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AmigaOS 4.1: Introduction to the Software Development Kit V54.16, part 1
A few days ago, Hyperion Entertainment released the Software Development Kit (SDK) V54.16 ( reported). Our reader and AmigaOS 4 user Josef Wegner has kindly agreed to introduce us to the new SDK and its possibilities in a series of articles. We say thank you very much and hand over the scepter for the first part to Josef:

"After a break of about half a year, there is a sign of life from Hyperion Entertainment again. The company has made a new SDK available for download. But what is it? And what do you need it for? This and other questions will be answered in this and other articles. Developers or readers who have already installed and used one of the previous SDKs may now skip this article, there will probably be nothing new mentioned here.

What is this SDK?

SDK stands for Software Development Kit. Translated, it is a software development package. Developers from the classic (m68k) Amiga will instead know the term NDK – Native Development Kit. Native stands for the fact that development takes place on the Amiga itself. In contrast to cross compiling, where the development takes place on another computer and only the finished code is transferred to the Amiga and then started. For this you also need the SDK, but only certain components, and goes beyond what I want to discuss in these articles.

What can you do with the SDK?

You can compile programs in the programming language C on the Amiga and then run them. So roughly sorted by difficulty, the following is possible with the SDK:
  • writing small programs in C
  • learning the programming language C
  • porting old Amiga programs to AmigaOS 4.1
  • porting C programs from other platforms (e.g. Linux) to AmigaOS 4.1
What does the SDK include?

It contains everything to translate C source code into executable Amiga programs. More precisely there are:
  • different version of GNU C compiler (gcc)
  • the VBCC, also a C compiler
  • documentation about the functions provided by the AmigaOS
  • so called header files, which tell the compiler what the functions of the operating system are called and which parameters are expected
  • a POSIX compatible environment to compile Linux/Unix/POSIX programs
  • a debugger
  • and other tools.
The GCC is the standard compiler on Linux and most programs on the Linux world can only be compiled with this compiler without changes. Different versions can be installed in the SDK, in the current SDK the versions 6.4, 8.4, 10.3 and 11.2 are available for selection. Usually a higher version means that the compiler has more features and is "better". But sometimes possibilities are dropped, e.g. a better support of the (still to be released) A1222 plus (Tabor), which is only included in GCC up to version 6.

The VBCC is a slim, small (compared to the GCC) compiler that supports a variety of targets, e.g. Amiga with a 680x0, MorphOS, AmigaOS 4.1, but also Atari, ARM, 6502, just to name a few. But in the SDK there is only a version for AmigaOS 4.1. If you want to program on AmigaOS 4.1 also for the classic Amigas, you need further packages from VBCC.

Very important are the so-called Autodocs, which describe all public functions of the operating system. If you want to look up the name of a function, which parameters it needs or how exactly it works, you will find it in the AutoDocs. In order to be able to read and search them better, there is a program called AutoDocViewer, which takes over these tasks.

What does SDK include not?

The SDK does not contain an IDE (integrated development environment), it is almost exclusively command line tools. If you expect an environment like Visual Studio or Eclipse, you will probably be disappointed. And there is no tutorial to help you get started.

What do you need in addition to the SDK?

To use the SDK, the command line („Shell“) and a text editor (e.g. NotePad) are required. Both are included by default with AmigaOS 4.1. However, it would be helpful to use a better text editor that has the following features:
  • auto indent
  • colored syntax highlighting
  • scripting or calling programs directly from the editor
Depending on your preferences and budget, there are various options: If you need even more functions, you could have a look at the following Amiga IDEs: Unfortunately, both IDEs are not that up-to-date anymore and especially CubicIDE needs some adjustments to make it work on AmigaOS 4.1 with the current SDK.

In the further articles I will dedicate myself to installing the SDK, writing small programs, explaining the difference between standard C and Amiga programs and how to compile Linux/Unix libraries and use them on AmigaOS 4.1." (dr)

[News message: 09. Oct. 2022, 13:44] [Comments: 0]
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