Your starter kit
Look at your computer. You have what you need. BASIC and Edit are both in ROM.
Before you demean Edit as being crap (as so many people seem to do), please keep in mind the fact that this entire web site has been written in !Edit. It is perfectly capable, although it lacks the niceties of things like 'syntax colouring'. Additionally, Edit's search and replace is very powerful.
Next, you have the small-budget APCS environment brought about by the use of DrLink, Nick
Roberts' ASM and GCC. All of these are downloadable from the Internet (I'll refer you to
The Acorn Cybervillage for more details),
though I've heard that it can be a bit of an issue getting GCC set up correctly. I cannot speak
from experience as I have always used the Acorn DDE.
What I have noticed is that software compiled with GCC seems to require quite a bit more memory, I'm not sure why this is though...
I do not know how well (or otherwise) GCC copes with the 26/32bit issues.
Slightly less of a small budget - EasyC or EasyC++ (from APDL). I am under the impression that
these products incorporate an assembler, but I do not know if they support linking to external
APCS code. Refer to APDL for more information.
I do not know how well (or otherwise) EasyC/EasyC++ copes with the 26/32bit issues.
Acorn C version 4 or early version 5. You probably cannot buy this new, but a person who has
bough the 26/32bit compiler, or no longer writes code, might be willing to sell you the DDE.
Please be aware that the Desktop Assembler and Desktop C (v4) were supplied as two different products. You do not need both, as Nick Roberts' ASM more than replaces objasm; but if you are offered both for a VERY good price (as it isn't 32bit safe), don't say no!
Acorn C versions 4 and early 5 do not cope with 26/32bit neutral code. Version 4 assumes APCS-R (26 bit), while version 5 has an option to create 32bit code, but this apparently doesn't work entirely correctly - anyway you are given a 26bit version of Stubs to link to.
Or you could buy the C/C++ development kit, which offers the C compiler and the assembler
together, supports some newer stuff, and even pretends to do C++. You will have pretty much the
same icons, only they'll look more exciting...
The major advantage is that it is fully 26/32bit capable.
Additionally, the supplied CD-ROM contains the PRMs in PDF format.
If you are going to be coding in C, then I suggest !Zap. While I don't like it for writing BASIC
code or web pages, I wouldn't be without it for C programming. The colourisation makes the code
However, I find colourisation of BASIC to be a hindrance, so my advice is to download it and try it. See what you think.
Link to the Zap website
While I'm a Zap user, it would be unfair if I didn't mention StrongEd. It does everything Zap
does, only slightly differently. The exact differences make up what is known as "The Editor
Wars", which goes something like: Zap roolz! No, Zap sucks, StrongEd is king! StrongEd
bites, Zap is God. Zap is useless, StrongEd is the best. And so on...
Link to the StrongEd website
The final option is for people rolling in the dosh. The official ARM development kit. This does
not work on RISC OS, but you can order yourself a free CD. All this from
Tell you what, though... I'll leave you to discover the going price of the tools for yourself, eh?
There are options in between, and other alternatives. Look around. You can get started, from no
budget to big budget. And in most cases, the only real differences are in the support you get.
To take an example, the ARM kit gives you several tens of megabytes of documentation in PDF
format, lots of examples, and on-line help. Nick's ASM just describes what it does and the best
ways to use it. It won't tell you the instruction set (well, you could use this site!).
Both, however, will turn your source into code...