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      /  What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
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Hans 
What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 3:19:04
#1 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 27-Dec-2003
Posts: 4907
From: New Zealand

This thread got me thinking about what could be done to get more people developing software for AmigaOS.

So, if you're a developer or someone who would be interested in learning: what's in the way of you writing/porting software for AmigaOS 4.x?**

NOTE: Forget about what you think others might need/want; I'm interested in hearing what developers/learners actually need.

Hans


** Or any AmigaOS clone/variant.

Last edited by Hans on 27-Jun-2018 at 03:24 AM.

_________________
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https://keasigmadelta.com/ - More of my work.

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remotenemesis 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 4:32:40
#2 ]
Member
Joined: 11-Jan-2018
Posts: 92
From: SF Bay Area, California

@Hans

I'm writing a Mastodon social-media client on AROS right now that I hope to port to AmigaOS and classic once I have some more features implemented. Finding good documentation has been a challenge, especially for MUI.

From what I've seen AmigaOS4 has pretty decent API docs and I'm looking forward to coding for it, once I get some real hardware sorted.

Nothing really is blocking me, I've enjoyed the archeology tbqh.

What's the status of SDL2 on AmigaOS4? Having a working implementation would help with porting games I imagine. I do have a game project that's on hold ATM...

I enjoy serialized magazine articles or blog posts that follow development from first steps but definitely beyond the HelloWorld++ where most tutorials tend to drop-off.

Personally I'm really enjoying revisiting C and growing my skills in the language. Beginner friendly languages like python and lua with Amiga libraries and maybe GUI designers might help grow the talent pool too. Is there a modern version of AMOS basic out there? An easy to use game creator powered by a modern language like Javascript, Python or Lua would be be a killer app for AmigaNG.

In my dreams, I'd like to see Golang running on next gen because it provides low-level access to integrate with C code and modern features like garbage collection. Too bad we don't have SMP yet, it has some great language native support for concurrent programming.

Our dev community is fragmenting across the NG and classic platforms. That hurts many efforts. I have no solutions for that one other than a push for an Amiga API standard.

Last edited by remotenemesis on 27-Jun-2018 at 04:34 AM.

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wawa 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 4:35:03
#3 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 21-Jan-2008
Posts: 6160
From: Unknown

@Hans

the practically out of the box easy to set and fire up compiling environment with a whole lot of actual reference code to grep through and use as templates in form of aros source and build system has definitely made it possible for me to contribute a bit within my limited abilities. seriously.

Last edited by wawa on 27-Jun-2018 at 04:35 AM.

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wawa 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 4:39:04
#4 ]
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Joined: 21-Jan-2008
Posts: 6160
From: Unknown

@remotenemesis

Quote:
Our dev community is fragmenting across the NG and classic platforms. That hurts many efforts. I have no solutions for that one other than a push for an Amiga API standard.


code for an open platform and against apis available on all flavours and leave your code open for others to port over and improve, especially if you dont intend to do so yourself?

Last edited by wawa on 27-Jun-2018 at 04:39 AM.

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ferrels 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 6:00:08
#5 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 20-Oct-2005
Posts: 803
From: Arizona

@Hans

Quote:
So, if you're a developer or someone who would be interested in learning: what's in the way of you writing/porting software for AmigaOS 4.x?**


I'm a C/C++ developer and a lack of customers willing to pay for OS4 software is one obstacle. My other obstacle is the OS itself. It lacks a 64-bit address space. I write apps that convert LIDAR data into maps and 3D surfaces using point sets so large that a 64-bit address space is a requirement. Unless and until OS4 gets modern OS features it will remain nothing more than a curiosity for Amiga hobbyists/enthusiasts. Other developers won't be drawn to the platform until it has 21st century features found in mainstream operating systems.

The only Amiga-like operating system that I would even consider developing for at this point would be 64-bit AROS x86....It has the address space that I need and the raw horsepower that my clients have come to expect. They'd laugh me out of the room if chose to develop for an OS and a CPU architecture that performs like it's 2003.

