Binary files (system files)

Binary files are used to access binary items through the OSFI. It is possible to access binary items as if they were normal D3 items, using AQL, BASIC, FlashBASIC, and so on.


Since a standard D3 item is generally accessed in a different manner than a binary item, several conventions are observed:

  • The following characters in binary items are converted to the corresponding escape character sequences when read through the binary interface. This conversion is reversed when writing an item. This translation scheme is identical to that used by the UNIX interface, making it possible to store foreign data inside a D3 binary item exactly as it is stored in the foreign file system. An attempt to read a nonbinary item returns the item without any translation.

    SM DLE _
    AM DLE ^
    VM DLE ]
    SVM DLE \
  • When writing an item through the binary interface, the resulting item is always made binary. The length of the actual data (after applying the above translations in reverse) is stored in the item header and is transferred by all standard utilities including copy, t-dump, t-load, save, and restore.

  • Older D3 binary items that do not have binary lengths may return a number of 0s (zeros) at the end of the data when that item is read.

Q-Pointer Format

The format of the binary Q-pointer is:
  001 Q


binary Name of the binary host in the dm,hosts, file. Name of the D3 file. The use of the binary Q-pointer is generally unnecessary for non-D3 files since the drivers accessing those files already convert binary data into a nonbinary, escape format identical to that used by the binary driver.
x Allows manipulation of binary data as an hexadecimal string.

Optionally, the file may be opened directly by adding the binary: prefix to the file name.

  • When editing binary items with the Update processor, we suggest using the (R option to display nonprintable characters as periods.

  • We strongly caution against changing BASIC object code using this utility as doing so may cause aborts and or data corruption. Use the pverify command to verify the validity of FlashBASIC object code.

  • Creation of QS-pointers (Q-pointers that are saved using the file-save) pointing to files accessed with this driver is not recommended as nonbinary items are restored as binary.


The following example displays the textual portion of some BASIC object code.

ct dict binary:bp test
001 ............]}..............:. B..B..who._.. u0.P..E._..

The following example copies a binary image from an MS-DOS machine (via an NFS link) into a standard D3 item. Note that the standard D3 item is not a binary item since any binary information representing escape character sequences is processed as escape character sequences (whether they are or not) when the data is transferred from MS-DOS to D3. The second command copies this item into a true D3 binary item. The data in this binary item corresponds exactly to the data in the original MS-DOS image.

copy /dos PIC001.GIF
      to: (pictures
      1 PIC001.GIF

copy pictures PIC001.GIF
      to: (bin:pictures2
      1 PIC001.GIF