5.1. Binary format of the BASIC code

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In this section we describe some features of the binary format of the BASIC programs saved by ScriptBasic automatically into the cache directory or to a file using the option `-o'. There is absolutely no need to know or understand the binary format of ScriptBasic for those who want to program in ScriptBasic. However advanced users may want to perform some modification on binary format BASIC programs, like changing the interpreter location in the start line. For those this section describes the details.

The binary format is binary. It starts with some constant leading code to ensure that no erroneous execution starts and to avoid memory corruption. This leading code helps ScriptBasic to recognize the binary format even if the interpreter was started without specifying the option `-b'.

The binary format may, however start with a textual line specifying the interpreter. This is needed to make the binary format file executable on UNIX, for example to run a CGI program. This line is interpreted by the UNIX operating system and is ignored by the interpreter. Because this line has no meaning on Windows NT the line HAS TO be terminated by a line feed and not CR/LF. You need not worry about it, because this is created this way on Windows NT as well as on UNIX. This first line is copied from the source BAS file when the binary format is created.

You may want to change this line when you want to run the code on a machine having the interpreter located at a different location. To do this you can use the following sample ScriptBasic code:

cmdlin = command()
split cmdlin by " " to FileName,Interpreter
open FileName for input as 1

binmode 1 File$ = input(lof(1),1) close 1 if left(File$,1) = "#" then i = 1 while i < len(File$) and mid(File$,i,1) <> "\n" i = i+1 wend if mid(File$,i,1) = "\n" then File$ = "#!" & Interpreter & mid(File$,i,len(File$)) end if

open FileName for output as 1 binmode 1

print#1,File$ close 1 end if

This leading line is optional.

The first byte of the binary code (following the optional command line) is the ASCII number of the size of a long on the actual platform. This is currently 4 on Linux and Windows NT, Windows 95/8 and it is 8 for Tru64 UNIX.

This is followed a magic code. This is 0x1A534142. On DOS platforms this is printed as BAS^Z and prevents dumping the code to the screen if one attempts. This magic code is saved as a long. This means that the order of the bytes follows the order of the bytes in a long in memory on the machine the code was saved. This is followed by six long values. These are

The following eight bytes contain the name of the variation that created the binary code. Because some variations do not differ in binary format from the STANDARD variation they create binary file saying it being STANDARD.

To successfully load a binary format file to run in ScriptBasic the long size, the magic code, version information including the build and the variation string should match. Date may be different.

Following this header the real information of the executable code is placed. The following four long numbers present in order the

Following this the nodes come one after the other. ScriptBasic prints the size of a single node in bytes when the option `-v' is used. This is usually 16bytes on 32bit systems and 24bytes on 64bit systems. If you get smaller node size printed then you will face alignment problems. If you get bigger node check your compiler options. ScriptBasic was not tested on 128bit systems up to now.

The string table follows the nodes. This contains all the strings zero character terminated that present in the code. There is at least a zero valued byte in the string table even if the program does not contain any string constant.

There can be arbitrary data following the string table, they are ignored.

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