Dec 252017
 
Source code for the MaxMail .QWK door for Maximus 1.x. Contains info on the .QWK format and C code to convert from Basic Real to C long int.
File MXMS_160.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
Category BBS Files
Source code for the MaxMail .QWK door for Maximus 1.x. Contains info on the .QWK format and C code to convert from Basic Real to C long int.
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
CONFIG.C 42322 8312 deflated
FILE.C 52067 11269 deflated
FOSSIL.C 3734 1096 deflated
GLOBALS.H 3677 980 deflated
INIT.C 30333 5575 deflated
MAKEFILE 702 400 deflated
MAXLIB.C 8554 2569 deflated
MAXMAIL.C 19148 5493 deflated
MAXMAIL.H 5968 1826 deflated
MISC.C 37760 8587 deflated
MSGHELP.C 7921 2351 deflated
PROTOS.H 4499 1316 deflated
QWK.DOC 14967 4220 deflated
QWKSPT.C 36024 7826 deflated
README.SRC 1396 680 deflated
SWAPM.OBJ 4223 2310 deflated

Download File MXMS_160.ZIP Here

Contents of the QWK.DOC file


The Mysterious QWK-File Format

by

Jeffery Foy


It would be safe to assume that if you're reading this
article, you use or have used a QWK-compatible offline mail
reader. The QWK format has emerged as the format of choice
due to the relatively small size of QWK mail packets as
compared to an equivalent ASCII text file.

As most users of offline mail readers know, the QWK format
was designed by Mark Herring (Sparky) of Sparkware. While Mr.
Herring did design the format, he only gave very sketchy
details as to the specifics of the format. This is quite
understandable as he is a very busy person. That is the
reason why I'm writing this article.

In it's most basic form, a QWK file is simply a compressed
file. In almost all cases, the QWK file has been compressed
with PKZIP from PKWARE. With most mail doors, you can usually
choose your favorite archiver so your QWK file may not be in
PKZIP format.

Within the compressed QWK file are quite a number of other
component files. We'll start with the one called CONTROL.DAT
since it is the easiest to describe. It is an ASCII text file
so if you have one handy, you can follow along.

Generic BBS ; Line # 1
Seattle, WA ; Line # 2
206-555-1212 ; Line # 3
Joe Sysop, Sysop ; Line # 4
00000,GENBBS ; Line # 5
01-01-1991,00:00:00 ; Line # 6
MARY USER ; Line # 7
MENU ; Line # 8
0 ; Line # 9
0 ; Line #10
254 ; Line #11
0 ; Line #12
Main Conf ; Line #13
... ; Line # x
254 ; Line # x
Last Conf ; Line # x
HELLO
NEWS
GOODBYE

Line # 1 - This is the BBS name where you got your mail
packet.
Line # 2 - This is the city and state where the BBS is
located.
Line # 3 - This is the BBS phone number.
Line # 4 - This is the sysop's name.
Line # 5 - This line contains first the serial number of the
mail door followed by the BBS ID. Note the BBS ID
as it will be used later in this article.
Line # 6 - This is the time and date of the packet.
Line # 7 - This is the uppercase name of the user for which
this packet was prepared.
Line # 8 - This line contains the name of the menu file for
those who use the Qmail reader/door. Almost all
other mail doors leave this line blank.
Line # 9 - No one seems to know what this line is meant for.
Line #10 - No one seems to know what this line is meant for.
(Note: Both of these ALWAYS seem to be 0)
Line #11 - This line is the maximum number of conferences
MINUS 1.
Line #12 - This line is the first conference's number. It is
usually 0 but not always.
Line #13 - This line is the name of the first conference. It
is 10 characters or less.

Lines 12 and 13 are repeated for as many conferences as
listed in line 11.

Anything you see after the last conference name can be
ignored as that information isn't usually provided by mail
doors. One exception to this is the Markmail door.


Now we'll talk about the message file itself. If you haven't
guess by now, it is the MESSAGES.DAT file. This is, quite
obviously, the largest file in the .QWK packet.

MESSAGES.DAT is organized very specifically into 128-byte
records. The first record is the Sparkware copyright notice.
The rest of the record after the copyright notice is filled
with blanks (spaces). To maintain compatibility with Sparky's
Qmail Door, all mail doors reproduce the copyright notice
exactly.

Following the first record begins the "meat" of the message
file. Each message included in the file consists of a header
followed directly by the message text itself. First we will
describe the header:

Header Field
Position Length Description
-------- ------ ----------------------------------------
1 1 Message status byte
' ' = public message which hasn't been
read
'-' = public and already read
'*' = private message
'~' = comment to sysop which hasn't
been read by the sysop
'`' = comment to sysop which HAS been
read by the sysop
'%' = password protected message that
hasn't been read (protected by
sender of message)
'^' = password protected message that
HAS been read (protected by
sender of message)
'!' = password protected message that
hasn't been read (protected by
group password)
'#' = password protected message that
HAS been read (protected by
group password)
'$' = password protected message that
is addressed to ALL (protected
by group password)
2 7 Message number coded in ASCII
9 8 Date coded in ASCII (MM-DD-YY)
17 5 Time coded in ASCII (HH:MM) 24 hour
format
22 25 Uppercase name of person message is TO
47 25 Uppercase name of person message is FROM
72 25 Subject of message
97 12 Message password. Usually not anything
but spaces (to denote no password)
109 8 Message # this message refers to (coded
in ASCII)
117 6 Number of 128-byte chunks in the actual
message (includes header and is coded in
ASCII)
123 1 Determines whethere a message is live
(active) or killed. 90% of the time you
won't see a killed message in a packet.
'a' = Message is active/alive (0xE1)
'b' = Message is killed/dead (0xE2)
124 1 Least significant byte of conference
number.
125 1 Most significant byte of conference
number. NOTE: This isn't in the original
.QWK format but has become the standard
due to conference numbers greater than
255. In the original format, this byte
was space-filled.
126 3 Filler bytes for future expansion.
Space-filled and usually ignored.

