8-Bit Software Online Conversion

            A few answers, but more questions By Chris Richardson As many of you may already know, I maintain an internet website for 8BS. There are many things on it that advertise 8BS. Things such as animated pictures of rotating BBCs, sounds of BBC being switched on, the 8BS advert, the 8BS catalogue, articles and many other things. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) pages that make up a website are actually just plain text full of commands that tell the PC 'web browser' software how to present the information. It is obvious from this that it is a very simple thing for a BBC to read these HTML pages. Simply strip out the commands (that are surrounded by chevrons <>) and you are left with plain text. Sprow sent a ROM that does this (on this issue). I wrote a very simple Basic program that does it too as a demo for those that cannot use the ROM. A PC web browser loads the whole page in and then you can read up and down it by scrolling the page. The page is usually covered in 'hypertext' links. These can be a word, series of words or even a picture that when clicked on, something that has been defined to happen will happen. Usually this will be a link to another part of the page, another page or another website. It could also be a file to download or a program to run or a tune to play and so on. I would dearly like to be able to use my BBC on the internet. Unfortunately I see a number of obstacles. Firstly, I have an internet connection, but there are loads of protocols that need to be observed and passwords to pass, I have not the first idea how these would be passed. Code would have to be written to do this job to dial up and log on. Secondly, some HTML files are huge, so it would not be a simple case of reading the file into memory and then scrolling up and down it. Saving it to disc may not work either as I could see a file being larger than a BBC floppy disc capacity. So unless a hard drive is used, that only leaves the 'read it as it goes by your nose' option which is not the ideal situation (but better than none). Thirdly Hypertext. This could be implemented fairly easily as the BBC browser would only act on the few commands that it could do something about. Mainly download files and jumps to other pages. The problem here is, when would the link be presented? 1. As it appears on the screen? Maybe you want to read the rest of the text first though. 2. At the end? Then it might be out of context and you may have forgotten what it was about. Search Engines! There are very important things on the internet called search engines. If you don't use a search engine, you could flounder around on the internet going nowhere and wasting loads of time. Someone like myself who wants people to visit the 8BS website will visit many different search engines, submitting my internet address. The search engine software will then visit the 8BS website and put some of the words from the site into its database. Imagine Joe Bloggs comes along and wants to find 8BS. He puts a search into that search engine, something like '8-Bit Software'. The search engine looks through its database for occurrences of those words and presents a list of internet addresses where those words appear. Other combinations of words such as BBC and Master will bring up a wide variety of results too. So, how would a BBC be able to use a search engine? Then there is Email. How would that be handled? Remember, that to get on to the internet you must first find an internet provider that you will have to pay. They then give you a phone number and series of codes and passwords that you use to log on to the internet through their server.