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OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 19-Mar-2010 22:57:04
#1 ]
Super Member
Joined: 4-Aug-2003
Posts: 1305
From: Stourbridge, UK

Official thread for the proposed OS4 Programming Guide.

The OS4PG will be a real, printed book in English (to start with). Spiral bound, A5 format, approx 300 pages. Price should be around 12 + p&p.

All meaningful comments, questions, suggestions and offers for help are very much welcomed.


There has not been an uptodate progamming guide for AmigaOS for many, many years. Although the SDK contains autodocs with the latest changes to OS4, these can be difficult to navigate and not necessarily suited to the beginner or intermediate programmer. The RKMs are out of date, as are most of the second hand books that are available (most do not even cover 3.x).

This project aims to produce a new programming guide in English for AmigaOS 4.x. It will be aimed at beginners and intermediate programmers with some general knowledge of the C language. Additional chapters on advanced topics or other languages (eg E, Hollywood) may also be included.

The book will contain lots of annotated examples of working code and applications. A number of practical projects will be presented, with suggestions on how to tackle them and possible solutions.

Contributors will be paid according to the length/quality of their submission. A fee of at least 50 will be paid to each contributor of a significant chapter or section (see below). Potential contributors should contact Yoodoo2 for more details.

Yoodoo2 will fund the key chapters listed below and the initial print run.

There will be a bounty set up for the project (hopefully at Any donor giving 15 Euros or more will receive a copy of the book upon publication, although there may be a small additional charge for postage outside of the UK, dependent upon actual cost of shipping. Any surplus money raised through this bounty will fund additional chapters and/or increase the money paid to contributors.

Any experienced OS4 programmers wishing to contribute should contact Yoodoo2 via email or PM at

Key Chapters:

0.Setting up: SDK, tools, resources etc
1.Simple ReAction tutorials
2.Main ReAction gadgets
3.Screens, Windows, Menus and Requesters
4.Starting up: running from Shell and WB; arguments, tooltypes etc
5.Simple graphics
6.Handling text and fonts
7.File handling basics
8.Advanced file handling, clipboard, iffparse etc
9.Using Datatypes
10.Multi-tasking, messaging, semaphores etc
11.Libraries and shared objects
12.Completing the program: localisation; installer scripts; AmiUpdate etc


Common macros, typedefs etc
Migrating from OS3 to OS4
Useful websites, books etc
AmigaDOS reference
Overview of key libraries and other APIs

Possible Advanced Chapters (although there seems to be enough for a second book!):

Advanced Graphics
Using Cairo
Using SDL
Using MiniGL
Advanced gcc usage, debugging, cross compiling in Linux/Windows etc
Sound and AHI
AppWindows, AppIcons etc
Writing libraries and shared objects
Creating datatypes
Creating a new gadget/class
Programming the XCore
Device drivers
Other languages: E; Hollywood
Differences between OS3.x and 4
Compatability with other Amigaoid systems


Please feel free to ask any questions!

Update: 13 May
Website launched here.

Please note that we have the support of Hyperion and several key OS4 developers, beta-testers and 3rd party developers.

Time to get writing!

Last edited by yoodoo2 on 13-May-2010 at 01:50 PM.

Happiness is mandatory.
MindSpace: MindMaps and UML diagrams for OS4
Recursion Computer Fair: Saturday 4 July at Stratford-upon-Avon

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 19-Mar-2010 23:27:27
#2 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 17-Oct-2006
Posts: 240
From: Unknown


How about some Guru Book like content?
Looks like you got it covered.

Last edited by Trekiej on 19-Mar-2010 at 11:28 PM.

John 3:16

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 19-Mar-2010 23:34:01
#3 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 5-May-2003
Posts: 2705
From: Lowestoft, UK


In terms of supporting your excellent idea, I am happy to financially support this project as much as it requires, and as I mentioned on the poll thread, will also give some time to proof reading and suchlike. Some technical books are plainly written very fast to be on the shelf as soon as possible and all too often I find passages that don't make sense!

Check out my Blog -

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Apple Hammer 
Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 19-Mar-2010 23:40:34
#4 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 3-Jan-2010
Posts: 130
From: Unknown


I think this is a fantastic idea. Personally I would be willing to pay more than 12 for a *decent* programming book. But it's a good idea to keep prices low to bring in sales from more people I think. 12 is a very attractive price.