Following the header record comes the message text itself.
The message text is simply the body of the message. To save
space, the return/linefeed combination is translated to the
pi character 'c' (0xE3). Note that the last line of the
message is padded with spaces to fill out the 128-byte
record.


Now we'll talk about the *.NDX files that are included in the
packet. Each .NDX file is formatted into records of 5-bytes
each. The bytes in each record are formatted thusly:

Start Field
Byte Length Description
---- ------ --------------------------------------------
1 4 This is a floating point number in the MSBIN
format. This number is the record number of
the message header in MESSAGES.DAT that
corresponds to this message.
5 1 This byte is the conferece number of this
message. This byte can (and should) be
ignored as it is duplicated in the message
header in MESSAGES.DAT. This is especially
important for conferences numbered higher
than 255.

Let's stray just a moment to talk about the MSBIN floating
point format. This is the format used by the older Microsoft
Basic compilers and interpreters. Most compiler manufacturers
have switched to the more efficient IEEE floating point
format. Therefore, we must have a method of converting to and
from MSBIN format. Included at the end of this article are
two routines in C that accomplish this quite easily.



Ok, let's talk about the format of the .REP (reply) packet.
Like the .QWK packet it is usually compressed. Inside the
compressed archive is a file whose extension is .MSG. The
filename itself is the same as line #5 of CONTROL.DAT. This
is the BBSID. So, for example, if the BBSID is GENERIC, the
complete filename in the .REP packet would be GENERIC.MSG.

The format of the .MSG file is almost exactly the same as the
MESSAGES.DAT file with three differences:

1). In the first record, rather than a copyright notice, the
first eight bytes are the BBSID as described above. The rest
of the record is filled with spaces.

2). In the message header, rather than the ASCII-coded
message number, we have the ASCII-coded conference number

3). Also in the message header, the conference number field
(byte offset 124 & 125) may be filled with spaces *OR* the
conference number.


In recent months a new file, DOOR.ID, has been added to the
.QWK packet. I know very little about it but will attempt to
explain it as best as I can.

DOOR.ID seems to be a method for individual doors to let the
mail reader know how to add and drop conferences. It is a
good idea and I hope more doors and readers can be made to
cooperate with it.

Usually there are only five lines in this file. Here is a
sample from one of my recent .QWK packets:

DOOR = TomCat! Line #1
VERSION = 2.9 Line #2
SYSTEM = Wildcat! 2.x Line #3
CONTROLNAME = TOMCAT Line #4
CONTROLTYPE = ADD Line #5
CONTROLTYPE = DROP Line #6

Line #1 - This is the mail door's name.
Line #2 - This is the mail door's version number.
Line #3 - This is the BBS software used and version number.
Line #4 - This is the control name (TO:) where to send
requests for conference changes.
Line #5 - This is the command the door expects to see to add
a conference to the user's current list.
Line #6 - This is the command the door expects to see to drop
a conference from the user's current list.


Here are the routines I use to convert to and from the MSBIN
format. You may use them as you see fit - they are not
copyrighted by me.

/*** MSBIN conversion routines ***/

union Converter
{
unsigned char uc[10];
unsigned int ui[5];
unsigned long ul[2];
float f[2];
double d[1];
}

/* MSBINToIEEE - Converts an MSBIN floating point number */
/* to IEEE floating point format */
/* */
/* Input: f - floating point number in MSBIN format */
/* Output: Same number in IEEE format */

float MSBINToIEEE(float f)
{
union Converter t;
int sign, exp; /* sign and exponent */

t.f[0] = f;

/* extract the sign & move exponent bias from 0x81 to 0x7f */

sign = t.uc[2] / 0x80;
exp = (t.uc[3] - 0x81 + 0x7f) & 0xff;

/* reassemble them in IEEE 4 byte real number format */

t.ui[1] = (t.ui[1] & 0x7f) | (exp << 7) | (sign << 15);
return t.f[0];
} /* End of MSBINToIEEE */


/* IEEEToMSBIN - Converts an IEEE floating point number */
/* to MSBIN floating point format */
/* */
/* Input: f - floating point number in IEEE format */
/* Output: Same number in MSBIN format */

float IEEEToMSBIN(float f)
{
union Converter t;
int sign, exp; /* sign and exponent */

t.f[0] = f;

/* extract sign & change exponent bias from 0x7f to 0x81 */

sign = t.uc[3] / 0x80;
exp = ((t.ui[1] >> 7) - 0x7f + 0x81) & 0xff;

/* reassemble them in MSBIN format */

t.ui[1] = (t.ui[1] & 0x7f) | (sign << 7) | (exp << 8);
return t.f[0];
} /* End of IEEEToMSBIN */


Well, that is all there is to it! I hope this article has
shed some light on the so-called "mysterious" .QWK format.


Jeffery Foy, April 1991


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