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tack ()
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    NAME
         tack - terminfo action checker
    
    SYNOPSIS
         tack [-itV] [term]
    
    DESCRIPTION
         The tack program has three purposes:  (1) to help you  build
         a  new terminfo entry describing an unknown terminal, (2) to
         test the correctness  of  an  existing  entry,  and  (3)  to
         develop the correct pad timings needed to ensure that screen
         updates don't fall behind the incoming data stream.
    
         Tack presents a series of  screen-painting  and  interactive
         tests  in  ways  which  are  intended to make any mismatches
         between the terminfo entry  and  reality  visually  obvious.
         Tack  also provides tools that can help in understanding how
         the terminal operates.
    
      OPTIONS
         -i   Usually tack will send the reset and  init  strings  to
              the terminal when the program starts up.  The -i option
              will inhibit the terminal initialization.
    
         -t   Tell tack to override the terminfo settings  for  basic
              terminal  functions.  When this option is set tack will
              translate (cr) to \r, (cud1) to \n, (ind) to \n,  (nel)
              to  \r\n,  (cub1)  to \b, (bel) to \007, (ff) to \f and
              (ht) to \t.
    
         -V   Display the version information and exit.
    
         term Terminfo terminal name to be tested.   If  not  present
              then the $TERM environment variable will be used.
    
    OVERVIEW
         Since tack is designed to test terminfo's it is not possible
         to  rely  on  the  correctness  of  the  terminfo data base.
         Because of this the menuing system used with  tack  is  vary
         primitive.  When a menu is printed it will scroll the entire
         screen.  To compensate for this  verbose  menu  system  tack
         permits menu selection type ahead.  If you already know what
         action you would like tack to perform  then  you  can  enter
         that  value immediately and avoid the menu display.  When in
         doubt the question mark (?) is a good character to type.   A
         carriage  return  will  execute  the  default action.  These
         default actions are designed to run all the standard tests.
    
         When tack first comes up it will display some basic informa-
         tion  about  the  terminal.   Take  some time to verify this
         information.  If it is wrong many of  the  subsequent  tests
         will  fail.  The most important item is the screen size.  If
         the screen size is wrong there is no  point  in  proceeding.
         (home)  and (clear) are also critical to the success of sub-
         sequent tests.  The values of (cr) (ind) (cub1) and (ht) may
         effect  the  tests if they are defined incorrectly.  If they
         are undefined tack will set  them  to  reasonable  defaults.
         The last two entries on the display are the enquire and ack-
         nowledge strings.  These strings are  taken  from  the  user
         strings (u9) and (u8).
    
         By now you must be wondering  why  the  terminfo  names  are
         enclosed in parenthesis.  This has no profound meaning other
         than it makes them stand out.  The tack  program  uses  this
         convention  any  time it displays a terminfo name.  Remember
         tack is designed to rely on as little of the terminfo  entry
         as possible.
    
    CREATING NEW ENTRIES
         Tack has a number of tools that are designed to help  gather
         information  about  the  terminal.  Although these functions
         are not dependent on terminal type, you may wish to  execute
         tack  with  options  -it.  This will turn off initialization
         and default the standard entries.
    
         These tools may be reached from the main menu  by  selecting
         the 'tools' entry.
    
         Echo tool:  All data typed from the keyboard will be  echoed
         back to the terminal.  Control characters are not translated
         to the up arrow format but are sent as  control  characters.
         This  allows  you to test an escape sequence and see what it
         actually does.  You may also elect to enable hex  output  on
         echo  tool  this  will  echo  the characters in hexadecimal.
         Once the test is  running  you  may  enter  the  'lines'  or
         'columns'  keywords  which  will display a pattern that will
         help you determine your screen size.   A  complete  list  of
         keywords  will  be  displayed  when  the  test starts.  Type
         'help' to redisplay the list of available commands.
    
         Reply tool:  This tool acts much like  the  echo  tool,  but
         control characters that are sent from the terminal more than
         one character after a carriage return will  be  expanded  to
         the  up arrow format.  For example on a standard ANSI termi-
         nal you may type:
    
                   CR ESC [ c
    
         and the response will be echoed as something like:
    
                   ^[ [ ? 6 c
    
         ANSI sgr display:  This test assumes you have an ANSI termi-
         nal.   It goes through attribute numbers 0 to 79, displaying
         each in turn and using that SGR number to  write  the  text.
         This  shows  you  which of the SGR modes are actually imple-
         mented by the terminal.  Note: some terminals (such as  Tek-
         tronix  color) use the private use characters to augment the
         functionality of the SGR command.  These private use charac-
         ters  may  be interjected into the escape sequence by typing
         the character ( <, =, >, ? ) after the original display  has
         been shown.
    
