Connect a PC keyboard to an STE?

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tordj
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Connect a PC keyboard to an STE?

Postby tordj » Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:23 pm

Hi,

I've recently started to use my old Atari STE again for a coding project. Now I find that the old keyboard is giving me trouble and slowing me down more than I expected. The feeling of the keys is very mushy and being part of the box doesn't help ergonomics, but worst of all, I find it very frustrating to have to relearn a different keyboard layout when it comes to entering special characters used extensively when coding. I'm touch typing code at a high rate on the PC, but I feel that I can't achieve more than about half my normal speed on the ST keyboard :(

So, does anybody know of a way to attach a PC keyboard which doesn't involve me making hardware hacks? I'm fine with buying custom hardware or paying others (reasonable amounts of course) to make the hardware necessary, but I'm lousy at soldering. I would prefer to be able to connect a modern USB keyboard since the keyboard layouts have changed a bit over the years, but lacking that option I would settle with attaching an older PC keyboard.

Also, my first project is to write a new programmers editor for the STE and I need to be able to add support for the keyboard in a non-GEM application. The solution therefore needs to have some coding documentation or example code for how to listen to the keyboard.

Any suggestion that could alleviate some of the issues I face with the ST keyboard are welcome.

Regards,
Tord Jansson
aka Blade of New Core


evil
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Re: Connect a PC keyboard to an STE?

Postby evil » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:03 pm

tordj wrote:I've recently started to use my old Atari STE again for a coding project. Now I find that the old keyboard is giving me trouble and slowing me down more than I expected. The feeling of the keys is very mushy and being part of the box doesn't help ergonomics, but worst of all, I find it very frustrating to have to relearn a different keyboard layout when it comes to entering special characters used extensively when coding. I'm touch typing code at a high rate on the PC, but I feel that I can't achieve more than about half my normal speed on the ST keyboard :(


Tjena Tord!

It's been a looong time, welcome back :)

As Simbo says, effiel is probably your best bet.


Have you considered cross-development? The vasm/vbcc package is cross platform, builds Atari execs and is Devpac syntax compatible. I'm using it together with Eclipse IDE, and no matter how large project, vasm builds it in <100ms. Hatari for (ST/STe) emulation is getting really close to perfect and can be used as reference for most stuff unless you are exploring new exotic lowlevel stuff (like very fancy shifter timings as we've seen Troed do lately) :)


Anyways, glad to see you back - we're still doing stuff, you can take a look here: http://dhs.nu/

tordj
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Re: Connect a PC keyboard to an STE?

Postby tordj » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:26 am

Hi simbo2,

Thanks for the links, it seems to be a doable solution and I will look into it later this week. Good that those things exist.

Hej Evil! :) Yes, it was about 18 years ago I stopped using Ataris and I'm not sure how long my renewed interest will last, but at least I'm here for the moment. Nice to see that you and Troed still are around, doing interesting things.

My project is to do cross-platform development, but the other way around. I intend to use my old STE for editing C++ code that will compile and run on a PC. I have a quite large project in C++ that I have been working on back and forth over the last 13 years, it's about 200 files and 2.5 mb of source code with long filenames etc. So I'm writing a special tool-chain for the PC, including tools that can compress the source files onto a 720 kb disk and maintain meta info about the files (like their long filename) in a special index and a text-editor for the STE which understands the metafile and can compress/decompress the source files on the fly when opening/saving them. The idea is to be able to bring the project home from computers at work on a floppy, do some editing at home, bring the floppy back and export the files back to the PC and compile them there.

Don't know how far I will take it, but I've been making progress for about two months now. :)

(sorry for getting off topic in this thread)

Regards,
Tord Jansson

evil
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Re: Connect a PC keyboard to an STE?

Postby evil » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:12 pm

tordj wrote:Hej Evil! :) Yes, it was about 18 years ago I stopped using Ataris and I'm not sure how long my renewed interest will last, but at least I'm here for the moment. Nice to see that you and Troed still are around, doing interesting things.


