  If the condex of a statement is
        a captial "Y", then RPilot checks to see if "#matched" is equal to
        1.  If so, the condition is true, and is then executed.  "N" is the
        opposite, and checks whether "#matched" equals 0.  If so, the
        statement is executed.  These are ususally used after an "M" command,
        for example:

        A: $answer
        M: 1776 1812 1968 1998
        R: The following line jumps to "correct" if "#matched" equals 1.
         : That would be true if "M" matched any dates listed
        JY: correct
        R: If "#matched" equals 0, then "N" statements are true, and are
         : then executed
        TN: You did not answer correctly


    Special Variables::
        RPilot has two special variables which you can use.  They are special
	because they are set by the interpreter itself, so you can use them
	without assigning a value first.  The two special variables are:

	$prompt - This is the prompt which is printed out for an A: (Accept)
	          command.  The default value is ">".  If you run the following
		  program:

		  T: Please enter a number
		  C: $prompt = rpilot>
		  A: #number

		  You would see that when you are asked for a number, the
		  prompt is "rpilot>" rather than ">".

	#rpilot - This is the version number of RPilot.  For version 1.4,
	          it's value is 14.  RPilot 1.5 would be 15, and 2.0 would
		  be 20.


    Interactive Mode::
        If RPilot is invoked with the "-i" command line switch, it will
	attempt to enter an interactive mode, where you type commands in, and
	have them executed immediately.

	Interactive mode is not a part of the `rpilot' program, but rather
	it should be written as an external PILOT program.  Therefore, in
	order for RPilot to use interactive mode, it needs a program to run.
	It will find one in one of two ways:

	1) Look for a program called "interact.p" in the current directory.
	2) Run the program specified by the RPILOT_INTERACT environment
	   variable.

	The `inter.p' file located in the examples directory is a good
	program to use.  Feel free to customize it by editing the source code.
	
    Note::       
        I think that the best way to learn RPilot is to look through all the
        example programs after reading this, and hopefully it will make more
        sense.  They are all fully commented, and are meant to serve as
        learning aids.


Where to get RPilot::

    The RPilot web site is located at http://rpilot.sourceforge.net/  All
    new versions are released there first.

    RPilot for DOS will (hopefully) be found at the following places:
    Note that the XX stands for the version number, ie rpilot10.zip for
    version 1.0.

        ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/msdos/misclang/rpilotXX.zip
        and it's many mirrors
        
    RPilot for Linux will be found at

        sunsite.unc.edu/pub/Linux/devel/lang/misc/rpilot-XX.tar.gz
        and it's many mirrors

    RPilot for OS/2 2.0 and above wil l be at

        hobbes.nmsu.edu/pub/os2/dev/misc/rpos2xx.zip
        and it's many mirrors

    The source code will in be all of the packages, along with makefiles and
    tips relevant to the particular platform.  Since RPilot is portable, all
    of the versions were built from the exact same source.

    Also, check out my home page at http://auntfloyd.home.ml.org/  Updates
    will always be available there, along with other cool stuff.


Contacting the Author::

    If you find any bugs or have any questions/comments, write me at 
    rcl211@nyu.edu


Special Thanks to::

    Ken Martwick - for sending me a bug report.  So now you can run gcc-
                   compiled versions of RPilot.


License::
    Since Linux people seem to be big on licenses and garbage like that,
    here's info on RPilot's license:

    **********************************************************************
    RPilot: Rob's PILOT Interpreter
    Copyright 1998 Rob Linwood

    This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.

    This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
    but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the
    GNU General Public License for more details.

    You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    along with this program; if not, write to the Free Software
    Foundation, Inc., 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
    **********************************************************************

    See the COPYING file for the full text.

----------
Rob Linwood (rcl211@nyu.edu)
http://homepages.nyu.edu/~rcl211/