         ANSI status reports:  This  test  queries  the  terminal  in
         standard  ANSI/VT-100 fashion.  The results of this test may
         help determine what options are supported by your terminal.
    
         ANSI character sets:  This test displays the character  sets
         available  on  a ANSI/VT-100 style terminal.  Character sets
         on  a  real  VT-100  terminal  are  usually   defined   with
         smacs=\E(0  and  rmacs=\E(B.   The first character after the
         escape defines the font bank.  The second character  defines
         the  character set.  This test allows you to view any of the
         possible  combinations.   Private  use  character  sets  are
         defined  by the digits.  Standard character sets are located
         in the alphabetic range.
    
    VERIFYING AN EXISTING ENTRY
         You can verify the correctness of an entry with  the  `begin
         testing'  function.   This  entry  is the default action and
         will be chosen if you hit carriage return (or enter).   This
         will  bring  up  a  secondary menu that allows you to select
         more specific tests.
    
         The general philosophy of the program is, for each  capabil-
         ity,  to  send  an  appropriate test pattern to the terminal
         then send a description of  what  the  user  should  expect.
         Occasionally  (as  when  checking function-key capabilities)
         the program will ask you to enter input for it to check.
    
         If the test fails then you have the  option  of  dynamically
         changing  the  terminfo entry and re-running the test.  This
         is done with the 'edit terminfo' menu item.  The  edit  sub-
         menu  allows  you to change the offending terminfo entry and
         immediately retest the capability.  The edit menu  lets  you
         do  other  things  with  the  terminfo, such as; display the
         entire terminfo entry, display which caps have  been  tested
         and  display  which  caps  cannot be tested.  This menu also
         allows you to write the newly modified terminfo to disc.  If
         you  have  made  any modifications to the terminfo tack will
         ask you if you want to save  the  file  to  disc  before  it
         exits.   The filename will be the same as the terminal name.
         After the program exits you can run the tic(1M) compiler  on
         the new terminfo to install it in the terminfo data base.
    
    
    CORRECTING PAD TIMINGS
      Theory of Overruns and Padding
         Some terminals require significant amounts of time (that is,
         more  than  one transmitted-character interval) to do screen
         updates that change large portions of the  screen,  such  as
         screen  clears, line insertions, line deletions, and scrolls
         (including scrolls triggered by line feeds or a write to the
         lowest, right-hand-most cell of the screen).
    
         If the computer continues to send characters to the terminal
         while  one  of  these time-consuming operations is going on,
         the screen may be garbled.  Since the length of a  character
         transmission  time  varies inversely with transmission speed
         in cps, entries which function at lower speeds may break  at
         higher speeds.
    
         Similar problems result if the host machine is simply  send-
         ing  characters at a sustained rate faster than the terminal
         can buffer and process them.  In either case, when the  ter-
         minal  cannot  process  them and can't tell the host to stop
         soon enough, it will just drop them.  The dropped characters
         could  be  text,  escape  sequences  or the escape character
         itself, causing some really strange-looking displays.   This
         kind of glitch is called an overrun.
    
         In terminfo entries, you can  attach  a  pad  time  to  each
         string  capability that is a number of milliseconds to delay
         after sending it.  This will give the terminal time to catch
         up and avoid overruns.
    
         If you are running a software terminal emulator, or you  are
         on  an  X pseudo-tty, or your terminal is on an RS-232C line
         which correctly handles RTS/CTS hardware flow control,  then
         pads  are  not  strictly  necessary.   However, some display
         packages (such as ncurses(3X)) use the pad counts to  calcu-
         late  the  fastest  way to implement certain functions.  For
         example: scrolling the screen may be  faster  than  deleting
         the top line.
    
         One common way to avoid overruns is with XON/XOFF  handshak-
         ing.  But even this handshake may have problems at high baud
         rates.  This is a result of the  way  XON/XOFF  works.   The
         terminal tells the host to stop with an XOFF.  When the host
         gets this character, it stops sending.  However, there is  a
         small amount of time between the stop request and the actual
         stop.  During this window, the  terminal  must  continue  to
         accept  characters even though it has told the host to stop.
         If the terminal sends the stop request too  late,  then  its
         internal buffer will overflow.  If it sends the stop charac-
         ter too early, then the terminal is  not  getting  the  most
         efficient use out of its internal buffers.  In a real appli-
         cation at high baud rates, a terminal could get a  dozen  or
         more  characters  before  the host gets around to suspending
         transmission.  Connecting the terminal over a  network  will
         make the problem much worse.
    
         (RTS/CTS handshaking does not have this problem because  the
         UARTs  are  signal-connected  and the "stop flow" is done at
         the lowest level, without software intervention).
    
