new to programming

GFA, ASM, STOS, ...

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new to programming

Postby smiley smile » Wed Jul 13, 2005 6:01 am

what do you guys recommend as the best programming language to start off with on the Atari ST? I don't really know a great deal about computer programming, I've played about with Basic and C before, but nothing has really stuck to mind.

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Postby simonsunnyboy » Wed Jul 13, 2005 6:50 am

For a beginner, I'd recommend GFABASIC. That was what I used to start coding and it was the right choice on the ST.

See my incomplete tutorial at http://home.tu-clausthal.de/~ifmar/gfabasic/
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Re: new to programming

Postby Nyh » Wed Jul 13, 2005 11:30 am

smiley smile wrote:what do you guys recommend as the best programming language to start off with on the Atari ST? I don't really know a great deal about computer programming, I've played about with Basic and C before, but nothing has really stuck to mind.

Why?

Why do you want to start programming on an Atari ST?
What do you want to program?
I choose my programming language depending on the job at hand.

With (Pure) C you can do almost anything and, best of all, as long as you do only text IO it is pretty portable (most of my programs compile under Atari Pure C, Linux GCC and Windows Cygwin GCC). But you have to know what you are doing. Graphics are quite hard and is not portable.

With Basic you can do a lot of things too but is isn't very portable. Most basic have a lot of graphics support build in. The main dialects on the ST are GFA basic, Omikron basic and STOS basic. Which one you choose is a matter of personal taste. I think you will find most support for GFA basic on the internet. I personnaly like Omikron basic best but that is pure a matter of personal taste.

The last well supported language on the ST is assembler. Lots of fun when you are tweaking algoritms and 'programming on the bare metal'. In most cases you don't want to use assembler. A very good assembler is Turbo Assembler.

There are other languages but they don't have good support on the Atari ST.

Hans Wessels

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Postby smiley smile » Wed Jul 13, 2005 2:06 pm

I guess my initial reason for wanting to start to program is as an educational need, in which I can learn more about the computer, and why programmes do and act the way they do.

I don't really have a 'job at hand' so to speak because I don't know how hard I'm going to find it to programme. I'd rather start writing simple, generic kind of programmes, then start to plan out something which requires more thought. I would like to concentrate more on games however, and the occasional application to make life easier on my ST ^_^

Another reason I want to programme on the Atari, and not just on the PC is because I'd rather be helping to keep the Atari scene alive and contribute to it, then just be a part of the massive wave of PC programmers.

Cheers,
Rob

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Postby vivid » Wed Jul 13, 2005 9:48 pm

I adore read this kind of sentence.

:wink:

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Postby GT Turbo » Thu Jul 14, 2005 9:56 am

Like Simonsunnyboy said, Gfa basic is certainly the most supported basic on the Atari, you can do professional software, games, anything you want, it's easy to learn, personnaly i think it's the best basic for doing everything on an Atari


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Postby earx » Thu Jul 14, 2005 10:31 am

GFA is probably a nice starting point, though. but i started out with assembler and skipped basic straight away. only when i'm forced to use GFA basic will i use it ;) for instance i once had to patch a module converter or some table generators in that language.

the reason why i stuck with assembler is that 68000 asm, as opposed to many other cpu's, is really simple. and the ST's architecture is pretty simple and logical as well. but i agree that doing everything in assembler, even on such an old beast as the ST, is not desirable. programs like converters, generators and probably most of the house keeping code in applications/games are best written in high-level languages such as basic or C.

i think, for truly understanding how a computer works, you at least need to have seen assembler code in action sometimes. then you will know what happens in drivers, how hardware is accessed, how you (or compilers) may optimise code for speed and/or size. also 68000 assembler is a very good starting point for learning C. using the addressing of the 68000, you understand better how stuff like pointers work in C. the same goes for the stack (local variables, parameters).

okay, enough talk for now..

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Postby smiley smile » Thu Jul 14, 2005 3:45 pm

I've always held a personal belief in efficient, lean coding whenever possible, probably more so these days then ever before due to the widespread use of sloppy high level object orientated languages like C++ and Visual Basic, and having the pleasure of using crap such as microsoft products.

I would really like to learn assembler, never thought you could go straight into it though. Idealy I would like to go as low level as possible without it being really hard to get into.

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Postby simonsunnyboy » Thu Jul 14, 2005 3:50 pm

Have you ever coded in any programming language?
If not, I strongly discourage starting with assembler.
Get some C or Pascal knowledge first and you will have less trouble with going on to assembler.
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Postby smiley smile » Thu Jul 14, 2005 7:25 pm

I have skimmed the surface of C, Java and Assembler before - basically I was doing a computer course at college for a couple months, then I dropped out. So I literally was only given a crude idea of how they work, and never really progressed too far.

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Postby ggn » Thu Jul 14, 2005 8:48 pm

I'm certainly behind earx on the subject. Although asm might seem very confusing at first and you might not get results easy, it's the most satisfying language, especially 680x0 assembly.

George
is 73 Falcon patched atari games enough ? ^^

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Postby PaulB » Thu Jul 14, 2005 9:00 pm

A few things I've found with programming on Atari is that you need documentation on gemdos, bios, xbios, vdi, aes, a-line etc. Plus you need a book on programming in the specific language you're trying to learn. Otherwise you'll just be staring at a program screen wondering what to type. Some good books on gemdos and so on is the Abacus series of books, even though they do contain a few errors here and there they are essential reference material. There's plenty of books on GFA out there. Some can even be downloaded from the web and can be found by searching on Google.

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Postby Nyh » Fri Jul 15, 2005 11:04 am

smiley smile wrote:I guess my initial reason for wanting to start to program is as an educational need, in which I can learn more about the computer, and why programmes do and act the way they do.

In that case I would recomend (Pure) C. Start with "The C Programming Language, Second Edition" by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie. It is THE text on the C programming language. Use the book to learn C and as soon as you think you learned enough you will use it the rest of you life as reference manual.

With the Pure debugger you can examine C code and the resulting assembly while stepping through it. You can easy replace functions written in C with optimised assembly functions (if you want to).

For game development either write you own routines (it isn't that hard if you understand how an Atari works) or you may use Godlib. If you are ready for game development and need some inspiration and an example send me a mail and I can send you the whole Heartland 2000 project. The whole games framework is in C and the time consuming parts are assembly (most functions were first written in C and later replaced by faster assembly functions).

Hans Wessels

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Postby gwEm » Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:33 pm

everyone recommending their favourite langauge ;))

and why indeed not ;)

68000 is a simple and beautiful thing IMHO, and you'll really understand how the machine works then... and by coincidece its also my favourite langauge too.

but pure c, gfa basic, assembler are the 3 best choices for programming on atari st for sure. there is no bad choice to make here.

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Postby smiley smile » Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:29 pm

Hmmm, learning C looks like the best way then, if it will encorporate assembler and help me to understand it as well. How easy is it to get hold of a copy of that C programming language second edition?

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Postby gwEm » Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:09 pm


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Postby smiley smile » Fri Jul 15, 2005 4:19 pm

Ahh ideal, cheers. Thanks to everyone else as well for their advice in this matter.


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