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jPV 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 6:25:16
#6 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 11-Apr-2005
Posts: 659
From: .fi

@Hans

I think that higher level languages are good for getting new developers in our situation where we don't get any younger and don't have too much time from our jobs, families, and other responsibilities to learn lower level languages deep enough :)

I've been a "casual" C coder since late 90s, but I never got to the level that I'd trust my abilities to make reliable code for apps etc which need to be stable in everyday use. It just takes that much time to master that level languages with all OS specific initialization quirks etc.

Hollywood has been a godsent solution for me, and I finally became a productive developer :) You just don't have to spend ages to learn "secondary" stuff, but you can just jump into the point and can get results even with very limited time. As a bonus it's also very multiplatform solution, and even though I do my coding on MorphOS, I've released my programs for OS4, 68k, and even to WarpOS.

Naturally we need good solutions for C kind of languages for lower level developers, to get some bones for our platforms, but for "the meat" around it from more casual developers, Hollywood or other higher level languages will become more and more important I think. Nowadays it's not about the squeezing last drops of CPU by assembler, our machines are powerful enough for the higher level stuff too.


@remotenemesis
Quote:

remotenemesis wrote:
Is there a modern version of AMOS basic out there? An easy to use game creator powered by a modern language like Javascript, Python or Lua would be be a killer app for AmigaNG.

I'd say Hollywood is exactly that. A modern day AMOS, based on Lua, and as killer app as we can get. Here's a small tutorial I've written about it to get started.

Last edited by jPV on 27-Jun-2018 at 06:34 AM.

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kamelito 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 7:12:36
#7 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 26-Jul-2004
Posts: 680
From: Unknown

@Hans

Something like Visual Studio for the Amiga. The AVD suite should have been the answer.
A wrapper that let you build a binary for Windows would be nice to grow your userbase. I guess portableE could be used if the Windows port was on par with the Amiga version.
Those who use Nova might be interested in running their programs on other platforms...is there a plan for a Nova to Vulkan translator?

Last edited by kamelit0 on 27-Jun-2018 at 07:17 AM.

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bennymee 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 8:56:22
#8 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 19-Aug-2003
Posts: 504
From: Netherlands

@Hans

I think tutorials (besides real OS4.1 hardware) like this https://www.youtube.com/user/ScoopexUs are a great help to start coding.

Something like this for OS4 would be a great help and also a good motivation.


e.g. Creating a locale language file, I have a tool like Flexcat (and read about Catcomp) but some documentation or videoexample's would be a good help.

Last edited by bennymee on 27-Jun-2018 at 08:56 AM.

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simplex 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 12:23:32
#9 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 5-Oct-2003
Posts: 760
From: Hattiesburg, MS

@Hans

Time. I have a job and family. That requires attention.

I got AROS hosted set up to the point where I could write stuff, but it took so much time (even with the help of devs) that after that I just wasn't motivated to continue, despite having a couple of bugs to fix.

It's a real Catch-22 here: you have to do work to get working.

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PR 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 13:08:29
#10 ]
Super Member
Joined: 1-Sep-2004
Posts: 1914
From: Suomi-Finland

No bedroom "coder" time with parents anymore. We have children, loads of work, some houses to maintain.

Skills, can maybe code Hello World as used to do animations and SFX as an hobby.

- Customer


Last edited by PR on 27-Jun-2018 at 01:09 PM.

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Karlos 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 14:36:31
#11 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Aug-2003
Posts: 2020
From: As-sassin-aaate! As-sassin-aaate! Ooh! We forgot the ammunition!

@Hans

A thread safe compiler and toolchain would be nice. That broke all my old 3.x code that made use of C++ and AmigaOS Tasks/Processes. In 3.x with StormGCC linking against threadsafe.lib ensured that this was safe and predictable. In 4.x/GCC none of this worked.

I also rely on cross compiling but it seems that C++ code generated by the cross compiler just doesn't link. C code is fine, however. I should mention that this is with a cross compiler that is likely out of date by now.

Having an extra 24 hours on my day would also be good but I'm sure you can't fix that.