      Timing your terminal
         In order to get accurate timings  from  your  terminal  tack
         needs  to know when the terminal has finished processing all
         the characters that were sent.  This  requires  a  different
         type  of  handshaking than the XON/XOFF that is supported by
         most terminals.  Tack needs to send a request to the  termi-
         nal  and  wait  for  its reply.  Many terminals will respond
         with an ACK when they receive an ENQ.  This is the preferred
         method  since the sequence is short.  ANSI/VT-100 style ter-
         minals can mimic this handshake  with  the  escape  sequence
         that requests 'primary device attributes'.
    
            ESC [ c
    
         The terminal will respond with a sequence like:
    
            ESC [ ? 1 ; 0 c
    
         Tack assumes that (u9) is the enquire sequence and that (u8)
         is  the  acknowledge  string.  A VT-100 style terminal could
         set u9=\E[c and u8=\E[?1;0c.  Acknowledge strings fall  into
         two categories. 1) Strings with a unique terminating charac-
         ter and, 2) strings of fixed length.  The acknowledge string
         for  the  VT-100  is  of the first type since it always ends
         with the letter 'c'.  Some Tektronics terminals  have  fixed
         length  acknowledge  strings.   Tack  supports both types of
         strings by scanning for the terminating character until  the
         length of the expected acknowledge string has arrived.  (u8)
         should be set to  some  typical  acknowledge  that  will  be
         returned when (u9) is sent.
    
         Tack will test this sequence before running any of  the  pad
         tests or the function key tests.  Tack will ask you the fol-
         lowing:
    
             Hit lower case g to start testing...
    
         After it sends this message it will send the enquire string.
         It will then read characters from the terminal until it sees
         the letter g.
    
      Testing and Repairing Pad Timings
         The pad timings in distributed terminfo  entries  are  often
         incorrect.  One major motivation for this program is to make
         it relatively easy to tune these timings.
    
         You can verify and edit the pad timings for a terminal  with
         the  `test  string capabilities' function (this is also part
         of the `normal test sequence' function).
    
         The key to determining pad times is to find out  the  effec-
         tive  baud  rate  of  the terminal.  The effective baud rate
         determines the number of characters per second that the ter-
         minal  can accept without either handshaking or losing data.
         This rate is frequently less than the nominal  cps  rate  on
         the RS-232 line.
    
         Tack uses the effective baud rate to judge the  duration  of
         the test and how much a particular escape sequence will per-
         turb the terminal.
    
         Each pad test has  two  associated  variables  that  can  be
         tweaked  to  help verify the correctness of the pad timings.
         One is the pad test length.  The other  is  the  pad  multi-
         plier,  which  is  used  if the pad prefix includes `*'.  In
         curses use, it is often the first parameter of the  capabil-
         ity  (if there is one).  For a capability like (dch) or (il)
         this will be the number  of  character  positions  or  lines
         affected, respectively.
    
         Tack will run the pad tests and display the results  to  the
         terminal.   On  capabilities that have multipliers tack will
         not tell you if the pad needs the multiplier  or  not.   You
         must  make this decision yourself by rerunning the test with
         a different multiplier.  If the padding changes  in  propor-
         tion  to the multiplier than the multiplier is required.  If
         the multiplier has little or no effect on the suggested pad-
         ding  then  the multiplier is not needed.  Some capabilities
         will take several runs to get a good feel  for  the  correct
         values.   You  may  wish to make the test longer to get more
         accurate results.  System load will also effect the  results
         (a  heavily  loaded  system  will not stress the terminal as
         much, possibly leading to pad timings that are too short).
    
    NOTE
         The tests done at the beginning of the program  are  assumed
         to  be  correct  later  in  the  code.   In particular, tack
         displays the number of lines and columns  indicated  in  the
         terminfo  entry  as  part  of  its initial output.  If these
         values are wrong a large number of tests will fail  or  give
         incorrect results.
    
    FILES
         tack.log    If logging is enabled then all characters  writ-
                     ten  to the terminal will also be written to the
                     log file.  This gives you the ability to see how
                     the  tests were performed.  This feature is dis-
                     abled by default.
    
         term        If you make changes to the terminfo  entry  tack
                     will  save the new terminfo to a file.  The file
                     will have the same name as the terminal name.
    
    SEE ALSO
         terminfo(5), ncurses(3X), tic(1m), infocmp(1m).  You  should
         also   have  the  documentation  supplied  by  the  terminal
         manufacturer.
    
    BUGS
         If the screen size is incorrect,  many  of  the  tests  will
         fail.
    
    AUTHOR
         Concept,  design,  and  original  implementation  by  Daniel
         Weaver <danw@znyx.com>.  Portions of the code and documenta-
         tion are by Eric S. Raymond <esr@snark.thyrsus.com>.
    
    
    
    


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