I paid more than that for my C++ book by Schildt recently. Granted it's a very very good book, but it also has a much wider audience than Amiga programming has.

But yeah, definitely a good idea I think. The Amiga platform needs all the help it can get in terms of people writing software for it, so the easier/more interesting the programming experience can be made, the better. A decent up to date book such as the one you're describing is essential in that respect.


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Apple Hammer 
Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 19-Mar-2010 23:48:55
#5 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 3-Jan-2010
Posts: 130
From: Unknown


With regard to the XCore chapter, are you talking about a chapter on programming the XCore as a separate entity (with separate development environment etc), as just a general introduction to the XCore, or are you intending to do a chapter on programming the XCore specifically from AmigaOS?

I'm not certain the latter is an option? It'd be nice if we could do it from AOS though. We'll have to wait and see, I guess.

PS: I think the device drivers chapter should be on the definite list, not the potentials list. Assuming you have someone to write the chapter, of course.


Last edited by Apple_hammer on 19-Mar-2010 at 11:50 PM.

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 0:27:09
#6 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Nov-2005
Posts: 705
From: Cornwall, UK

Even though I've already done some programming for AmigaOS 4.0, I did find it a hard place to start really..

Maybe before jumping straight in with reaction examples, maybe have a chapter before it covering the basics of AmigaOS programming and the library system etc. Something like a "hello world" example using libraries (IDOS->printf instead of just printf etc) so people can compare the 2.. if you see what I mean...

Either way I will be buying this book as I haven't done any programming for OS4 since 4.0 update 4... (after OS4.0 "final" was released I waited for the new SDK, which didn't come and then I lost interest in what I was writing and now my A1 is dead... but I will continue on either an X1000 or Sam if I can't afford the X when it comes out)

But the book is a good idea :)

Last edited by BinoX on 20-Mar-2010 at 12:28 AM.

Back to action!

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 2:38:56
#7 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 1-Nov-2004
Posts: 160
From: Melbourne, OZ


I think the book is a good idea. i always like to have something physical that I can read AWAY from the computer. I reckon you can put the advanced chapters in a second book since you are going spiral-bound, plus I think people will go for it. I'll buy it.

One question. Is the AmigaDOS reference for the CLI commands?

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 3:13:24
#8 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 23-Jul-2006
Posts: 715
From: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


Herb Schildt?

Oh no:

I'm sure it will be of some use...

A1200, 68060/64MB/1.2GB/WiFi/AGAto17"TFT/OS3.9 Pegasos I, G3 600Mhz/512/9200SE/80GB/AmigaKitWiFi/MOS 1.4.5 WinUAE, AMDX2 2.8ghz/2GB/9600GT/250GB/BluRay/Win7 Mac Mini 1.5Ghz PPC, OSX 10.5 - MorphOS soon!

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 9:32:29
#9 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 13-Nov-2003
Posts: 596
From: Melbourne


Hope you're talking to Hyperion about this....the reason I say this is because they are about to make some very MAJOR changes in the OS with handling of SMP etc. This would have a profound effect on how to program AMIGA surely?

It's not the question that's the problem, it's the problem that's the question.

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 9:39:28
#10 ]
Super Member
Joined: 1-Sep-2003
Posts: 1500
From: Czech Republic


Potential contributors should contact Yoodoo2 for more details.

I've sent you an e-mail.

Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!
SAM440ep-flex @ 667MHz / 1GB RAM / Radeon 9250 / AmigaOS 4.1 Update 6

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Apple Hammer 
Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 10:00:58
#11 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 3-Jan-2010
Posts: 130
From: Unknown


Hi DBAlex.

Opinions about books are always subjective. Personally, I like Schildt's books and I get on with them very well. He provides a lot of explanation about the various aspects of C++ and Object Orientated programming (which, as an embedded guy, is a bit alien to me) in his book The Complete Reference C++.

If someone else didn't like his book... well that's fine. :)


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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 11:22:06
#12 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 4-Dec-2004
Posts: 999
From: Finland



I think , that it should cover chapter about drivers.

Both in general and usb, since this is in my opinion area, what we miss most, decent drivers.

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 11:35:34
#13 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Nov-2003
Posts: 1132
From: Northern Scotland


I would buy it, though I expect the price may be a bit higher than you anticipate.

I would also suggest having a section on MUI as well. It is still widely used with OS4.