Last edited by Karlos on 27-Jun-2018 at 02:38 PM.

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remotenemesis 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 14:58:02
#12 ]
Member
Joined: 11-Jan-2018
Posts: 92
From: SF Bay Area, California

@jPV



Quote:
I'd say Hollywood is exactly that. A modern day AMOS, based on Lua, and as killer app as we can get. Here's a small tutorial I've written about it to get started.


Cool! I will take a look sometime.

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billt 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 15:22:01
#13 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 24-Oct-2003
Posts: 3100
From: Maryland, USA

@Hans

Good question.

Lack of time, mostly. I was up until 3am for dayjob last night.

Lack of documentation for certain things, such as the new GPU driver model. While the RadeonHD drivers are fantastic (and AmigaNG wouldn't make any sense whatsoever today without it), some people might be thinking about the DIU inside some NXP/Freescale chips, VMware model in Qemu, playing with FPGA VGA ideas, or toying with independent Vulkan or Gallium ideas, or potentially even trying to get something working in NVidia. (Yea, right, NVidia woud love to make that happen, and we cannot, so far as I know, open-source an OS4 driver to base on Linux driver open code)
(Now, how about a business model for a Qemu driver... hrm.)

I was under the impression that one could ask for the modern graphic driver API/dev kit some time back, but I never got a response...

I really liked Steven's presentation about SATA driver for x5000. IN that, he talked about making use of an IDE library. Did that become a proprietary part of the x5000 drive, or is that library usable by others?


Some apps I might find most interesting personally are WX based. Need time to do that prerequisite... I could start with the AmiCygnus WX port I guess. But still time...

I'm more of a hardware guy, but interested in making hardware work. Trying to make time to get some such interesting hardware to exist, then software for it... Olegil got me really interested in a particular hardware project again, and have another one or two in mind that I'm trying not to think about. Not highly successful at any of that yet.

Last edited by billt on 27-Jun-2018 at 03:32 PM.
Last edited by billt on 27-Jun-2018 at 03:23 PM.

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Jose 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 18:52:57
#14 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 927
From: Unknown

Time. I learned C a bunch of years ago after messing a bit with ASM just to get the feel of it (mostly forgotten by now, still remember C well though and sometimes code a bit). I don't have a degree in computer science nor is my job related to it, but I'm pretty sure I could go further because with the help of the forums back then I managed to understand and code some pretty system oriented stuff (timer device, message ports, device DOS messages, interrupts, whatever). I read the RKM libraries to help. This was more than 10 years ago but I can't dedicate more time to it, even though I'd like to finish/start some stuff.
Right now everything's completely halted but eventually I'll finish some it.:)
One of the problems is that I put my goals too high.

So to answer your question, it's lack of time and unfortunately there's nothing that can be done about that.

Last edited by Jose on 27-Jun-2018 at 06:53 PM.

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mritter0 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 20:11:29
#15 ]
Member
Joined: 29-Sep-2013
Posts: 40
From: Unknown

@Hans

I have said this many times: I need/want updates from Hyperion and A-EON more often. And responses to my emails. The updates don't need to be big. I keep going back to listbrowser.gadget that salass00 fixed some bugs for me over a year ago. Still not released. It makes my program look defective. It should have been released on AmiUpdate ages ago. Where is the bug fix to Enhancer's audio datatype for pause/resume? That has been months since last mentioned.

I move very quickly with Workbench Explorer. I usually put out an update every month or so. I have been computer-less for a bit, so behind on this update.

Being a beta tester for Hyperion and A-EON sounds appealing, but I am resisting. I don't want to test a new gadget class (ie, anim.gadget) but not be able to make use of it for 6+ months in my program(s). Not knowing about it is almost better since I am not being held back from releasing an update that uses the new features.

For me time hasn't been an issue lately, no girlfriend currently. But I do understand the lack of time for people with families. I wish I had more time to get more updates for WEx done so I can start another big project I have in mind.

