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Sunbelt PL/B:Unix

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The PL/B (DATABUS) language has proven itself to be unrivalled in screen, file, and character string manipulation. After being developed by Datapoint Corporation in 1972, it became the first language to support Local Area Networks (LAN) and multiple resource sharing when Datapoint pioneered the networking field with their introduction of ARCNET. The language is currently used by over 100,000 companies, including more than half of the Fortune 500 and most all U.S. governmental agencies. PL/B is further evolving through the work of the ANSI PL/B standards committee, of which SUNBELT is an active member.

Since 1982 when Sunbelt released the first non Datapoint compiler for PL/B, we have been the leader in promoting the creation of a user standard and in supporting the extensions required by PL/B users. We were the first to support CP/M 80, MS/PC DOS, micro based LANs, and Datapoint's AIM, all while maintaining the highest level of compatibility available for all of Datapoint's implementations. However, the need for compatibility has never compromised our user commitment, and thus our compilers feature more enhancements than those offered by all other competitor's products. As a result, third party software developers have demonstrated acceptance of our implementation by offering Program Generators, Query Tools, Report Writers, and Translation Tools which specifically utilize enhancements unique to Sunbelt's implementation.


General File I/O Support

  • File Path Direction
  • Long File Name support throughout entire system
  • Cross Platform Compatibility between Windows, DOS and UNIX systems.
  • Multi, on-line directory access
  • Files can be in common
  • EXCLUSIVE, SHARE & READ file access
  • FILEPI and PI 0 File Locking
  • RECORD LOCKING, manual or automatic
  • CLOSE mode support
  • Text files written in the native o/s format
  • Text files may have multiple AAM and/or ISAM key files
  • Read any file forward or backward
  • Multiple Spool files

AFILE (AAM) File I/O Support

  • Can PREP an AAM file
  • Supports up to 95 keys
  • Supports variable length records and space compressed records
  • Key fields may overlap and be anywhere
  • Deleted record space can be reused
  • Updates text and key file without destroying READKG pointers
  • Updates actual AAM keys

IFILE (ISAM) File I/O Support

  • Can PREP an ISAM file
  • Keys can be up to 99 bytes long
  • Utilizes a self-balancing B-tree
  • Partial and/or selective indexing
  • Supports DUPlicate and NODUPlicate files
  • Deleted record space can be reused

Other File I/O Support

  • ERASE - Delete named file
  • FILEIO - read, write, or update using a single instruction
  • FPOSIT - DOS or RMS formats
  • POSITEOF - Position file to End of File
  • RENAME - Change name of file
  • GETFILE - Retrieve information from a FILE, IFILE, AFILE or PFILE
  • SETEOR - Allows a file's end of record type to be specified
  • Signed Numeric option to SORT
  • Offset option to SORT to aid in year 2000 problems
  • DELETE/UPDATE support for FILE variables.

Compiler Features

  • Conditional compile directives
  • Define data anywhere in source
  • Supports local variables/labels
  • Supports 2Gig of UDA and 4Gig of code

Variable Handling Features

  • DIM sizes up to 64k bytes
  • FORM sizes up to 32 digits
  • INTEGER sizes up to 4 bytes
  • Arrays up to 14 dimensions
  • Array indices may be variables
  • Supports indirect addressing
  • PARSE verb to separate strings of data using ranges of values
  • EXTEND has optional length field
  • MATCH and SCAN have optional universal match character
  • EDIT allows a negative field to be indicated with parentheses
  • MOVE minus overpunched data
  • MOVE supports INTEGERs
  • CALC an equation using +, -, *, /, (, )
  • Support for 3 Parameter math
  • A complete set of mathematical functions including ARCCOS, ARCSIN, ARCTAN, COS, COSH, EXP, LOG, LOG10, POWER, SIN, SINH, SQRT, TAN, TANH
  • INTEGER support in math & logical operations
  • The ability to use expressions anywhere a numeric variable is used as the source operand. For example:
            DISPLAY   *P(HPOS+1):((INDEX-1)*2+1),"Hello, world...";
            RESET     STRING,(MONTH - 1)
  • SINSERT inserts into another variable beginning at the formpointer
  • SDELETE deletes the logical string, shifting the remainder left
  • MOVELS moves a logical string into another logical string
  • SQUEEZE to strip out any given set of characters from a string variable
  • CHOP to strip trailing blanks from a string variable
  • FILL to take a character and propagate it thoughout a field
  • Ability to MATCH two RECORDs
  • PARSEFNAME statement for parsing file names

Program Control Features

  • IF/ELSE/ENDIF structured code constructs
  • LOOP/REPEAT structured code constructs
  • BREAK to terminate LOOP/REPEAT
  • BRANCHF (function key BRANCH)
  • PERFORM (indexed CALL)
  • PERFORMF (function key PERFORM)
  • SETFLAG manually set flags
  • FSAVE save and restore flag settings
  • Up to 55 function keys supported
  • FKEY flag for generic trapping of all untested function keys
  • ROLLOUT suspends execution, creating an image file for return
  • EXECUTE suspends execution, performs requested task & returns
  • SELECT and SWITCH verbs allowing multiway branching
  • FORK and BATCH support true multi-tasking capabilities
  • Supports ANSWER/MASTER concept

Screen I/O Features

  • Subwindows
  • Ability to save and restore screen images
  • KEYIN and DISPLAY list controls for growing and shrinking subwindows
  • Supports Print spooling to devices
  • *ABSON/*ABSOFF - Absolute keyin
  • *CRTON - Read Data from the screen
  • *COLOR - Set screen attributes
  • *DPI - Set decimal point implied mode
  • *EDIT - inline editing of a variable
  • *INSERT - Insert mode for use with *EDIT
  • *SAVESW - Save current subwindow image

PLBCMP is a compiler which generates interpretive code from PL/B source. The generated code is device independent, supporting virtually any terminal or peripheral allowed by the system, and transportable to any supported system, as well as MS/DOS, Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, ME or XP. Sunbelt's SUNED editor and SUNDBUG, an interactive, on-line, symbolic debugger, are included in the package. PLBCMP comes with a free 2 user PLB license.

PLB is the run-time supporting numerous UNIX systems. PLB includes many utility programs and shell scripts.

Currently Supported Systems

  • Apple Macintosh (Intel)
  • Linux (Intel)

Previously Supported Systems

  • HP Alpha 64 bit
  • HP 9000 32 bit
  • IBM AIX RS/6000
  • Linux (PowerPC)
  • SCO Unix & Xenix/386
  • SUN Solaris

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Last modified January 30 2023 10:05 by