Copyright © 1988 Jason Harper
Freeware: distribute, but do not sell.

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Here is a cool program called ][ GIF, version 1.0, by Jason Harper. The program makes it possible to view a GIF on an Apple IIe. The Apple IIe doesn't have much graphical capabilities compared to modern computers but in its time, it was a quantum leap above many of its competitors.

Apple's specifications of the Apple IIe's video and graphics capabilities:

 --Text display modes:
         a. 40-column text, 24 lines, 5 x 7 dot matrix
            (suitable for television or monitor)
         b. 80-column text, 24 lines, 5 x 7 dot matrix
            (80-column card and monitor required)

Graphics display modes:
 -- Low-resolution 16-color graphics:
         1. 40h x 48v color blocks
         2. 40h x 40v with four lines of text
 -- High-resolution 6-color graphics:
         1. 280h x 192v dots
         2. 280h x 160v with four lines of text.
 --Double high-resolution 16-color graphics: 560h x 192v dots
   (extended 80-Column Card required)
 -- All graphics modes may be displayed on a television or monitor

It is incredible to me that you can get a IIe to do interesting things like this and just another reason why you need one! ][ GIF is available at the bottom of the page for you to download. It is stored in disk image format, suitable for use with any Apple II emulator. I converted the disk image into a real disk and copied the ][ GIF program from that 140K 5.25" floppy to an 800K 3.5" floppy. If you are interested in doing this, check out "How to get software stored on the Internet to run in a real Apple II" available on this site. It is a detailed explanation of the conversion process. I use an 800K floppy because it allows me to have the extra storage to store some GIFs. Otherwise, you'll need to swap out disks because a 140K floppy just doesn't have much room.

][ GIF is a fairly straight forward program. It is a SYSTEM file, which means that you will need to type BYE at the prompt and boot it from there. It runs on a ProDOS formatted disk. Once booted, select 'Convert GIF picture'. The program then prompts for you to select the prefix. If you select 'Online Volumes' under 'Prefix directory', the program will search all disk drives connected to the Apple IIe. It will then show you the available disks. From there, select the disk where you have your file stored and then select the actual target GIF file.

Since this is an Apple IIe, you must be sure that your GIF does not have a Macintosh resource fork attached to it. If it does, it will not work. I opened the GIF in OS X TextEdit and saved it as a text file before I moved it to the Apple IIe. Also, I used ResEdit to be sure it did not have a resource fork on it. This will usually do the trick but your experience may vary. It can be hit or miss sometimes.

It takes anywhere from one minute to ten minutes for a GIF to render. It depends on the size and complexity of the file. The largest file I have opened was about 125K. Also, it must be noted that my IIe only has 128K of RAM and ][ GIF resides in RAM when it is running. Larger GIF's are too big to reside in RAM alongside the program file. The program handles the problem by constantly reading to and from the floppy when rendering a GIF, kind of like an "old school" virtual memory scheme. There is an option to change the scaling and positioning of the GIF. Sometimes this is necessary because the image doesn't necessarily look right with the default settings.

Here is an average run-of-the-mill GIF. It is 28K in size, no big deal for a modern computer, but a fun challenge for the IIe.


Here is the same GIF displayed on an Apple IIe. Cool!

IIe ][ GIF

Here is the same GIF captured with a screen dump from an Apple IIe Card:

IIe ][ GIF screen dump

(Click) Additional ][ Gif Images:



][ GIF is compressed with Stuffit Expander and is a .sit file. Use Stuffit Expander or a compatible decompression utility to expand it. You will end up with a file named 'viewgif.dsk'. This is a disk image file.