Your starter kit


Look at your computer. You have what you need. BASIC and Edit are both in ROM.

Example; JPEG 50K
Using Edit to write a web page.

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.


Example; JPEG 8K
More exciting icons!


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 much clearer.
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...


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Copyright © 2004 Richard Murray