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April 15, 1996 No. 86

$OPTIONS Reference

Since the introduction of NPL Release IV in July 1993, Niakwa has released four revision updates to the language. Each of these updates included release notes and addenda detailing all new features implemented in each specific release. The purpose of this Tech Note is to provide developers with an alternative reference to all NPL $OPTIONS bytes, without having to search through multiple documents.

The NPL $OPTIONS system variable is a 64-byte variable which allows developers to fine tune and enhance the NPL RunTime environment. The current NPL Release IV Statements Guide documents 45 $OPTIONS bytes. In addition, Niakwa has added 8 new $OPTIONS bytes and enhanced several others since the introduction of NPL Release IV. In lieu of searching through the NPL documentation updates for references to these new $OPTIONS bytes, developers are encouraged to investigate the following sources as quick reference to all current $OPTIONS bytes.

NPL Utilities (Edit OPTIONS)

The NPL Utilities are included as part of the standard Niakwa Development Package. When Niakwa introduces updates to NPL, the NPL Utilities are also updated. One of the utilities included is the "Edit Options" utility. This utility has long offered a convenient mechanism for developers to quickly modify the value of any $OPTIONS byte. However, one of the little known features of the "Edit Options" program (and throughout the NPL Utilities) is the availability of context sensitive "HELP". While in the Edit Options program, HELP is available from any input field. If "HELP" is selected from the "Enter Option to change" prompt, the user is presented with an index of all $OPTIONS bytes. If HELP is selected while editing a specific option, then a help entry for that specific option will be displayed.

ASC System Support Toolkit

The ASC System Support Toolkit, available on Niakwa’s BBS and WWW site, is another source for easy access to current $OPTIONS settings as well as all other NPL System variables. The toolkit also offers a variety of enhanced utilities to simplify day-to-day development tasks. For a complete discussion of the System Support Toolkit, check out "Al Gorithm’s Tech Corner in the April 1996 edition of "Today’s Niakwa News".

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