I might cause you insanity by saying this, but Paulo Simoes have optimized the Lance! player a bit last spring and corrected some bugs. Believe it or not, Lance himself woke up as well :) So, the stuff you and Mårten optimized to death 20 years ago is beaten, heh.
Here's Lances input to Paulo: http://dhs.nu/bbs-coding/index.php?request=4350


tordj wrote:My project is to do cross-platform development, but the other way around. I intend to use my old STE for editing C++ code that will compile and run on a PC. I have a quite large project in C++ that I have been working on back and forth over the last 13 years, it's about 200 files and 2.5 mb of source code with long filenames etc. So I'm writing a special tool-chain for the PC, including tools that can compress the source files onto a 720 kb disk and maintain meta info about the files (like their long filename) in a special index and a text-editor for the STE which understands the metafile and can compress/decompress the source files on the fly when opening/saving them. The idea is to be able to bring the project home from computers at work on a floppy, do some editing at home, bring the floppy back and export the files back to the PC and compile them there.


This is wicked and strange. But I like it. Who needs svn/git/dropbox or usb flashdrives when you can use a floppy and Atari ST? Hah, crazy stuff, I wish you good luck!

One thing I've always wondered, did you keep the quick port of Obsession for the Jaguar? There's a quite healthy Jaguar homebrew-coding scene these days.

mikro
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Re: Connect a PC keyboard to an STE?

Postby mikro » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:37 am

tordj wrote:The idea is to be able to bring the project home from computers at work on a floppy, do some editing at home, bring the floppy back and export the files back to the PC and compile them there.

This looks like you don't have any PC at home and therefore you need to do all this crazy stuff incl. programming your own text editor.... Unless this is really true (what I doubt), I'd recommend to focus on the actual development and use normal cross tools with transferring the result via floppy disk (if you insist of using it so much) to the ST as the final step. As Evil says, vbcc/gcc/g++ + vasm + Hatari gives you pretty seamless workflow. With your current attitude you spend next three months programming this wicked toolchain and then give up :)

tordj
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Re: Connect a PC keyboard to an STE?

Postby tordj » Fri Nov 08, 2013 3:59 pm

evil wrote:I might cause you insanity by saying this, but Paulo Simoes have optimized the Lance! player a bit last spring and corrected some bugs. Believe it or not, Lance himself woke up as well :) So, the stuff you and Mårten optimized to death 20 years ago is beaten, heh.
Here's Lances input to Paulo: http://dhs.nu/bbs-coding/index.php?request=4350

That is so cool! 8-)
evil wrote:This is wicked and strange. But I like it. Who needs svn/git/dropbox or usb flashdrives when you can use a floppy and Atari ST? Hah, crazy stuff, I wish you good luck!

Thanks! :)
evil wrote:One thing I've always wondered, did you keep the quick port of Obsession for the Jaguar? There's a quite healthy Jaguar homebrew-coding scene these days.

Unfortunately it got lost somewhere along the way. The same for the original Obsession source. I have some fragments of it which I managed to find on various floppies a few years ago and saved, but it is not complete and not the final version. I did manage to save the Octalyser source though. Christian had lost it so he got a copy of it from me a while back. At least I managed to save something for the world ;)

I also think I have the source for the Midi-Maze Editor (STOS) lying around somewhere, but I guess nobody is interested in that. I still wonder why that little program never got popular, Midi-Maze was still king on copy parties when I wrote it and it was the only Midi-Maze editor that was easy to use and worked as expected and it didn't look at all like a STOS program.

Regards,
Tord

tordj
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Re: Connect a PC keyboard to an STE?

Postby tordj » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:17 pm

mikro wrote:This looks like you don't have any PC at home and therefore you need to do all this crazy stuff incl. programming your own text editor.... Unless this is really true (what I doubt), I'd recommend to focus on the actual development and use normal cross tools with transferring the result via floppy disk (if you insist of using it so much) to the ST as the final step. As Evil says, vbcc/gcc/g++ + vasm + Hatari gives you pretty seamless workflow. With your current attitude you spend next three months programming this wicked toolchain and then give up :)

Actually, I did come up with the idea when I temporarily didn't have access to a PC at home and then it stuck with me... ;)

About 80% of the work on the toolchain is already done, I can produce the packages with header files and the compression algorithm (which I designed myself) is good enough to make it all fit nicely on a floppy.

The challenge now is to write the editor and I'm making it all in assembly since I want to pull of some wicked tricks to make it smooth and powerful. Quite a challenge to write clean, object oriented and easy to maintain source code in assembly I must say! :roll:

Anyway, I might still abandon the project halfway through, but so far I'm pushing along. Right now I'm working on a custom memory manager that can relocate, grow and shrink chunks of memory so my precious 2.5 mb won't get too fragmented during my code editing sessions.

Regards,
Tord


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