THE CONCISE ATARI ST 68000 PROGRAMMER'S REFERENCE GUIDE
by Richard Karsmakers
In December's "ST" (the magazine from the Dutch "Stiching ST"), I
read a very small review of a book called "The Concise Atari ST
68000 Programmer's Reference Guide, by Hans Kuijf. I found this
review far too short, but Mr. Kuijf's little story certainly
arose the data-beast in me, and I immediately ordered the book
(through Commedia in Amsterdam, Eerste Looiersdwarsstraat 12,
1016 VM, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), where it costs 69 Dutch
The book is written by Katherine Peel (unless I'm quite mistaken,
this means a female on the ST! Great!), and is published by
Glentop Publishing (ISBN 1 85181 017 X).
As people might have concluded from Mr. Kuijf's bit, the book is
indeed very extensive and surely not to be touched by people
don't don't know anything about the ST yet. Actually, most
information offered needs to be consumed after following a crash
course ST-programming. Most things sound familiar when read in
this guide after you've read an easier-to-understand version
somewhere else in a book. Best thing you can do is read through
all your books, sell them and buy this guide afterwards. You'll
then have the knowledge needed for being able to cope with the
superb overdose of info offered by this guide. Being not much of
an emancipatist myself, I must admit Katherine Peel's product
will be extremely hard to overdo (if not impossible at all!).
Let's have a look at the contents and you'll know what I mean.
The first chapter has the Atari ST hardware as main topic. Every
interface in the book (and even those out of the book, if you get
my drift) is described here - even the power supply is covered.
Seperate paragraphs are devoted to eg. the 68000 processor, the
Floppy Disk Controller, the MFP, the ACIA and the good old sound
chip. The custom devised devices (DMA, MMU, Shifter and Glue) are
of course also described.
The second chapter offers the reader an overview of the TOS
(memory map, system variables, $FCxxxx registers, sound in
general, graphics concept explanation, peripheral device
communication, and much more, far too much even to mention here
without having the maxi-format ST NEWS again!).
Chapter three covers the ST traps, etc. and GEM images, formats
and the kind.
The most interesting part of the book, however, are the
appendices (14 in number). These are the appendices:
A System Variables
B Configuration registers
C Printer and Terminal Escape codes
D Keycode Definitions
E Callable Functions
F Parameter Blocks
G MC68000 Instruction Summary
H MC68000 Instruction Codes
I Error Codes
J BASIC GEM
K Program Development Tools (a bit of advertisement if you ask
me, but very useful if you haven't yet decided which tool to
L Example Programs (!)
N Schematic Diagram
All in all a book in which you need the table of contents more
than usual in any other book of this kind; the only way to stay
in touch with normal freaks! This book literally covers all
fields as far as I've heard of them. Definately a winner!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.