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simplex 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 21:46:34
#16 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 5-Oct-2003
Posts: 760
From: Hattiesburg, MS

@thread

A lot of people mention past experience with C, C++. That gives me the opportunity to bang on one of my pet peeves.

C is for most purposes the worst choice of language to use. It's terribly unsafe and outdated; by now there are very good languages that are safer and usually just as fast, while far more expressive and using modern programming techniques: Nim and Rust come to mind, for instance.

By "safer", I mean that in most cases you can avoid pretty simple stack and pointer errors that are considered "features" of C, such as a function that returns a pointer but the programmer forgets to include a return statement. A hard-to-debug BOOM occurs when you try to assign the result.

Meanwhile, C++ has spent the last 30 years catching up to Ada's safety, reliability, and feature availability -- and still isn't there! -- in the meantime remaining no more readable than it ever was, and arguably much less: whoever suggested && as a notation for declaring a move constructor should have been frog-marched immediately from the standards committee and sentenced to a life term in Programming Language Design Jail.

Nim should be relatively portable. I don't know about Rust. The point is, there are much better solutions than 35-50 year-old languages that were pretty questionably designed at the time they came out. Nim at least compiles to C and claims to work wherever a C compiler works, so it's very portable: wherever you have a C compiler, you should be able to get a Nim compiler without too much trouble. (I have no idea about Rust.) Porting Nim to AROS was one thing I wanted to do before I spent a week getting AROS simply to compile on my machine (with lots of help from the devs, and I do feel bad about going incommunicado after that).

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kamelito 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 22:06:40
#17 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 26-Jul-2004
Posts: 680
From: Unknown

@simplex

There's also Odin who wanna become a better C.
https://handmade.network/forums/t/1338-the_odin_programming_language
As a better C++, Jay might fill the gap one day but targeting games.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH9VCN6UkyQ&list=PLmV5I2fxaiCKfxMBrNsU1kgKJXD3PkyxO

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nbache 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 22:12:12
#18 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 8-Apr-2003
Posts: 956
From: Copenhagen, Denmark

@bennymee

Quote:
Creating a locale language file, I have a tool like Flexcat (and read about Catcomp) but some documentation or videoexample's would be a good help.
Get CatComp. It's the official tool, and its accompanying doc file should tell you all you need to know, including a small example.

FlexCat is useful as a spare tool for the few occasions where CatComp for some reason won't compile a specific .cd file, but whenver you can, use CatComp as your first choice.

And also get catcheck from Aminet to run over the resulting .catalog, it will often catch errors not seen by the others.

Best regards,

Niels

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nbache 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 22:27:46
#19 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 8-Apr-2003
Posts: 956
From: Copenhagen, Denmark

@Hans

Quote:
So, if you're a developer or someone who would be interested in learning: what's in the way of you writing/porting software for AmigaOS 4.x?
I recently retired from being a professional developer. Some decades ago, I learnt C, and later C++, which we also used for quite some years, before I moved to other projects and got specialized in Oracle SQL and PL/SQL, apart from also coding some C#, JavaScript/TypeScript, AngularJS and more.

So whenever I get a decent development environment set up on one of the Amigas (probably my new X5000 soon to arrive), I'll have to start by re-learning C (and/or C++) as well as learning the "kosher" ways to interface with today's AmigaOS system. And of course fight a little to get time enough over all the other things on the list - things we "should have time for now that we are retired ".

As for things not entirely up to myself: It would be nice to get the SDK updated some time soon, and of course - as has been mentioned - to get the many bugfixes and new features released into public, which have been made in the last couple of years.

It would also be great to have a better IDE than is currently available under AmigaOS, but that's not exactly a show-stopper (for me ATM).

Best regards,

Niels

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Severin 
Re: What's in the way of you writing/porting software?
Posted on 27-Jun-2018 22:29:57
#20 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 19-Aug-2003
Posts: 2731
From: Gloucestershire UK

@Hans

For me what's lacking is a native OS4 compiler/debugger for AmiBlitz. The system library integration would also need a lot of work to deal with the changes from OS3 but being able to compile and debug native code is the important bit.

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