Rob's Ramblings

Monday, 3 September 2018

A Viewdata Host

One of my aims when setting up viewdata.org.uk was to create a means by which readers could experience connecting to a viewdata service, and also to use such to present what saved pages we had in an appropriate context.

Sadly, there was nothing available that I could find that would allow me to run an actual host, and although I had some success firing up my old BBC Micro based viewdata BBS, this didn't last long due to multiple hardware failures.

Back up to today, and, as I mentioned yesterday, John Newcombe has written, and is running, his own viewdata host called TELSTAR.   I've discussed some things with John, and had been hoping to blag a copy of the software, but it seems that it's not quite what I am looking for.

Now, I have been building up a database of frames - this is yet another unfinished project - over at db.viewdata.org.uk.   This database is what I want to use as the source of the data for a host system.
Although it's mostly got teletext loaded up, I do have a complete copy of the PC Plus demo of Micronet loaded up, which can act as a starting point.

So, what to do?  Well it's obvious, write my own host software.  I've been putting this off for years, but, it's #retrochallenge time, and I do want to achieve something...

A few hours last night got the bare bones sorted out, and a bit of time debugging, and we're at a point where I can dial in and navigate between pages!  Woo!

Whereas John has been concentrating on content for his viewdata host, I'm going to be working on making mine more of a "Prestel Emulator"; it should feel as close to the original as possible.  I've a lot to do, obviously, but not bad for an few hours work.




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