Category : Alternate Operating Systems - Quarterdeck DesqView, CP/M, etc
Archive   : QWHITE13.ZIP
Filename : DVAWARE.TEC

Output of file : DVAWARE.TEC contained in archive : QWHITE13.ZIP

ID:AW Making a Program DESQview-aware
Quarterdeck Technical Note #250 Filename: DVAWARE.TEC
by Michael Bolton CompuServe: DVAWAR.ZIP
Last revised: 7/20/92 Category: API

Subject: How to make your standard DOS application "DESQview-aware", and
notes on why you should seriously consider doing this.

Q. What is a DESQview-aware program?
Q. Why should I make my program DESQview-aware?
Q. How do I make my program DESQview-aware?

DESQview users don't just want their programs to run as well inside DESQview
as outside; they want them to run even better. They want to use DESQview's
Learn feature to make typing repetitive commands to the program easier -- and
DESQview's Transfer feature to move information from one program to another.
They want their programs to print or do heavy processing in background while
they continue to work in another program in foreground. They want their
programs, when idle, to avoid degrading the multitasking of programs that are
active. It's easy to modify a program to do all this.

Additionally, hidden deep inside DESQview 2 is a powerful API (Application
Program Interface) that lets programs control and interact with DESQview and
with other programs running in DESQview. You may easily modify your program
to be "DESQview-aware" -- to employ one set of strategies when it is not
running under DESQview, and to use the power of DESQview's API when it is
running under DESQview. The DESQview API Reference Manual (which includes the
Assembler interfaces to the API), libraries for C, Clipper, Pascal, Basic, and
dBase, the API Panel Design Tool, and the API Debugger are all available from
Quarterdeck Office Systems; see Quarterdeck Technical Note #211, "DESQview API
General Information" (APIBRO.TEC) for more details. You may obtain technotes
from the Quarterdeck BBS (310-314-3227), by calling QFAX (our automated
FAX-back service, at 310-314-3214), on Compuserve (go QUARTERDECK, library 2),
or BIX. Many technotes are also available on large local BBSs, often in
"DESQview" or "multitasking" file areas.

For a program's users to be able to take advantage of DESQview's Transfer and
Learn features, the program must get keystrokes from DOS or the BIOS. If the
program reads the keyboard hardware to get keys these features won't work
-- making the program less powerful than other programs in DESQview.

Programs that call DOS or the BIOS to move the cursor and display information
on the screen run in a small window without modification. The user can use
such a program while simultaneously viewing information for another program.
More importantly, such programs will run in background without writing on top
of the information displayed by the program that's running in foreground.

There's no good reason not to use the BIOS to move the hardware cursor, as
these functions are easy to use and quite fast. However, both DOS and the
BIOS are comparatively slow at writing to the screen, so many programs write
directly to the screen memory for performance reasons.

Programs that write directly to the video buffer typically determine during
intialization whether they should run on a monochrome or a color monitor.
They select a video segment at B000h for a monochrome or B800h for a color
display. DESQview provides a new call that supplies the caller with an
alternative video buffer address. A program can write text into this buffer
exactly as if it were the hardware video buffer. DESQview will automatically
take care of displaying only the information that falls within the current
window area while updating the entire logical screen.

The following code sequence checks for DESQview's presence and then requests
the alternate buffer address:

MOV ES, VIDEO_HARDWARE_SEG ; set ES = video hardware segment
MOC CX, 'DE' ; set CX to 4445h, DX to 5351h
MOV DX, 'SQ' ; an invalid date
MOV AX, 2B01h ; DOS's set date function
INT 21h ; call DOS
CMP AL, 0FFh ; did DOS see it as invalid?
JE NO_DESQVIEW ; if so, DESQview isn't there
MOV MAJOR_VERSION, BH ; else DESQview returns version #
MOV MINOR_VERSION, BL ; (no real reason to store these)

; since DESQview is running, get
; the alternate screen buffer
MOV AH, 0FEh ; DESQview's get buffer function
INT 10h ; returns ES:DI as alternate buffer


This code assumes that you've already determined whether you're on a
monochrome or color monitor and have set either B000h or B800h into the
VIDEO_BUFFER_SEG variable. It then checks if DESQview is running. If it is,
it makes a DESQview BIOS call to get the alternate video buffer address into
ES:DI, and then finishes by setting the correct buffer address (either the
original hardware address or the one DESQview provided) into the

If you're familiar with TopView's API, you'll note that TopView supports an
equivalent call to find an alternate screen buffer. TopView, however,
requires that another call be made every time you write into the buffer to
tell TopView that something has changed (the 0FFh interrupt 10h call).
DESQview supports this call as well, but DOES NOT require it.

