Recommend an IDE type setup for Amiga programming

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I’m interested in developing workbench applications (not games) for Amiga OS. I’d like my applications to run on machines like Amiga 500 and also be compatible with models like the 1200 and 4000.

The language isn’t so important to me once the development environment isn’t too crazy. I used MS Visual Studio in college (C++) as well as the VB IDE which had a built in debugger and more recently Eclipse/Netbeans for Java.

Can anyone make a recommendation based on my requirements that my apps run on pretty much all versions of workbench and that the debugger and compiler and as intergrated as possible?

 

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For a simple, complete IDE solution it’s difficult to look past Blitz Basic 2. In its original release format (version 2.1) it will work on any Amiga with 1MB or RAM or more, though the experience is greatly improved by using a machine with a bit more RAM. Executables can be created for use with any Amiga. The latest release that still supports OS 1.3 machines is the Ultimate Blitz Basic CD, which is available as an ISO download from archive.org. This edition includes a greatly improved editor and debugger, as well as many more command libraries to cover most tasks and greatly increases Blitz’s capabilities.

Several components of this CD have been updated since its release, including the installation script. It is strongly recommended to download the updated installer from the Blitz 2000 Archives, which will ensure that Blitz 2 and all the relevant extras are installed correctly.

Once installed, the Blitz 2 IDE sports integrated help, syntax highlighting, source navigation and a powerful debugger with integrated source tracing.

Blitz is a BASIC dialect, but also features support for more modern programming techniques, such as pointers, procedures with local and global variables, struct (NewType) definitions, include files, macros, etc. Complete access to the Amiga’s main library APIs is provided, with the ability to use other libraries too. This allows the direct use of dos.library and graphics.library functions for example, and allows Blitz to compile 100% system-friendly applications using a variety of GUI toolkits, including OS 1.x Intuition gadgets and menus, OS 2.x & 3.x GadTools gadgets and menus, and MUI gadgets. Blitz also comes with powerful commands for directly accessing the Amiga’s custom chips, allowing the creation of non-system-friendly games that harness the Amiga’s graphics and sound capabilities.

Alternatives to Blitz Basic include AMOS (also a BASIC dialect), which provides a similar level of integration, but with limited system-friendliness which makes it difficult to integrate resulting software into the Workbench environment. For games this isn’t such a big deal, and AMOS includes a similarly powerful instruction set for directly accessing the Amiga’s hardware. Application software written in AMOS feels alien to the Amiga multitasking environment, and this includes AMOS’ editor.

There are a number of C programming environments available for the Amiga, however while some include integrated editors and some debugging tools, none offer the level of integration and simplicity of Blitz 2. Dice C is a good package for writing software for older Amigas, and includes a good editor and various debugging tools. SAS/C is another compiler suite with good debugging tools, but isn’t really integrated. CubicIDE offers some well integrated features for use with various compilers. Storm C is apparently good and includes a visual GUI designer, though I haven’t got any experience with it myself. Bear in mind however that almost all of the C options will require a moderately powerful Amiga with more than the base RAM fitted, and they will generally require some knowledge of the command line and compiler options. C does have the advantage however that the Amiga’s API is best suited to use in C programs, and in general there are more resources available for help with C programming than BASIC.

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Storm C is the most integrated C development environment for the Amiga. Its GUI builder may tie you to the wizard.library toolkit, but regardless of what GUI you use, it features an integrated editor, project manager and debugger.

  • TenLeftFingers
    Thanks for this answer. As daedalus mentioned above, C environments tend to require more memory to run them. However, how do binaries output compare? For example, will a program created in a C environment require as much ram/processing power as an equivalent one created in the likes of Blitz Basic?
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