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Old DOS programs are becoming increasingly problematic in newer versions of Windows. Here's an example of two important ones (to us at least) coming through in XP and Vista.

As we note elsewhere, the ability of newer versions of Windows to run DOS, Windows 3.1 and Windows 95 software is becoming a complicated affair. In this article we look at two programs that we've offered for download for a long time, WEAP87 and SPILE. WEAP87, the wave equation program, is the ancestor of GRLWEAP. SPILE is a program to estimate pile capacities and is the ancestor of the FHWA program Driven. Our posting of these programs, which dates back to the early days of the site, made both a wave equation program and a pile capacity estimaing program available for students and those who don't run the wave equation very often and cannot justify the expense of GRLWEAP. (Driven is still free, but both of the programs run in DOS, which means that, if you can run one of them, you can probably run the other.

The ability of DOS programs to run in Windows XP and Vista depends on a number of factors, including how the program was compiled and the number of direct hardware calls the program makes. The latter is the main problem with running old DOS games in Windows; this is why most of the emulation effort for DOS has come from gamers.

WEAP87

In the case of WEAP87, we recently tested this program on both Windows and Vista and found that it worked; however, the way the program was set up in the download got in the way of easy use. The key to the problem is in WEAP87's main data file, FILES.DAT. As we obtained the program originally, FILES.DAT read like this:

0 <---------- USE I4 FORMAT TO ENTER ICOL IN THIS PLACE
B:WEAPBG.IN <-- NAME OF DATA INPUT FILE
A:PRN <-- NAME OF OUTPUT FILE
B:HAMMER.DAT <-- NAME OF HAMMER DATA FILE
B:FILE21.DAT <-- NAME OF BEARING GRAPH OUTPUT FILE
B:FILE22.DAT <-- NAME OF VARIABLES VS TIME OUTPUT FILE

This is unsatisfactory for three reasons.

  • All of the drive references are to floppy drives. Although you still could run this program on one (assuming your computer has such a drive) it's highly unlikely you would do so.
  • The file WEAPBG.IN is empty, making testing difficult.
  • In some cases the computer will return an error with the PRN file.
To try to make things more convenient, we modified the FILES.DAT file to read as follows:

0 <---------- USE I4 FORMAT TO ENTER ICOL IN THIS PLACE
C:EXAMPL.001 <-- NAME OF DATA INPUT FILE
C:OUTPUT.TXT <-- NAME OF OUTPUT FILE
c:HAMMER.DAT <-- NAME OF HAMMER DATA FILE
c:FILE21.DAT <-- NAME OF BEARING GRAPH OUTPUT FILE
c:FILE22.DAT <-- NAME OF VARIABLES VS TIME OUTPUT FILE

This first puts everything on the "C" drive, which is where most people would run it. If you're using a different drive, you can change the drive letter, just make sure that all the files WEAP87 needs (data and executables) are in ONE DIRECTORY.

Second, without modification it accesses Example 1, the example with the D-12. This enables you to obtain real output. Obviously with this program directly printed output isn't very practical but with a file you can print it out from Notepad or just import it into your report.

SPILE

We have tested SPILE on Vista and do not see any problems with this except that the borders on the output look very strange in modern fonts.

Important Notes for Both Programs

We strongly recommend that you run some test runs with known results to make sure everything is OK and that you're getting the results you're expecting. (This is good advice with any engineering program!) We also recommend that you change the properties of all of the executables to prevent them from automatically closing on exit. Both WEAP87 and SPILE are very fast on current computers and errors can flash by you in a hurry.

We have compressed a new download file for these programs, weap87-spile.zip.

Emulators

As far as emulators are concerned, we have tried WEAP87 with Dosbox. Our results show that, for some runs, Dosbox crashes with overflow errors. It remains to be seen whether this emulation, primarily for gamers, will address this problem.

Update: we tried WEAP87 (and just about every other government DOS program we had) on a newer version of Dosbox and are pleased with the results. You can get more information on this subject here.

TTI Program

We have not tried the TTI program in Windows XP. The main drawback with TTI (in addition to the diesel hammer problem) is that its interface is very difficult compared with WEAP87. If you're still interested in running a TTI type program in an educational environment, we would recommend you take a look at our TAMWAVE program, at our Soils in Construction page.

Other Information

Finally, we have other DOS programs, both on this site and our companion sites Positive Infinity and Chet Areo Marine.

Driven Pile Manual Volume 1a
Driven Pile Manual 1b
Driven Pile Manual 2