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A Java framework for building highly customizable PETSCII-enabled BBS, accessible from Commodore 64/128
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README.md

PETSCII BBS Builder

A Java framework for building highly customizable PETSCII-enabled BBSes, accessible from 8-bit Commodore computers

Purpose

This framework provides base classes for build your own BBS in PETSCII mode, accessibile through:

System requirements

  • Java Development Kit (JDK) and JRE version 1.7+
  • A machine that will act as server

Required skills

  • Knowledge of Java language (compiler version 1.7+)
  • BASIC TCP/IP concepts
  • Knowledge of PETSCII encoding

Getting started

Let's suppose to build a very simple BBS that asks your name welcomes you. The basic operation is to extend PetsciiThread class implementing doLoop() method, such as:

public class WelcomeBBS extends PetsciiThread {
    
    // NEVER forget default (empty) constructor
    public WelcomeBBS() {}
    
    @Override
    public void doLoop() throws Exception {
    
        // clear screen
        cls();
        
        println("This is your brand-new BBS");
        println();
        print("Enter your name: ");

        // flush output 
        flush();
        
        // clear input buffer
        resetInput();
        
        String name = readLine();
        println();
        println("Welcome, " + name + "!");
        println("Press a key to exit");
        flush();
        readKey();

    }
}

this piece of code is enough to create a fully-functional but pretty simple BBS. The result will look like this:

BBS sample screenshot

All you have to do now is to build and run the BBS on your server, ready to be called by a PETSCII-enabled terminal client. Let's see how to do it in the following sections.

Building the server

Once you have written your own BBS as an extension of PetsciiThread class, simply build the fat jar with this command:

mvn package

The build process will result in the file petscii-bbs-1.0-SNAPSHOT.jar, it will be found in the target directory. So you can run it with:

java -jar target/petscii-bbs-1.0-SNAPSHOT.jar

Running the BBS Server

Running the server with no parameters, a help screen will be displayed:

usage: target/petscii-bbs-1.0-SNAPSHOT.jar
 -b,--bbs <arg>       Run specific BBS (mandatory - see list below)
 -h,--help            Displays help
 -p,--port <arg>      TCP port used by server process (default 6510)
 -t,--timeout <arg>   Socket timeout in millis (default 60 minutes)
List of available BBS:
 * ...
 * WelcomeBBS

So we can rename the -jar file in bbs.jar, and the basic syntax for running our sample BBS is:

java -jar bbs.jar -b WelcomeBBS

by default, the port where the service will run is 6510 and the timeout is 3600000 milliseconds (1 hour). We can change those parameters with -p and -t switches:

java -jar bbs.jar -b WelcomeBBS -p 8088 -t 7200000

(so the port will be 8088 with a timeout of 2 hours)

Keep it running

This .jar is intended to be a server process: it has to run all time. So, it's a good thing to run it in background if you use a UNIX shell using nohup command with bash "&" operator:

nohup java -jar bbs.jar -b WelcomeBBS &

It's VERY important not to forget the final & symbol to keep it running. After launching that, you can logoff from your server.

Stopping it

It's a plain process, so use plain ps and kill commands. If this jar is the only one running on your server, this command will do the work:

killall java

Sample BBSes in the package

You can study the sample BBSes (all classes that extend PetsciiThread) in the package eu.sblendorio.bbs.tenants as example of complete task. The package includes some proxies for accessing WordPress sites through Commodore 64 and a two classic strategy games (tic-tac-toe and connect-4)

Sample online BBSes

  • bbs.sblendorio.eu - port 6510
  • bbs.retrocampus.com - port 8086

Credits

Thanks to:

Sample screenshot of the demo pack

bbs1

bbs2

bbs3

bbs4

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