Viewdata Service

Got a programming project in mind? Tell everyone about it!
John_Newcombe
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:19 am
Contact:

Viewdata Service

Postby John_Newcombe » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:33 pm

Hi All, thanks for welcoming me to the group. Whilst I have only recently acquired a BBC (Issue 7), I have a history with them that spans back to the day they were launched.

I am interested in investigating what can be done to present Viewdata pages over the RS432 port from some sort of server. The aim would be to perhaps create a simple networked server (Pi/Arduino etc.) that could automate the generation of pages based on a news feed of some sort.

I would not be looking to use a Prestel adapter or other modem, however, I would like to use an existing 'Prestel' client program for example Comstar or the Acornsoft ROM. The Acornsoft PRESTEL ROM would require that I simulate the presence of an adapter, but how hard can it be, right?

I cannot find anything out there that supplies a Viewdata services, I would love to hear about anything that exists. I am aware of the Vbit project though.

I just love the idea of switching on my BBC Micro and checking the news headlines. I would be really interested in your thoughts.

User avatar
BigEd
Posts: 1696
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:24 am
Location: West
Contact:

Re: Viewdata Service

Postby BigEd » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:51 am

Welcome! An interesting idea. It certainly should be possible. This blog post
https://www.retrocomputers.online/2013/ ... -viewdata/
makes a successful connection to a particular viewdata service, via a Raspberry Pi and a serial port. That service is still live but I don't know if it has any news feed.

This post
https://medium.com/@cq94/get-your-minit ... 8c42f1ea17
directs us to the French Wikipedia article on Minitel microservers
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro-serveurs_Minitel
but of course you want something local, not dial-up, and with source code, and with the hope of making a gateway to the web (or to an RSS feed...)

This project
https://github.com/cquest/pynitel
is a Minitel server in python - a server of local content, not a web gateway. And Minitel isn't quite exactly the same thing.

User avatar
vanpeebles
Posts: 416
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:01 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Viewdata Service

Postby vanpeebles » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:20 am

Some years ago, I used a viewdata service called silicon village. I had email via my speccy, and would email my pc owning friends, much to their amusement. :lol:

User avatar
BigEd
Posts: 1696
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:24 am
Location: West
Contact:

Re: Viewdata Service

Postby BigEd » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:22 am

That could be worth a bit of an investigation!
https://www.viewdata.org.uk/index.php?c ... troduction

It leads us to this thread:
CommunITel Viewdata
viewtopic.php?t=9625

guesser
Posts: 168
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2006 9:21 pm

Re: Viewdata Service

Postby guesser » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:43 am

Some members of York Hackspace are working on a project to emulate a v23 modem and a viewdata server to breath life back into a ZX Spectrum modem.
They have a few posts on the hackspace blog and a couple of project on github for the modem and server. Most of the info is about the modem stuff and physical layer at the moment.
A web based teletext editor which can export as Mode 7 screen memory: https://zxnet.co.uk/teletext/editor

User avatar
vanpeebles
Posts: 416
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:01 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Viewdata Service

Postby vanpeebles » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:57 am

I think I would of been on it, mid 90s, I still have the letters somewhere. It had kind of been left alone even then. You wrote and got a demo time limited account, and were meant to pay a sub once it ran out, but the demo account just kept going.

John_Newcombe
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:19 am
Contact:

Re: Viewdata Service

Postby John_Newcombe » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:33 pm

Many thanks for the replies, appreciated. I had great fun touring the the fish.cc4.org site using a BBC Micro with Comstar and a WiModem232. As an aside, does anyone no of any Viewdata server software thats in the public domain?

I had a play around and knocked up a Python based Viewdata service on a Digital Ocean server I have. This simply presents a static page at the moment (see below). I also have a piece of code that manipulates a BBC RSS feed to create news pages, it is not working too well yet but with some work it could be OK.

I am not sure where this is going, but I thought I would give it the name TELSTAR for now as this was the name of a small bulletin board I ran back in 83. It was an anagram of my friend and co-author T Slater.

The image below is a representation of my static page which was created in a Teletext editor and then re-coded into Prestel Esc sequences. The software I used was Commstar as I can set it to Prestel mode with 1200 full duplex and 8 data/1 stop. This allows me to use the WiModem232 to telnet to the service.

If I take it any further, I will keep you posted.

Image

User avatar
BigEd
Posts: 1696
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:24 am
Location: West
Contact:

Re: Viewdata Service

Postby BigEd » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:05 pm

Splendid!

I found some Ruby code here but probably you're already ahead with your Python code.