A&B Computing

Super Utility

Author: Jonathan Evans
Publisher: GTM Computers
Machine: BBC Model B

Published in A&B Computing 2.07

Essentially this is another Basic toolkit-type Rom with some utilities for disc users added in: a formatter, verifier and *FREE command which shows the space left on the disc. These facilities will be attractive for uses of the standard Acorn DFS, though many of the alternative DFS systems have similar utilities built in.

I am a regular user of Beebug's Toolkit Rom which has come out well in several comparative reviews that I have read, and will make it a yardstick for comparison in this review. The Super Utility Rom is strong in some areas where Toolkit is weak. For example, it has a very powerful program compactor. If all options are taken, it removes REMs and spaces, shortens variable and procedure names and concatenates lines - it does it fast too. It also scores over Toolkit in having a very good formatted listing option and the ability to perform search and replace on variable names *selectively* as well as globally.

In common with Toolkit, this Rom allows partial renumbering, moving of program lines, listing of variable values and bad program recovery. On the other hand, the Beebug Rom scores by being slightly more friendly, having a screen editor and various other facilities such as the ability to verify and merge files on disc with those in memory and the very useful facility of showing free memory after variable storage has been allocated by Basic.

Super Utility is a good program which has entered this competitive field rather late. I am not sure that I would have bought it in preference to Toolkit, but since so many of its facilities complement rather than duplicate the Beebug Rom, I am certainly pleased to have both. It should be noted that both are on 8K Eproms - a 16K toolkit could obviusly have the best of both and more besides.

Jonathan Evans

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