There is no need to synchronize with video retrace when writing into this
buffer. DESQview will automatically synchronize when the information is
written to the "real" screen. So, the program might actually update the
screen faster inside of a small DESQview window than it does outside of

Once you've added this code to the program (and converted to using the BIOS to
manipulate the cursor -- if you weren't doing so already), the program will
run in a small DESQview window and users will be able to run the program in
background without any problems.

(Programs which write text or graphics directly to the screen may also run in
background, without modification, under DESQview 386, which consists of
DESQview and QEMM-386, running together on a 386 or 486 processor. See
Quarterdeck Technical Note #229 "What is Virtualizing?" (VIRTUALI.TEC) for
more information on this.)

However, using the DESQview API, there are still a few optimizations you can
make to be sure the program mulititasks as efficiently as possible -- so that
neither the program nor other programs running concurrently with it are
needlessly degraded. There are three routines that you might want to add to
the program to achieve this optimization.

* DV_PAUSE: If the program waits for input when it's idle, DESQview
won't waste any processor time on it until the user types the next
key. However, if the program sits in a loop polling the keyboard when
it's basically idle, you'll probably want to use the DV_PAUSE call to
relinquish the remainder of your time slice when you see that the event
you're polling for hasn't yet occurred. This minimizes the effect of
the program's polling loop on other programs running in background.

* DV_BEGIN_CRITICAL: This call is used in conjunction with the call
DV_END_CRITICAL to define a section of code the DESQview won't "slice
out of". Use this for timimg critical operations.

* DV_END_CRITICAL: This call defines the end of a critical section of

These routines, and the two others listed below, are contained in the listing
of the DESQview interfaces modules below. This listing can be assembled with
the IBM or Microsoft Assembler and then linked with the program. It should
work "as is" when linked to Assembler or C programs. It isn't linkable "as
is" to MS Pascal, Turbo Pascal or Compiled BASIC -- but can be easily adapted
to these languages as well. Contact Quarterdeck if you need assistance.

The other two routines in this listing are:

* DV_GET_VERSION: Returns a zero if the program is NOT running under
DESQview. Otherwise, it returns the current DESQview version number.
If the program already uses DOS or the BIOS to write to the screen,
you should call this routine (rather than DV_GET_VIDEO_BUFFER) when
you initialize the program.

* DV_GET_VIDEO_BUFFER: Takes the hardware video segment on the stack
and returns that segment (if DESQview isn't present) or returns the
segment of DESQview's alternate video buffer. You should call this
routine when you initialize the program if the program normally writes
directly to the video buffer.

TITLE DESQview Interfaces




; Returns in AH/AL the DESQview major/minor version numbers, and sets
; up the IN_DV variable for later use
; Returns 0 in AX if DESQview isn't there

MOV CX, 'DE' ; set CX to 4445h; DX to 5351h
MOV DX, 'SQ' ; (an invalid date)
MOV AX, 2B01h ; DOS's set date function
INT 21h ; call DOS
CMP AL, 0FFh ; did DOS see it as invalid?
JE NO_DESQVIEW ; if so, DESQview isn't there
MOV AX, BX ; AH = major version; AL = minor version
MOV CS:IN_DV, 1 ; Set internal variable used by
JMP SHORT DVGV_X ; other routines
SUB AX, AX ; return no DESQview (version 0)


; Takes the hardware video segment on the stack and returns that segment
; (if DESQview is not present) or DESQview's alternate video buffer in
; AX. Sets up the IN_DV variable for later use. Call this instead of
; DV_GET_VERSION if your program writes directly to video memory
; As presented here, this is a C-callable function; the caller is
; responsible for cleaning up the stack.

