BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0 libraries and documentation
« Thread started on: Jul 15th, 2016, 3:54pm »
Everybody must by now be aware that I am developing a multi-platform version of BBC BASIC using SDL 2.0 as an 'Operating System abstraction layer'. This version will run on Windows, Linux (x86), Mac OS-X* and Android (x86). To keep the workload manageable I am concentrating on the interpreter and Run Time Engine whilst the IDE (BBCEdit) is being developed by Andy Parkes.
There are three other aspects which it would be very helpful to 'farm out' to speed up their availability. The first is development of libraries specifically for the SDL 2.0 version. Some of the BB4W libraries run with little or no modification under SDL 2.0, and those are already supplied. However others are so dependent on Windows that they cannot easily be ported, although in principle equivalents could be created. For example D3DLIB is totally non-portable, but a similar library based on OpenGL rather than Direct3D would be possible.
Secondly there is the matter of documentation. Whilst much of the BB4W Help file is relevant to the SDL 2.0 version (everything related to the interpreter, assembler, VDU emulation and much of the OS interface) the entire 'Accessing the Windows API' section is of course entirely incompatible. But again in many cases equivalent code snippets for SDL 2.0 could be devised.
Finally there is the thorny problem of how to view the help file. The CHM (compressed HTML) format that the existing BB4W Help file comes in cannot be read on the other platforms. So we need to decide what the most appropriate format is and provide a viewer (possibly itself written in BBC BASIC) so it can be conveniently accessed on all the platforms.
So I would welcome volunteers to take on any of these tasks: writing libraries, amending the documentation and creating a Help file viewer. These are tasks that I would find interesting, if only I had the time, so hopefully some of you might be tempted too. If you would like to contribute please reply here or contact me privately if you prefer.
I should emphasise that if you only have a Windows PC that does not mean that you cannot contribute. There is a Win32 port of BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0 so you can run that and use it to test out any code you might write with a high degree of confidence that it will run on the other platforms too.
* The Mac OS-X version isn't yet available but will be released with the next update, which should be quite soon.