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About XL Search:

XL Search is a simple search engine which will help you find Public Domain and ShareWare programs and files for the Atari 8-bit computer! This includes the following models: 400, 800, 600XL, 800XL, 1200XL, 800XE, 65XE, 130XE, XEGS, as well as the many Atari "emulators" you can get for, DOS, Windows, the Macintosh, Unix and Linux, etc.

If you're looking for Atari ST (16-bit) software, or software for Windows, Linux or Mac, please visit shareware.com, and countless other websites.

If you're looking for Commercial Atari 8-bit software (both old and new), contact one of the many vendors and developers of Atari 8-bit software.

As of the last update (on 2016-09-21) XL Search searches through an index of 17396 files found in 8 archives.

Using The Search Form:

XL Search is based on a simple keyword-based search. Enter any number of words you'd like to search for. Add a "+" to the beginning of a word to require it (matches NOT containing that word won't appear). Add a "-" at the beginning to exclude it (matches that DO contain the word won't appear).

For example:   +game -space

You can also stick words together by placing a "+" in between words or quotes around words. This lets you make sure two words appear together, rather than anywhere, as part of any other word.

For example:   video+game

For example:   "mutant camels"

You can have the results sorted by filename, by direcotry path, or by matches (how many times certain keywords appear).

Keywords which matched your query will appear in bold.

About The Results:

The results show you the filename of the program, the directory it's stored in at the FTP or Web site, it's size (in Kilobytes), when it was uploaded (and a "NEW!" if it was added in the last week), and a brief description.

Any keywords that matched for that file are highlighted in boldface.

File Types:

Atari filenames are usually up to 8 letters or numbers followed by an "extension," which is a period (".") followed by a 1- to 3-letter long sequence. These extensions usually describe what type of file a file is. In the PC and Mac world, as well as the Atari, the ".TXT" extension, for example, would be a text file.

Some file types you should know about include the following:

  • ARC An "ARC" archive. Similar to a "ZIP" or "SIT" (StuffIt) archive on the Mac or PC. It is a collection of files saved together as one file and usually compressed to save space. You need an "unarc" program to extract its contents.
  • ATR A disk image used by Atari emulators and Atari peripheral emulators (like SIO2PC and APE). It's the contents of an entire Atari floppy disk saved into a file.
  • BAS An Atari BASIC source code file. You'll need to open it from Atari BASIC using the "LOAD" command.
  • COM An executable program. Load it from DOS or a menu program on the Atari.
  • DCM A "Disk Communicator" disk image. It is an entire floppy disk saved as one file. You'll need "Disk Communicator" to save its contents onto a new disk, or use a program like "dcmtoatr" to convert it to an ATR disk image for use with emulators or SIO2PC or APE.
  • DOC A text file explaining how a program runs. You'll want to read it or print it.
  • EXE An executable program, like COM.
  • GIF A "GIF"(tm) graphics file. There are a few programs to view GIFs on the Atari, but you'll usually want to look at them with a program on your PC or Mac.
  • OBJ Sometimes an executable program, sometimes simply some "object" data used by another program.
  • PRO An "APE" disk image similar to ATR, but which contains copy protection information.
  • SFX A Self-Extracting archive. An executable program which extracts other files from within itself.
  • SYS A system file, usually used by a DOS.
  • TBS A TurboBASIC XL source code file. You'll need to open it from TurboBASIC using the "LOAD" command.
  • TXT Text file. Sometimes they're in the Atari "ATASCII" format (versus the common "ASCII" format used by PCs and Macs).
  • ZIP "ZIP" archive. A set of files compressed into one file. Use PKZIP or WinZIP on the PC or UnZIP on the Mac to extract the files.

You may wish to read the document on UMich called 00.EXTENSIONS which describes all of these and many more.

File Conversions:

XL Search can convert files for you! The following formats are, or will soon be, supported:

  • TXT, ATA - Atari text files ("ATASCII"). You can view the text, with graphical control-characters converted to similar-looking plain ASCII, and inverse characters highlighted, or you can even view the file as it would look on an Atari! (Note, this is slow, since you may need to load up to 256 GIF images, and of course requires a graphical browser!)
  • ARC, ZIP - View the contents of an ARC or ZIP archive, and download each file separately if you wish!
  • DCM, ATR - Download Atari DiskCommunicator disk images (DCM's) as "ATR" disk images ready for use on an emulator. For those of you with Atari's but no PC's, (Coming soon) download "ATR" disks as "DCM" files and turn them into disks using DiskCommunicator!
  • Graphics - (Coming later) View Atari graphics in your web browser!
In cases where these files can be converted, a second link will appear directly below the file download link. (ie, "View" or "Download as ATR")

E-mail Access:

If you want to access XL Search, but don't have web access, you can get instant e-mail search results by sending an e-mail to: nbs@sonic.net with the subject "xlsearch".

The body of the message should contain one or more lines which begin with "K: " (capital "k", colon, space). The rest of the line should be keywords, as you would enter them into the web-based search form.

For example:   K: +game +maze

You will immediately receive an e-mail reply. (If your message doesn't contain any keyword searches, a small help file will be sent instead.)

Adding Your FTP or Web Site:

If you wish to join 8 other sites and have the contents of your site accessible through XL Search, please send e-mail to: nbs@sonic.net specifying your FTP or Web site's address, or simply use the online form on the Feedback page.

You must also create a "QIF" file which will be used by XL Search's engine to search through your files. (See below).

About QIF Files:

QIF files are simply text files which have information about the files on your FTP or Web site. Each file in your archive is listed on a separate line in the file. Each line is a tab-delimited collection of data: the path to the file, the date the file was uploaded or created (in YYMMDD format), the size of the file (in bytes), and a brief description.

For example:

fun1.arc	971031	4915	Fun games, archive #1.
draw.com	960925	13423	A simple paint program.

This file will be downloaded occassionaly by XL Search, to keep the database fresh.

Remember, there should be no blank lines and only tabs between fields.

If you are using a Unix-based server, you can get a simple program called "makeqif" which will search your archive for you and create a QIF file automatically.


XL Search by Bill Kendrick with help, 1997 - 2015.
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