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 11:41:45
#14 ]
Super Member
Joined: 8-Mar-2003
Posts: 1459
From: Surrey


Hi Richard, sounds like a good idea

for publishing have you thought of using these?

just a thought,might save on shipping costs due to them having various locations around the world,and I think its a print per order, so no stocks for you to hold?

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen

Some people are like slinkies. Not really good for anything but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 12:13:39
#15 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 5-Dec-2007
Posts: 869
From: Moers - Germany

Yes, an intro on basics about OS4.x Operating System is probably very important, to also atract other developers, plus if you make it a bit more, you could also have "normal users" as customers as well. I wouldn't mind paying 12pounds just for "basics on Amiga OS". So I guess would be good to explain:

What comes in Devs: Libs:.....
startup-sequence etc.

I personally for example now what a Device is, but I am not that fimilar with mountfiles etc..., in startup-sequence I see a lot of commands, where I am not 100% sure what they mean. This would probably help me coding for AMIGA OS.
I am familar with TurboPascal and Visual Basic, did a bit of Hollywood and ARexx so C/C++ would be the next step, what holds me back is not knowing internals of AmigaOS.

Geomarketing at

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 14:07:24
#16 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 4-Mar-2004
Posts: 348
From: Athens


I really, really like this idea, and I will surely nuy a book like this, even if it will cost the double of the money. Even that I'm not an advanced C/C++ programmer, i would like to help in this project.

So, I would like to propose the creation of a website that would help for the contributors to write their articles online and gather ther all the information that is needed. This will give us the following benefits:\
1. Visitors can see the content from it's first day. If we don't want it, then the website could work only for the contributors, closed to anyone else.
2. The contributors could see each others work and comment on their articles for making them better.
3. You will have a clear idea of how much content this book will have, even before you start creating it. With that you can count the hours of work for DTP creation and print it.
4. Each contributor can edit their articles any time, from anywhere.
5. A small forum could be helpful for talking about things.
6. Proofreaders can view each chapter when it will be completed and make a revision of it.

and there might be more benefits also...

I'm willing to create such a website whenever you want, totally free of charge of course. PM me if you like the idea, or if you want to talk about it.

_________________ - Beautify your Workbench

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 20-Mar-2010 14:12:05
#17 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 26-Sep-2005
Posts: 3058
From: Unknown


I would like to see:

advanced graphics


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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 22-Mar-2010 18:50:11
#18 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Jun-2003
Posts: 2977
From: Beds, UK


Excellent idea. I also like gerograph's suggestion of putting in some advanced "normal user" topics, which will of course be useful for beginner OS4 programmers too. Things like mountlists, keymap files would be useful for everyone and could start a chapter on device drivers, language drivers (do we have a language driver chapter? I suppose that comes under localisation). Also I don't see a chapter on writing filesystems and handlers, that should come under "advanced topics".

Good luck with this project. I might be willing to write a chapter on Installer scripts, as apparently they are the hardest thing in the world and everybody except me hates them.

I don't know anything about the new Installation Utility though, but then I don't think anybody does since it involves Python and has no documentation whatsoever. Actually I don't see a Python chapter on your list either. It's probably a whole new book, but a basic overview and a mention of the Amiga extensions and book/website suggestions for the remainder of the language might be a good idea.


Last edited by Chris_Y on 22-Mar-2010 at 06:55 PM.
Last edited by Chris_Y on 22-Mar-2010 at 06:53 PM.
Last edited by Chris_Y on 22-Mar-2010 at 06:50 PM.

"Miracles we do at once, the impossible takes a little longer" - AJS on Hyperion
Avatar is Tabitha by Eric W Schwartz

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 22-Mar-2010 21:06:30
#19 ]
Joined: 28-Jun-2007
Posts: 45
From: Sweden


I would love a book like this.
I have zero programming experience on Amiga (other than some very simple Amiga Basic back in the day), so after I get my hands on my X1000, a book like this would be really helpful.
I think C++ is still the most common programming language out there, so a chapter about C++ on Amiga would be nice. I know it would be helpful for me.

Even if my posts don't reflect it, I promise you I AM a developer.

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Re: OS4 Programming Book
Posted on 22-Mar-2010 21:22:02
#20 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 30-Aug-2003
Posts: 5015
From: Right here...


Maybe add a porting chapter, maybe Spotup will allow his tutorial to be included.

Hate tends to make you look stupid...
Miss Piggy & Star Trek "I'd love to boldly go where no pig has gone before."

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