DCAL Terms & Definitions

ASCII File
A standard text file. ASCII text files are editable in almost any text editor of word processor. ASCII text files have no formatting (special fonts, text sizes and effects, etc.) The use of a word processor to edit these files is discouraged. Check out our links to some useful text editors for windows.

Binary Data File
A file that has been created by compiling and/or linking to be interpreted by DataCAD. Binary Data Files are not typically edited manually. Binary data files are generated by the various compilers used for DataCAD customization such as the DCAL and Font Compilers. Examples of binary data files are the DCX and CHR files used by DataCAD.

Character (.CHR) File
A binary file (with the extension CHR) that is read by DataCAD for its font definitions. Each Font is defined in a separate CHR file. These files may not be edited. CHR files are created by compiling the SHP source file with the SHP2CHR.EXE utility program that ships with DataCAD.

Compiler
A program that will convert ordinary ASCII text files into binary data files useable by a computer program. Think of a compiler as a translator between English and computer languages. Examples of compilers of note to the DataCAD hacker are DCC.EXE (the DCAL compiler) and SHP2CHR.EXE (the font compiler).

DCO or Object File
A file created by compiling a DCS file but before linking that DCS to any additional modules. All DCO files must be linked regardless of whether or not they require additional modules or not.

DCS File
An ASCII text file (with the extension DCS) that is compiled into a DCO file. One Macro may depend on many DCS files. DCS files may be either a PROGRAM or a MODULE. The immediate product of compilation of a DCS file is a DCO or Object file that must be linked to finally generate the DCX file.

DCX File
An binary file (with the extension DCX) that is read by DataCAD for each macro in the Toolbox. Each Macro is defined in a separate DCX file. These files may not be edited. DCX files are created by compiling the DCS source file with the DCAL Compiler (DCC.EXE) utility program that ships with DataCAD.

Linker
A program that links the various program and module files together to form one complete DCAL macro. All object files must be linked before becoming a DCX file.

Macro
A program or series of commands to be executed by another program. For example a keyboard macro or a DCX file.

Module File
An ASCII text file that when compiled and linked with a Program file will become a DCX file. A DCAL macro may have zero or more module files associated with it. Modules can be separately compiled and used with more than one macro.

Hatch Pattern (.PAT) File
An ASCII text file that is read by DataCAD for the hatch pattern definitions. All hatch patterns are defined in one file, DCAD.PAT or DCADWIN.PAT.

Program File
An ASCII text file that either when compiled by itself or with other additional modules will become a .DCX file. Every DCAL macro must have one Program file. In addition it may have one or more Module files.

Shape (.SHP) File

An ASCII text file that is compiled into a character (.CHR) file for use by DataCAD. Each font file will require a separate shape file.



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