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

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

ID:HR Hercules Monographics Plus and InColor Card (with RAMFONT)
Quarterdeck Technical Note #137 Filename: HRAMFONT.TEC
by Stan Young CompuServe: HRCFNT.TEC
Last revised: 2/10/92 Category: DV

Subject: An explanation (the bad news) of why DESQview does not and cannot
support the Hercules RAMfont card very well, and a few suggestions
for work-arounds.

DESQview 2.0 and above supports the original Hercules Monographics card both
in text and graphics mode.

Hercules has two cards called the Hercules Monographics Plus Card and the
InColor Card that have an additional feature that Hercules calls "RAMFONT."
While DESQview supports the cards in the original Hercules text and graphics
modes, DESQview is not compatible with the RAMFONT feature of the cards. We
have done considerable investigation to see if we could support RAMFONT and
have consulted with the Hercules developers, but the answer seems to be that
RAMFONT is unsupportable in the sense that we support other video standards.

The problem is that RAMFONT allows software to load a custom character set
into the card and then address this character set as if addressing a normal
text character set. Since this custom character set can appear any way the
developer designs it, it can allow for italics, boldface and large fonts to be
shown on the screen without going into graphics mode. This method has some
speed advantages over running in bit-mapped graphics mode.

Unfortunately, while these cards were designed to allow developers to load the
card with fonts of their own design, there does not appear to be any way for
developers to determine the current state of the card, read the font
information that might be stored in the card, or in any way do what we at
Quarterdeck refer to as a "save and restore" of the card. Since this
character set is global, once an application loads in one of these custom
character sets, these new characters will appear in other application windows
and DESQview menus. This can cause information to become unreadable.

Possible solutions and work-arounds:

1. Configure your program to operate in either standard text or Hercules
Graphics (720 by 348) mode. If your application allows you to configure the
type of graphics card you are using, selecting IBM Monochrome or Hercules
Monographics (without RAMFONT) should cause the program to operate correctly
in DESQview.

2. Put the program that uses RAMFONT into a state in which it does not use
RAMFONT before switching windows. For instance, if you use WordPerfect 5.0's
"Exit to DOS" feature before switching windows, WordPerfect will load in the
standard character set and then reload RAMFONTs when you return to
WordPerfect. Presumably any program that has an exit-to-DOS feature could
disable and reenable RAMFONT in this fashion.

3. If your program automatically detects RAMFONT and this support cannot be
disabled, and the program has some method for redrawing its screen, you can
use the program RAMFONT.COM that comes with the RAMFONT card in a DESQview DOS
window to re-establish the original IBM character set. To do this, you would
just type RAMFONT at the DOS prompt (this process could be activated by a
DESQview macro on the main menu). This will restore the normal character set
for DESQview and your other programs. However, when you return to the program
that uses RAMFONT, you will find that its screen is not correct. By hitting
the keystrokes necessary to redraw the screen, you can then re-establish
RAMFONT for the program. In Microsoft Word, for instance, you can re-
establish RAMFONT by hitting CTRL-SHIFT-\.

*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) 1990-2 by Quarterdeck Office Systems *
************************ E N D O F F I L E *************************