PUSH DI ; DI may be modified by this call
MOV ES, [BP+6] ; put the hardware segment into ES
CALL DV_GET_VERSION ; Returns AX=0 if not in DESQview
JZ DVGVB_X ; Jump if not

; Since DESQview is running, get the alternate screen buffer

MOV AH, 0FEh ; DV's get buffer function
INT 10h ; Return ES as segment of alternate buffer
MOV AX, ES ; return correct video buffer in ES


; Note that in previous versions of this code, there were two calls in the
; DESQview manual which switched the process on to and off of DESQview's
; stack. In current versions of DESQview, these calls are not needed and so
; are not made - thus the procedure API_CALL has been eliminated.


; This routine gives up the rest of your program's time slice. Takes no
; parameters and returns nothing

CMP CS:IN_DV, 1 ; Are we in DESQview?
JNE DVP_X ; If not, nothing to do
PUSH AX ; Else make the pause function call
MOV AX, 1000h ; This is the function code
INT 15h ; Make that call


; This routine tells DESQview not to slice away from your program until
; you make a DV_END_CRITICAL call. Takes no parameters and returns nothing

CMP CS:IN_DV, 1 ; Are we in DESQview?
JNE DVBC_X ; If not, nothing to do
PUSH AX ; Else make the begin critical call
MOV AX, 101Bh ; This is the function code
INT 15h ; Make the call



; This routine tells DESQview that it is all right to slice away from
; your program again. Takes no parameters and returns nothing.

CMP CS:IN_DV, 1 ; Are we in DESQview?
JNE DVEC_X ; If not, nothing to do
PUSH AX ; Else make the end critical call
MOV AX, 101Ch ; This is the function code
INT 15h ; Make the call


NOTE: Indiscriminate use of critical regions, either too often or for too
long, may hamper DESQview's multitasking. Most programs, including many
timing-critical communications programs, work just fine in DESQview without
any use of critical regions.

The principal beneficiaries would be programs that use DOS directly, without
using interrupt 21, leaving DESQview in ignorance that a program has gone into
DOS, which is not re-entrant. Unfortunately, many versions of network server
software do this. When DESQview has not been informed that a program is in
DOS, DESQview cannot prevent another program from entering DOS.

The most important use of a critical region is to prevent re-entry of
non-re-entrant code that could be shared by another program. A much better
(and in fact, the recommended) solution is to write re-entrant code.

For more information on making a program DESQview-aware, please consult the
API Reference Manual.

DESQview version 2.26 (and above) issues informative messages to third-party
software so that software can monitor certain DESQview operations such as
starting a task or swapping out a process. These messages can be useful for
allocating/deallocating resources (e.g., memory) on a process-by-process
basis, communicating with tasks running within DESQview, rescheduling tasks,
etc. DESQview permits this through the External Device Interface (XDI) --
Quarterdeck's specification for communicating with external drivers. These
drivers may be implemented either as a DOS device driver (loaded by
CONFIG.SYS), a Terminate and Stay Resident program (TSR) loaded before or
after DESQview, or as a DESQview shared program (shared among several

Within the XDI, there are several subfunctions that inform the driver what
action DESQview has just performed or is about to perform.

XDI_CHECK_PRESENCE Check for XDI driver presence
XDI_RESERVED_SUBFUNC XDI driver custom subfunction
XDI_START_DV DV System initialization complete
XDI_END_DV DV System termination
XDI_START_PROC Process creation
XDI_END_PROC Process termination
XDI_START_TASK Task creation
XDI_END_TASK Task termination
XDI_SAVE_STATE Task state save
XDI_RESTORE_STATE Task state restore
XDI_KEYBOARD Change of keyboard focus
XDI_PROCESS_DVP Processing of DVP file complete
XDI_SWAPPING_OUT Swap out of DV process
XDI_SWAPPED_IN Swap in of DV process
XDI_FAILED_DVP DV process creation failure

DESQview's XDI is fully documented in Quarterdeck's API Reference Manual.
Contact Quarterdeck for full information on DESQview's XDI specification.

Quarterdeck is happy to assist developers of commercial software who would
like to make their applications work better under DESQview.

Quarterdeck Office Systems
150 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, California

(310) 392-9851

* Trademarks are property of their respective owners. *
*This technical note may be copied and distributed freely as long as it*
*is distributed in its entirety and it is not distributed for profit. *
* Copyright (C) 1992 by Quarterdeck Office Systems *
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